Food

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Portion Packs

The small portion pack business is doing well. Statistically, the average purchase made at supermarkets in southern Europe has dropped to less than 10 Euro.

This means that producers have to offer their products in small packaging units at the market. The successful “Bouillon Pur” product from Unilever is no exception.

The upstream Hassia machine deep draws receptacles from the film roll and then fills and seals them with an aluminum sealing film. A container with 16 cavities is the base product which runs into the Schubert TLM line. The heart of the line is a mechanical press. TLMF44 robots handle the connected containers and the individual portion packages after the punching process here. The results are impressive: high line efficiency despite an extremely complicated box design and high production output. Without the Schubert Transmodule, even ambitious packaging machine manufacturers would find such a task a tough nut to crack. Only having clear and unambiguously defined packaging processes and not leaving anything up to chance make finding a good solution to a difficult task like this possible. It’s a nearly perfect packaging task for the seven TLM Schubert system components.






Line profile

Package sizes from two to eight portion packages per carton 

Up to 150 cartons per minute 

Conversion in less than 30 minutes using interchangeable tools 

One-person operation 

Just two weeks were required from delivery to the start of production


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Citrus Juice Bottles

220 bright yellow citrus juice bottles resembling lemons enter a grouping chain every minute. An F2 robot then picks them and places them into the transport tool of the transmodule. The attached label obviously lends a certain degree of difficulty to this process.

 Once a transmodule is completely loaded, it moves towards the pack tray. The pack trays (extreme left in picture) are erected from flat lying blanks, glued and transferred to a vacuum conveyor. At the following station or sub-machine, three rows of five bottles each are picked up by a F2 robot from the transmodule and transferred into the tray. The partially-filled tray then moves to the third sub-machine. Now an interesting thing happens. A F3 robot waits to receive two groups of 12 bottles from the transfer robot which loaded the transmodule before so that it can then turn them upside-down and position, or better yet, insert them into three trays simultaneously.

In the fourth sub-machine, the loaded trays are picked up from the vacuum conveyor and placed onto the discharge belt. Two different bottle sizes can run on the machine.

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Slices of bread

In Japan, slices of bread are lightly toasted or baked twice. There are differences in size and shape from one slice of bread to another. The task was to transfer 240 slices of bread per minute from the cooling tunnel, place two slices on top of each other in the chain of the Fuji flow-wrap machine and make sure that the upper slice is always the smaller of the two. Placing the slices of bread in this fashion is necessary in order to not mislead the consumer. 

There is nothing better than a Schubert TLM picker line for solving this task: A TLM picker line which synchronizes with the infeed chain of the flow-wrap bag machine with an average speed of 305 mm a second. The slices of bread enter the machine via a continuously running conveyor belt. The art of the picker line is to adapt it to the  product flow in such a way that all good products are picked up from the belt and, in spite of irregular production, to ensure that no packages are empty or partially filled. TLM picker lines have been developed for this purpose, with their patented counter-directional workflow and their control design. This design allows the robot arms to independently coordinate which one places what component where. A gripper, specially developed for Harada, picks up each slice of bread after it has run through the TLM image processing system. The difficulty here was that the slices of bread are extremely breakable. Anything that does not meet the quality specifications or is not an exact match is left lying on the belt.

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