Expanding Your Horizontal Packaging Horizons - 4
Expanding Your Horizontal Packaging Horizons
Integrating Delta Robotics Can Bring Sweet Rewards- Issue 4
Roy Fraser, Product Manager Robotics, Bosch Packaging Technology
In this five-column series, Bosch Packaging Technology shares its wealth of information to help manufacturers optimize their horizontal flow wrapping packaging lines. Following our previous issue highlighting how modified atmosphere packaging can give brands the edge on product safety and freshness, this article provides insight into determining how robotics can boost productivity for confectionery and bakery manufacturers.
Goodbye, struggle. Hello, indulgence. The past few years have dealt us some tough economic times but with the recession slowly fading away, confectionery and bakery brands can finally breathe a sigh of sweet relief. The confectionery and bakery industries are predicted to have promising market growth: Global Industry Analysts, Inc.’s 2011 global reports forecast that by the year 2015, the worldwide confectionery market will hit US$186.3 billion and the global baked goods industry will exceed US$310 billion . With both industries’ increasingly optimistic economic mood, sweets manufacturers are eager to grab a piece of that pie and expand market share.
Integrating robotics into confectionery and bakery packaging lines is one effective solution for minimizing direct costs while rising manufacturing output. One of the most apparent benefits of robotics is that the machines perform consistently and can operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This allows manufacturers to increase production, which results in a cost-per-unit reduction and a competitive advantage. Because robots are growth enablers, many confectionery companies that initially invest in robotics become repeat customers to expand or upgrade their production lines.
As new advances in Delta robot technology further decrease the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), cost-conscious manufacturers are increasingly automating the feeding of their flow wrappers, as well as the downstream cartoning or case packing of their flow wrapped product. Depending on the application, manufacturers are now seeing a return on investment (ROI) on robotics in one to two years.
Delta robotics are suited for both upstream and downstream applications of most common confectionery and bakery items, including cookies, biscuits, chocolates, cakes and pastries. An example of upstream, or primary packaging, utilization of Delta robotics is incorporating a Delta robot with vacuum cup end effectors for gently picking molded chocolate products and placing them into the infeed flight of a horizontal flow wrapper. Tool-free changeable end effectors facilitate quick product changeovers. Compared to traditional belt feeding solutions, robotics bring additional benefits, including increased product quality and appearance due to gentler product handling and a higher flexibility with product and pack patterns.
Once the sweets or baked goods have been wrapped, manufacturers can also easily integrate Delta robotics for speedy secondary packaging. This top loading technology provides high-speed yet precise picking and placing of single packages into cartons, cases or trays. For more high-speed and cost-effective packaging, manufacturers can incorporate squeeze-and-spread end effector technology to pick multiple packages at a time and tightly pack them into the carton or tray.
Though the actual robotics usually command attention, the most important detail is a supplier’s knowledge of product handling. With the many end effectors on the market, the key to maximizing overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) is selecting the most appropriate solution for proper product handling. For example, durable products would require different end effector technology as opposed to delicate products. Bosch Packaging Technology offers a full consultancy service for its more than 2,000 end effector designs, ensuring that the correct solution is incorporated into a line.
To further ensure the highest OEE, manufacturers can profit from a supplier such as Bosch who offers a complete multi-level training program for operators and customer support staff. Besides such trainings, Bosch configures its Delta robotics solutions with ergonomic designs and easy-to-operate touch screen panels.
Additionally, Bosch as a single source solution provider of robotics for both primary and secondary packaging, is able to equip manufacturers with common components for both production steps. This brings the added benefit of streamlined maintenance and repairs, decreased scalability expenses, and lower technology training costs. These features are an integral part of robotic solutions – allowing manufacturers to focus on producing innovative, appealing confectionery and bakery items.
For an in-depth discussion on key considerations for choosing the right solution when automating your packaging line, please follow the link to our White Paper. (http://www.boschpackaging.com/nrd/automation).
Product Manager Robotics
Tel: +44 1332 626 28