Packaging Robots Offer Gentle Handling for Star Product
Belgian biscuit manufacturer Destrooper-Olivier relies on packing technology from Gerhard Schubert GmbH for its flagship Almond Thins.
Family owned Destrooper-Olivier, a well-known manufacturer of Belgian bakery products worldwide, was looking for a packaging solution for its award-winning almond biscuits which, in addition to high efficiency, would ensure gentle handling of the fragile baked goods. With specially designed robotic tools in combination with advanced modular TLM packaging technology, Schubert was able to quickly convince the new customer of the many benefits of its solution.
Luc Destrooper and his wife, Christiane, founded the Destrooper-Olivier family business in 1989, in Oostkamp. Since then, Bert Destrooper, a second-generation family member, has taken over the management of the company. Apart from its own Belgian Butter brand, the company also bakes products for private brands of major international department store chains which distribute the waffles and biscuits in more than 60 countries around the world. Today, the Belgian biscuit specialist manufactures its products in a state-of-the-art plant with an area of around 16,000 square meters.
Since November 2016, the first Gerhard Schubert GmbH (gerhard-schubert.com/en) machine has been packaging the company’s flagship Almond Thins, part of the Belgian Butter line. This almond biscuit is considered the star among Destrooper-
Olivier’s products. It had even received an award from selected Michelin chefs for its excellent flavor.
Georg Koutsogiannis, responsible for Schubert sales in the region, had established contact with Destrooper-Olivier during the 2016 ProSweets trade fair in Cologne. Within two weeks he was able to convince the new customer of Schubert’s ingenious concept. With its first order, the manufacturer of fine baked goods from Oostkamp formulated a number of complex requirements for the packaging machine specialist. Almond Thins, the wafer-thin butter biscuit with almond flakes, is extremely sensitive and requires correspondingly gentle handling.
Koutsogiannis summarizes the customer’s specific requirements as follows: “An essential requirement was a precise packaging unit, capable of handling the products with great care, and also be a top performer. The unit also had to be compact.” The available space at the Belgian production plant precisely defined the specifications for the height and length of the packaging machine.
SMALL FOOTPRINT, HIGH PERFORMANCE
“The compact design of our TLM Packaging machine without an electrical cabinet and the installation of three F4 robots within a single frame made it possible to achieve the required high speed and precision, while at the same time, ensuring optimum accessibility,” says Koutsogiannis.
This installation, which consists of only four TLM sub-machines, packs the biscuits in three different tray formats. Since all components for this installation come from the same supplier, optimum networking was established. The results are maximum reliability and economy, not least thanks to Schubert’s machine without an electrical cabinet. This reduces maintenance costs by providing comprehensive energy savings as well as high machine efficiency and availability. The customer can automate packaging tasks using an operator-friendly control a nearly trouble-free operation. Only one employee is required to operate the system. Scheduled changeovers can be completed within 10 to 15 minutes.
In the first sub-machine, F3 robots take over unstacking the plastic trays from the magazine, placing them on the conveyor belt for transport to the next sub-machine. There, pick-and-place robots load the trays with the baked goods. Currently, products are packaged in three different tray formats with three to four compartments.
The individual biscuits, which arrive using the patented Schubert counterflow system, are separated by a spreading belt before the scanner determines their precise position on the belt. The data from the position are used to control nine F4 robots positioned in a single row. This ensures that the pick-and-place robots pick up the individual products precisely at the center, with a vacuum suction pad and place them gently into the tray cavities.
Destrooper-Olivier endeavors to enter into sustained cooperation with its partners. As a result, the successful installation of the first Schubert packaging machine may be the beginning of a long-term partnership. After all, Belgians don’t only bake hundreds of thousands of almond biscuits every day, but also dozens of other types of cookies, waffles, biscuits and petits fours for the whole world.
Gerhard Schubert GmbH
Schubert Verpackungsmaschinen focuses on the requirements of its customers. The company is charting its technological course with a commitment to modular and intelligent TLM Packaging lines. Its objective is to provide customers with future-proof solutions that are easy to use, offering flexible formats with functional stability. This second-generation, family owned group was established some 50 years ago and employs 1,174 people. The Schubert Group comprises German and international subsidiaries from the fields of IT, engineering, precision parts and packaging service.
For more information, please visit gerhard-schubert.com/en