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Read all the latest industry news and views right here.

The flexibility offered by an ice cream cartoning line is preventing US product losses in operation

Hudsonville Creamery & Ice Cream has invested in end of line automation from Gerhard Schubert to deliver top flexibility for its delicate products.

To keep up with evolving demand, new product developments and formats, Hudsonville needs to be in the position to act quickly and very flexibly in its production facilities. This new line’s special design delivers 100% production coverage without the loss of any delicate products, even if a machine component should fail.

To meet today’s consumer demand for an ever-increasing selection of flavours, including healthier alternatives, a contract packer such as Hudsonville needs the highest degree of flexibility and exceptionally efficient packaging lines. Before the installation, even a single machine stop in the packaging process used to entail a standstill of at least three minutes in the upstream production processes – with resulting high product losses.

For this reason and from now on, the frozen delicacies will be packed fully automatically, seamlessly, quickly and reliably first into boxes and then immediately into shipping cartons , and without the risk of melting in the event of an unforeseen machine stop.

Six weeks after the initial discussions between the companies, the proposed machine layout consisting of four cartoners connected in series and two lightline Cartonpackers was developed.

One of the key advantages for the customer lies in the use of this redundant machine layout. In the packing line, three of the four cartoners are technically enough to process 100% of the incoming products. But should one of the cartoners need to be stopped, the remaining three can still cover the production demand. Seven robots operate in each of the cartoners, taking care of the gentle, product-friendly packaging. They are complemented by Schubert’s Transmodul transport robot, which ensures the required flexibility in a small space.

At the beginning of the packaging process, the carton blanks are first taken from the magazine by an F3 robot. An F2 robot then erects two four-unit cartons and places them onto the Transmodul. The products packed in flow wrapped film are carefully picked up from the infeed conveyor and placed into the erected cartons before another F2 robot seals them.

The cartons are then turned by 90 degrees, transferred to an outfeed conveyor and fed to two lightline Cartonpackers, which pack the product cartons into ready-to-dispatch boxes. These Cartonpackers are part of Schubert’s pre-configurable and modular lightline machine series.

Schubert also recommended a change in the packaging itself, switching from the previous side-loading to a now top-loading carton. This saves material costs, ensures more space for the careful sorting of delicate products and results in an overall increase in sustainability throughout the entire packaging and shipping process.

 “As a contract manufacturer, flexibility in production is the key to success,” says John St. Aubin, senior director, business operations at Hudsonville Creamery & Ice Cream. “Both in our production for other brands and for our own branded products, flexible end-of-line systems, such as our new Schubert packaging machines, give us a real competitive advantage.”

Tel: 01676 525825
Website: www.schubert-uk.co.uk