Flexibility and a high degree of personalisation even for packaging machines
Two crosscutting requirements all other the industrial world and not only there: flexibility and a high degree of personalisation. In recent times, they have almost become buzzword.
Flexibility is the ability to adapt to changing situations, keeping the same level of performance. In other words, flexibility is the ability to offer a quick response to short-term changes.
The demand of the market is changing and for a food&beverage supplier it is important to be able to meet increasingly demanding consumer requests, often different according to geographical areas.
Hence, even packing and packaging machines have to be able to meet such requirements with a view to enhanced customisation.
Flexible, customized but also automated
Flexibility and a high degree of personalisation are also the requirements of the range offered by Baumer (Castelfranco Emilia, province of Modena), which has been producing secondary packaging shrinkwrappers and wrap around machines for over forty years.
“Our strong point is flexibility, which means a high degree of personalisation of machines” Marco Stanzani, marketing manager, Baumer told us.
“Some lines of ours can package 60-70 different formats; an elasticity highly appreciated by our customers, who are not looking for standard solutions. For them a machine shall be designed to meet specific requirements, be it for an international company or for small wineries”.
Baumer mainly works in the food&beverage industry, with over 70% of its turnover on the international market. Baumer range includes, in particular, shrinkwrappers, wrap around cartonners and combined systems. The latter solution allows making use both of a shrinkwapping film and of wrap around board for multiple packs, still offering a high degree of flexibility.
The BM Belt System is the result of an in-house patent. A motorised carpet – that can be activated from an operator panel and a format change system enables to switch between the two machines.
The range also includes a tray-packer and a multifunction machine. The tray-packer manages large trays and it is highly appreciated. In fact, trays reproduce half a pallet and do not need to be shrinkwapped, hence cutting the consumption of plastics.
Top of the range is the multifunction unit, a single machine that can work as a wrap around shwrinkrapper, a combi system and a tray-packer as well. These are rather complex machines, built on demand and able to meet a client’s specifications.
“Every machine can be equipped with a 90° access or even a U-shape system. It means one can reduce the floor space or install the machine on board existing lines,” adds Stanzani. “The application works thanks to a continuously rotating disk with special pallets so as to be able to cover any kind of packaging as:”
- Round bottles
- Square bottles
Among special projects, Baumer recently developed a machine able to pack pouches, the flexible envelopes of pet food for Upfield, a Dutch food manufacturer with a portfolio of several trademarks of margarine, custard spreads and vegetable food,.
This continuous operating machine wraps around pouches and cases, a type of packing new for Baumer machines, which will give the company an opportunity to enter new markets and enlarge its business area, thus enriching its offer.
Machine flexibility is therefore a major requirement of user firms; the fact of using one machine with different materials, depending on the products to be packed, reduces costs while optimizing the space inside the manufacturing site.
“However, user-friendliness is as important as flexibility”, explains Stanzani. “Automating the operation of a machine not only makes it more user-friendly, but it also prevents human errors”.
Rouge Pack, a special plastic free project
The Baumer Research & Development team was recently involved in a project of a plastic free packaging for a big international soft drink company. This is how Rouge Pack was born. This multipack for six bottles is made of recycled board and hits three major targets: a competitive design shows the product from a marketing perspective, competitive costs as against a traditional cardboard multipack solution, the design makes it extremely ergonomic for portability.
Baumer is a machine manufacturer; however, in this case the solution to a problem posed by a customer implied also conceiving and designing the packaging.
Towards environmentally sustainable production processes
The industrial sector is increasingly projected towards environmentally sustainable production processes. In order to be able to meet this requirement, Baumer studied dedicated solutions in terms of energy saving and environmental sustainability to cut production costs dramatically.
As regards reducing the use of materials, Baumer designed and patented the Automatic double reel system; it enables to change the reel automatically without operator assistance or attendance, with no film welding and at production speed. This operating system offers a much higher productivity because you do not need to stop the line in order to change a reel; the operation is carried out automatically without operator assistance.
As regards wrap-around units, they studied a system that saves materials thanks to the use of non-assembled partitions: two cardboard flaps form the hives and protect the bottles during transportation. This innovation allows 20-30% saving on raw materials.
In terms of energy saving Baumer developed a new shrink-wrapping tunnel to obtain more than 20% on energy saving. Resistances inside the tunnel ensure immediate power, a quick air heating, while advanced insulation leads to important energy savings. The possibility to control air temperature and speed of air blown onto the net avoids waste of heat.