Confectionery companies are trying to attract consumers with new flavours, sizes and pack styles of their products. This is why they use packaging systems that allow quick and easy format changes as for example the Sigpack TTM, which is part of the new generation of integrated toploaders for secondary packaging.
The cut-throat competition prevailing in the confectionery industry for years, has even increased in Germany in the first half of 2011. Producers try to stand out compared to competitors by introducing new products which leads to increasingly short product life cycles. This effect is intensified as companies seek to meet changing consumer needs with different sizes, flavours and packaging styles.
These dynamics influence the production side. Using separate production lines for each format limits the number of formats at hand with high maintenance costs at the same time. Additionally, possible changes in consumer behaviour may lead to production lines that do not run at full capacity and goods that have to sit in stock.
New, versatile toploader
At Interpack 2011 in Duesseldorf, Bosch Packaging Systems presented a new secondary packaging platform able to process a wide variety of formats: different carton styles, from tri-seal closure to tray and hood; different packaging materials, from solid to corrugated board; different product positioning, from lying them flat to standing them on edge. It‘s the integrated toploader Sigpack TTM.
This flexibility is achieved by using 3-axis robots suspended at the top which erect the cartons, put the products inside and close the packages. The newly developed transport unit uses carriers to move the cartons safely through the system. The distance between each carrier is freely adjustable. “Primarily, the Sigpack TTM was designed for chocolate bars, but it‘s also suitable for other products“, says Leopold Engel, product manager for secondary packaging.
Quality Management by TPM (Total Productive Maintenance)
To develop the machine, Bosch Packaging Systems co-operated closely with well-known confectionery companies. The findings of Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), a program used by companies around the world, had a major influence on the new design. The method helps manufacturers analyse production processes, pinpoint problems and improve the utilisation of production resources. Thereby performance (Overall Equipment Effectiveness, OEE) can be increased.
Since companies started checking their production processes using TPM guidelines, is has increasingly been recognized that performance losses due to machines running at less than ideal speeds and quality losses because of product damages are low when using highly developed machines. The biggest costs are generated by availability losses because machines have to be maintained, cleaned, or must be changed over. According to a study of the German Engineering Federation (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau, VDMA), cleaning and change-over processes result in a 41 percent decline in OEE on average, whereas product damages only cause a three percent decline. This shows that faster change-overs would lead to a significant OEE increase.
The study‘s findings had a major impact on the development of the Sigpack TTM. Easy access, high process visibility, intuitive operator guidance, and tool-less change-over all lead to fewer operator mistakes. Change-overs take less than five minutes.
Adaptation of the hygiene concept for the meat industry
The new design also facilitates easier cleaning of the Sigpack TTM. The platform adopts the hygienic design concept Bosch Packaging Systems developed for the frozen food and meat industries. The clear layout makes important parts easily visible and reachable. Because of sloped, smooth surfaces, products fall immediately to the ground where they can be quickly removed. Where possible, nuts and bolts were avoided.
At Interpack 2011, Bosch Packaging System presented the Sigpack TTM as a part of a new chocolate bar packaging line designed as a single, seamless system based on a continuous operator philosophy. Visitors were particularly impressed by the machine‘s flexibility and quick change-over rates. An international food and nutrition company bought the first platform for use in Asia.
With the Sigpack TTM, Bosch Packaging Systems offers a machine that combines flexibility, easy handling and high hygienic standards.
Product Manager Secondary Packaging
Tel: +41 (0) 58 674 6877