A robot to pick, pack and load

Traditional AUSPACK exhibitor, Selpak Automation is Schubert’s distributor of packaging and processing equipment in Australia and NZ.

For Selpak Germany’s principle, Gerhard Schubert, pioneering the use of robotics in packaging has been an ongoing process.

Currently, he is expanding the use of packaging machines by developing a unique solution for end of line packaging in the beverage industry, which offers real flexibility.

“As demand grows for ever more flexible packaging machines, robot technology enjoys increased use in packaging applications,” Schubert explained.

“There is clear evidence to show that flexibility in packaging equipment is created by cutting back the number of mechanisms, shifting functions increasingly to the machine software, and consistently assigning product-specific operations to be performed by exchangeable tools

This concept is the basis for the design of the Schubert TLM packaging machines which have taken the market by storm since 2002, being used across a range of industries, including food, confectionery, healthcare, beverage, and pet food.

“Essentially any product which needs to be picked and loaded, can best be handled on Schubert equipment,” he said.

“Whether this involves case erecting, forming or denesting, loading into case or trays or other machines – such as flow wrappers or thermoformers – and closing, the key lies in successfully handling the product, and the flexibility with which it’s able to do this.”

Gerhard Schubert started his career as an apprentice for a company now known as Bosch. After finishing his training as a young adult, he had a vision of creating mechanical packaging machines.

“The first machine I built was a case erector almost 44 years ago,” he recalled.

Selpak has represented Schubert in NZ and Australia for almost 25 years. Schubert’s intention is to continue the company’s growth.

“I want Selpak to be best known for its excellence in every aspect of its business,” he said.

“Selpak hopes to attract and make new contacts at this year’s AUSPACK, however we also endeavour to exhibit cutting edge technology, which is relatively new to this part of the world. At AUSPACK 2009, Selpak will feature Schubert’s robotic packaging machine for the <[lb]>beverage industry, with a dedicated stand.”

This solution can handle both cans and bottles of different diameters at speeds of up to 1,000 parts per minute. Change-overs between the various formats are rapid and repeatable.

According to Schubert, “the key benefit of this system is its flexibility, without compromising efficiency or the final result. Essentially the machine is able to pack bottles into a range of different configurations on the same machine. In the past this was only possible using multiple machines, which took up large amounts of space.”

The machines applications include bottles or cans into sleeves or baskets, sleeves into shipper or trays, and individual bottles or cans into shippers, trays or crates.

“While the environment has been sidelined in the national debate for the time being, due to the current financial crisis, it remains as the driver for more innovative ways to reduce the layers of packaging and its impact on the environment,” he said.

“Our new flexible packaging technology also aims to decrease unit cost, bringing not only increased margins for manufacturers, but also benefits for the consumer.”

AUSPACK will be held at the Sydney Showgrounds, Sydney Olympic Park, from Tuesday 16 to Friday 19 June, 2009.

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