Flexible and compact packaging line is keeping the glass bottles safe for a Taiwanese functional drink

A line from Schubert Robotics (Shanghai) has been developed to handle glass bottles containing functional drinks while also ensuring they stay safe, secure and undamaged when shipped.

For the urgently needed expansion of automation in production, Taiwanese company TCI opted for a flexible and compact packaging line from Schubert. This is the first time that a new type of packaging that is designed to be completely breakproof, has been used for these sensitive products.

TCI’s focus was on the highest quality and outstanding process speed of the new automated production line. In addition to the flexibility of the new line, the company also stipulated that the products should be handled very gently so that the refined glass surfaces would not be scratched or otherwise damaged during the packaging process. Additionally, the packaging had to be break-proof for shipping.

The choice finally fell on a highly flexible TLM system that was supplied by Schubert Robotics (Shanghai), the new Schubert site in China.

The functions of the new Schubert line comprise erecting the cartons, inserting plastic trays (below and above the bottles), pre-grouping the bottles, and filling and closing the cartons. The packer does all of this efficiently and in a compact space. Transmoduls can be loaded with a wide variety of different products using individually manufactured format attachments, so that a wide range of different formats can be packed on the same machine.

The system is also characterised by the reliable, sensitive and gentle handling of the fragile glass bottles and the sophisticated packaging by the robots used.

When the products are finally delivered, however, the conditions in Asia can quickly become harsher. TCI therefore paid special attention to the entire area of logistics: Traditionally, cartons in Asia are often transported to the truck in a human chain and so that’s why TCI, together with Schubert, designed special trays that ensure maximum break resistance.

This new Schubert line at TCI currently packs two different bottle sizes (50 ml and 750 ml). These are configured in three different packaging formats with eight, ten or twelve small bottles per packaging unit and one 750 ml bottle per carton. For the 50 ml bottles, the packer achieves an output of 400 units per minute, and for the 750 millilitre bottles, 100 units per minute.

The smaller bottles are grouped upright in special trays and fixed with an upper tray. Together with these trays, the bottles are then securely placed into a carton. A vertical packaging process was originally planned for the large bottles. “However, this simply did not fit in with the planned packaging,” explains Bernd Göhringer, general manager of Schubert Robotics. “That’s how we came up with the idea of packaging the bottles horizontally.” Plastic trays developed by Schubert are also used for these bottles. They consist of two halves and are positioned in the carton from below and above. This effectively protects the fragile glass bottles from damage. Individually manufactured tools and robot technology ensure that the on-trend products are handled gently even during the packaging process to prevent scratches or other damage.

As it was of special importance to TCI that it could easily use the machine to pack other formats and other products in the future, the flexibility of the equipment plays a vital role for the manufacturer, as products have to be packed in a variety of ways for different brands.

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