Manufacturers, packaging companies, retailers, government authorities and consumers... we all struggle to meet the challenges of sustainability. Things need to improve – that much is clear. But how? We set out to find answers in the ‘jungle of sustainability’. In the first part of this series, we talk to Chris Bruijnes, managing director of the Kennisinstituut Duurzaam Verpakken (Research Institute for Sustainable Packaging), who advocates an integrated approach above all.
Centre bottle line: flexibility, capacity and quality
Improved capacity – and above all flexible capacity – is the biggest advantage of our new centre bottle line. This new production line combines two operations for a single client: filling both bottles and cardboard boxes with chocolates. Engineer Noud van der Linden explains it all.
“One of our clients, a major chocolate manufacturer based in Veghel, the Netherlands, is expecting a nice increase in sales of bottles and boxes, both of which are filled with chocolates. They were looking for a partner who could guarantee the additional packaging capacity they required.
“Needless to say, we were eager to be that partner, but the problem was that our current line could not handle the expected capacity. In fact, we were already running evening and night shifts just to remain able to meet the demand. So we knew it was time to further develop and upgrade our packaging line.”
“The new centre bottle line consists of three sub-lines positioned beside each other: the current bottle line, a new bottle line for the bottles and a new centrepiece line for filling boxes. We can use these last two lines on a flexible basis. This means we can switch to bottles when we’re not doing boxes, and vice versa. This enables us to match supply with demand.”
“With the new cartooning line we have doubles the output. The capacity for filling the bottles has now also doubled: from one line to two. This means we’re fully prepared for the increase in capacity our client is expecting.”
How it all works...
“We supply the three lines through two counting groups, which assemble the same mix of sweets every time using a set of elevators, some of which are new as well. We’ve got a total of six robots filling, checking, capping and labelling the bottles on the two bottle lines. They end up in the final stage of the packaging process, where we put them in outers or displays.”
“A similar process is used for the boxes: bottom pushers take them to the filling station in pairs, where they are filled and covered. They are then taken to the transfer station, where they are glued, closed and printed. Next, it’s off to the check weigher, followed by the packaging station, after which they are ready for shipment.”
Engineer Noud van der Linden: "The counters are equipped with servo-operated cylinders. We have much greater control over the process now, have reduced the probability of error and also improved energy-efficiency. The entire production line is a clean, compact and user-friendly packaging system!”
“The counters are equipped with servo-operated cylinders, as an alternative to air cylinders. We have much greater control over the process now, have reduced the probability of error and also improved energy-efficiency. The entire production line is a clean, compact and user-friendly packaging system where people can work safely alongside machines.”
“We developed and manufactured this new line mostly in-house, which means it incorporates a lot of expertise and knowhow which is not available anywhere else in the market. Sure, we’re proud of this accomplishment, as these types of new technologies really put us ahead of the curve in our industry. We produce things that our competitors in the market haven’t even developed yet.”
“This solution meets our client’s demand for more capacity, while at the same time we are flexible in terms of the types of packaging we can use. We also work more efficiently now and can deliver more consistent quality. If the growth continues, we can always move relatively easily to a split-off of two separate lines.”
“An added benefit is that we have eliminated the need for night shifts, and we can even use our evening shifts for other types of operations. This means we pack more efficiently now, and also avoid additional expenses, while our client can continue to count on the quality they have come to expect from us.”
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Navigating the ‘jungle of sustainability’ - Part 1: Chris Bruijnes, KIDV (Dutch Research Institute for Sustainable Packaging)
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