Speaking to Andreas Schildknecht, global product manager, horizontal packaging, Bosch Packaging Technology, at Interpack in Düsseldorf, Germany, (May 4-10) he said despite the popularity of portion biscuit packages, many manufacturers find it difficult to adjust their production lines.
Plastic trays & end-fold wrapping
“Some assume the cost of automation for smaller packs and higher speeds will be high, while others are set in their ways having used plastic trays or end-fold wrapping for some time,” he added.
According to Euromonitor ‘Global Packaging Trends-Global Growth Markets for Packaging’ biscuits are the second largest and the second fastest growing category in flexible plastics.
Schildknecht said flow wrapping offers high flexibility in terms of portion size (from one biscuit per pack to 20 and more), pack styles (pile or slug), fast changeovers and high production speeds.
“Consumers increasingly favor smaller packs. People in developed countries enjoy portion packs for their convenience, snacking on-the-go or protecting treats for later, while consumers in developing markets benefit from smaller pack sizes that are more affordable,” he added.
“For biscuit manufacturers taking their first steps into automation or testing new products and markets, fully automated systems might be too high a barrier for entry. They should consider scalable systems starting from hand-fed wrappers, manual cartoning or case packing.
“The machine can fill a range of pack styles depending on the final application. For example, round and square cups with trays, seals with pre-die cut foils or roll stock film. All other elements can be automated at a later stage.”
At Interpack 2017, Schildknecht explained how conventional, on-edge biscuit handling limits the number of biscuits in a stack to the number of extraction magazines or a multiply of it but intelligent technologies allow for formatflexibility.
He said a key feature on a packaging system is technologies that offer automated lane balancing. The number of biscuits extracted out of one magazine can be dynamically varied by extracting missing biscuits from one of the other lanes to make a complete stack.
Manufacturers can now equip their production with fewer lanes and balance product extraction for increased uptime.
He said with fragile crackers and cookies, it is important to review packaging equipment that may cause breakage, crumbs or waste.
“Manufacturers should consider flat handling for sandwich cookies or biscuits with toppings or irregular shapes, whereas other products can be processed on edge with vibratory distribution,” he added.
“Until recently only flat handling offered gentle processes, but now modern magazine feeders offer comparable levels of low impact and product guidance.
“Secondary packaging is a perfect fit for multi-packs or display-cartons. Endload cartoning works for smaller counts of three to eight units per carton while Topload cartoning can be used for a high variety of product configuration and higher counts.”