High-end film winder prevents production stops: with up to 136 pallets per hour and low power consumption, smooth filling of beverages is ensured
With a daily throughput of approximately 5 million bottles, the conveyors at the Vitaqua GmbH bottling plant in Breuna near Kassel, Germany, almost never stand still. The company, which belongs to Brandenburger Urstromquelle GmbH & Co KG, requires high-performance packaging machines for this purpose, which wrap the beverages stacked in trays and on pallets with film without interruption, thus making them ready for transport. Robopac Germany has many years of expertise in this segment. The high-performance Genesis Thunder film wrapper, specially designed for the beverage industry, achieves an average throughput of 120 pallets per hour thanks to weight-reduced rotating parts and a balanced ring system. At the same time, the machine also offers a high degree of operating convenience thanks to technical documentation that can be viewed at any time on the device display, as well as a particularly clear menu navigation. The dismantling of the old system and the installation of the new one was successfully completed within one week in July 2020. Since then, the packaging machine has been operating almost continuously and consumes up to 40 per cent less energy than the predecessor model.
"Our customers include above all the large discounters, who often place large orders at short notice, which means that we are always under high production pressure to be able to provide the required quantities," says Michael Mutschmann, head of electrical engineering at Vitaqua GmbH in Breuna, Hessen. "It's therefore essential that not only very machine does work perfectly while filling the beverages without any interruptions, but also during the subsequent palletising and packaging process". At the Vitaqua bottling plant, both mineral water and soft drinks are filled in bottles of 0.5 to 1.5 litres in volume, which are then bundled into six-packs and trays, loaded onto pallets and wrapped in film. The throughput of all seven bottling lines together reaches a daily value of more than 5 million bottles, so that every interruption, no matter how small, causes a considerable logistical and thus also financial loss if this quota cannot be met. "In day-to-day business, it is important that the packaging stations keep up with the speed of the filling lines," reports Mutschmann. "Even minor disruptions force us to reduce throughput or even interrupt filling for a certain period of time". To avoid this, high-performance packaging systems are used, such as the Genesis Thunder from Robopac.
Genesis Thunder specially developed for the beverage industry
"A key factor for us in selecting a suitable fully automatic film wrapper was the required throughput capacity, which averages around 120 pallets per hour," says Andreas Wittig, Sales Project Manager at Robopac Germany. "At the same time, we wanted a model that was more economical in terms of energy and film usage, and also easy to operate and monitor". As a result, those involved at Vitaqua and Robopac opted for the high-end Genesis Thunder film winder, which was specially developed for the beverage industry and thus works particularly efficiently in terms of performance when packaging beverage containers in such large numbers. The installation of the new machine took place during ongoing operation, which required partial deconstruction of the existing overhead conveyor and took about a week.
The construction of the Genesis Thunder consists of two sturdy steel columns, which are connected at the top and support the aluminium ring with the rotating film guide via a cross strut, over which the pack is finally packed. During development a main focus was to ensure that the vertical movement runs parallel to the horizontal circular movement of the guide along the ring, which is accelerated to the maximum and at the same time harmonised by a counterweight system. "As a result, a peak output of up to 136 pallets per hour can now be achieved on this filling line without risking inaccuracies when unwinding the film and thus incorrectly packed packs," explains Wittig. "At the same time, the high-quality components with minimal sliding contacts ensure that there are fewer maintenance operations, which significantly increases the availability of the line and ensures a high output".
Energy savings - up to 40 percent
A further advantage of the balanced ring system in monoblock design is lower energy consumption, which is up to 40 percent below the consumption of the previous model. "Thanks to a servo-driven pre-stretch unit without slip ring, power is transmitted via a belt," says Wittig. "This results in a significant reduction in the weight of the rotating parts and thus also in a reduction in torques and moments of downtime. Energy can be saved here because the moving parts have to be braked less strongly". At the same time, the patented CUBE technology of the Robopac brand ensures that the consumption of film also remains low. Precise positioning of the film layers ensures that less material is needed from the outset to ensure stable packaging. The pre-stretching system ensures a variable pre-stretching and stretching force, which further improves the ratio of film quantity to stability.
Intuitive user interface and easy monitoring
"What was also very important to us, in addition to the high output, is the simple handling of the packaging system," says Mutschmann. "The employee in charge should be able to quickly change settings or view the operating data without much effort". For this purpose, the Genesis Thunder is equipped with a large display on the control unit, which shows a clearly structured menu. All important functions such as the setting of the pre-stretch and stretch force can be operated intuitively via 3D touch symbols. In addition, the technical documentation of the system can be viewed there at any time. Last but not least, the Genesis Thunder is designed according to the principle of hygienic design, i.e. without dead spaces and with easy-to-clean components such as screw and cable connections. As a result, practically no contamination of the bottles and packs is possible in the end result. "All in all, we are very satisfied with the fully automatic stretch wrapper from Robopac so far," concludes Mutschmann. "The easy handling and the performance of the line meet our requirements and thus guarantee a safe production operation.
As a result, the Vitaqua and Robopac participants decided in favour of the high-end Genesis Thunder film winder, which was specially developed for the beverage industry and thus works particularly efficiently in terms of performance when packaging beverage containers in such large numbers.
The dismantling of the old system on site of Breuna and the installation of the new model was successfully completed within one week in July 2020.
During development a main focus was to ensure that the vertical movement runs parallel to the horizontal circular movement of the guide along the ring, which is accelerated to the maximum and at the same time harmonised by a counterweight system.
The assembly of the Genesis Thunder in Breuna was carried out during ongoing production.