Sölen, a leading Turkish confectionery manufacturer, is one of the first Schubert customers who has opted for the Flowmodul, which was introduced last year. High flexibility and the variety of possible packaging formats rank among the most important customer benefits offered by Schubert’s new flow-wrapping application. 

Additionally, Sölen is capitalizing on a future-proof investment, since further formats can be processed very easily during the coming years with just a few simple adjustments.

Aside from its long-time leading brands such as Ozmo, Luppo, Criss Cross and Biscolata, the company produces more than 200 different types of confectionery items. Since its formation in 1989, this family venture has become one of the great exporters of chocolate and chocolate-based products in Turkey. 

In 2013, Sölen broke the $200-million annual sales barrier. Today, its products are exported to more than 100 countries. One of its latest innovations, the Ozmo Cornet, a chocolate-filled miniature waffle cone that debuted at the end of 2016, has been turning heads and delighting customers around the world since then.

Its uniqueness, coupled with the company’s demands for pack-sized flexibility, proved to be a perfect fit for the Flowmodul concept. 

Over the last five years, Sölen has ordered 24 packaging machines from Crailsheim, Germany, where Schubert’s headquarters and manufacturing complex are based. The most recent order from Turkey was for 16 new TLM machines – including six lines with Flowmoduls. One of these new machines packages the Ozmo Cornet in the multipack format in flow-wrap bags. The Flowmodul packs a plastic tray with four or six horizontally positioned products.

Seamlessly packaged in flow-wrap bags

Sölen’s specification for Schubert’s developers was very clear: the TLM machine should package the sweets using different packs and packaging materials. With this in mind, the line can final pack the trays in flow-wrap bags as well as in cartons. “Since the product line can be automatically adjusted, format changes are quickly and easily implemented,” says Erdogan Coban, a member of the Sölen Executive Committee. For the Ozmo Cornet line, a maximum of two machine operators are needed for packaging 250 confectionery bags per minute. For trays with six products, for example, this results in a machine output of 41.7 trays per minute.

“The greatest advantage of Schubert machines is that all packaging processes can be centrally controlled – this also applies to the new Flowmodul,” he explains. “This is seamlessly integrated mechanically and at the control level into the Schubert machine. The integration of flow-wrapping bag units from third party suppliers can be complicated and leads to some impairment of overall efficiency.” 

In addition to packaging the Ozmo Cornet, Sölen is also taking advantage of the possibilities offered by the Flowmodul for the flow-wrap packaging of its Luppo chocolate bar. Thanks to seamless integration within the TLM machine, the entire system is compact and therefore space-saving.

A flexible total concept

The products arrive at the TLM machine’s first station in a multi-row formation and standing on a conveyor system. There, two rows are taken from the first F2 robot and placed in the Transmodul’s format plate. If a product is missing in a row, the F4 robot takes an Ozmo Cornet from a side table and fills the gap on the Transmodul.

As part of the quality control process, the F2 robots that take the products from the moving chain conveyor have a sensor system to check for the presence of lids. This ensures that only products with undamaged individual wrapping are placed on the four-way or six-way trays. This unit is completed with a Transmodul, which transfers the confectionery to the packaging. 

There is a parallel Transmodul section for new packaging materials. A magazine holds the packaging carton blanks and the trays for holding the confectionery cornets in the carton. In all, the new installation can handle five different final packaging formats for the loaded trays. This enables the packaging of trays with four or six Ozmo Cornets in flow-wrap bags. Alternatively, the products can also be packaged on the machine in two different formations of 12 and one formation with 24 products.

Streamlined for growth

Over their many years of close cooperation, Sölen and Schubert have become true partners. 

“We rely on our business relationship with Schubert; above all, we appreciate their exceptional reliability,” Coban says. “Our partner, Schubert, always provides us with the best possible solution on time and to our exact requirements.”

The close connection between the companies is ultimately due to their similar structures. Both Sölen and Schubert are family-owned businesses. 

And both have achieved a meteoric development over a few decades. Today, Sölen employs nearly 1,700 employees at two sites, in Istanbul and in Gaziantep, Southern Anatolia. 

Every year, it processes just under 300,000 tons of ingredients in its facilities. Sölen stands for disproportionately large growth – 20 per cent per year is the rule of thumb. And by 2020, Sölen expects to break the billion-dollar sales barrier.