Company: Bosch Packaging Technology


Equipment Snapshot: At PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2017, Bosch Packaging Technology will launch its flexible Biscuit on Pile packaging system for plain, sweet and savory biscuits in North America. The system consists of a vibratory infeed, a new, innovative magazine feeder, a new horizontal flow wrapper as well as a new integrated topload cartoner. “Bosch’s new Biscuit On Pile packaging system offers innovative features to ensure gentle handling throughout the packaging line that is second to none – from the moment the product is extracted from the magazine, through stacking, collating and up to the sealing of the package,” says Kelly Meer, product manager at Bosch Packaging Technology in New Richmond, U.S.

The Smart Pile Loader (SPL) is a game-changing magazine feeder developed for gentle product handling, full product control and continuous product flow. By significantly reducing the pusher’s speed at the point of extraction and continuously guiding the product, this new solution enables higher production speeds.  

Handling biscuits on conventional magazine feeders limits the number of products per stack to the number of extraction magazines, or a multiple of it. The new SPL feeder enables manufacturers to select the desired stack count via the HMI independently from the number of incoming lanes (lane flexibility) and allows for easy changes to package configurations. “The ability to change the size, shape or number of biscuits in the pack is an important factor for manufacturers”, says Meer. “To support this need, the Bosch SPL feeder is designed for stacking 2 to 7 products and grouping 1 to 4 stacks to create multiple package configurations ranging from 1 to 28 biscuits per package.”

Additionally, due to its ability to automatically and dynamically extract a variable number of cookies from each magazine, the SPL feeder compensates when the product supply from the oven to the packaging system varies. By extracting missing cookies from one of the other lanes to build a complete stack, this feature also supports automatic lane balancing. As a result, manufacturers can now equip their production with fewer lanes, and automatically balance those lanes for increased uptime. In order to accommodate for inconsistencies in product thickness resulting from the baking process, the stacking mechanism can be adjusted via the HMI. This can be accomplished during production without stopping the system, resulting in higher Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

In the next step, the collated stacks are transferred to the Pack 403 horizontal flow wrapper, the next generation of the Pack 401, which has been significantly upgraded to redefine the user experience. To simplify daily operation, all film rollers are numbered sequentially to make film threading more intuitive. Clear instructions for preparing splices are shown on the splicing table to increase success. The Pack 403 is also available with an innovative feature to precisely measure and control film tension, resulting in fewer jams and consistent package appearance during production speed changes and during machine starts and stops. For clearing jams and cleaning the crimpers, the Pack 403 features a manual hand wheel to rotate the cutting head, allowing easier service and maintenance while avoiding contact with the hot sealing surfaces. Other usability features include a new film former which is significantly smaller and lighter while being completely tool-less, greatly reducing changeover time and improving the ergonomics.

To enhance seal integrity and package appearance, the crimper set-up on the Pack 403 horizontal flow wrapper has been refined to simplify the process of alignment and pressure adjustment for greater repeatability and accuracy. This was achieved by implementing repeatable locking mechanisms for the finer pitch gap adjustment on the cross sealing station and easy-to-read pressure gauges on the fin seal units. Thanks to the wrapper’s improved sealing technology, the packs of cookies are reliably sealed and protected from moisture, increasing shelf life.

Both the SPL and the Pack 403 offer tool-less changeovers for most of the tasks or HMI based adjustments for different products and package configurations. Each adjustment point has an easy-to-read scale, is clearly numbered and documented in the HMI. This provides simple and repeatable product changeovers, which makes the machine and the HMI perfectly aligned for a user-centered experience.

The new cookie and cracker packaging system is equipped with Bosch’s new HMI 4.0 touchscreen which offers users an enhanced experience, guiding the operator through each step of the production process. With clearly structured menus, operators are immediately aware of the machine status and receive step-by-step instructions for everyday operations using pictures and videos. These instructions help to minimize training for both new and experienced employees to ensure effective operations. The ability to optimize production schedules for greater efficiency leads to a faster return on investment (ROI) and lowers overall total cost of ownership (TCO). As a gateway to Industry 4.0, the new HMI supports connectivity to Bosch’s Industry 4.0 solutions.