Manufacturers of traditional confectionery products count on the best handcrafted quality. They also have to ensure high production volumes. This presents the packaging processes in the factories with challenges time and again. Asolo Dolce, a long-established Italian company, turned to Schubert for its new packaging line. The robot-assisted TLM line from Crailsheim packs Cantuccini and Amaretti quickly and flexibly. The crunchy, crispy biscuits are protected by bag-in-box packaging, which was designed by the Schubert Packaging Development team.
The bag-in-box concept is quite popular. And it’s no wonder. The packaging which combines flowpacks with cartons offers numerous advantages. In addition to the variable packaging sizes, the cartons convey a high quality and sustainability, while elegantly showcasing the products inside. And, depending on the material selected, the flowpack also ensures maximum product protection.
A breath of fresh air in the packaging process at the long-established biscuit manufacturer
Asolo Dolce also wanted to capitalise on these advantages for its Cantuccini. The traditional manufacturer from northern Italy has been producing the double-baked biscuits for many years, as well as Amaretti and other confectionery products. And Asolo Dolce has long favoured flowpacks for its packaging. After all, baked goods depend on a reliable protective barrier to stay fresh and crunchy for a long time. Until recently, however, the treats were packaged in pre-glued cartons – an expensive and labour-intensive process that Asolo Dolce wanted to optimise due to increasing demand. The owner-managed company turned to Schubert for the efficient modernisation of its packaging and process. This packaging combination can be processed extremely efficiently and flexibly by the modular robot-assisted TLM systems. Asolo Dolce was especially interested in easy format changes that require little effort on the part of the operating staff. To meet these requirements, Schubert designed a new packaging machine that could pack the pre-filled flowpacks of various sizes into optimized cartons. The previous pre-glued packaging was replaced by a less expensive and machine-compatible version in the form of flat blanks.
More efficiency thanks to optimized cartons
The Cantuccini are sliced into small pieces after the first baking of the raw dough, and are then baked a second time. What consumers enjoy, however, presents a challenge for automated handling as part of the packaging process. This is because the irregular shape of the biscuits gives each filled bag its own geometry. “We redeveloped the design of the previously cost-intensive pre-glued cartons from scratch,” explains Valentin Köhler, head of packaging development at Schubert. His team designed two carton formats as flat blanks and with two different heights in order to fill the cartons flexibly with bags weighing 150, 200 or 250 grams—all on a single machine.
To save Asolo Dolce time and money over the long term, the Schubert machine experts working with Area Sales Manager Dirk Andrich opted for the top-loading process. Although bag-in-box solutions traditionally use side-loading, i.e. filling via a narrow opening on the side, the advantages of top-loading, which is possible today, are evident: With the Schubert solution, the cartons are filled robotically via the largest possible opening. This means that the system not only works more quickly, but also more flexibly and reliably, because the robots responsible for the filling process can act independently of the height of the cartons.
Transport robots seamlessly connect all packaging steps
The new packaging machine is responsible for automatic bag grouping, erecting and gluing the flat blanks, filling the cartons with Cantuccini flowpacks and then closing the filled cartons. The full output of 75 cartons per minute is always guaranteed, regardless of the format. “During the final approval process conducted under production conditions, we demonstrated an efficiency level of at least 98 percent,” confirms Andrich. One of the technical highlights of the modern line is the Transmodul. The transport robot—an in-house Schubert development—seamlessly links the individual steps in the machine’s packaging process. “Our machine erects the flat blanks and places them onto the Transmodul, which brings the prepared cartons to the filling station. As soon as the grouped bags with the biscuits and the cartons are aligned, the robot places the flowpacks into the packages. The Transmodul then moves the cartons to the closing station,” says Andrich, explaining the process.
Maximum efficiency – both today and in the future
In the event of a format changeover, only the magazine plate for the carton blanks needs to be changed, as the packaging machine’s filling tool is equipped with specially adapted suction cups. It automatically adjusts to the new pouch format via a spreading motion. This makes the changeover very quick and easy for the machine operator—and production can proceed quickly. In order to integrate the more efficient packaging of the Cantuccini into the entire production process, the Schubert experts also took into account a uniform logistics concept that extends all the way through to the pallet.
Thanks to its increased efficiency, cost savings, reliability and ease of use, the Schubert solution has resulted in a high level of satisfaction at Asolo Dolce. And in the future, further formats will be possible with the new packaging machine as well. “Like Schubert, we are a family business with a long tradition,” says CEO and Company Founder Sergio Gallina. “As a family, we value partners who can be counted on. With Schubert, we have had a machine designer and partner for more than 25 years who impresses us again this time.”
Facts & figures
- 3 formats: 150 grams, 200 grams, 250 grams
- 75 cartons per minute
- Machine in 24-hour operation
- Transmodul in use
- Efficiency of 98 percent
- Packaging developed by Schubert
A family tradition of sweet temptations in many variations
Asolo Dolce is a family business based in the municipality of Asolo in the Italian province of Treviso. The company has been producing Cantuccini, among other sweet delicacies, for over 40 years. In order to guarantee the highest level of indulgence, Asolo Dolce pays attention not only to the best ingredients, but also to the sensory quality of the goods—such as the unique crunch of the traditionally twice-baked Cantuccini. The Sfogliatine from Asolo are also very popular – the puff pastry varieties traditionally prepared with a sugar crust, with fruit filling and chocolate icing. Filled Strudelini, Amarettini and other biscuit varieties round off the selection.
About Gerhard Schubert GmbH:
Gerhard Schubert GmbH is a globally recognized market leader in top-loading packaging machines (TLM). For its digital, robot-based packaging machines, the family-owned company based in Crailsheim (Baden-Württemberg, Germany) builds on an interplay of simple mechanics, intelligent control technology and high modularity. With this philosophy and a highly developed culture of innovation, the company has been pursuing an entirely independent technological path for more than 50 years.
With its TLM technology, the machine manufacturer provides its customers with future-proof packaging machine solutions that are easy to operate, flexible in terms of format conversion, high-performance and stable in function. The TLM packaging machines pack products of all types and from all sectors—from food, confectionery, beverages, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics to technical products—into trays, cartons, boxes or into flow-wrap bags.
Well-known brands such as Ferrero, Nestlé, Unilever, Mondelez and Roche rely on Schubert’s automation solutions, as do numerous small, medium-sized and family-owned companies. Founded in 1966, the second generation of the company now employs 1,400 people.