Headquartered in Freyburg at the Unstrut in Saxony-Anhalt, the Rotkäppchen-Mumm Sektkellereien GmbH winery has a 50 percent market share of bottled sparkling wine in Germany. The company has about 550 employees at five different locations in Saxona-Anhalt, Thuringia, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg.

Production Manager Karl-Josef Lauzi describes the Hesse operation: “In Eltville on the Rhine near Mainz, we have a very traditional location.” Lauzi is responsible for the Rotkäppchen-Mumm production operation. “The well-known sparkling wine brands are Mumm, MM Extra and Jules Mumm, all of which are produced at this location.”

Prior to implementing new wrapping technology, the upper surfaces of the cardboard boxes were glued and transported to a binding machine, where the palletized beverage cartons were tied up to stabilize the pallets during truck shipments. Now, the various beverages are filled automatically, corked, agraffed (the process of wiring down the cork) and labeled. Next, they are packed into cardboard cartons that are picked up by a palletizer and stacked onto pallets that proceed to the warehouse, awaiting shipping via trucks. Every year, approximately 300,000 pallets leave this location.

In the past, frequent hard braking, sudden steering moves and sharp curves during transport loosened the cartons from the pallet, and they fell onto customers’ loading spaces. The result was broken bottles and lost product. “Many of our customers rely on automatic loading and unloading systems for a faster material flow in their central warehouses which require product to be sufficiently secured and protected,” says Lauzi.

To reduce damage during transport and meet increased logistics requirements, Sektkellereien searched for a way to ensure safer, more stable beverage stacks on its pallets. At the beginning of 2012, it contacted BEUMER Maschinenfabrik GmbH in Beckum for a solution.

In the testing facility, the BEUMER stretch hood M high-capacity packaging system was shown. After testing, the benefits of the stretch hood became clear, and both shrink and stretch wrapping techniques were eliminated as packaging options.

The BEUMER high-capacity packaging system pulls a 40 micrometer (1.6 mils), thin-film hood over the palletized beverage cartons. The cartons are protected against damage during transport and reach the customer in perfect order. Moreover, two different pallet sizes can be packaged with this multi-format system.

A conveyor feeds the palletized beverage cartons into the packaging system. Control technology automatically recognizes different stacking heights and adapts itself accordingly. An ultrasonic sensor determines the required film length, which is then cut and sealed along the cut edge. This forms a hood that is stretched, pulled over the stack and down underneath the pallet base, ensuring more base reinforcement. The stretch hood system acts on the high contracting forces of the film to fit the entire stack snugly and provide the required stability. A conveying system then guides the hooded pallet to the shipping area.

This process protects goods from the environment, while the palletized products are clearly visible due to the smooth surface of the transparent, highly flexible film. The system handles up to 100 pallet loads per hour and has been successfully running since August 2013.

For more information: Anthony Branch, 732-893-2874, at.br@beumergroup.com, www.beumergroup.com.