How a pasta maker has maximized packaging efficiency
Schubert’s TLM technology uses reflected light color scanner to ensure accuracy
For more than three decades, the name Surgital has been synonymous with “surgelata,” or deep-frozen, pasta products. The Italian company, headquartered in Lavezzola in the Emilia-Romagna region, specializes in the production of frozen pasta products and ready meals, shipping its products to more than 50 countries. The company produces 300 pasta varieties daily, with new options being constantly added.
Surgital has been packaging its ravioli products with a Schubert system since 2005. The company is steadily growing and therefore needed a further packaging machine to extend its capacity for its new product range. Its past experience made it an easy decision, as the existing installation has been running successfully for more than 10 years.
“We have been able to automatically pack anything we invented over the last ten years with our Schubert installation,” says Surgital Managing Director Edoardo Bacchini.
In total, the new plant will pack nine ravioli varieties, with different shapes, colors and fillings. There are constraints when it comes to packaging. The filled pasta is very delicate and requires very careful handling. At the same time, the pasta variations need to be sorted correctly and the trays need to be completely filled.
Also, it is important that only undamaged products end up in the trays. Optical image recognition to determine the positioning of the product therefore plays an important role. Schubert uses a reflected light color scanner for this purpose to transmit the corresponding information to the TLM F4 picker arms.
“We value the reliability of our collaboration with Schubert, as well as the quality and flexibility of the machinery,” says Bacchini.
The new Surgital installation by Schubert comprises four sub-machines. From the cooling tunnel, the deep-frozen ravioli enter the first submachine unsorted and without touching each other at approximately -20°C, and are taken over by the infeed conveyor of the Schubert picker line.
The products are guided through sub-machines, which have a total of nine F4 robots. The F4 robots are equipped with suction cups, with which they take the ravioli coming off the belt by air suction and place them carefully into the trays. The empty trays are supplied from a three-track magazine. The three trays are simultaneously removed from the magazine by an F3 transfer robot and placed on a chain conveyor. This in turn guides the trays in the opposite direction to the product flow through the individual stations, where they are filled by TLM F4 robots.
The filled trays are passed to a delivery conveyor from the Schubert machine to the downline sealing unit. Nine different varieties of ravioli are sorted and packed in the corresponding trays. The production output can reach up to 720 ravioli per minute, depending on the variety.
The stainless steel version of the machine ensures fast and thorough cleaning, which plays an immensely important role in the hygienic packaging of food.
Their innovative strength and courage to adopt new ways of working links these two family-owned companies. As developers of visionary products, Surgital’s delicious creations and Schubert’s flexible packaging are the two key factors in the formula for future success.
For more information, visit www.gerhard-schubert.de