How do you produce a large variety of dairy desserts in different cup types on the same machine? SAPY, a copacker for the dairy industry in Martinique, is equipped with a complete multi-product SYNERLINK line to produce a wide variety of items for its customers.
To respond to their customers’ requests, dairy industry co-manufacturers had to perform short production runs that are very diverse in terms of product, cup shape and SKU.
SAPY had a number of needs like this. The SOMES Group (Société Martiniquaise des Eaux de Source) wanted to bring all of its production — previously done on three lines — into a single integrated thermoforming line. It had to package 125 gram yogurt units, 100 gram cream desserts, 60 gram petit suisse and 100 gram flan units. The variety of products and cup shapes required very broad filling expertise, not to mention a multitude of options beyond the line to deliver required sales units.
An efficient, fully integrated line
SYNERLINK accepted the challenge and provided a complete packaging line, from cup thermoforming to palletizing sales units, while integrating multiple other functions, such as an X-ray monitoring device, a labeler, a fruit station and a wrapper.
Everything on this line is designed to improve productivity: fast label height changing, an automatic emptying process that takes less than five minutes, two magazines of overpacking cardboard that allow the operator to prepare production at the same time. The line’s communication helps monitor whether cup type, recipe, packaging mode and overpacking are consistent with the production order. Moreover, the line is equipped with two symmetrical control stations to allow control of the interior of the line.
A very versatile multiproduct FFS
The packaging machine is made up of an ARCIL FFS, which thermoforms, fills and seals five different cup formats with two label height options and a capacity of 21,600 cups an hour. The thermoformer is equipped with three specific fillers, as well as a flavor filler and a fruit station to allow multiple recipes: a blended fruit yogurt filler and FOB (fruit on the bottom) with a fruit station, a white mass filler, a timed caramel filler for flan and a flavor filler for yogurt.
An innovative end-of-line — efficient and flexible
The line continues with a robotic wrapping machine that is ergonomic and flexible to use. For example, packs of cups can be overpackaged or not. Moreover, each type of package has its own cardboard format. The label height and format can be changed in a few minutes, as can automatic emptying, to respond to the specifics of this line. The line does some very short production runs — about 30 minutes to an hour, while maintaining very good technical output. Today, the bulk production yield (packs that are not overpackaged) is about 98% and is above 89% for production of overpackaged packs.
A compact, ergonomic box former also exists for the overpacking process — the boxes are loaded horizontally and at the operator’s height. The glue is placed at a single point, which secures the wrapping machine and the box former at the same time.
To make production even more flexible, Synerlink has developed programming for robotic packaging to mix single-fruit packs and deliver SKUs with a mixture of flavors, in keeping with the customer’s request.
A palletization system ends the packaging process on the line.
All this occupies a small footprint (23 m long by 17 m wide).
This technologically very complete project showcases the competence of SYNERLINK teams in designing and orchestrating complex, innovative packaging projects.
But let’s hear what Jérémy Holin, industrial director at Sapy, has to say about the project’s realization:
“The line designed and implemented with Synerlink allowed us to overcome two major challenges: On the one hand, we have achieved a level of excellence in food safety while meeting all our franchiser’s requirements. On the other hand, we have improved our industrial capability by improving productivity (labor and packaging loss). The support from Synerlink’s technical team allowed us to rapidly identify points for improvement during startup and introduce suitable solutions for sustainable performance.”
It’s in SYNERLINK’s DNA to support and assist its customers, so they achieve better performance and flexibility in responding to market changes.