Packaging automation

From assembly to production in just three days

Since the end of 2018, the paskha, quark, rice porridge and mashed root-vegetable products of Lieksan Laatuherkut have been packed using Österbergs’ new W50 wraparound packaging machine. A project that lasted a good year proceeded smoothly from the get-go, and its finale was equally swift: the assembly and testing of the new packaging machine only took three days in total.

Finnish Lieksan Laatuherkut company provides traditional specialty foods of high-quality to professional and institutional kitchens and food industry. The company’s best seasons are Easter and Christmas when Finns prefer to eat paskha, rice pouridge and casseroles made of mashed root vegetables. The demand for quark, flavoured butter, curdled milk and processed cheese is more stable throughout the year.

Managing director Teijo Lyytinen says the company has been a customer of Stora Enso for decades. The products of Lieksan Laatuherkut are shipped from the region of North Carelia around Finland in sales and transport packages made by Stora Enso. In terms of machine deliveries, the companies’ cooperation is more recent.

“We brainstormed the new production line together for about a year. The final decision was made when I visited the Österbergs factory in Sweden with Petri Aalto and learned about the various possibilities it offers,” Lyytinen says.

New technology

Head of the Stora Enso packaging automation team Petri Aalto says the co-design of the Lieksan Laatuherkut production line required plenty of brainwork.

“The space for the wraparound packaging machine was rather small and narrow. Extra space and passageway was needed around the machine to move the materials. The complete production line, including the conveyor system, tray line, checkweighers, x-ray, and tray stacker, was custom designed according to Lieksan Laatuherkut’s needs from scratch. The design focused on the usability and future requirements of the production line, including a palletizing unit, which will be implemented in the next phase of the project.”

Teijo Lyytinen says he is very happy with both the machine project and the technological reforms brought on by the new machine.

“Many things that used to be adjusted manually are now automatic in the new machine. The digital timers guarantee quick and correct settings for the changing products.”

Undeniable savings

Teijo Lyytinen says product lead times and packing system reliability have significantly improved since the new machine was put to use.

“Thanks to the machine’s reliability, we were able to transfer the operator to a more effective production role. According to our calculations, we have saved a pretty penny in reduced material and transport costs, too.”

Petri Aalto says the Österbergs W50 represents the Formula One class in wraparound packaging machines.

“Connected online, the machine collects the OEE and actuator data into a report to support production and predictive maintenance. It can be applied to numerous different food products and also the non-food sector. W50’s default configuration includes five categorizations, and more can be customized when need be. In terms of production capacity, the machine is so flexible and efficient that it meets most of the packaging industry’s needs.”

The Stora Enso packaging automation team is in charge of the integration design, deliveries, kick-offs, test runs, user training, material compatibility, and functionality of all the represented machines.

“Our tech support is there for the customer also after the machine has been delivered and when the production is running. We provide the most comprehensive secondary-packaging total service in Finland including high-quality products,” Petri Aalto says.