At Liba Bröd, baking starts with the push of a button. The ingredients are mixed into a dough, the dough is hoisted up into a funnel, and is then dosed out in portions on a conveyor belt. Once in the oven, the flatbreads are baked in just a few seconds. After this the bread is allowed to cool, and then stacked and packed into bags. It is a well-oiled – and deliciously fragrant – process. While all this takes place automatically, staff have previously had to fold the corrugated board trays manually before the bread is packed and shipped off.
The popular bread is baked outside of Gothenburg, south-west Sweden, and the company is growing steadily. Today its products are also sent abroad to Finland, Norway, Denmark and France. But of course, the combination of a popular product and increased growth means more product to ship out. And more product means more trays to fold. During 2019, the factory folded and packed about 2,000 corrugated board trays a day.
“Stress levels certainly increased when we had to fold that many trays manually. We barely had time to do it all. We also felt it could become a health and safety issue, as it puts a lot of strain on the shoulders and arms in the long term,” says Thomas Blomqvist, Production Manager at Liba Bröd.
Corrugated board and automation are close at hand
To protect their employees, Liba Bröd invested in an automated tray former from Stora Enso – a company that also manufactures corrugated packaging in Jönköping and Vikingstad in southern Sweden.
“We think it’s great getting everything from a single supplier: corrugated board, the machine, machine servicing and maintenance,” Thomas explains.
The corrugated board is produced in Sweden, and kept in stock by Stora Enso to ensure it is readily available. Liba Bröd simply orders what they need, and Stora Enso delivers.
“It’s great that Stora Enso keeps the board in stock. Delivery times are short because we have the products nearby, and we avoid the hassle of delayed tray deliveries,” Thomas continues.
One less bottleneck, more cost savings
The machine, known as a tray former, glues and folds the flat sheets that are delivered to the factory. The trays then move along a belt to the operator, who packs the trays with filled bread bags.
“It’s extremely reliable in terms of operation, so we can cope with a higher output than we could before. The machine is part of our production increase, and has meant one less bottleneck in the process,” says Thomas.
But there are other benefits too. The new trays are more cost effective since they use almost 20% less material than the old manual trays, and this also means they take up less space in storage and on pallets. In addition, the reduction in material consumption means that the number of packs per pallet has doubled, from 300 to 600. Less material means fewer natural resources are used for each tray, and transport is also more efficient which is better for the environment.
“The tray former has also reduced stress for our co-workers. It’s nice to know that we could improve the working environment by such simple means. It’s crucial that our personnel feel good in their workplace, don’t suffer from repetitive strain injury, and can do their job without feeling stressed,” Thomas concludes.
Four benefits with a tray former
Ergonomic sheet management. EUR pallet of sheets is placed directly in the machine.
A safer, closed system which makes it easy for operators to work with and handle the machine. The sheets are picked directly from the pallet with servo-powered vacuum arms. Hot melt glue is applied precisely when the sheets reach the folding station.
3. Fast changeovers
The machine has been designed to minimise changeover time. The plunger is quick to replace without tools, and the shaft is adjusted to the new format using hand wheels.
4. More efficient packing
Optimised packaging process. A safe, fast tray former that ensures an efficient supply of trays, with minimal manual handling.
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