Delicato is on an automation journey to improve efficiency and the work environment

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Delicato needed to get away from stressful manual packing at their busiest production line. Introducing packaging automation has helped them streamline the production and given them the ability to scale up. It has also improved the employees’ work environment. And while the automation journey continues, they are also developing the manual packing lines with tailor-made boxes.  

The Swedish company Delicato is a popular producer of pastries. Their products are well known and the demand is high. The products have always been packed manually. But packing manually with increasing demand is stressful. For their most popular product, a chocolate oat treat called Delicatoboll, it was impossible to both keep up the packing speed and a healthy work environment. They needed to streamline the production line and looked for automatic packing machines.

Delicato started off with introducing robotic arms picking the chocolate pastries and placing them into trays. As they bake 200 000 of the Delicatoboll alone in one day, this made a difference for the packing employees. But the stress levels were still too high and the need to increase automation even further was clear. They reached out to several suppliers searching for a machine that would also pack the consumer packages in boxes and on to pallets. They chose a so-called wraparound machine.

“We picked Stora Enso’s solution because it felt problem-free. We went to see one of their machines in action, it worked smoothly and it was easy to overview the process. The more automation you add, the more potential problems there can be. So, we wanted an easy-to-use equipment and that’s what we got”, says Kalle Sundback, Project Engineer at Delicato.


The problem-solving wraparound machine

First, the wraparound machine feeds in a flat sheet of corrugated board. After that, the products come in. The machine then folds, wraps and glues the board around the products, making it into a box that is packed and ready for transport. After the wraparound machine has done its job, a label is added on the box and the ready boxes are automatically packed on pallets before they go out to retailers.

The 200 000 pastries equal 35 000 consumer packages that the machine packs daily.

“Simply put, the wraparound is a problem solver. The machine and the boxes it makes, remove a bottleneck for us. It enables us to keep and increase the flow without our employees risking repetitive strain injury”, says Kalle Sundback.

Tailor-made boxes

Delicato is on an automation journey that began with the robotic arms and continued with the wraparound machine. However, they still pack some products manually. Here, they used to have issues with the hand-raised box.

For example: The retailers wanted a box that is easier to unpack. Delicato needed the lid to be attached firmly so that the boxes could be lifted with a suction cup, which was not working at all with the earlier loose-lid. This was solved with a box that is tailor-made for Delicato’s and the retailer’s needs.

“Since we are a packaging solution supplier we can help with the box solution, packaging materials, design, printing, packaging automation and everything in between.  This box is quick to raise, easy to work with, it has a display function and the lid stays on so that the boxes can be lifted and arranged onto pallets using a suction cup”, says Martin Almstedt, Sales Manager at Stora Enso.

All boxes Stora Enso deliver to Delicato are made from corrugated board and can be recycled in the paper and board stream.

Expected and unexpected benefits

The wraparound machine has a closed system with lighting inside, making it safe for operators while it is still easy to overview the packing process.

It is also freeing up space for Delicato. Since the wraparound machine feeds in flat sheets, a lot of space is saved because they no longer have ready-folded boxes in storage.

“Without boxes stored on the floor we have more room and actually better fire safety, which is an unexpected benefit that came out of this”, says Kalle Sundback.

He continues:

“And the installation of the machine was extremely smooth. In summary it’s all been working great ever since the collaboration with Stora Enso started.”

Now, a second wraparound machine is on its way to Delicato’s bakery. The automation journey continues.