Natra and Grupo Bimbo are just some of the firms who have shown interest in the FR500 flow pack wrapper designed specifically for the bakery, confectionery and chocolate industry by ULMA Packaging.
The model, which was showcased at Interpack 2014, is entirely electronic and includes a multi-axis control that synchronizes the main machine movements.
Detachable belts for cleaning
It can reach speeds of more than 500 packs per minute and comes with a number of feeders and auto loaders designed primarily for bakery products and the chocolate sector.
Fran Jimenez, sales consultant, ULMA Packaging, told FoodProductionDaily the technology focuses on high speed for confectionery applications like chocolate, chocolate bars and snack bars.
“The FR500 has been specifically designed for the confectionery market. Before, we tried to customise a machine depending on the application but we realised it was a mistake and we designed this machine for the market,” he said.
“In this way, manufacturers can manage the performance of the machine, the levels of safety, the way it can be cleaned. For example there are detachable belts for cleaning, this operation used to be tougher for the customer but we have made it easier based on client feedback.”
Jimenez said the machine was developed two years ago but Interpack is the first time it is presenting it to the market because it has been promoting and testing the line with its customers.
He said it has already received interest from Germany, Spain and the UK and hopes to push it out to South America and other markets worldwide.
“It will be sold mainly in the bakery and confectionery industry for biscuits, small chocolates or chocolate bars worldwide,” he added.
“We have received very positive feedback and technologically it’s a step ahead. It is incorporated with Allen-Bradley technology, which used to be an option for us but now it is a standard.
“We were not using the correct machines in the past. For example, we previously worked with Mondelēz International but the tools we had were not correct. But now we can fulfil this requirement. It’s driven by demand in the market.”
Jimenez added the biggest challenge for ULMA is to inform people it has this technology and to share the feedback it is getting from other customers.
“We need to identify ULMA with confectionery as it was not clear before in some countries because our focus was placed in other markets,” he said.
Simon Millar, business manager machine sales, ULMA Packaging added the reason behind the FR500 is that there is a demand for it in the confectionery market, especially in the UK and others for a high speed production line.
“ULMA is recognised for a lot of other lines, Flow Wrapping for example but now in the UK it has a great attitude towards lean business practice and driving costs down and labour, which is where automation, robotic manipulation blends itself very well,” he said.
“We are getting a lot of requests for complete lines and product management which we are keen to explore in the bakery sector and other markets as well.”