New Automation UK exhibition to debut for automation and robotics

The Automation UK exhibition will be held for the very first time in Coventry, England on 20-21 June 2023. The new show’s aim is to become a benchmark exhibition in the UK in the field of automation and robotics. Mark Stepney, managing director of Schubert UK Limited – the British sales subsidiary of German packaging machine manufacturer Schubert – is one of the initiators of this prestigious industrial showcase and Schubert is one of the event’s founding exhibitors. He and his team will have their own stand (A10) and will be on site to advise visitors on the potential of Schubert’s innovative packaging solutions and on their many possible applications. Highlights will include the cobot, which is now ready for series production, a bar packer with an innovative infeed, the new Box Motion unit in the flowpacker’s cross-sealing system and Schubert’s “Packaging Perspectives” customer service for sustainable packaging.

The new Automation UK exhibition is organised by BARA (British Association of Robotics and Automation) and the PPMA (Processing and Packaging Machine Association), the umbrella organisation representing over 550 member companies in the processing and packaging machinery industry in the UK. Mark Stepney, managing director of Schubert UK, is BARA’s vice chairman and was elected to the PPMA Board three years ago. Since then, he and his team at Schubert have been working towards the Automation UK event and he explains: “Automation and robotics are among the key technologies that are successfully driving the UK economy into the future. The widespread shortage of skilled workers and recurring supply bottlenecks are currently posing major challenges for companies. We can only meet these challenges with innovations that automate production and make it more efficient, leaner and more cost-effective.” 

Stepney sees the Automation UK exhibition as an ideal opportunity for companies to get up close and personal with today’s cutting-edge technologies: “With many exciting live demonstrations, compelling information and in-depth consulting, the exhibitors are all committed to giving visitors first-hand insight and impressions of the latest automation and robotics technologies. Of course, it is essential that companies find out what the various applications can do for their production processes before they consider investing.” 

Highlights: the tog.519 cobot, a compact bar packer with an all-new infeed, Box Motion sealing and Schubert’s “Packaging Perspectives” service 

Schubert has some big news to share, especially in terms of automation. The tog.519 cobot is now ready for series production and is already proving its worth in the baked goods and cosmetics industries. Although the innovation is primarily targeted at solving the automation gap at the packaging machine’s infeed, it can also be deployed very flexibly at various other points in production. Mark Stepney explains: “Machine infeed is often handled manually, because processes such as picking products from a crate or a belt, sorting and separating them, orienting them correctly and placing them into a carton, for instance, are complex and have been virtually impossible to automate cost-effectively. This all changes with the cobot: Using pick & place technology, it can bin pick unsorted lightweight products or packaging materials and reliably place them into any conceivable target destination – at up to 90 cycles per minute.” 

The TLM Power Compact bar packer with its all-new infeed – in the smallest of spaces 

The experts from Schubert will also be providing information on the bar packer with the new TLM Comfort Feeder and A6 erector, as well as the new Box Motion unit on the flowpacker – with the aid of animation and videos. The TLM Comfort Feeder is a new, extremely compact solution for automating the feeding of carton blanks to the packaging machine. Until now, machine operators have had to react very quickly to avoid unnecessary stops when the blank holding magazines run empty. Now all it takes is to simply place the entire pallet with the blank sheets into the machine. An F4 robot then pulls blanks one by one directly from a sheet of multiple (still attached) blanks and feeds them into the erecting process at a speed of 60 cycles per minute. The new A6 erector then pulls each blank individually from the bottom of a buffer and transports it past the gluing unit to a folding device. There, a forming mandrel pushes the blank through the folding frame, erecting it, and then places the erected carton onto the transport system. The combination of a new type of sheet infeed, high erecting capacity and loading and closing – all in an extremely compact space – offers customers an exceptionally advantageous machine concept called TLM Power Compact. With the TLM Comfort Feeder, the blank sheet can be optimised even further to maximise packaging material utilisation – saving material, resources and costs. 

Box Motion cross-sealing 

Schubert recently expanded its portfolio in the area of sealing technology for its flowpacker with Box Motion: In addition to heat sealing technology with rotating sealing jaws, ultrasonic sealing with firmly closing sealing jaws can now also be used for cross-sealing. This opens up a whole range of advantages for packaging into flowpacks. For example, Box Motion enables a very high-quality seam seal as well as the processing of especially thick high-barrier films and monofilms. Since the Box Motion unit is also very easy to change, it gives manufacturers who use different flow-wrapping films even more flexibility and future-proofing. 

In addition to the latest information on state-of-the-art packaging solutions, visitors to the Automation UK exhibition will also benefit from the wide-ranging consulting expertise of the entire Schubert team. Visitors to the stand will also be made aware of the new Packaging Perspectives service which was created as part of Schubert’s Mission Blue Sustainability Strategy: With comprehensive consulting, packaging development and research, Schubert is actively supporting its customers on their journey towards a more sustainable future. The Schubert experts will also be pleased to answer questions on all other topics relating to product packaging. Mark Stepney sums it up as follows: “When it comes to exceptionally flexible automation, more efficient processes, reducing waste or achieving more sustainability in packaging – we are committed to serving manufacturing companies in the UK with all our expertise and experience. We are looking forward to many exciting encounters and discussions at the exhibition.”

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