Johannes Schubert interview: “Great opportunities” on the horizon for efficiency-upgraded Flowmodul

Johannes Schubert interview: “Great opportunities” on the horizon for efficiency-upgraded Flowmodul

08 Nov 2018 --- The latest model of the Schubert Flowmodul integrated flow-wrapping machine now offers an even more extensive selection of possible sealing technologies. In a recent interview, Johannes Schubert, grandson of the company’s founder and Flowmodul Product Manager since 2017, explains the advantages of this innovative technology and how the latest model is providing an even more efficient solution to flow-wrapping demand while branching out into the healthcare sector.

According to Johannes Schubert, it is the Flowmodul’s ability to pack products into flowpacks with “unbeatable efficiency, flexibility, quality control, while saving space,” that makes the component unique. “With the Flowmodul, small batch sizes, short product lifecycles and high-level product diversity can be handled more efficiently than ever before. This is what makes the application so attractive in many sectors.”

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Johannes Schubert,
Flowmodul Product Manager

“With the latest model variants, we are even more closely oriented to the TLM concept, which has always made our modular machine approach so successful. With the focus on our users, we have significantly improved accessibility for maintenance and cleaning. We have also made suspension of the film rolls more ergonomic.”

“This all makes the Flowmodul even easier and more efficient for technicians and machine operators. This means Schubert is in compliance with the stringent hygienic requirements for sensitive applications such as in the pharmaceutical or food processing industry. The machine also features easy-to-clean conveyor belts.”

Even ice cream
The flow-wrap technology is currently being used to package a wide range of products such as chocolate, biscuits, cakes, chocolate figures, yogurt cups and even ice cream. Since the launch of the original Flowmodul, Schubert has sold 38 components to existing and new customers across eight different countries. “Our objective for 2018 is to sell 30 Flowmodul systems. Sales in 2021 are expected to increase to 100 machines,” Schubert adds.

Schubert highlights that customers to date are particularly impressed by the close contact that is maintained between the buying and selling parties after sales are completed. Schubert is known to continue collaborating with buyers to help them achieve optimal production post-purchase.

Pick-and-place robots
In combination with the TLM pick-and-place robots, the Flowmodul can respond quickly to new market requirements. “This gives our customers decisive competitive advantages. Our customers also benefit from the many advantages of a combination of primary and secondary packaging processes,” Schubert explains.

“Uniform control, ease of use, highly flexible robot loading, and the fact that customers are given a solution from a single vendor are also important arguments. We can respond to customer wishes quickly and implement them on an individual basis.”

Hot-seal film enhancements
The Flowmodul’s most recent enhancement is an “unprecedented” sealing method that allows the application of hot-seal film even for sensitive products. The component can be equipped with four different sealing methods – thermal and ultrasonic sealing, or a combination of both are possible.

“Nowadays, sensitive products, such as chocolate bars, are wrapped in cold-seal film to avoid melting of the chocolate. Cold-seal film, however, in addition to its higher cost, has the disadvantage that it cannot be stored for an extended period of time,” says Schubert.

“Our new technology is a quickly-adjusted heat-sealing technology developed specifically for highly sensitive products. In the case of hot-seal films, the Flowmodul adapts seamlessly to the variable speeds of the upstream F4 robots, without having an effect on the seal quality or the tightness of the flowpacks.”

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“With the Flowmodul, small batch sizes, short product lifecycles and high-level product diversity can be handled more efficiently than ever before," notes Schubert.

“The key lies in constant sealing times at variable chain speeds. Here, we set new dimensions in the control range of the heat-sealing film. The patented flying cross sealing unit used here is highly flexible and ensures that the sealing times remain constant. If hermetically sealed packages are required, the sealing time can be set accordingly. Besides, the flow-wrapping machine can be provided with a non-rotating ultrasonic longitudinal sealing unit, which is especially suitable for films with high barrier effect. Both systems are characterized by low heat development, which makes them ideally suited for heat-sensitive products such as chocolate,” he explains.

"Great plans for healthcare and pharma"

“We have great plans for our customers in the healthcare and pharma sector – with a focus on meeting the industry’s stringent requirements and specific standards. A TLM packaging machine with one or more integrated Flowmoduls can already be used to package medical or pharmaceutical products into flowpacks using a film with high barrier properties.”

“This protects pharmaceutical products from environmental factors. Future solutions for the pharmaceutical industry will also include the option of gas injection (modified atmosphere) of the individual flowpacks. I see great opportunities for our Flowmodul in this area,” Schubert concludes.

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"Future solutions for the pharmaceutical industry will also include the option of gas
injection (modified atmosphere) of the individual flowpacks," says Schubert.

In other Schubert news, the company recently launched its new Lightline series consisting of The CartonPacker, The Flowpacker and The Pickerline. Watch PackagingInsights’ video interview with Marcel Kiessling, Managing Director Sales and Service, from the FachPack 2018 show floor here.

Also read here about how Schubert’s automated systems are enabling family-owned Italian company, San Giorgio Dolce & Salato, to fill and pack 160 croissants a minute.

By Joshua Poole

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