20/03/2024 | Technology

Schubert: alternative materials, smaller packaging sizes, innovative packaging concepts

Flexible packaging machines support food manufacturers when it comes to sustainability the issue of sustainability is playing an important role for more and more food manufacturers. Gerhard Schubert GmbH, a packaging specialist who is very much aware of its responsibility, has always placed great importance on environmental awareness. The company has clearly defined extensive goals and measures with its Mission Blue Sustainability Initiative. In order to provide companies with the best possible advice on tackling this multi-faceted challenge, Schubert experts provide support with its Packaging Perspectives services in the selection of materials and the design of packaging solutions that are both machine-compatible and environmentally friendly. Schubert’s flexible, modular and easily converted packaging machines process both conventional and fully recyclable packaging. Robot-based TLM technology handles a wide range of carton formats, trays, plastic crates as well as standard and paper-based flowpack films without compromising on quality.

In addition to using more sustainable materials, packaging size also plays a decisive role in environmental protection. A few millimetres saved per pack can lead to considerable material savings all told. However, smaller packaging sizes can only be achieved if they can be filled with food without compromising on quality. This is ensured by Schubert’s pick & place robots which play an important role in the packaging process. They pick up food such as bars or yoghurt pots and place them into trays, cartons or thermoformed packaging with millimetre precision. They can do so thanks to the vision system developed by Schubert which also serves as a quality control for the products before packaging.

Although Gerhard Schubert’s main focus is on modular, digital, robot-based packaging machines, the company also selectively develops sustainable packaging processes. Last year, the Crailsheim-based company introduced two environmentally friendly solutions they developed in house: Dotlock, a technology that makes cardboard packaging entirely glue-free, and a cardboard-monofilm hybrid solution – also without glue – that greatly minimises the use of plastic.
Dotlock is based on so-called ‘clinching’ technology used for joining metals. The cardboard layers are pierced with a needle from one side, forming a collar on the other side. This is then pressed onto the cardboard to create a stable force & form fit. As a 100 per cent glue-free packaging solution, Dotlock is completely recyclable via the paper cycle. The new hybrid packaging consists exclusively of cardboard and very thin monofilm, both of which are very easy to separate after use and therefore fully recyclable.