Concretely freezing but sensitive packaging

14 September 20184 min reading

Surgital, the Italian manufacturer of deep-frozen pasta, produces 300 pasta varieties daily – and new varieties are constantly being added. For his new varieties of Ravioli, the company once again opted for the TLM technology from Schubert. It ensures the careful packing of the frozen pasta classics in trays at maximum performance. Thanks to the high flexibility of the TLM technology for new products and formats, the owners opted for an investment which would also prove itself in the future and therefore quickly pay off.


Romana Tamburini

Managing Director of Surgital

Ready-meals are extremely popular in our fast-paced world, and manufacturers’ sales figures are on the increase. At the same time, consumers have high quality expectations and concerns about healthy living, even when it comes to convenience products. Surgital combines both: for more than three decades, the name Surgital has been synonymous with “surgelata” (deep-frozen) pasta products. The company, headquartered in Lavezzola in the Emilia-Romagna region, specialises in the production of frozen pasta products and ready-meals. The manufacturer supplies its culinary specialities to the retail and gastronomy sectors in more than 50 countries around the world. In addition to subsidiaries in the USA and France, Surgital is also present in Germany and England with local offices.

GROWTH, THANKS TO INNOVATION Surgital has been packaging its Ravioli products with a Schubert system since 2005. The company is steadily growing and therefore needed a further packaging machine to extend its capacity for its new product range. “We are constantly extending our product range with innovative products, for example, with different shapes or different colours,” explain Romana Tamburini and Edoardo Bacchini, Managing Directors of Surgital.

Their past experience made it an easy decision, as his existing installation has been running successfully for more than 10 years. “We have been able to automatically pack anything we invented over the last ten years with our Schubert installation. We value the reliability of our collaboration with Schubert, as well as the quality and flexibility of the machinery,” says Bacchini.

In total, the new plant will pack nine Ravioli varieties, with different shapes, colours and delicious fillings. There are constraints when it comes to packaging: The filled pasta is very delicate and requires very careful handling. At the same time, the pasta variations need to be sorted correctly and the trays need to be completely filled. It is also very important that only undamaged products end up in the trays. Optical image recognition to determine the positioning of the product therefore plays an important role. Schubert uses a reflected light colour scanner for this purpose to transmit the corresponding information to the TLM F4 picker arms.

FROZEN IN TRAYS The new Surgital installation by Schubert comprises four sub-machines: from the cooling tunnel, the deep-frozen Ravioli enter the first submachine unsorted and without touching each other at approximately -20°C and are taken over by the infeed conveyor of the Schubert picker line. The products are guided through the following sub-machines, which have a total of nine F4 robots. The system was designed to save space: Thanks to a new version, three F4 robotic arms could be installed in a single sub-machine. The F4 robots are equipped with suction cups with which they take the Ravioli coming off the belt by means of careful air suction and place them carefully into the trays. The empty trays are supplied from a three-track magazine. The three trays are simultaneously removed from the magazine by an F3 transfer robot and placed on a chain conveyor. This in turn guides the trays in the opposite direction to the product flow through the individual stations, where they are filled by TLM F4 robots. The filled trays are passed to a delivery conveyor from the Schubert machine to the downline sealing unit. Nine different varieties of Ravioli are sorted and packed in the corresponding trays. The production output can reach up to 720 Ravioli per minute, depending on the variety. The stainless steel version of the machine ensures fast and thorough cleaning, which plays an immensely important role in the hygienic packaging of food.

Their innovative strength and courage to adopt new ways of working links these two family-owned companies. Both are developers of visionary products in their own field. Surgital’s delicious creations and Schubert’s flexible packaging are the two key factors in the formula for future success.

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