Production of pastry-based delicacies
The company wanted to find a way to increase both output and profitability and to automate monotonous tasks in the production process that could have an impact on employee health and safety.
Four ABB FlexPicker IRB360 high speed picking robots have been installed to assist with placing and packing the pastries. Automating this task has enabled the company to achieve its objectives, reducing production costs freeing up workers to handle new tasks. Additional benefits have also included improved hygiene and the ability to boost production to meet future increases in demand.
The Nordic region’s largest producer of pastry products, Delicato has provided its Swedish customers with pastries for over 70 years. Although Delicato’s pastry ball products taste as good now as they did then, technological development has progressed since the late 1940s, when founder Einar Belvén first took to his bicycle to sell Danish sand cakes.
In its quest to update its production line and reduce the strain on its 150-strong workforce at its bakery in Segeltorp just south of Stockholm, Delicato made the decision to invest in four ABB FlexPicker IRB360 robots.
"We needed to improve profitability on the Delicato pastry ball line and also to address the fact that the line involved some very monotonous tasks that risked the health of our staff," says Anders Jaresjö, Production Manager at Delicato.
"With this ABB solution, we have improved the working environment for our employees, while achieving higher availability and lower production costs. In addition, by using the latest production technologies, we have become a more attractive employer."
High precision becomes a piece of cake
Part of a robotic solution created by systems integrator Evomatic, ABB’s FlexPicker IRB 360 robots were able to meet Delicato's need for efficiency, product handling and elimination of monotonous tasks.
"The challenge was to manage our products in a reliable way. It takes high precision to pick the Delicato balls from the production line and place them into blisters, without affecting the production, and then into packages. Therefore, the design of the grippers and software was an important part of the solution," says Jaresjö.
Used together with ABB’s PickMaster vision system, the FlexPicker robots enable the Delicato balls to be quickly picked from the conveyor belt and placed into blisters at a very fast cadence. Following this, the Delicato balls are placed in the packages and then into tertiary packaging for further transport to hungry customers around the country.
Better working environment
The ABB robots have been a real boost for the bakery. By using the FlexPicker robots to handle the picking and packing of the pastry balls, staffing costs for personnel on the Delicato production line have been reduced by approximately 40 percent. Automating the process has also made it easier to maintain the company's high hygiene standards, while presenting the flexibility for future increases in capacity. Furthermore, by eliminating many of the monotonous tasks on the Delicato ball line, the risk of staff injuries has been reduced.
"The better working environment and new technologies have meant opportunities for our staff to learn new tasks and develop skills. By positioning us as a forward-looking company using the latest production technologies, our investment in robots has had the added bonus of making it easier to recruit new staff, as new technologies make it easier to attract people from the labour market," adds Jaresjö.
With robots tirelessly continuing to pick Delicato balls from the conveyor belt, Jaresjö is looking forward to a bright future, with further investments in additional robots planned to help the company to continue to grow and develop.
"This installation has been a real door opener for Delicato. In the future, we will continue to invest in robotization and automation.”