Vienetta has been one of the most successful ice cream creations for more than 30 years, and now it has a modern packaging line in Germany.
Vienetta has been an unavoidable concept among frozen sweets lovers for decades. Although production has been continuous at the Unilever factory in Heppenheim since 1960, tradition does not mean that the brand is stuck in the past. Over the years, production lines that closely follow production have been built for the continuous production of a wide variety of flavors and packages. Now, the fact that the packaging line has been replaced with a more flexible and higher-performance one represents another step in the factory’s life, since the demand for ice creams and ice creams is increasing as summer approaches.
It is complex and simple at the same time
A food packaging or production line cannot be accurate and fast enough. Hygienic also receives a lot of attention in such areas of application. The developer Schreyer Sondermaschinen GmbH therefore undertook a complex task with the project. And for the implementation, he chose Siemens technologies, not only at the level of automation devices and hardware, but also in terms of software and simulation.
They created a packaging line that is compact, yet capable of complex tasks, which is suitable for packaging both 650 ml and 1000 ml packages. They are first filled into a foil bag, which is controlled by a completely non-contact laser indexing system. After that, the products are placed in a paper box before cartoning. The quantities and packages are always adjusted to the current demand, so adaptability and quick changeover, which only takes a quarter of the time than before, are essential conditions for productivity. The line packs up to 150 products per minute.
The ice cream is real, the model is digital
The role of the digital twin is prominent in the production of Vienetta, as in many other production tasks. If it is not essential, the fact that production processes can be tested and planned in the digital space significantly speeds up transitions, settings and production itself. Maintenance and day-to-day operational tasks became easier, as did commissioning itself – the latter could be completed in just a few days at the Heppenheim factory instead of a few weeks.
The model was also suitable for running simulations during development, and this can also be used in the future when introducing additional product packages. According to Schreyer, the most important development in the near future is to work together with Siemens to map the foil’s behavior more accurately in the virtual space. Now, quick changeovers are served with a double foil dispenser, so they can change packages on the line practically without stopping.
In order to ensure constant quality and reliable production, the entire production line was automated, including the new packaging process. With integrated automation, all machine functions are mapped in the digital space with a lean architecture. The developers also chose Siemens components during machine construction, but they also know and trust the manufacturer’s software solutions, which are well complemented by simulation technologies. They were also involved in the development process, thus creating the machine that is expected to serve the production of the traditionally popular ice cream family for many years.