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ProSweets Cologne: The sweet side of Industry 4.0

ProSweets Cologne offers the complete range of supplies for the sweets and snacks industry: from innovative ingredients, to pioneering packing solutions, through to optimised production technologies

From 27.-30.01.2019, ProSweets Cologne intends to make the vision of “Industry 4.0” tangible. Flexible machines where the individualisation of the products plays an increasingly more important role are under focus at the international supplier trade fair for the sweets and snacks industry – and even if many exhibitors at the Cologne fair grounds don’t want to speak about the batch size 1 yet. The batches are getting smaller.

Less than two weeks before ProSweets Cologne opens, which is for the eleventh time being staged jointly with ISM, the world’s largest trade fair for sweets and snacks, the economic outlook could hardly be better: because the global sweets industry is booming. This is the result that the market researchers of GlobalData have come to. They are expecting the worldwide demand to grow by an average of 4.6 percent per year by 2021. This means more and more recipes, seasonal specialities and original packing, which aim to attract attention at the point of sale.

Networking is the keyword of the hour
Against this backdrop, the question arises for smaller and medium-sized producers as to how they can achieve the necessary flexibility to remain competitive. Add to this the high product quality that has to be secured as a key demand for sweets and snacks through the consistent monitoring of the hygiene aspects across the entire process. Industry 4.0 technologies, which permanently improve the machines in terms of self-diagnosis and error elimination, create the conditions for the demanded efficiency. The packing machines for small-volume orders of sweets that are designed down to the last detail are evidence of this and this is a special area of many of the exhibitors in Cologne.

The latest generation of digital fold wrapping machines or top loading and display carton machines is completely servodriven and is based on a highly modular concept that is consistently applied across the mechanics, electrics and software. In this way, high-end production lines can switch between different formats and wrapping types easily and fast – a characteristic that is to the advantage of all manufacturers whose line-ups include seasonal goods such as Easter chocolates or chocolate balls for Christmas.

Triumphant march of the servo technology
Servo-electrically driven axes are also being implemented more frequently in hollow body systems. The high flexibility for the parameterisation makes it possible to produce complicated geometries with a uniform shell thickness – such as a rabbit with slightly angled ears. The example shows that Industry 4.0 is not just present at the Cologne fair grounds among the innovations in the packaging section. Sweets machines are increasingly becoming digitally connected and equipped with sensors that provide an abundance of data. This encompasses aspects such as the support of the maintenance and cleaning processes or active notifications about the service and maintenance intervals through the machine itself. The visitors of ProSweets Cologne can experience this development live directly at the stands, but also virtually on the screens or using augmented reality goggles.

The solutions from the raw material handling, which are also on display at ProSweets Cologne are also illustrating the merging between the mechanics, electrics and software – from the low-dust product feeding from sacks and big bags, to the conveying and weighing of the ingredients, through to the loading of kneading units and conches. Whilst manual processes quickly reach their limits here, the fast recipe change of automated feeding systems is making small batch quantities viable. In interplay with process control engineering, they introduce bulk materials, small volumes or liquid components to the production process in the corresponding quantity at the right point in time. A seamless batch traceability is secured via the integrated control.

All-round hygienic construction
However, the other side of the coin is the fact that a wide product diversity combined with smaller batch sizes leads to an increased number of necessary cleaning steps. Depending on the process and the recipe this process takes less or more time. The mechanical engineers are demonstrating in Cologne what Industry 4.0 means in terms of cleaning with their machines that are optimally tailor-made to the hygiene demands – made from stainless steel and equipped with functions for simple cleaning processes. Casters, which move into the frames of the mogul plant using a sideways movement, are one example here. They allow WIP cleaning (wash-in-place), whereby the downtime of the machine is reduced and the tray transport system protected.

In order to save resources, time and money, the principle of the automated cleaning is continually further developed. CIP methods (clean-in-place) are state-of-the-art, where the cleaning solutions circulate in the machines. Hence modern systems have to display an equally high amount of flexibility as the machines they clean. They are still currently mainly designed for the worst case scenario in order to guarantee the safe cleaning of all surfaces that come into contact with the product. In future the aim is for the machines to control the cleaning processes autonomously by determining the degree of soiling using sensors.

The next stage of Industry 4.0
One thing is sure: The future of the sweets and snacks production is more open and more networked than the digital processes already are today. ProSweets Cologne will demonstrate how far the Industry 4.0 technologies have already advanced within the industry and what the next stages on the way to the Smart Factory are. From 27.-30.01.2019, over 300 exhibitors will be presenting solutions with which complex manufacturing and packing processes can be optimised intelligently: For even more quality, efficiency and sustainability.

Koelnmesse – Global Competence in Food and FoodTec:
Koelnmesse is an international leader in organising food fairs and events regarding food and beverage processing. Trade fairs such as the Anuga, ISM and Anuga FoodTec are established world leaders. Koelnmesse not only organises food trade fairs in Cologne, Germany, but also in further growth markets around the globe, for example, in Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Italy, Japan, Thailand, the United States and the United Arab Emirates, which have different focuses and contents. These global activities enable us to offer our customers a network of events, which in turn grant access to different markets and thus create a basis for sustainable and stable international business.

Further Information is available at: http://www.global-competence.net/food/

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