Surgital, an Italian manufacturer of deep-frozen pasta, produces 300 pasta varieties daily, and is constantly adding new varieties. That’s why for its new varieties of ravioli, Surgital once again opted for the TLM technology from Gerard Schubert GmbH, Germany.

Schubert’s TLM technology ensures the careful packing of the frozen pasta classics in trays at maximum performance.

Headquartered in Lavezzola in the Emilia-Romagna region, Surgital specializes in the production of frozen pasta products and ready-meals in more than 50 countries around the world. In addition to subsidiaries in the United States and France, Surgital is also present in Germany and England with local offices.

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 colors,” says Romana Tamburini and Edoardo Bacchini, managing directors of Surgital. “We have been able to automatically pack anything we invented over the last 10 years with our Schubert installation. We value the reliability of our collaboration with Schubert, as well as the quality and flexibility of the machinery.”

In total, the new plant will pack nine Ravioli varieties, with different shapes, colors and 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 important that only undamaged products end up in the trays. Therefore, optical image recognition to determine the positioning of the product plays an important role. Schubert uses a reflected light color scanner to transmit the corresponding information to the TLM F4 picker arms.

Frozen in trays

Schubert’s new installation comprises four sub-machines, including the cooling tunnel, where the deep-frozen ravioli enters 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 sub-machines, which have a total of nine F4 robots.

Thanks to a new version, three F4 robotic arms can be installed in a single sub-machine. The F4 robots are equipped with suction cups, which take the ravioli coming off the belt by means of careful air suction and places them carefully into the trays. The empty trays are supplied from a 3-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 important role in the hygienic packaging of food.

The 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 creations and Schubert's flexible packaging are the two key factors in the formula for future success.