Kennedy’s Bakery Production catches up with Daniel Bossel, Global Product Manager at Syntegon to discuss the developments in Biscuit Packaging and automated packaging systems.

  1. What trends are you seeing in biscuit packaging right now? 

In recent years, an ever-growing number of ecologically aware consumers have been expecting confectionery manufacturers to develop more sustainable products. Among many others, manufacturers have identified two factors that have a great influence on the ecological footprint of the final product: the packaging material and the amount of product waste that they are able to avoid during production. Handling and packaging machinery that allows manufacturers to both process alternative packaging materials as well as reduce product waste has therefore proven to be a great leverage to meet sustainability goals.  

  1. What challenges does this sector face and how do you overcome them? 

The biscuit market is consistently flooded with new products: Consumers demand a large variety of flavours, product sizes and nutritional properties, e.g. gluten-free, vegan or sugar-free versions, of their favorite snacks. At the same time, biscuits and cookies are very delicate and crumble easily – especially if they contain natural ingredients like nuts or lack the adhesive protein gluten. These requirements have a significant impact on production, handling and packaging. For one, these products call for an easy-to-clean production environment that features a hygienic design. And secondly, biscuits require gentle handling throughout the entire process to reduce product breakage and rejects, as well as to prevent product residue in the equipment. 

  1. In your opinion, what will the future of this sector look like and why? 

Cookie and biscuit manufacturers are increasingly turning towards automated solutions to enhance efficiency during production and ensure gentle handling. Seeing how transportation belts can be many meters long, it has proven paramount for manufacturers to reduce mechanical stress on the sensitive products. With its newly launched Distribution Continuous Slide (DCS), Syntegon has developed a highly flexible discharge station for cookies and biscuits that reduces product breakage and loss significantly. That is mainly due to the system’s belt slides which move the product gently from the oven all to way to the packaging legs. Individual DCS stations can be arranged one behind the other to process a large number of products right from the start. Should output rates increase, more stations can be added later. Furthermore, the system’s guard-free design allows for unrestricted process visibility, safe accessibility and easy cleaning. 

Besides offering a gentle and hygienic handling solution, the smart design of the DCS also provides high format flexibility as there are no format parts installed. For a changeover, it is sufficient to modify the belt speeds via the HMI module. The discharge station takes into account many challenges that cookie manufacturers are facing and provides them with a simple yet effective solution. Food manufacturers rely on these innovative technologies to make the switch to future-proof processing and packaging solutions, including flexible equipment and new handling technologies to optimise resource consumption. 

  1. How are you working to make biscuit packaging more eco-friendly? 

Syntegon aims for all its food packaging machines to be able to process fully recyclable mono-materials or paper by the end of 2022, thus driving the transition to more environmentally friendly packaging together with its customers. For manufacturers who are making this transition gradually, Syntegon has developed retrofit solutions which  enable them to process conventional plastics as well as sustainable options like paper or mono-materials on one machine. For instance, the “paper-ON-form” retrofit kit for horizontal packaging machines processes paper at speeds comparable to those in conventional plastic packaging. It combines a patented form, fill and seal unit and sealing jaws for cold and heat-sealing applications, ensuring that barrier papers do not crease or tear, while the cold- and heat-sealing tools gently create the seal seams without affecting the barrier properties. 

The discharge station is equipped with belt slides which allow the products to smoothly slide over the belts – this protects them from any mechanical stress. 

Editorial contact:
Kiran Grewal