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High-performance packaging systems at Rotkäppchen-Mumm

Germany’s leading sparkling wine producer, Rotkäppchen-Mumm Sektkellereien GmbH, Freyburg (Unstrut), decided to install BEUMER stretch hood® M high-performance packaging systems at two of its production sites to enable palletized beverage cartons to be transported to the central warehouse and customers’ distribution centers with a high degree of load safety. These machines package the palletized beverage cartons quickly, flexibly and particularly sustainably with a stretch hood film.

Packaging systems for sparkling wine producer

Rotkäppchen-Mumm Sektkellereien GmbH with its headquarters in Freyburg on the Unstrut River in Saxony-Anhalt is a leader in the German sparkling wine market. Its various spirits and wines are also extremely popular. In the food trade, with its fine wines, Rotkäppchen-Mumm Sektkellereien have an approximately 50% share of the sparkling wine market. Today, with around 550 employees, the company group produces at five locations in Saxony-Anhalt, Thüringen, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg. “We have a very traditional site in Eltville in the Rheingau-Taunus district near Mainz,” says Karl-Josef Lauzi, describing the Hesse-based sparkling wine producer. He has worked at the company for more than 30 years and is responsible for all production of Rotkäppchen-Mumm. “The company was founded in 1811. As an example, we produce the well-known Mumm, MM Extra and also Jules Mumm sparkling wine brands here.”

300,000 pallets per year

The various beverages are automatically bottled, sealed with corks, agrafes and capsules, and fitted with the appropriate label. They are then packed in different cartons. A palletizer picks up the packaged bottles and stacks them on waiting pallets. Previously, the top layer of cartons was glued before being transported to an automatic binding machine which strapped the palletized beverage cartons. The beverage cartons are finally sent to the outgoing goods area by means of the pallet conveyor to await the logistics service provider’s shuttle truck. Approximately 300,000 pallets leave the site every year.

In the past, cartons repeatedly came free from their bands on the loading surfaces during transportation due to sharp braking, sudden steering maneuvers or on bends, and bottles were broken. “More and more of our customers rely on automatic palletizing and depalletizing systems for a faster material flow in their central warehouses,” says Lauzi. To achieve this, the goods must be adequately secured.

Safe, stable and sustainable packaging

In order to reduce transport damage and to satisfy increased logistics requirements, those responsible sought a packaging solution which guarantees more safety and stability for the beverage stack. “The sparkling wine producer’s engineers and logistics specialists finally came to us with a specific enquiry at the beginning of 2012,” recalls Klaus-Dieter Enzenbach, Regional Sales Manager at BEUMER Maschinenfabrik GmbH in Beckum. In order to convince those responsible of the innovative technology, we invited them to Beckum to attend packaging trials with the original products. “In the Technical Center, we were shown the impressive BEUMER stretch hood® M high-performance packaging system,” relates Joachim Engler, Technical Manager at Rotkäppchen-Mumm Sektkellereien in Eltville. The shrink film was no longer used as a packaging method. The stretch wrapping process also did not meet the requirements, as too much film was used with this technology. “Our high-performance packaging machine covers the palletized beverage cartons with a film hood which is just 40 µm thick. They are therefore effectively secured during transportation and reach the customers undamaged,” says Engler. “What is more, we can package two different sizes of pallet with this multi-format system. Changeover is semi-automatic. We do not have to fit any additional equipment to the machine to achieve this. We are therefore well set up for future requirements.”

Tried and tested secure packaging

In order to finally show how much more secure the load packaged using the BEUMER stretch hood® M was, we and Rotkäppchen together with DEKRA, the world’s leading expert organization for safety, quality and environmental protection, carried out various road tests under extreme conditions. The results convinced those responsible at the sparkling wine producer and we finally received the order for supply, installation and commissioning of the high-performance packaging systems in March 2013.

BEUMER Sustainability Index

As well as load stability, the subject of sustainability also played a decisive role for the sparkling wine producer. We have developed the BEUMER Sustainability Index (BSI) for this purpose. With this validation system, the intralogistics specialist systematically and continuously evaluates the sustainability of new machines holistically on three levels: economy, ecology and social responsibility. Economic performance, market presence, financial opportunities and risks are known parameters. However, products and systems are only economically sustainable if they and the associated production processes are directed towards long-term customer benefits. Here, we consider the particular product in its totality, and not only from its cost aspects. With the BEUMER stretch hood® series, for example, an intuitive interface between man and machine simplifies operation and allows rapid film change. It also enables operating parameters to be changed. In addition, this system works extremely energy-efficiently.

Together with the film manufacturers, we developed a suitable solution to meet the special requirements. “Condensation forms if the filled bottles on the pallet are subjected to great heat, such as occurs when they are transported in bright sunshine, for example,” explains Enzenbach. “A perforated film, which allows water vapor to escape, is therefore used in such cases.” The special feature of these thin films is that, after use, they can be fed back into the returnable system and reused – this significantly reduces the packaging waste.

Flexibly adapted modular system

The BEUMER stretch hood® range is a modular system which can be flexibly adapted to suit the users’ individual requirements. “We have developed a special device to enable the perforated film to be processed better,” explains Enzenbach. This ensures that the films can be picked up by the gripper system or suction device, as, particularly with perforated films, which moreover are very thin, there is a risk of the holes being blocked at the cut edges by the stamping process. The conveyor equipment has also been modified and can now transport different pallet sizes to the BEUMER stretch hood® M. A challenge for us was the timeframe in which the system was to be installed and commissioned. “We had exactly three weeks,” recalls Enzenbach. The site shuts down only once a year in summer. Extensive servicing is then carried out on the machines and systems. “During this time, we had to fit the BEUMER stretch hood® into the production line with absolute accuracy,” says Enzenbach. Even this part of the project ran smoothly. The new packaging system has now been in operation since August 2013.

The palletized beverage cartons are fed to the packaging machine via a conveyor. The innovative control equipment automatically detects different stack heights and flexibly adjusts itself to suit. An ultrasonic sensor determines the necessary film length. The film is subsequently cut and welded at the cut edge. The hood so formed is stretched, drawn over the stack and, in doing so, specifically fed to the pallet foot where it provides even greater retaining force thanks to a special “foot reinforcement”. The BEUMER stretch hood® system works by means of the high film-restoring forces. The film rests very closely on the whole stack, “like a second skin”, thus ensuring the required stability. This fast and efficient packaging process reliably protects the goods against the effects of the weather. The smooth surface of the transparent and highly flexible film also allows easy identification of the palletized goods. Up to 100 load units per hour can be packaged in this way. The finish-packaged pallet is finally passed to the dispatch area via a conveyor system.

Optimum service

To ensure that the intralogistics processes run smoothly, our Customer Support Department guarantees optimum support after commissioning. “We work out the service concept individually for and with the user,” explains BEUMER specialist Enzenbach. For example, this includes a regular inspection and spare parts holding. In the event of a fault, a telephone service in the form of the BEUMER Hotline is available. Furthermore, according to Engineering Manager Joachim Engler, the system is very accessible. The maintenance personnel have easy access to all components.

“The BEUMER stretch hood® M has been running very stably since its installation,” enthuses Rotkäppchen-Mumm Sektkellereien GmbH Managing Partner, Ulrich Wiegel. The support by our staff has been exemplary. “We were able to use the experience we gained in Eltville during the installation and commissioning of the packaging system at the Freyburg site in Saxony a few weeks later. The system was ready for use by just the second day.”

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