Different flavors of one beverage in the same secondary packaging – this is the kind of added value the variety pack gives consumers. Thanks to a new configuration of tried-and-tested KHS machines, this increasingly popular pack can now be produced in a highly automated fashion.
A packaging trend that originated in the USA is now spreading to a growing number of other countries – what is known as the variety or rainbow pack. It contains several different types of beverages, enabling the consumer to try out a range of products in one secondary pack.
Practically unlimited variety
Numerous systems for producing packs like these exist. Owing to the varying number of manual tasks to be performed, however, to date these were only available in the low-capacity range. KHS now presents a line configuration that, with its high degree of automation, makes it possible to produce variety packs in the high-capacity range for the very first time, processing up to 120,000 cans per hour, for instance. The system is basically a repackaging line which separates containers that have already been placed on trays and pallets on the actual production line and recombines them to form mixed packs.
To this end, beverage cans are fed by type to the repackaging line from the warehouse on pallets and trays. Two robots first depalletize the different product types while pushers separate the trays into individual rows. Two vacuum unpackers then lift the cans off the tray and place them in separate positions on the conveyor belt. From here the cans travel in single adjacent lanes to the packaging machine, with a different flavor in each line. In the machine the containers are then grouped into packs of four, six, eight, twelve, 18 or 24 or other mixed packs and packaged in closed boxes.