Arla Foods

Arla Foods in Götene is the largest plant for cheese packaging in Sweden. Here more than 30000 tons of cheese is refined annually. A majority of this cheese is labeled in fully automated marking stations from Evolabel. The production capacity per line is up to 80 products per minute. So up-time, reliability and ease of use are key factors for Arla. Each Evolabel marking station is taking full control of the whole marking process, from sorting and weighing to verifying the barcode on the marked product.

Johan Kjellström, Project Manager at Arla Foods is very happy with the print & apply solution from Evolabel. “We selected the solution from Evolabel mainly because of the high technical standard and reliability in handling and positioning the packages for labeling in a continuous line flow. The D43 is also easy to operate.”

To simplify retail scanning, the barcode label must be positioned at the bottom of the cheese. To enable very accurate positioning of the label from below, at high speed, Evolabel has developed the Belt applicator. A gap less than 15 mm between two belt conveyors in the marking station is enough for the D43 Belt to apply the label. The gap is small enough to make sure that the cheese does not get out of position when moving between the conveyors.

The system alerts the operator when it is time to change label roll. Changing label roll is done in an ergonomically service position which is reached by simply turning out the printer from its print position allowing it raising up next to the conveyor. The label track is short and open and the applicator head folds away automatically, allowing the operator to change label roll in less than a minute.

Henrik Carlsson, Production Engineer at Arla Foods, has only positive experience with the Evolabel systems, which runs almost 24 hours per day.

"One very positive detail is that the Evolabel system reminds the operator to clean the print head every morning. This simple routine has saved us many print heads and a lot of money."

Main steps in the Evolabel marking station:

  • Each production line, supplies the Evolabel system with double groups of 4 products (8 products in parallel) with an interval of 6-12 seconds
  • The 8 products gets separated on two marking lines
  • Check-weighted by Teltek C20
  • Products with wrong weight are rejected and pushed away from the line
  • The product gets coarse-positioned so each cheese is moving with it's back first
  • After it is fine-positioned to secure precise positioning and correct timing
  • The Evolabel D43 prints a label with fixed and variable data (date, weight etc) and an EAN13 code and applies the label from below, with very high precision
  • The barcode is scanned and verified
  • If any product lack a barcode or it is wrong, it gets rejected and pushed away from the line
  • The two marking lines are merged to one production line

Another application where Arla Foods is using the print and apply system from Evolabel, is for marking the SRS boxes (in which the cheese products are packed to the retail stores). Applying a label safely on the curved surface of the SRS box has always been difficult until Arla had the Evolabel D43 Wipe applicator installed. With a specially designed applicator pad, the D43 Wipe, print and applies 10000 SRS boxes per day.

Evolabel (Autolabel) cheese marking at Arla Foods Video