Fast, flexible packaging

As the bars enter the packaging room, they pass through Fortress Technology metal detection. The packaging lines are identical, with the bars for Line No. 1 wrapped and cartoned toward the front, while Line No. 2 systems are staggered toward the back of the department that’s nearest to warehousing and distribution.

Each line has a bank of Bosch flowwrappers. A feeding system continuously supplies bars to each wrapper. The bars then travel along a raised conveyor — which permits foot traffic underneath — to the cartoning and casepacking operations. After carton forming, the lines rely on BluePrint Automation (BPA) robotic carton loaders, which can pick and place bars into a variety of carton formats. Changeovers can be made via touch screens.

At full operation, the automated robotic cartoning system has the flexibility to load multiple caddy configurations simultaneously, delivering ultimate packaging flexibility on the production line without the need for stoppages associated with carton or case changeovers. Cartons with different counts can easily be packed on the same production run without an interruption in production. Each line has redundant robots so if one or two lines needs a new suction cup, for instance, the operation keeps running smoothly.

The cartons next head to a series of BPA robotic casepackers. The sealed cases travel up vertical spiral conveyors, painted Clif Bar red, then along an elevated conveyor to the warehouse, then down more conveyors to a Kaufman robotic palletizing system and shrink wrapper — one for each production line. Each pallet carries a coded label to provide the end of the closed-loop lot-tracking process.

The cases are then stored in the warehouse and held until third-party microbial testing is completed.