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Savéol is automating the production of its famous cherry tomatoes

3 KUKA palletizing robots enable Savéol to supply fruit and vegetables throughout France by palletizing the cardboard boxes at the end of the line. 

Fresh tomatoes, grown in France without pesticides:

Savéol is a cooperative that has specialized in the production and marketing of fruit and vegetables – or to be more precise: tomatoes and strawberries – for 40 years, supplying numerous supermarkets and hypermarkets in France. The company also exports to Germany, Poland, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Asia. Savéol’s production plant is based in Guipavas, in the Finistère region of Brittany. A year after the automation of one part of the factory, Gérard Moal, Director of Operations at CMO (group holding a controlling interest in Savéol), testifies to the efficiency and the overall benefits of automation in the food-processing industry.

Automation of palletizing at Savéol

New impetus for Savéol

Despite the cooperative’s considerable advantage over its competitors, the French market leader faced up to the constraints preventing it from achieving all of its objectives. Indeed, slow internal process flows and a palletizing system that is both restricted and overly complex disrupt the production rhythm, rendering it less than optimal. These were the reasons that persuaded Savéol to automate its plant in Guipavas. The additional challenge for the producer is to control future developments, including the desire to eliminate all plastic from its packaging
Transportation of the packaged products from the end of the line to the robot
It was during a process of dynamic reconfiguration and rescaling that the cooperative decided, at the start of 2020, to invest in a new palletizing tool combining agility, simplicity and repeatability. One of the decisive criteria was the compactness of the system. The challenge for KUKA and integrator AB Process: to adapt the robots to a specific, predefined space in order to enable integration of the overall solution into the process flow leading away from the packaging lines and towards the warehousing of finished products. The solution proposed by AB Process and the adaptability of the 3 KUKA robots entirely satisfy the requirement specification.

A complementary system

The robotic system installed by AB Process is part of a complementary approach alongside human resources. The robots perform the end-of-line palletizing of the packaged boxes of tomatoes for transportation towards the stocks of finished products. Robotics training at the end customer’s plant does not kill employment, but rather reinvents it, transforming arduous manual tasks into more technical assignments. In this way, Savéol saves its human resources for the preparation and transportation of upstream and downstream orders in the production chain.

The robot handles the packaged products to move them towards stock export.
The KUKA KR QUANTEC robot takes the products (boxes of cherry tomatoes) arriving at the end of the packaging line and transfers them towards the stocks of finished products.

We are satisfied with the level of reliability achieved. Our operators were quick to familiarize themselves with the system and have now mastered its handling. We have achieved all the functions we were hoping for from this tool.

Gérard Moal, Director of Operations at CMO