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Optimising the food packaging process

manufacturing packaging laser coding

The customer for this project is well-known UK manufacturer of chocolate products. 

motion control for automation


At the quality assurance end of the processing lines in their UK factory – as the products are filtered into the packaging area – each pack is laser-coded with batch details, date and product type, then inspected with a digital camera to ensure the correct details are in place before they are wrapped and shipped.

Currently, the conveyor runs through a laser and camera section of the product line which performs this process. The issue was that each time the manufacturing line switched to another product batch, the line had to be stopped and an engineer had to adapt the set-up for the new pack size, resulting in costly downtime, and effectively stopping the manufacturing process.

manufacturing packaging laser coding


This solution not only reduces the time it takes to set-up the laser and camera in-between product batch changes, but the process itself is straight-forward and can be set by one of the line operators, without the need of an engineer.

The system itself is relatively simple, keeping costs down, but very effective. It is also a non-magnetic and corrosion resistant solution which is very rugged for the food packaging environment.

The benches that sit under the conveyor belts, have the BiSlide and UniSlide linear dovetail slides mounted to them. The manually operated linear slides are easy to operate and allow the operators to very quickly make reliable adjustments to within 0.1 mm without the need for specialist measuring equipment.

The complete assembly of MiniTec modular aluminium profile bench and multi-axis configuration of linear slides sits under the existing conveyor lines and the lasers and cameras are attached to the UniSlide that allow for the fine adjustment.

The complete package identification and inspection process can now be quickly changed and accurately set for each product, reducing downtime in the plant, increasing productivity and raising overall efficiency of the facility.

Pictured are the four systems, each set at different heights, having their final check before being shipped to the customer.

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