A perfect run
THE (ALMOST) PERFECT CIGAR PRODUCTION LINE – Decouflé and Hauni teamed up to achieve this ambitious goal. The solution was developed as a cooperation between several companies in the Hauni Group and delivers both flexibility and efficiency.
Decouflé’s motto "Your business is unique – so are our solutions" clearly positions Hauni’s French subsidiary as a provider of tailor-made products and services in the tobacco market. The challenge from its customer was clear: design a new cigar maker that is capable of manufacturing three different products on the same line.
It certainly sounded like a job for Decouflé – and its partners in the Hauni Group. Sodim and Borgwaldt contributed their know-how in the field of measurement technology and Borgwaldt Flavor its expertise in flavors, while Hauni supplied the special subassemblies and logistics. "Team work was the most important factor in the success of our project," says Arnaud Masson, Project Manager at Decouflé. Its success is underlined by some remarkable statistics: during the official final acceptance by the customer, the revised and upgraded cigar line completed a perfect, non-stop run of eight hours with an efficiency of 99.92 percent.
Extensive to-do list
In addition to the "three-product requirement", the developers’ to-do list contained further challenges. The time required for product format changes – the line produces cigars with and without shaped heads, or with a shaped head of a different diameter – should be approx. five hours. And conversion to other tobacco varieties should be completed in just two hours. Moreover, it should be capable of making up to 1,200 cigars per minute and feature integrated weight control and flavor spraying functions. The design specifications also included an automatic tray filling function and a more compact overall footprint. The special challenges of the project were quick to emerge: the different properties of the threshed tobacco – sometimes with, sometimes without flavor – and the recon binders used instead of paper. The special formats, which differ greatly from those of standard cigarettes or cigarillos, required a high level of attention from everyone involved in the project.
We have clearly beaten the goal of less than two percent total waste.
Project Manager at Decouflé
Integrated high-end solutions
The team worked on the modular solution for nearly one and a half years. By the end of the project, they had built a production line that starts with a "DN-C" rod maker from Decouflé’s tried-and-tested Nano-C cigarillo maker. A Variomat-N then shapes the cigar’s characteristic conical head. Cigars that do not require shaping bypass this stage via an ET elliptical transfer unit. This increases the flexibility of the cigar production line still further. A Uniflow 2 automated tray filler from Universelle was modified for the loading and unloading of cigars.
The project managers responsible for the modification of the cigar line integrated high-end solutions from other machines manufactured by Hauni. Instead of a conventional mass flow conveyor system, the specialists installed a drum-based tip-turning system normally found in cigarette makers. For flavor spraying, they chose an applicator from the PROTOS M-generation cigarette maker which usually sprays aromas onto flavored kretek cigarettes.
99.92 percent Efficiency is an outstanding result.
Project Manager at Decouflé
Modification is the key to success
The new solution has just half the footprint of its predecessor. "This is primarily due to the extensive modifications we made to the Variomat-N," explains Masson. It was this machine into which the team integrated the flavor spraying solution, the bypass drum and a tip-turning drum that is suitable for cigars with a diameter of up to 12 mm and a length of up to 120 mm.The acceptance runs produced outstanding results and surpassed the agreed goals in every respect – including better efficiency, a lower rejection rate and faster tobacco and format changes. "This is an outstanding level of performance and we, as a team, are very proud of our achievement," says Masson. The consistent "one team" approach impressed customers (literally) right along the line. Decouflé has also benefited from the project. "With this line, we have an attractive solution with a compact design and impressive performance for the entire cigar industry," explains Nicholas Müllem, Managing Director at Decouflé."