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SICK’s Luminescence Sensors Prevent Material Waste in Tea Bag Machines

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article image Compact Luminescence Sensors from SICK detect label end and prevent unnecessary waste
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Luminescence sensors from SICK are being used to prevent label wastage in tea bag production at Lipton Unilever’s factory in Dubai.  

Lipton Unilever runs the largest tea bag production factory in the Middle East and is located in the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, UAE.  

The production facility consists of 43 tea bag machines where filter paper pouches are filled with loose tea at high speeds and sealed by means of knurling to make individual tea bags.  

A thread is then attached to the top of each tea bag and a tea label is tied to the thread by the machine. The labels are fed in off rolls, and each machine uses 16 rolls per day. For process reasons, around 50 labels need to be left on each roll when the rolls are changed.  

By automatically detecting the end of each label roll, Lipton Dubai could prevent the wastage of more than 12.5 million labels each year.  

SICK Dubai provided a suitable solution for automatic label detection in the form of luminescence sensors.   

Luminescence sensors (LUT9) from SICK offered the capability for reliable detection and space-saving integration into the machines.  

Capable of working in the harsh environment, SICK’s sensor solutions use invisible emitted UV light to illuminate a label at the end of the string, which is marked with luminophores, thus reliably detecting the end of the roll.  

The sensors indicate when the actual end of the label roll has been reached, allowing productive use of all the labels and preventing more than 12.5 million labels per year from going to waste.  

The compact design of the luminescence sensors allows them to be mounted directly in front of the label roll without large-scale modifications to the machine.  

Key benefits for Lipton Dubai:

  • Environmentally sustainable production processes
  • Efficient use of materials in tea bag manufacturing  
  • Sustainable prevention of waste and reject costs 
A decisive factor for Lipton was the fact that SICK had been working with the manufacturer of the tea bag machines, the Düsseldorf-based Teepack for many years, and was thus able to use its experience to precisely tailor the solution to the individual requirements and ambient conditions in the machines.  

Additionally, the local SICK agent was able to test different sensor technologies in advance for the customer, ensuring an integration-friendly, highly available and future-proof solution. 

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