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GP50 Yaskawa robots in use at major Brazilian confectionery manufacturer I.B.A.C.

Chocolate and production display in Brazil

Trikno AG enables major customer in Brazil to massively expand production

Brazil is the largest country in South America in terms of area and 200 times larger than Switzerland. It occupies almost 50 percent of the continent. And when INDUSTRIA BRASILEIRA DE ALIMENTOS E CHOCOLATES LTDA, or I.B.A.C. for short, wants to open over 1,000 new sales stores for the country's almost 250 million inhabitants and at the same time launch new products on the market, it is a huge undertaking - for which it needs a reliable partner like Trikno ...

The challenge

The large Brazilian confectionery manufacturer I.B.A.C. has long relied on the performance and the proverbial reliability and quality of our machines and plants. But this project was also special for Trikno. The customer planned to open around 1000 new sales stores in 2022 and another 600 stores in 2023. This required a massive expansion of production at the São Paulo site with a high degree of automation and maximum reliability and efficiency. At the same time, new products were to be manufactured. But that was not all: the new production plant, according to Trikno's requirements, was also to serve as a showcase production facility for investors, as well as for I.B.A.C.'s store operators and franchisees. An exciting and complex challenge - as we at Trikno love it!

Our mission

Our task was to develop a highly efficient plant with high output on which various "one-shot"1 -filled chocolates can be produced. The pralines were to be formed in the final sales packaging - i.e. directly in the blister. Maximum precision and cleanliness are essential here.
In addition, a cookie feeder2 should be integrated.
Since the facility was to serve as a demonstration plant for investors and franchisees, the essential production steps had to be clearly visible and traceable. And as always in the food industry, the highest standards of cleanliness and precision applied. and. It occupies almost 50 percent of the continent. And when INDUSTRIA BRASILEIRA DE ALIMENTOS E CHOCOLATES LTDA, or I.B.A.C. for short, wants to open over 1,000 new sales stores for the country's almost 250 million inhabitants and at the same time launch new products on the market, it is a huge undertaking - for which it needs a reliable partner like Trikno ...

Why Trikno?

I.B.A.C. has been successfully using Knobel brand machines and plants for many years. About half of the I.B.A.C. machinery and equipment fleet bears our brand logo. We are the global technology leader in "one-shot"1 -filled products and also in "decorating"3 . Our machines are known in the market for extremely precise and clean production steps. Since the final product is formed directly in the blister, there is no room for error or inaccuracy.
Thus, it was clear for I.B.A.C. to again rely on "Knobel by Trikno" for the 7th production plant at the São Paulo site. 

The Trikno solution

The project was quite impressive in its complexity and size, but Trikno has a variety of machines and equipment on offer for both small and large confectionery manufacturers.
Our proven casting machines and our HiFlex4 technology were used in the realization of the new plant. We designed generously glassed cooling cells. Here, the molds with the chocolate products are cooled. For the highest possible degree of automation, ideal cooling and perfect cleaning, we decided to integrate Yaskawa GP50 food-grade robots. And it was precisely here that problems arose in an unexpected place: Since molds are not standardized and each confectionery manufacturer uses its own molds, special gripping tools are required for each mold so that the robots can grip and move the molds. These gripping tools must be specially designed and manufactured, and our initial design proved unsuitable. Recognize and admit mistakes. Learn from it. Back to the drawing board. New thoughts and ideas, new designs - this is also part of the corporate culture at Trikno. After several adjustments, we finally developed highly functional and reliable gripping tools that allowed the robots to really get going - which, by the way, also looks undeniably cool and futuristic.

During the integration of the robots, we received significant support from the innovative Swiss company SwissDrives AG. Swiss Drives distributes all types of robots made by the Japanese brand Yaskawa. Yaskawa is not only one of the most renowned robot manufacturers, but also has a worldwide service network, including service points in Brazil. But SwissDrives is much more than just a distributor of robots: SwissDrives' engineering experts carried out extensive 3-D simulations and tests for us on how the robots could best be set up and operated economically in the given space conditions for the intended work. On site, the robots could then be installed directly as Swiss Drives had simulated it for us beforehand. Thanks to the cooperation with SwissDrives AG and the integration of these robots, we can offer I.B.A.C. not only a high-quality product, but also a reliable one with the best service options.

Even other hurdles such as the initial travel restrictions for Brazil or the coordination with the robot manufacturer, the casting mold manufacturer and the new I.B.A.C. project team could not stop us at Trikno. And all this while at the same time the Knobel Group was taken over by Trikno AG and production, assembly and commissioning were completely restructured.

The result

With the K7 plant, I.B.A.C. has got exactly the showroom and production facility in São Paulo that the company needs: a plant with a high output of different, high-quality products, efficient and reliable - and at the same time an impressive, literally vitreous presentation site for technology and production.

The Trikno DNA in the final product

Our equipment is durable as well as energy efficient and delivers high performance with unique precision and cleanliness. The production of pre-decorated3 , assorted "one-shot"1 -filled chocolates is the core of our diverse competences - here we are the world market leader and offer exactly what the customer wants.

Customer benefits
  • On the one hand, the plant fulfills the customer's wish for a massive increase in production.
  • On the other hand, our design enables excellent accessibility to the plant - this leads to better and easier cleaning options and thus to greatly reduced downtimes.
  • The trend-setting robotic cooling cells allow optimal adaptation of the cooling times to the respective product.
  • Designed as an open presentation system, this production facility shows very clearly what modern production looks like today. This creates confidence among investors and franchisees.
What does the customer say?

"We are proud to keep our long-time customers happy. I.B.A.C. is pleased to have a state-of-the-art facility and clean, presentable processes, as well as a new production site that not only looks good but also delivers high output in the best I.B.A.C. quality -, and highly professional project execution despite all adversities."

What does Trikno say?

"With every project, we continue to learn. There is no standing still, there is no resting. Nothing is as unimportant as our success of yesterday. It is our job to make our customers happy tomorrow and the day after. This also includes recognizing mistakes and learning from them. In the course of this project, we were able to massively expand our competencies in the area of robot integration, and we learned a lot in the field of robot programming. Despite external adversities - cue Corona restrictions or the acquisition of Knobel by Trikno - it turned out that we can solve any problem and create a unique work result due to long-term, trusting partnerships with customers and suppliers. Alone, you may move forward the fastest - but together, you still go the farthest.""  Volker Heitzer, Head Trikno Process Department.

"You have exciting ideas and want to develop new products?

Do you have questions about this project or are you currently planning your own project? We are glad to support you. Please contact us via E-Mail: We will get in touch with you!

Glossary of Terms:

1: One Shot is a pouring process used to produce a praline, for example, in which chocolate and a filling are poured simultaneously through an inner and outer nozzle. The filling is 100 percent encased in chocolate. This saves the time-consuming process of first making a shell or casing, filling it and then closing it again with chocolate.
2: A cookie feeder is a device for automatically inserting cookies into the production molds. Usually the liquid chocolate ( e.g. for Petite Beurre) is already in the mold. The cookie is placed in the mold and lightly pressed.
3: Decorating is the detailed design of hollow figures, chocolates, chocolate bars or lollies - or highly accurate make-up and design of cakes, sponge cakes and pastries.
4:Hi-Flex is a robot system especially designed for handling tasks with high speed and repeatability (better than 0.1 mm). These robots do not have "arms" and "joints" as known from common robots. Instead, they utilize scissor system that can perform movements both vertically and horizontally according to the principle of a pantograph. Thanks to the extremely rigid design of the scissors, motion sequences such as transferring pallets from one place to the next or sucking chocolates from the pallets and placing them in sales packaging can be performed with high speed and repeatability and without vibration. Gearless and virtually maintenance-free, this system allows faster and more precise movement cycles than a classic robot.