PicknPack: Flexible food packaging systems

The PicknPack project developed and demonstrated a flexible robotized production line to assess quality and pack fresh and processed food products. The project was executed between 2012 and 2016

Tomatoes, grapes, chicken breasts...

The project delivered several modules and technologies that could be applied in future food packaging lines. The focus of the project was aiming for more flexibility and short changeover times to change from one to another product within seconds without huge losses of packaging material and spillage of food. With these technologies it should be easier to adapt to customer demands. Secondly it should be possible to use the line for many different food products to adapt to a larger market, so that robotized lines become interesting for smaller and seasonal products. Target products in the project were vine shaped tomatoes, grapes and chicken breasts. Not the most easy product to handle with robots.

PicknPack - de totale productielijn

Flexible packaging machines

Packaging machines are often designed to pack one specific product. The scientific challenge within the PicknPack project was to develop generic methods to assess quality, to adapt robotic handling in an easy way and flexible pack all kind of food products. The main system focussed on three basic functions:

  1. A flexible quality assessment module
  2. A flexible robotic module to handle food products and to clean the line
  3. A flexible packaging module to form, seal, cut, perforate and inspect pakages

Next to these modules the project developed a software framework to integrate modules in a flexible way softwarelanguage and vendor independently.


Wageningen University & Research coordinated the project and worked together with the Danish Technological Institure, Tecnalia Research and Innovation, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, University of Manchester, Fraunhofer AVV, Lacquey BV, ITENE, Spectroscan, Marel, Tecnalia-AZTI, Cam-Tech A/S, XaarJet AB, Marks & Spencer.

The PicknPack project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement nr 311987 and was partly cofinancnaced by the Topsector Tuinbouw en Uitgangsmaterialen en de Topsector Agrifood.