CRAILSHEIM, GERMANY — Gerhard Schubert GmbH, a German packaging machinery manufacturer, announced on June 24 its future plans involving automation, robots and new management.

The company had a successful fiscal year in 2020 despite the challenge of the pandemic, experiencing a 25% increase in orders compared to 2019. The group is riding that wave of momentum into 2021, already having secured its full amount of annual turnover for the year and beginning to place new orders into 2022.

The construction of a new assembly facility will also begin in the second half of 2021. The company said this will create the space and conditions for up to 300 additional employees.

Johannes Schubert will be joining the leadership ranks and pushing the family-owned business forward, as the grandson of the company founder Gerhard Schubert and son of Gerald Schubert . He assumed the role of managing director in a major subsidiary of the company on July 1.

Schubert automation leadership

From left: Gerhard Schubert, Johannes Schubert, and Gerald Schubert

Schubert said that his grandfather was very influential in his career path.


“He advised me to learn as much as I could in our family’s business,” Johannes Schubert said. “Between 2008 and 2011, I trained as an industrial mechanic at our headquarters in Crailsheim.” After completing his apprenticeship, he worked as a project manager in sales and was a leader on several international projects.

As of this month, he will work with Olaf Horrenberger, managing director, Schubert Packaging Systems, to jointly manage the Schubert Packaging Systems business.

The company is not only expanding its leadership but also its innovations on the automation front. Its cobot, known as “tog” — an industrial robot without a safety area — is now being tested by customers. The machines use image processing with underlying artificial intelligence to enhance flexibility and the level of ease to program.


Automation cobots - SchubertThe cobots automate simple manual processes outside of the of efficient machine sequences and can adapt to new tasks quickly without requiring any programming knowledge. Although it can operate in a protective cell when space is limited, it can also function without a protective cell while maintaining a high level of safety.

Even though the cobots are not collaborative with humans, they are cooperative — meaning they can work well together. Ralf Schubert, managing partner, Gerhard Schubert GmbH, said the company has worked to achieve this with different safety concepts.

“We used image processing to actually teach the cobot how to see,” Ralf Schubert said. “This way, when approached by employees, it gradually reduces its speed until it comes to a complete standstill.”

The machines are being developed by a new division of the group, and the company said an entire family of cobots will follow in the next few years. The target customers are those who have lightweight products that have to be fed into a system very quickly. Gerhard Schubert GmbH said that the cobots will soon offer possibilities within the packaging industry that no other cobot can achieve today.


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