IceFish 2024 exhibitor Beckhoff Automation ApS has been providing control technology for use in the packaging industry for over 20 years, optimising processes and machinery in a wide variety of business sectors, including cosmetics, pharma, medical technology, and food and beverages. Among its customers is Danish packaging manufacturer Beck Pack Systems A/S, which provides approximately 95% of the of packaging materials used globally for fish.

As part of its solution to automate inspections before the packaging leaves its factory, Beck Pack Systems has introduced a helper that checks more than 200,000 items of packaging every day before they are sent to fish factories around the world.

Producing fish packaging sounds like a simple task: Cardboard is die-cut into sheets with crease lines and coated with a layer of wax to protect the cut fillets, which are later packed and frozen in fish factories. However, to stay on top of the competition, Beck Pack Systems must constantly improve its quality and waste reduction.

For more than 50 years, Beck Pack Systems, based in Rønne on the island of Bornholm, has been supplying packaging primarily to the global fishing industry, and is among the first to implement an integrated vision solution for its production. Premium quality is the key to guaranteeing a competitive edge, and this is where the vision application from Graphic Robotics ApS and Beckhoff Automation comes in.

The cardboard must be perfectly die-cut and the scored lines must be 100% accurate. Additionally, the inner waxed lining must ensure the fish remains fresh and can be kept in the freezer for up to several years. The finished sheet, called a “Beck liner”, is folded at fish factories around the world or right on the ships once the fish is landed and cut.

“We produce hundreds of thousands of sheets a day, so checking them all manually would be an impossible task. Vision allows us to automate this process. All the sheets are cross-scanned and data is collected in real-time. This improves quality and gets us closer to a perfect product. It gives us great comfort to know that the error rate on all the sheets leaving our factory is very close to zero and that we are getting better at reducing waste every day,” said Lars Krusell, Quality and Sustainability Manager at Beck Pack Systems A/S and Beck Pack Systems Inc.

The inspection machine was developed by Graphic Robotics in collaboration with Beckhoff Automation, who provided PLCs and the TwinCAT software platform for control, including TwinCAT Vision, as well as consulting services.

“It has been important for us to find a machine that can both scan a sheet and make a decision about its quality in a matter of milliseconds. We can do this, because vision is integrated into the control. There is no need for an additional interface between the PLCs and vision. The machine runs through four sheets per second and it’s an extremely advanced process with super-fast image processing and real-time accuracy. This ensures the inspection is a success,” said Bo Folkmann, Production Manager at Beck Pack Systems A/S.

“The vision project, which we expect to be completed in 2024, makes us smarter when it comes to our packaging because we can now find out where errors can occur in the process and prevent them. We’re not doing this because we get a lot of complaints about our Beck liners, and we’re in a strong position because we have the biggest share of the global market. Vision simply ensures that all Beck liners are checked for surface defects and sorted before packaging and further distribution. At the same time, we are continuing to automate our production processes to minimise waste from start to finish,” Krusell said.

Beckhoff Automation will be looking forward to welcoming visitors to their stand G52 during Icefish.


Caption: TwinCAT Vision is a complete system-integrated image processing solution for inspection and quality control. Configuration and programming tasks are performed in the familiar PLC environment. In addition, all control functions related to image processing are synchronised in real-time

BeckPack (68)

BeckPack (68)