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Robots at the heart of soft cheese production

Robots have a long history in cheese production. However, a robot line that can handle six tons of unpackaged soft cheese per hour is a true innovation. This was implemented in a large dairy in Argentina – using Stäubli robots.  


  • Safe compliance with the strictest hygiene standards
  • High productivity
  • Consistent quality
  • Easy cleaning due to robot washdown capability
  • Avoids human intervention 


Fully automated, from milk to soft cheese

NOAL SA, a leading Argentinian cheese manufacturer, commissioned a fully automated production line in which Stäubli robots perform core tasks. One of the main reasons for choosing the robots is their hygienic design.

NOAL processes more than 1.2 million liters of milk per day, making it one of the five largest dairies in Argentina. In 2019, NOAL commissioned a production line in which five Stäubli TX200 HE six-axis robots take over the handling of unpackaged hard cheese in key tasks. A second robot-assisted production line has now been deployed, this time for unpackaged soft cheese. Both lines were designed, built, and installed by ETI S.A, an Argentinian expert in automation technology for the food industry.


Robot-assisted filling and handling of disinfected cheese molds

The three TX200 HE six-axis machines in the new line fill molds with white curd (soft cheese) and handle the molds after maturation. The first TX200 picks up a mold that has already been disinfected and places it in a filling system. A second robot then takes the filled molds and stacks them on a conveyor belt 11 molds at a time.

The stacks are then moved through a 2.5-hour fermentation process. Once the intermediate product has reached the desired pH level, acidification is complete and the stacks are transported to a salt bath, where an additional 2-hour maturation process takes place. Once salting is complete, the stacks of molds are placed on a buffer belt. The third Stäubli robot separates the molds. Finally, the molds are placed on a conveyor belt and transported to a washing station.

This fully automated system, in which Stäubli robots take over the central tasks of handling the product and containers, enables high efficiency and precision in the following process steps: Filling the molds, fermentation, salting, separating and cleaning the molds. Just as in the first line, the Stäubli TX200 HE robots impress with their hygienic design and washdown capability.


Hygiene and productivity at the highest level

Beyond Argentina, NOAL's two robot-assisted production lines are held up as examples of best practices for high productivity in hard and soft cheese making. The standard of hygiene is also regarded as a benchmark throughout the industry. Stäubli robots make a key contribution to this.

Agustin Pfaffen, Sales Manager at E.T.I, explains the reasons for using Stäubli robots: "Our intention is to always offer our customers disruptive solutions. That's why we automated as much as possible. NOAL wanted a clean production line with low operating costs, extremely low maintenance, and as little human intervention as possible. In this case, the logical choice for us was Stäubli. Stäubli is the only robot manufacturer whose hygienic design fits NOAL's production process."