Italian coffee giant recognises the need for high flexible secondary packaging solutions and a machine supplier with empathy. Five lines in three years is testament to the trust and capabilities
Established in 1982, Gruppo Gimoka is one of Italy’s leading coffee roasters. The company serves all sectors of the industry, including home, out-of-home/vending and the food industry, where, through its various brands, it delivers beans, ground coffee, pods, capsules and soluble coffee.
The company controls the entire value chain, from green coffee procurement, through rigorous control of all roasting, grinding packaging & encapsulation phases and onto distribution. Its home market accounts for 60% of its sales, with export making up the rest. Over the last six years the company has undertaken a series of initiatives, including managerial growth; enhancement of specialized skills, focusing on blend development and process quality; and significant investment in its production and roasting facilities. All in order to further reinforce its core business “Coffee 360 degrees – be it roast, roast and ground or single-serve”. “The global coffee industry is incredibly competitive, while also facing competition from other beverage sectors,” explains Marco Padelli, son of founder Ivan Padelli. “To stay competitive, you need to be efficient across all stages of the value chain. You also need to innovate, not only to improve existing lines, but also introducing new ones. It is for this reason that we undertake significant investment in research and development, not just in products, but also machines, people, materials and, of course, process & machinery improvements.
“Currently, the market is moving more and more towards single-serve concepts, such as pods and capsules,” Padelli continues, “but we can’t stand still… it could all change again in a very short time and we would need to adapt. Indeed, the changes we face are huge. 10 years ago, there were no capsules, now capsules represent one of the market’s largest segments. They used to be just simple plastic, but now we are seeing capsules made from aluminium or compostable materials, with oxygen barriers – a sign of greater quality – and we have had to adapt our processes and machines to match these market demands.” The issue that companies such as Gimoka face, is how to maintain agility, while also having maximum efficiency, this is especially important in the packaging phase, where as well as product variations, packaging can also change seasonally or in line with promotional activities. Packaging technology has to adapt to what the market needs, and very quickly. Companies simply cannot afford to reinvest in new technology every time there is a market swing, hence the need for highly flexible, multi-capability packaging solutions.
Keeping pace with the market
“We require machine suppliers who can keep pace with us,” Padelli explains. “And this is not just in terms of throughput. We need suppliers who can keep pace with product and packaging changes. Fill technology has evolved, as has secondary packaging, where there is a real drive to make boxes smaller to help with logistics and palletisation. Secondary packaging is end of line, so this pacing is vital. We cannot afford to have machines that slow the downstream processes causing bottle necks. We like speed, we like efficiency! “We must also consider the customer angle,” he adds. “We compete with bigger brands by offering better services to our customer in terms of cost, quality and technology. And to maintain this reputation, we must have suppliers that empathise with our needs and aims.” The promise of 95%+ efficiency was a major facet in the early stages of Gimoka’s relationship with Cama Group. “When we started with Cama we were replacing some older machines, which had technology that could not keep pace with our quality and efficiency demands,” Padelli elaborates. “We had won a big contract and decided to work with Cama, who, as it turns out, is only 30km from us, we have since created a great relationship with the Cama team.
Cama’s first machine was delivered in 2017 and over the period of the next 3 years, another five lines have been equipped with Cama’s secondary packaging technology. The five lines are for packaging single-serve products, for consumer and commercial applications. They comprise:
- Cup line 1: IF318 and IN216 – forming, filling and closing machine + robot
- Cup Line 2: IF296 and FW748 – forming + loading robot unit + wrap
- Pod line 1: IF316 and FW748 – forming + loading robot unit + wrap
- Pod line 2 (tubes): CL153 and + FW751 – cartoning + wrap
- Pod line 3 (Aluminium pods): IF318 + IN216 – forming, filling and closing machine + robot
The diverse array of machine types and variants highlights Cama’s capability to offer multiple packaging solutions, in order to address the precise needs of the customer application. Its Breakthrough Generation (BTG) machines, which are setting the standard in secondary packaging, comprise modular, scalable frameworks that offer easy entry and access, coupled to a hygienic machine design. Within this framework, contemporary automation solutions, including advanced rotary and linear servo technology, is tightly coupled to in-house-developed robotics, to deliver the all-important flexibility and adaptability required by modern packaging operations.
“If you ask me why we chose Cama,” Padelli continues, “you only have to look at our packaging lines, where you will see the machines running without any stops for an entire shift. It is then that you appreciate what it is you have installed. Peace of mind coupled to efficiency and flexibility are the most important things a producer needs and that a machine builder can offer. Coming from another supplier, it was plain to see the differences in the way the two companies work, Cama understands what we need and more importantly why we need it.
“On behalf of the Gimoka team, we know we have made the right choice,” Padelli concludes. “Now what we are doing with Cama is starting projects from scratch rather than bringing them in halfway through or as a replacement. Gimoka was one of the first companies to produce capsules and was a pioneer in the business. It is my honest opinion that if we had chosen Cama at the beginning of our capsule journey, we would have been bigger than we are now.”