Industry knowhow and technological expertise drive highly effective coffee packaging collaboration
In a constantly evolving world such as the one in which we operate today, companies are increasingly oriented to adopt integration models, forge alliances and partnerships with various actors at different stages in the production chain, in order to be able to respond quickly to the changes, meeting customers’ needs for a greater production flexibility. These phenomena are also present in the commodity markets, such as that of coffee, considering that the current pandemic has given a strong boost to the ability to create tailor-made solutions for customers, where projects shared between leading companies in the coffee sector have managed to give effectively response to the different production needs, allowing, so to speak, to have a sort of single interlocutor for specific production segments.
In this new context, successful companies have been able to create further added value, allowing the creation of customized turn-key solutions for a simplified and efficient management of the various industrial processes, while leaving the customer the widest decision-making autonomy to maintain selectively their preferred partners. Two leading Italian packaging companies are moving in this direction. Opem S.p.A. and Cama Group S.p.A. have actively collaborated on various projects in the coffee sector.
“We at Opem – explains Elena Binacchi, Head of Communication and Marketing at Opem – have always placed customers at the center of our business model. Our commitment has always been aimed at finding innovative solutions to improve the performance and enhance the quality of our systems. This business philosophy has led us to the highest levels of technology, capable of meeting the market production developments, while maintaining detailed attention to its products. Nowadays, market requires more and more immediate responses to the various changes taking place, so the option of establishing partnerships and presenting oneself in front of the customer even with turn-key solutions linked to the automation of various industrial transformation processes represents a further step forward towards a constant and uninterrupted optimization of the production processes, an interconnection without bottlenecks and with the ability to intervene promptly to ensure the highest standards of efficiency of the production site, all with an eye to energy saving and the development of a constantly improving environmental management”.
Speaking of cutting-edge solutions, the Pegaso CR-16 capsule filling system, a 16-lane packaging machine for Nespresso® compatible aluminum capsules, will certainly not go unnoticed this year at Opem’s Booth during Host Milan (21st-26th October – Pav. 22P, Booth# E04), a technological jewel that allows high-performance productions (1,200 capsules per minute), with great attention to the aesthetics of the package produced and maximum guarantee of the seal over the time.
Another key element that characterizes and defines the applications required by the industry is certainly that of customization, meant as the ability to conceive and shape unique projects capable of satisfying particularly complex requests and requirements, which are difficult to deal with standardised solutions. On this extremely important aspect, alliances and partnerships offer the opportunity to design and develop solutions with a broad vision that fully responds to all customer needs, making the most of know-how and specific skills.
“Opem and Cama represent the concrete example of versatility that allows a predisposition to flexibility and the ability to customize, I believe not yet reached on the market” comments Franco Lupi, Head of R&D Department at Opem. “On the part of the two companies there are not only synergies but also really important project development skills. Collaborating in a very close and direct way, and above all, having the flexibility of a whole series of platforms that can be proposed by both sides, we are able to calibrate and develop systems specifically, built around the real and peculiar customer’s production needs, which no supplier is currently able to match. A qualitative element that goes well beyond the strategy of acting as the sole interlocutor of the customer by providing, for example, complete solutions from the managing of the green coffee to the final packaging stage. Thanks to the different sectors in which we have worked and the ability to field many different and broad experiences, we have the capacity to propose a decidedly articulated range of solutions. From a purely technological point of view, I would point out that both companies work on the same automation platforms which allows us to develop projects even in a totally integrated way. If on the one hand we therefore have the possibility of using our machines considering them as independent elements to be combined with the end-of-line packaging machines through product conveying systems, on the other hand we have the capability to study and design monobloc type machines, as if they were totally integrated units”.
New collaboration strategies and development of shared projects to be ready, punctual and precise in the coffee market. This in short is the fil rouge that Cama sees as a cornerstone for being a successful partner also in the roasting segment. “Thanks to the fact that Cama now has a reference figure like Renato Dell’Oro dedicated to the coffee sector – points out Paola Fraschini, Marketing Manager of Cama Group – we recently met Opem to offer excellent application relating to secondary packaging even for that section of market requiring slower production lines. In the single-dose market we are therefore able to meet the various production needs with flexible and efficient solutions”.
“Having a broad know-how in terms of skills, experience, and always being in step with the industry professionals’ packaging needs by anticipating future trends is the correct way to approach the market” continues Renato Dell’Oro, Global Account Manager at Cama Group. “Together with Opem we’ve developed projects at the level of turnkey packaging plants at the service of the global coffee industry that are the flagship of Made-in-Italy excellence, where customers have had the opportunity to communicate with a single interlocutor for the development and customization of the whole packaging system. We started working in single-serve coffee packaging more than 15 years ago, along with the rise of Nespresso, developing particular attention to the integrity of the capsule. Flexibility, capacity and efficiency are priority elements when developing end-of-line solutions dedicated to the sector. Our machines are often used in 24/7 production, with very limited timing for downtime, therefore they must always be efficient. Our focus on preventative maintenance helps our users to maintain machines in perfect working order. While coffee capsules have traditionally been loaded in a nested configuration for an optimal space occupation as well as casing protection, alternative solutions are becoming increasingly popular in the coffee industry. Differentiation becomes a fundamental element to make a product stand out from the different ones offered on the retail shelf. Original configurations and secondary packaging impact are some of the ways in which a product can capture customer’s interest even before the coffee contained inside”.
Case study: integrated packaging solution
In recent times, the result of the collaboration between the two leading packaging companies has given rise to a specific application for a well-known Italian roaster, one of the cases of joint activity, which resulted in the perfect combination of two packaging machines developed for Nespresso Professional® compatible pods. The request started from creating an integrated automation line characterized by a similar construction technology, in a specific configuration that can fit the customer’s available production space. An Opem specialized filling pods machine connected to a Cama integrated end-of-line system designed for specific packages was proposed. The connection between the two plants allowed the integrated management of flows and a rationalized footprint of the line.
Integrated system in detail
Coffee pods are formed through the Opem multi-lane packaging machine for Nespresso Professional ® compatible pods. The machine allows you to manage various types of ground coffee ensuring a perfect repeatability of the optimal pods’ shapes, excellent consistency of weights and high attention to the aesthetics of the package. Cama is supplying an IF315 monoblock machine for loading pods into cardboard boxes and a Wrap Around FW746 case packer. The IF315, a robotic, integrated monoblock loading system, receives up to 500 pods per minute that are sent in two lines. The Cama loading machine assembles boxes from a cardboard template, organizes the pods according to the load configuration required, loads them inside the boxes and then, thanks to the integrated closing machine, ensures the boxes are closed properly as they are then sent to the Cama Wrap-Around machine and the sales units are loaded into cases for transportation.
Not only is the Cama end-of-line solution extremely reliable, it also takes up less space thanks to the integration of a carton former machine, 2 x Triaflex robots and a closing machine – all in the same unit. As the machine is ‘cabinet free’, this means the line and the packer can be easily accessed from any point. Processed products undergo visual checks both at the output of the closing machine, where a photocell checks that the boxes are perfectly square and all the flaps are glued (non-compliant boxes are removed and the capsules contained therein can be distributed), and at the output of the cartoning machine, where the assembled boxes are checked – with no input needed from an operator – to make sure they are perfect before they are sent to the final palletization station. Another of the system’s features is the integration of product encoders. The SLC350 Markem laser is integrated in the monoblock machine to print production and traceability information for single boxes. A similar operation is carried out in the assembly and closing stages for the final packaging units, where the Markem 5800 resin encoder prints the information required to complete the traceability process for assembled wrap-around cases.
Knowledge sharing in the Smart Packaging Hub
In a globalized, increasingly competitive and constantly evolving world, companies must be able to exploit all factors to their advantage. Adapting to constantly changing environments is no longer enough, it is necessary to transform change into growth opportunities thanks to the enhancement of knowledge and the sharing of knowledge, experiences and information. With this logic, Smart Packaging Hub was born, a reference point for technological innovation and digitalization in Food & Beverage industry, an online platform and virtual meeting place where to discuss innovative projects with the major experts in the sector and where to access an exclusive calendar of contents and technological events. The initiative was born from the idea of seven companies – Baumer, Cama Group, Clevertech, Makro, Opem, Tosa and Zacmi – which, after examining the market situation and the emerging difficulties connected to the global pandemic, have drawn new strength and new business opportunities, creating an environment for meetings and discussions dedicated to industry professionals, including the coffee sector.
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