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SACMI – Coffee capsules, the new frontier of compression technology

Solutions for compostable, self-protecting capsules are already available, while the future looks decidedly “multilayer”.

A complete array of coffee capsule manufacturing solutions, with total running/management costs (TCO, total cost of ownership) that are the lowest in the industry. This, then, is what Sacmi has to offer the industry just three years on from its first application for the development of a single-serve capsule manufactured using compression technology. Today, Sacmi can boast numerous installations with leading firms in the industry and has a host of new developments in progress on both the technological and new materials fronts.
Thanks to a development policy that focuses on continuous innovation (€65 million invested in R&D in 2016 alone), Sacmi has fine-tuned what is, according to hard data, the most competitive technology on the market for the manufacture of such products. Indeed, recent market analysis suggests such solutions will account for over 75% of overall growth on the world coffee market from now until 2020 (in an industry that already produces and sells over 30 billion plastic capsules a year). The technological core of the solution is the CCM (continuous compression moulding), the Sacmi compression press that, with just 32 cavities, lets manufacturers produce ultra-light capsules with outstanding quality/seal characteristics at speeds of up to 800 capsules/minute.

The system has several advantages. Above all, energy savings can top 30% compared to the alternative injection technology (thanks to the special, low-temperature extrusion process). The result is a combination of high productivity and the shortest cycle times in the industry (2.4 - 3.2 seconds). Then, there is another key advantage that has attracted manufacturers' attention (and made a key contribution to enhancing process efficiency and lowering costs): with compression, each cavity can be managed independently. This possibility, exclusive to this technology, is a huge plus-point when it comes to both maintenance and quality control; the latter is also aided by the integration of advanced Sacmi vision systems which operate in-line and at ultra-high speeds, allowing real-time identification of faulty capsules (and the relative cavity number to ensure immediate identification of the origin of the defect). The outcome is maximum “opening performance” repeatability and a total guarantee on every capsule.

And that's not all: being able to process the material at lower temperatures and handle the plastic in a more viscous state has allowed Sacmi to develop applications for special, compostable materials, all against a TCO (total cost of ownership) that is at least 10-15% less than that of alternative solutions. Moreover, Sacmi can provide customers with support for closed systems (proprietary capsules) and open systems (i.e., the compatible capsules) that are steadily gaining more and more ground on the market.

Through Sacmi Filling, the Group also offers complete development of capsules thermoformed with form-fill-seal technology. The next step? At present we're developing a “multilayer solution”: a capsule consisting of various layers of plastic material that protect the content: a solution that will require further advances in compression technology, a field in which Sacmi leads the world with over 1,700 systems installed all over the globe.


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