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1/22/2015
The coffee world encounters Sacmi technology: invincibility guaranteed!

The results of two successful projects to bring the advantages of compression technology to coffee capsule manufacturing: speed, energy savings and the possibility of producing a completely ‘green’ capsule

 

Innovation, efficiency, environmental-friendliness. These are the results of applying continuous compression moulding (CCM) technology to coffee pod (or capsule) production, a global market worth over 10 billion dollars that has, in Western Europe alone, doubled in size over the last 4 years.

At present two Italian companies have adhered to the project, starting with Bologna-based firm ICA, the leading manufacturer of automatic machines for packaging with flexible materials, capsules and water-soluble single-shot products. A holder of over 200 international patents, ICA offers a complete range of coffee roasting solutions, including the innovative capsule developed using the CCM 24 compression press made by Sacmi.
Then there is Milan-based company Mitaca, already a long-standing partner of Illycaffè and a specialist in the design, production and distribution of espresso coffee and other hot drink capsule systems for offices and large-scale businesses. In this case too, the firm chose the CCM 32 produced by Sacmi, as it was deemed to offer the best technology on the market on account of its very short cycle times, energy savings and outstanding product quality thanks to total process repeatability.

A key role in the development of the application – which involved over a year of intense research – was played by Sacmi’s R&D facility which developed the moulds for the capsule together with the customers, from the initial design phase all the way, via the various prototyping steps, to production performance checks and final capsule testing. The outcome: cycle times between 2.4 and 3.2 seconds, depending on the geometry, with traditional materials (PP, HDPE) – at least 50% less than, in the compared cases, the best times attainable with the alternative of injection technology. Then there is the added advantage of being able to implement real-time quality control by identifying any capsule faults, their origin and/or frequency directly on the line, thus allowing immediate correction.

Another plus that also stems directly from this technology – which operates at lower temperatures and allows handling of the dose in a more viscous state than in injection processes – is the possibility of developing tabs with biodegradable materials that, compared to injection, offer advantages in terms of both energy savings and cycle time reduction.

Hence the new “green” capsule that Sacmi has developed with ICA and API, the leading Italian manufacturer of thermoplastic compounds and producer of the APINAT BIO biodegradable product family. One special feature of the capsule is that is can be disposed of directly with organic waste, as it is made of material that is 100% compostable and biodegradable.

For Sacmi – which also provides, via its subsidiary Benco Pack, form-fill-seal technology for the one-step production of thermo-formed capsules – this is an excellent result that paves the way for new market shares in this field.
Enormous potential, then, that could soon involve other ‘pod’ products and extend to further food & drink sectors, such as soups and sparkling drinks: in this regard, for example, American giant Coca-Cola’s recent acquisition of a 10% share of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the biggest producer of capsule products in the US, should be pointed out.

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