Companies reap rewards from Interpack
After three years of waiting, Interpack 2017 lived up to the significant pre-event build-up with a wide range of packaging developments. Neill Barston reports.
The integration of digital technology took centre stage at this year’s Interpack, as confectionery businesses made a series of major equipment launches.
During the week-long show in Dusseldorf, there were plenty of surprises with manufacturers delivering their latest innovations across the event.
An eclectic mix of around 400 confectionery companies displayed machinery and services from an overall figure of 2,865 exhibitors participating in the event.
From robotic picking systems, through to virtual reality headsets for maintenance engineers to repair machinery remotely around the world, the ‘Internet of Things’ and Industry 4.0 proved a dominant central theme.
According to event organisers, the total attendance between May 4th and 10th matched previous levels, recording a total of 170,500 visitors from 168 countries.
This translated into success for many exhibitors in terms of sales statistics – while official figures are not recorded by show organisers, a number of companies have reported encouraging results from the packaging extravaganza.
This included Australian packaging business tna, with the business recording equipment revenues totalling seven million euros from the event.
“Interpack is an absolute must-go event for companies in this industry and provides unique momentum. Every three years it is not only a one-of-a-kind performance showcase, but also the place where suppliers and customers from all over the world get together to network and do business,” underlines Friedbert Klefenz, President of interpack 2017.
Throughout the week, visitors were treated to a host of equipment relating to advanced digital systems – which has become known as Industry 4.0 in Germany, and how this is linked to sustainable production methods.
Among those leading the way on this front was Buhler, which staged a series of networking days exploring how the company is steadily improving its technology to increase its efficiency and management.
Daniel Troxler, marketing director, said: “We have a lot of digitalisation that we are putting a large amount of effort into, which has been seen with data collection systems to understand production processes and take corrective actions. This has been shown, for example, with one of our chocolate production lines for dosing mixing, refining and conching.
“There are cameras and thickness measuring systems communicating with each other, in which the camera might detect one of the machine rolls not taking chocolate properly. Depending on the patterns found, it will send information to the prefiner to change formulations, so that we will have perfect quality. This is the first time that we have shown such auto correction systems.”
Mr Troxler explained that with its sizeable market share, the company had a responsibility to increase product efficiency, given the fact that between the entire planting and production phases, waste levels of around 30% were recorded through the processing chain.
He added: “Another issue we are tackling is that energy requirements in processing are too high – we use too much energy for the production of chocolate, nuts and bars. We have initiatives to reduce those energy levels by 30 per cent.”
One of the most striking stands from the show was that of German manufacturer Bosch, which offered a series of demonstrations on its latest releases – that included three new biscuit production lines (see our German focus for more on the company’s latest industry insight).
Meanwhile, Haas attracted plenty of interest in its range of packaging equipment across its four divisions, including advanced web-based maintenance systems.
From a market leading wafer wire cutter (the 6110), continuous aerating systems for cakes and chocolates, through to the premium SWAKT-eco oven, the company reported high levels of response to its lines of equipment. The company hosted a series of demonstrations including its ideation room showcasing latest confectionery developments.
There was also plenty of interest in GEA’s major stand, with the company having just launched its Aquarius coating line, which is reportedly the world´s only fully automated line which forms, cools, coats and wraps lollipops.
The company’s team was also on hand to demonstrate its Aquarius BunchWrapper, showcasing two innovative labelling techniques.
Visitors were also invited to taste a series of coated lollipops on a special tasting bar to get inspired for ideas to coat their lollipops.
Among the company’s many other innovations for the show were two GEA SmartPackers, vertical form fill and seal (VFFS) packaging machines, are on display, the latest CX400 in a hygienic execution, and a CX250 with a multihead weigher. See our July edition for more on the company’s latest lollipop equipment.
Another major exhibitor producing flow packing system applied within confectionery was Theegarten-Pactec, which included machinery for wafers and biscuits.
The company said: “With a total of eleven exhibits, the company presented the wide diversity of wrapping styles and the high performance of its machines for packaging small-pieced confectionery and other products. At the same time, visitors to the fair had an opportunity to experience the new user interface live, with which all packaging machines are equipped as standard and which allows intuitive machine operation even by mobile devices.
“Of particular interest was the new total solution for powder or granulate compression with subsequent primary packaging in flow packs. The system combines the proven FPC5 packaging machine with units from AZO and Romaco Kilian.”
As the German packaging business revealed, a further highlight was the new CFW-D high-performance packaging machine, which achieves a new record in the confectionery industry. It packs moulded or coated chocolate products such as napolitains or small pralines with an output of up to 1,400 products per minute in fold wrap, with or without sleeves.
UK exhibitor AMP Rose also found plenty of interest in its compact, flexible and Smart Factory ready X-Pax solution. This multi-function unit is designed for flowpacking bars into multipacks and loading directly into shelf ready display cases, a two in one flowpack and case packer.
Following on from its advanced revolutionary feed system, the company, has taken the system on a step further from its initial release two years ago.
With customer demands on efficiency and flexibility increasing, the company recognised that clients needed solutions that can meet these needs. Industry 4.0 is one of the key factors in helping reach peak efficiency. The X-Pax system can send a stream of data and analysis in real time, as well as show trends over periods of time.
As Esmee Veen, marketing manager of Tanis Food Tec, explained, there had been an especially strong response to its products as the company marked its 25th anniversary at the show.
Within its portfolio was the Rotoplant machine for tempering, aeration and flavouring for filling biscuits, which was nominated for a Rockwell Best Future Machine Award. There were also several other key machines such as its marshmallow extruders.
Esmee Veen said: “Our Marshmallow line was the most attractive machine we brought to Dusseldorf. The coloured nozzle’s, for all kind of mallow shapes were very attractive for the customers. The quantity of leads for marshmallow lines is enormous.”
Another milestone was achieved by Australian firm tna, which marked its 35th birthday, gaining what it described as an unprecedented level of interest in its food processing and packaging solutions.
This included the sale of the company’s Nid M3000 starch mogul on the final day of the show to Maya Food Industries Ltd. Other highlights included the launch of the world’s first ultra-high performance case packer for flexible bags.
“This year’s interpack was a huge success for us,” enthused Shayne De la Force, chief marketing officer at tna.
“We’ve been attending the show for over 30 years now, but the interest in our solutions this year was extraordinary. We’re absolutely thrilled with the sale of our NID mogul on the last day of the show. The entire team did an amazing job, and I’m sure we’ll see even more orders coming through over the next few months as a result of interpack.”
Fellow Australian business EFCA enjoyed a successful appearance at the event, with the company’s chocolate spray gun being a particular focus.
Its latest product is designed to prevent the separation of cocoa solids from cocoa butter/fats and to form droplets of chocolate rather than an atomised spray of chocolate.
As the company explained, while other such systems use high pressure to atomise the chocolate much like a paint spray gun, with the same results - overspray, dust, hygiene issues, the EFCA chocolate spray gun needs only approximately 241 kPa (35 psi) of air pressure.
Manufacturer Tromp also reported considerable interest in its product range, including its pizza and waffle lines that attracted strong interest at the show.
Another company reporting strong success at Interpack was GSR Cocoa Machinery, which has reported increased turnover and expanded its base of employees as the business marks its 25th anniversary.
“All the visitors that stopped by at our stand were very impressed by our newly designed 8/900 press,” said Luigi Turla, CEO and Founder of the company.
“But that’s not all, we also received a lot of compliments for our distinctive way of doing business: attention to every details and dedication to each customer are the keys of our increasing success. These results were just the evidence of the value created day-by-day with and for our clients.”
As the company explained, following the show, GSR is set to benefit from the opportunities offered by the application of Industry 4.0. The company said it is due to invest this year in order to make its presses more reliable, easier to use, more flexible and competitive. According to GSR, its strategy is to create a combination of products and services more connected to the clients’ new digital requests, as it aims to set new standards for the industry.
In terms of its research and development, the company said it is planning to open a new laboratory for tests and trials to be built by the end of the year.
The company said this would be used for different purposes connected to cocoa and other seeds with fat content; it believed that it represented a great opportunity for performing studies and comparisons for improving cocoa processing. Speaking on its anniversary, Giuseppe Turla, managing director of GSR Cocoa machinery, added: “This is an important event for us. But we want to stress that even if we are getting older our flexibility and capillarity remain unchanged.”
Fellow Italian manufacturer Cama also exhibited prominently with its IF318 machine, a new innovative “pitch-less” monoblock platform developed for the robotic forming, loading and closing of cartons.
Rockwell Automation and Microsoft also demonstrated virtual design on a Microsoft HoloLens headset. The experience was created with Cama machine, to introduce the future virtual service and training on the company’s lines.
Cama’s development of a Digital Twin for the machine, together with a Pack ML compliant user interface incorporating both condition based maintenance and predictive maintenance capability, showed its vision of engaging with Industry 4.0.
- Interpack will return in 2020, between 7-13 May.