Cama Group discusses new trends in coffee capsule packaging

Cama Group

Cama Group discusses recent trends in the coffee packaging industry, and why all-in-one units are needed more than ever.

Demands and expectations for the packaging of coffee are constantly evolving. For packaging machinery manufacturer Cama Group, this is nothing new.

Cama Group Key Account Coffee Industry Manager Renato Dell’Oro says surveying the coffee industry for new preferences in the packaging stage of production is part of the job.

“There are trends on the market that we have to be compatible with,” Dell’Oro says. “Flexibility is a priority for our customers because the market is forever changing. Often, they have alternate targets so they need different configurations or counts in the boxes.”

Dell’Oro says more customers are factoring in environmental concerns when planning their coffee packaging.

“Nowadays, one of the major trends is material reduction,” he says. “Carbon reduction is important, and all parts of the supply chain can give their contribution to this.”

Cama helps minimise carbon emissions by using efficient motors and reducing the usage of compressed air and adopting the latest pneumatic components. For coffee capsules in particular, Dell’Oro says a return to original materials in the packaging world has become more common in recent years.

“There is a comeback [in market preference] towards using aluminium because it is a more environmentally-friendly option,” he says. “For us, this is good because we are aluminium experts.”

Cama Group is beginning to experiment with how its flagship capsule packaging monoblock IF 318 machine can cooperate with more sustainable materials.

“Many customers are moving towards using recycled or thinner cartons, so we have to find a compromise between carton quality and machine operations in order to keep up with efficiency,” says Dell’Oro.

The IF 318, used in all the industries Cama Group serves, is a representation of how the company has evolved over time to adjust to market demands while staying true to its successful heritage.

“Our history in handling aluminium capsules at high speed dates back to first projects with Nespresso where we started in capsules,” says Dell’Oro. “When we approached other projects with Nespresso compatibles in plastic and bio-based materials, we simply adopted the same [packaging] technology we had before, giving extra care and setting a new level in produce handling.”

Dell’Oro says the voices of clients were at the forefront of Cama Group’s team’s minds when designing the IF 318.

“The IF 318 machine is absolutely an answer to customer needs. Its development was driven by the market and by our clients,” he says.

“In the beginning, the first machines were side loading machines, and then with the evolution of the market and new packaging styles were required, we had to switch to a top loading solution which is more flexible. It’s not that top loading is new and side loading is old, but top loading is just more versatile.

“It is a solution where we combine a box forming machine, robotic product loading, dispensers, and a box closing all in one machine. It has multiple purposes in terms of loading patterns of the capsules.”

In saying this, Dell’Oro says side loading was and is, the most effective solution to handle and pack capsules in carton tubes in high-speed packaging lines.

“It is good to work with side loading capsules,” he says. “It is faster and very effective, but it is not as flexible as when you can use robots to pick up the capsules [and place them into the right configuration].

“Eighty per cent of our projects involve top loading because it allows for higher flexibility, however nowadays we have a good number of enquires on side loading because of the impact of Nespresso compatibles.”

In response to constant customer changes and to provide an alternate to traditional side-loading technology, Cama Group has also proposed its All-in-One machine, an evolution of its monoblock model, specifically for the coffee industry to pack all possible formats from nested capsules to those with carton interleaves or separators.

“The new All-in-One machine can make a tube or any kind of configuration so that the customer is not obliged to buy two different machines,” Dell’Oro says.

Dell’Oro says the All-in-One gives users the chance to use the same machine to load the capsules into multiple formats.

Regardless of the machine preference, Dell’Oro says Cama Group has an option to suit all customer needs and uses its market expertise to guide them into the best possible outcome.

“Based on our experience, we show different box configurations in order to work with [the client’s] marketing department, and together with our packaging department, we can define what is the best way to move forward,” he says.

Usability is one of the key drivers behind the machine’s engineering stage. Dell’Oro says Cama Group strives to make its machines easy to use for anyone in the coffee industry, regardless of professional background.

“A good machine is a machine that protects itself from human mistakes. One of the more common requests is ‘easy-to-use machines’ because customers may invest lots of money on our machines to have engineers use it, but we need to accommodate anyone who may need to access it,” Dell’Oro says.

He adds that tutorial videos have become a recent priority for Cama Group to further aid the customers’ operational knowledge of the equipment and help visualise how the machine works before beginning any operations.

“Simulation is important to us, both in the engineering phase and with the final product,” Dell’Oro says.

Just as Cama Group has evolved its IF 318 robotised monoblock top loading unit and released its All-in-One machine, Dell’Oro says the company will continue to innovate and grow by investing in new machines and constantly upgrading older designs.

“Every year, Cama Group invests 5 per cent of its turnover into research and development, which leads to more machine upgrades that will allow the company to work better with different materials,” he says.

Through this, Cama is investing in a new research and development building which is three times larger than its current department, while also committing to hiring new staff.

“This is possible because we are a solid company that can benefit from economic cycles, growing fast when the market is pushing, and getting ready for the new step by investing in infrastructure when the market slows down,” Dell’Oro says.

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This article was first published in the September/October 2023 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.

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