Cama Group uses its decades of experience to offer flexible and efficient single serve secondary packaging solutions to the global coffee industry to make sure their coffee packaging stands out.
From growing and roasting coffee beans to filling and sealing capsules, a lot of work and resources go into producing single serve coffee, but if the product arrives to the end consumer scratched, dented, or damaged, it was all for nothing.
That’s why secondary packaging, like boxes and cartons is crucial, and Cama Group in Italy has a long history of catering to the single serve coffee market.
“A lot of what Cama Group can provide to the coffee industry is due to our deep experience and know-how. We started working with single serve coffee more than 15 years ago – and have worked in coffee more than twice as long – alongside the rise of Nespresso, and we’ve developed a special attention to capsule integrity,” says Renato Dell’Oro, the recently named Global Account Manager Coffee Industry for Cama Group.
“No one wants to spend half a euro, or whatever the local currency is, on a faulty capsule. It’s very important the capsule reaches the consumer’s hands in a good condition, so Cama has put a lot of attention into handing capsules with maximum attentiveness.”
This is only one of several considerations Dell’Oro says separates Cama Group as a supplier of secondary packaging equipment to the coffee industry. Flexibility, capacity, and efficiency were all front of mind during development and are best exemplified in the Cama IF318 robotised monoblock top loading unit.
In a single structure, the IF318 features box forming machines that construct a box from a flat bland carton, leaving the lid open. The central body of the machine receives the capsules, often in two lanes, one facedown and the other face-up. A robotic arm picks up the capsules to arrange them in the necessary configuration. Finally, the monoblock unit closes the box.
“The conception of the machine was similar to all Cama machines. It has a modular structure, taking into account easy to clean features and preventative maintenance programs. Our machines are often used in 24/7 production with very limited room for downtime. Therefore, the machine has to be always efficient, so our focus on preventative maintenance helps our users to keep the machine working without major disturbances,” Dell’Oro says.
“If the owner of the company invests a lot of money in a fantastic packaging machine, but it’s not easy or immediate to use, they lose all of the efficiency they’ve paid for. So another of our aims is to make our equipment user friendly with touchscreen panels and clear instructions. For format changes, it can even be colour coded or use RFID recognition to prevent the machine from placing capsules in the wrong positions, making new configurations possible.”
While coffee capsules have traditionally been loaded in a nested configuration to best occupy the space and protect the products, Dell’Oro says alternative arrangements are becoming increasingly popular within the coffee industry.
“Recently, the aluminium capsule market has adopted a configuration we call the flower, where you place four capsules face down in the box and one face up on top,” Dell’Oro says. “Whatever the customer’s need, our software engineers can program the Cama robot for various configurations.”
As more coffee businesses embrace the single serve market, Dell’Oro says differentiation has become crucial to get their products noticed among competitors on the retail shelf. Unique configurations and secondary packaging are some ways a product can capture the customer’s interest before they’ve even tried the coffee.
“When the single serve market first emerged, there were only a few producers, and it was easy to recognise each brand. Now, anyone can start their own Nespresso compatible business, but you need them to stand out from Nespresso and other products,” Dell’Oro says.
“Being eye catching is more and more important, so we need to allow them to create different configurations, even box shapes, so it’s their product the customer chooses.”
Since the advent of COVID-19, Cama Group has also noticed a trend towards larger product counts and packaging formats as more people work and brew coffee at home.
“In the past, the most popular packaging format was a tube with 10 capsules. But the market has realised a tube is not differentiating them and that 10 capsules aren’t enough anymore,” Dell’Oro says.
“It was fine when people were making one capsule coffee per day, but now they’re at home all day, with maybe a couple of people living in the house, so 10 capsules become nothing. We’re seeing customers place 30, 50, even 100 capsules in a single box.”
With a capacity of packaging more than 600 capsules per minute, the IF318 is more than capable of handling these larger packaging formats. Dell’Oro explains this throughput is another key reason the model has become popular within the coffee industry, especially among larger businesses. However, should businesses producing lower volumes be interested in Cama’s single serve secondary packaging solutions, it has products available with lower capacities but many of the same features and benefits.
Regardless of capacity, Dell’Oro adds it’s crucial that the secondary packaging equipment maintains peak efficiency, especially if it’s switching between different product types.
“Automation works well with standardised production, doing one thing the same each time, but it becomes a challenge when you want one machine to perform 10 to 12 different packaging formats. Cama is recognised for its machine’s ability to very quickly perform format changes,” Dell’Oro says.
“It only takes 15 to 30 minutes for Cama equipment to return to peak efficiency following a format change of the packaging line.”
While Cama Group operates in many industries, from personal and health care to confectionary and other food and beverage, Dell’Oro says its growth alongside the single serve category has made coffee an important sector to the company.
“We have developed a good expertise in single serve coffee and are now world recognised by the industry. Being Italian has helped as well. There are many capsule producers concentrated in Italy and the southern Europe market and word of mouth quickly spreads. If one person talks about their new Cama machine doing well, it’s not long before others are using the same machine,” he says.
“We’ve had similar success in the United States over the last decades and have a strong presence in countries like Australia too. The next market we are looking at is Asia, where coffee is a growing market but many of their capsules are imported. As more roasteries, particularly in China, begin producing their own capsules, we are expecting huge volumes there in the future.”
Dell’Oro expects the single serve coffee market will continue to grow as more regions and players enter the fold and meeting their different needs will be key to Cama’s continued success.
“Our customers are looking for more and more flexibility. That’s what we offer, what we’re improving, and will be a winning point for the future,” Dell’Oro says.
“Calling a piece of equipment ‘expensive’ is meaningless, because you need to think about how much money you can make out of the machine. Thanks to our flexibility and efficiency, we are selling profitable machines.”
For more information, visit www.camagroup.com
This article was first published in the September/October edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.