Filling the gap with GIMA

With single serve capsules now established as a fixture of the coffee industry after three decades of impressive growth, the question is not if this format will spread to other product categories, but to what extent. One company that is better placed than most to predict the potential for the spread of single serve beyond coffee is Italian manufacturer of processing and packing machines, GIMA. With 50 years of expertise in building manufacturing lines for the pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food, tea and coffee industries, GIMA has seen the exchange of knowledge travel in all directions between these industries and has an authoritative overview of the trends that drive each of them. GIMA’s Chief Executive Lorenzo Maldarelli says that he is confident that there is growth ahead not just for single serve coffee, but for the capsule concept as a whole. “We see the single serve capsule segment’s fast growth continuing, perhaps even faster than expected, and broadening its horizons in several different ways,” Maldarelli tells GCR Magazine. “For example, single serve in capsule format was initially for coffee, but now it is a multi-beverage platform with tea, herbs and soluble products increasing their presence on shelves more and more.” With GIMA’s footprint already extending into some of these areas, Maldarelli says that the technological growth into these new segments will fertilise development across all industries. This has been demonstrated by GIMA’s ability to use innovations from other areas of its business to drive development in single serve capsules, Maldarelli says. “Thanks to the 50 years of experience of [GIMA’s parent company] IMA in packaging products similar to coffee, such as tea and pharmaceutical powders, several construction concepts have been transferred to our single serve capsule filling machine design, thereby improving them both technologically and performance-wise,” he says. This has led the company down some exciting avenues of innovation, Maldarelli tells GCR. “In terms of technology, we believe that our competence in powder dosing is the best the market can offer,” Maldarelli says. “This competency is not something you can buy or transfer, but rather it is part of IMA’s DNA, and it expands the vision of capsule filling from coffee to any other single serve solution that may be brought to the market in the future.” It is this competency that has seen GIMA build a massively dynamic filling capacity into its high-speed platform, the GIMA 595. The 595 now features a double doser able to fill two different products into the same capsule, such as coffee and dried milk. Another feature is a micro doser for liquid flavors that GIMA developed in partnership with its sister company, IMA Pharma. “With this doser, customers can fill the capsule with a dark roast coffee and then apply flavours such as hazelnut or vanilla by spraying it on top of the coffee already dosed into the capsule, before lidding occurs,” Maldarelli says. GIMA’s 595 is specifically designed for larger manufacturers, with a filling capacity of between 300 to 1200 capsules per minute guaranteeing output for even the largest roasters. The machine is designed with a modular concept that allows high flexibility in achieving custom-made solutions for almost any kind of product and packaging material. However, according to Maldarelli, the most significant feature of GIMA’s machinery is how it fits in with the family of IMA processing and packaging solutions. “GIMA is the only supplier in the coffee industry able to provide a turn-key line for capsules, from feeding of the empty capsule all the way down the line to the pallet,” he says. In addition to the capsule filling and cartoner lines, which come in the 595 for the higher volume manufacturer and the 590 for the smaller roaster, the IMA family of companies can supply producers with casepacker and palletsers from BFB and capsule bags from ILAPAK. “This means one common single technical and commercial interface during the start-up phase of the project, a Factory Acceptance Test performed on our premises with all the machines connected together, a team of technicians from the same group during installation and only one company responsible for reliability and efficiency of the line once running and in production,” Maldarelli says. With single serve coffee driving growth right across the industry, and the demand of consumers in developed markets being driven more and more by quality over quantity, GIMA has developed its 590 machine for smaller roasters. “Identifying a specific trend of the single serve market, we decided in 2013 to start the development of a lower capacity platform, starting at 100 capsules per minute,” Maldarelli says. A lot of the customers for this smaller machine are micro roasters just entering the market and looking to either test their prospects for expansion in the single serve segment or just find a new way of serving their coffee to their existing market, he says. “In order to preserve the quality and keep the entire process under their strict control, they prefer to have not only the roasting, but also the packaging done on their premises,” Maldarelli says. “With our GIMA Model 590, the smaller and mid-sized roasters can now achieve the same high quality in packaging their great product into capsules, just as the bigger roasters do, but in a format that better suits their needs.” Specifically designed and marketed to small and medium roasters eager to enter the single serve segment, Maldarelli says the GIMA 590 is the only machine on the market which can be purchased at 100 capsules per minute and then, if required, increased to 200 capsules per minute on the customer’s factory floor. “In this way, a new player in the coffee capsule market can decide to get the machine at 100 capsules per minute to test the market and then once the volumes grow, double the capacity with an in-house upgrade to 200 capsules per minute,” he says. With the ability now to service players at both ends of the market, and a reach from North America, to Russia to Asia to the Far East, GIMA is now poised to expand its footprint to Brazil and Australia. “Our aim is to take advantage of the IMA Group’s broad knowledge base gained globally to keep innovating and growing in the coffee business and apply the same model to other business fields, playing a role as primary technological partner and business advisor,” Maldarelli says. GCR

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