Rychiger explains how its manufacturing operations offer a complete line of coffee capsule production.
Swiss packaging machine manufacturer Rychiger is a company that has made its global mark through innovation and evolution.
From the moment Founder Rudolf Rychiger opened a small repair shop in the backyard of his apartment block in 1918, to the development of packaging machines in the 1950s, and coffee capsule processing machines in the 1970s, Rychiger has been committed to industry service.
The next phase of this commitment has been a devotion to upholding the latest packaging and sealing technology available for the single-serve market.
While Rychiger’s filling and sealing capsule machines are developed and manufactured in Switzerland, its secondary packaging engineering and development is conducted in Canada, after the company acquired packaging machine manufacturer Nuspark in September 2019, now known as Rychiger Canada.
Rychiger Canada started manufacturing packaging machines for the food and drink market, including coffee, years before the acquisition.
Rychiger Product Manager Phillippe Lehmann says the acquisition of the packaging machine manufacturer was vital for the company.
“Rychiger mainly does primary packaging, but in the last year we had more and more requests for turn-key solutions out of one hand,” he says. “With the acquisition of Nuspark, we enlarged the portfolio to fulfil market needs.”
Lehmann says the opportunity to acquire Nuspark has also helped enlarge Rychiger’s footprint in the North American market for other branches.
Thanks to the new acquisition, Rychiger now offers customers single-serve capsule machinery in one complete production line, including filling and sealing, cartoning, case packing, and palletising.
In Switzerland, a variety of primary packaging capsule machines are manufactured, starting with a low output machine of 120 capsules per minute, and others reaching 2000 capsules per minute. The most popular model is the FS 190, a compact machine that can produce up to 400 capsule per minute on a footprint of four square metres.
Regardless of the choice of the primary packaging machine, the secondary packing machines manufactured in Canada effectively work in tandem. This includes the cartoning, case packing, and palletising before the boxes are glued.
“The line is aligned so that the two stages don’t have different levels of production and output,” Lehmann says.
He says that while the two sides of the coffee capsule manufacturing process are constructed independently, they both come together to form a complete union that assists customers regardless of output expectations.
“There are alignments [between Rychiger Switzerland and Rychiger Canada] on how we treat customers so they can get the best service of Rychiger,” Lehmann says. “No matter if they’re in Europe or the States, they have someone close to the market to guide them and help with problem solving.
“One of the biggest benefits is you have one single point of contact for your turn-key solution.”
Rychiger Canada Head of Sales Alex Bialler adds that the two branches have been effective in the collaboration, embracing knowledge and experience from both sides of the production line when talking to prospective customers.
“We have a really good synergy working together with the Swiss team when we service a particular customer,” says Bialler.
This process includes having the two sides of capsule production and packaging present side-by-side in Rychiger’s Switzerland factory so customers can see both the filling and sealing equipment in combination with packaging at the factory. This allows for thorough testing and debugging of equipment, ensuring the customer receives a more refined and optimised product.
With this, Bialler says the full picture can be analysed from a customer’s perspective. This way, they can envision how the two types of machines will work once installed in their respective facilities, and from a communication, product conveyance, and buffering point of view.
“When a request from a customer comes in, [the Swiss and Canadian branches] collaborate on how our machines interact and how it works with the requirements of the client in terms of the rate and format that they’re looking to run,” Bialler says.
He says having the entire production system under the one umbrella has a number of benefits for the buyer.
“Having standardised equipment across the line in your facility brings quality service,” he says. “You only need one technical operation from the one brand looking over the entire production line.”
Bialler says the flexibility of the line combined with the shared construction means clients don’t have to deal with too many extra staff.
“Your technicians will only need to be trained on the one system given that the line shares a lot of components [between stages of production],” he says.
“Our machines are adaptable. We work with a lot of converters and material suppliers, as well as our customers to create smaller and more efficient packaging when needed.”
One of the more common pieces of feedback Rychiger receives is customers wanting to become more sustainable in their operations. Bialler says the manufacturer is more committed to environmental concerns than ever.
“The market [for single-serve capsules] has been pretty consistent, but we see quite a bit of change as customers push to use less materials,” he says.
“With the secondary packaging market, we really look at efficiency when it comes to the use of materials. There is a huge drive to be more sustainable, and to use more sustainable materials.
“Right now, aluminium is the best option. We are starting to see some paper based materials made, but that has not yet been brought to mass market.”
Bialler says the priority is to use as little material as possible, regardless of whether it’s aluminium, plastic, or cardboard, to reduce waste at the end of production.
Rychiger also applies energy-saving methods of operation to its machines and considers the way it discards certain materials. The company is also experimenting with new materials to minimise waste and have a more compact final product.
“We’re trying to decrease the surface area of the cartons, while making it damage-proof at the same time,” Bialler says.
He says the next phase of sustainable action is to educate consumers on how to recycle coffee capsules.
Bialler says the popularity of the single-serve market remains stable and that Rychiger’s complete production line provides an organised system for roasters looking to entering the single-serve market.
“The quality of the coffee in capsules is growing by the day, and the customers really enjoy the convenience,” he says. “There’s consistency, but there’s no mess.
“The consumers seem to enjoy the final product, and that’s what really drives [Rychiger] forward.”
For more information, visit rychiger.ch/en
This article was first published in the September/October 2023 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.