Equipment

Opem offers integrated solutions

With more than 30’ years experience manufacturing machinery for the packaging and processing of coffee, the family-owned Italian company OPEM is testament to the old adage, when opportunity knocks, you should always open the door. While Opem had been operating as a manufacturer of machinery for the pasta and coffee industries since the 1970s, it was not until the early 1990s that its focus turned to single serve coffee. Owned by the Binacchi family and based in the city of Parma in Northern Italy, Opem started out making machines for the coffee industry in 1974. Then, in the 1990s, a Swiss company approached Opem with a request to design a line of machinery for the manufacture of paper coffee pods. Right from the start, Opem saw the potential of this new market segments and worked with some of Switzerland’s leading players such as Merkur Kaffee and Ethical Coffee, focusing on the development of lines for filter pods and Nespresso compatible capsules as early as 1992. It was not long until Opem’s activity caught the attention of another large company, this time on the other side of the Atlantic. In 1993, Opem was appointed by Sara Lee to develop high capacity production lines for their range of Senseo coffee pods. Then in 2008, Opem was contracted by American specialty coffee giant Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to design and manufacture lines for the high volume manufacture and output of the US’ leading single serve format, the K-Cup. Opem’s focus on export markets continues to this day, with over 90 per cent of the company’s more than US$100 million in revenue generated from sales in foreign markets. Throughout this development, Opem has not lost its focus on the other core areas of the coffee business, still producing machinery for all aspects of coffee production. This means that Opem remains committed to supplying coffee roasters with solutions that can accommodate all aspects of their business, from lines that pack single serve paper pods through to vacuum sealing of ground coffee in square-bottomed bags. The company also produces a range of vacuum packaging machines and filling systems for tins and cans. All of Opem’s packaging machines are tailored to suit the individual needs of each customer on a case-by-case basis, says the company’s President, Fabio Binacchi. “We thrive when we are faced with difficult challenges from our customers who, just as we do, want to be different,” Binacchi says. “Our highly qualified machine operators and technicians are always there to work with our customers to develop the machines to suit their needs and then guide them through the set-up and smooth operation of the line in their own facility.” With more than 100 staff and a worldwide reach, Opem prides itself on having more than 65 per cent of its workforce directly involved in the manufacture of its machines, thus ensuring a strong connection to the company’s core business throughout the organisation and a deep ability of its staff to assist its customers, whatever their requirements. Opem’s range of capsule machines can cater to roasters of all sizes. At the smaller end of the range, Opem offers the CR-1P. Meant for the new entrant or a micro-roaster seeking to expand into the capsule market, this machine is capable of filling up to 70 capsules per minute, with a filling accuracy of plus or minus 0.2 grams per capsule. The CR-1P also features a sorter for bulk lots of capsules and a denester for empty capsules that come in stacks. In addition, the machine can also incorporate an in-line check weigher, feedback control and the ability to reject faulty capsules as they pass through the system. To complete the package, the CR-1P can be seamlessly integrated with one of Opem’s vertical packaging machines for capsules in individual or dual bags and sealed with a nitrogen gas flush. At the top end of Opem’s range is the Pegaso CR-16P. Designed for the high volume manufacturer, the Pegaso CR-16P features 16 lanes and can turn out more than 1200 capsules per minute, with a filling accuracy of plus or minus 0.2 grams per capsule. The Pegaso CR-16P’s powerful motor and camshaft are located in the bottom part of the machine and it features an unstretchable chain designed by Opem itself. The Pegaso CR-16P’s sturdy construction and reliability in the long term are designed with the kind of customers who run these machines for more than one shift per day in mind. With the CR-1P and the Pegaso CR-16P sitting at each end of the range, Opem offers another 10 capsule filling machines in between, ensuring that coffee roasters of all sizes are almost guaranteed to find a machine that is neatly matched with their capacity. Once the capsules are filled, Opem offers fully integrated vertical packaging machines such as the Quadricolibri. The Quadricolibri is a vertical packaging machine that features cutting edge technical solutions such as four forming tubes to pack capsules in individual gusseted bags, and incorporating a nitrogen gas flush. The Quadricolibri has an output of 420 bags per minute and is designed to perfectly complement Opem’s Athena and Pegaso filling machines. Opem’s Combiner machines feature a vertical bagger specifically designed for capsules in mother bags with four corner seals and nitrogen gas flush. The machines also feature a finishing carousel and are available with half-moon tabs. The Combiner machines also offer a range of finishing options, such as fold-down, reseal tape application and tin-tie application. Just last year Opem moved into a purpose-built, state-of-the art factory. With an emphasis on smart design that is reflective of Opem’s approach to its own products, the building incorporates cutting edge sustainable design features such as ventilated facades with thermal insulation for the offices and a large photovoltaic roof that feeds energy back into the factory. “Our new factory is a clear sign of Opem’s ongoing effort, trusted know-how and great vision towards the future,” says Binacchi. GCR

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