Equipment

Rychiger on staying ahead of the game

The success of the single serve coffee industry over the past three decades has attracted a massive wave of new entrants seeking to capitalise on the next big thing in the industry. But among the plethora of newcomers stand a few notable names that have been in the industry right from the beginning, pioneering the technology that has supported this great leap forward, and earning their name as stalwarts of the industry in the process. One such company is Switzerland-based manufacturer of complete packaging solutions and custom-engineered machines for the filling and sealing of pre-formed portion packs in the coffee and tea, retortable packaging and healthcare industries, Rychiger AG. With a history of making capsule filling equipment that stretches back to the 1980s, Rychiger has worked in partnership with the coffee industry to develop the technology to support the single serve segment right from the beginning. It is this history, and the capabilities that come with it, that has made Rychiger a popular choice for coffee roasters seeking to enter the single serve market, says the company’s Head of Sales and Marketing, Marco Stalder. “Companies with great ambitions find in us the perfect partner, wherever intelligent and innovative filling and sealing machines and complete packaging solutions are required,” Stalder tells GCR Magazine. “We assist our clients from the first product and packaging idea to its implementation and the commissioning of their customised packaging machine.” With single serve coffee offering consumers the advantage of simple and fast preparation with consistently high quality results, and giving them access to a wide variety of flavours and beverage types from the one machine, it is little wonder that sales of the format have been so impressive in recent years. In addition to this obvious market appeal, there are a number of compelling reasons for roasters to embrace the format, Stalder says. “For the producer the advantage lies in the closed system which enables control of quality and the distribution while promising higher margins,” he says. “Thanks to high seal integrity, multilayer packaging materials and the gassing of the product with N2 [nitrogen] or co2 [carbon dioxide], capsules manufactured on a Rychiger machine stay fresh for up to 18 months without additional secondary packaging.” Utilising its decades of experience servicing companies in this segment, combined with the complementary technical knowledge gained from its operations in other industries such as healthcare, Rychiger prides itself on providing a tried and true service and technology. Stalder points to Rychiger’s long history in the industry as evidence of the standard of service it provides to its customers. “We offer a comprehensive service package to provide with years of trouble-free, efficient machine operation,” Stalder says. “We focus on the continual improvement of the client’s production which consists of the process cycle as well as the packaging materials.” While the single serve segment was initially the sole domain of the larger coffee roasters, an opening up of the industry in recent years has meant that the market is now awash with new entrants, some small and some large. The technological solutions that Rychiger offers are designed to cater for operators of all sizes, from the new entrant or small roaster right through to the largest operator, Stalder says: “We have equipment for any size of company.” At the lower end of the scale, Rychiger’s rotary filling equipment can accommodate 110 and 240 capsules per minute. For the mid-range manufacturer, the balcony-style filling equipment can accommodate 240 and 480 capsules per minute. And for the larger roaster that needs to produce millions of capsules per month, Rychiger’s linear machines can produce between 600 and 1600 capsules per minute. “One of our core competencies at Rychiger for the last 50 years has been precision filling and high quality sealing, including single-stroke punching and sealing,” Stalder says. “These technologies perfected by Rychiger are critical components of manufacturing capsules.” While the company is always looking for new ways to push its technology forward, Stalder says, its focus is always on perfection over simply the thrill of the new. “It is not really about innovations but about perfecting existing technologies to the highest possible degree,” he says. With the single serve market now entrenched as one of the coffee industry’s most exciting new segments, parallel industries are beginning to look at advances made in the area for opportunities in their own markets. “Cartridges are becoming universal, not only for coffee, but other drinks including carbonated drinks, soups and more,” Stalder says. In fact, he adds, this experimentation has not just been limited to different types of liquids. “We have seen everything from baby formula, oatmeal and even tortillas in a capsule.” On the packaging side, these advances will all bring about new challenges, Stalder tells GCR. “With so many different beverages on the market there are many companies trying to capitalise on advantages of single serve beverage systems now widely recognised and appreciated,” he says. “We’re only going to see packaging technology continue to advance.” It is this growth of the single serve format into different industries that will drive Rychiger’s development of new technology in the future. “Rychiger sealing and filling technology perfected over the years provides the technology base for further expansion into other markets too,” he says. Stalder adds that Rychiger is expanding more into the medical fields, which will further enhance its technology base. However, he adds, this will not affect the company’s focus on the coffee industry. In fact, Stalder points out, the expanding focus of the company into different industries will give it the advantage of seeing the different ways of thinking in these different areas and bringing the most exciting developments from them back into the coffee industry to further drive innovation. “We will continue cementing our position in the coffee market and expanding in other areas our company is active at,” he says. GCR

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