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EQUIPMENT

Pkg machinery maker IMA Erca develops FFS machine for Lala dairy group
Thursday, 29 June, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Les Ulis
IMA Erca, the packaging machinery manufacturer, has developed a new form-fill-seal (FFS) machine for Mexico’s Lala dairy group. This enables the dairy to manufacture technically sophisticated, filled snap-on lids for various yoghurt products itself. The company had previously purchased the snap-on lids externally.

A new patent was developed for the FFS machine EF825 for the Duomo project, under which transparent plastic snap-on lids for yoghurt products are thermoformed and filled with cereals or other toppings, such as puffed rice and chocolate balls.

Both polystyrene (PS) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) can be processed as materials for the lids. The fill quantity is regulated by volume or weight, depending on the topping type. It is also possible to position in line with topping filling a small spoon into the cup lid.

Flexible and efficient
“Market requirements can change quickly,” said Philippe Ley, managing director, IMA Erca.

“That is why it was crucial that a future-proof solution be designed that copes with several materials and products,” he added.

With an output of about 32,000 filled and sealed lids per hour, the machine is also extremely efficient. The quality of the lids and filling process was also improved. The newly-developed machine makes a degree of precision possible that was not achieved by the previously used pre-formed lids.

“With the new IMA Erca machine, we now have the entire value-added chain in our own hands,” emphasises Oscar Ordonez, general manager, Lala Group.

“This increases our efficiency and makes us more independent,” he added.It is expected that the new machine will generate its return on investment (ROI) within nine months.

Networked development activities
Several companies in the IMA Group and other companies worked closely together on the new machine, which took just under a year-and-a-half to develop.

The technology and expertise for the filling of cereals and lidding foil station originate from IMA Hamba, while the robot solution for positioning the spoon comes from a partner company.

“The project is an excellent example of how genuine innovations with added value can be generated through the networking of our group-wide expertise,” said Ley.

The machine will be delivered in June, and go into operation at the Irapuato site. Lala has been working with companies in the IMA Group since 1998 and uses several IMA Erca and IMA Gasti machines.
 
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