Canned Food: how to create a future-proof sustainable packaging line

Published: 18/06/2021

Reduction of waste, sustainability in packaging processes, less use of plastic in secondary packaging and greater recyclability of the package: these are some of the challenges being currently faced in the canned food packaging industry. This topics were discussed during a recent round table, moderated by Corné Huijben, Manager Knowledge Development & Projects NVC Netherlands Packaging Center, and organized within the Smart Packaging Hub platform. During the event, the Hub members showed how innovation and collaboration can make their customers overcome successfully these important challenges.

Sustainability from A to Z, far beyond materials

The machines engineered by Opem, which is specialized in offering vacuum packaging plants, packaging machines and filling plants for cans or jars, use eco-sustainable materials. But sustainability is an issue that goes far beyond materials and includes optimization of machines and reduction of energy consumption, too. For this reason, Opem, thanks to specific solutions for each production and machine, is obtaining important results: the average consumption of the machines has been reduced by 39% for electricity consumption, 20% for plastic films and 30% for other source of energy.

Continuous monitoring of machines and processes and prompt maintenance actions, when necessary, ensure that these values can be confirmed over time. Last but not least, even the end of life is considered: Opem has achieved the remarkable result that 95% of the materials used in its machines is recyclable.

Time for ROI is shortening

Energy, matter, space and time: these are the elements that Baumer solutions, a company specialised in the production of high-tech secondary packaging machines, can save customers. If material savings can be achieved by processing thinner films or eliminating cardboard interlayers thanks to the use of special patented systems, and energy savings by applying efficiency and machine monitoring solutions to ensure optimal operation, how can savings in time and space be achieved?

To save space Baumer has developed a U-shaped packaging solution, U-Shape System™, which can be easily integrated on an existing line and allows reducing the machine footprint by up to 50%. Finally, time: the automatic changeover from shrink-wrap packaging to wrap-around packaging, thanks to the patented BMBelt System™, takes place in a few moments and allows the installation of a single machine for multiple outputs.

The automatic reel changeover, on the other hand, makes it possible to switch from one finished reel to another without any drop in production speed. With its solutions, Baumer is able to provide customised solutions to its customers, shortening the time of return on investment.

Even more recyclable cans

No longer the three typical materials – aluminum, plastic and cardboard – but exclusively cardboard: this is the project to which Clevertech, specialized in integrated solutions for front-of-line and end-of-line applications, collaborates to increase the sustainability and recyclability of food cans. In addition, Clevertech’s innovative front-of-line and end-of-line engineering design also puts new packaging materials to the test, in order to increase their recyclability.

Following a totally new approach, developed jointly with Tosa Group, the installation and testing of the entire technological supply takes place in Italy before being shipped to the customer. The benefit to the customer? Better logistics management, ready-to-use systems for delivery, in other words “plug & play”, resulting in ease of installation and speed of commissioning.

Machines embracing the low maintenance approach

Tosa Group‘s constructive philosophy is oriented to design its machines ensuring that they require the minimum possible maintenance and to optimize time saving, cost saving, sustainability, safety and cleanless. The key elements that define the Low Maintenance Technology are: toothed belts, with very long operating life by replacing the lifting chains that require lubrication; direct motorization without the use of mechanical transmissions on the lifting group to avoid any maintenance or lubricating operation; The guiding wheels and sliding guides are pre-lubricated for life.

Thanks to this pioneering approach, from 2013 to today for the type of rotating ring machines, the machines conceived with a Low maintenance design are 65% while 35% still have the old construction concept. The trend is growing since analyzing only the year 2020 the percentage rises to 89%. With these machines the savings in ordinary maintenance is about 75%.

Let the end-user speak: Coroos project

In line with its customers’ demands for increasingly sustainable products, the Dutch company Coroos, a manufacturer of canned food items, has started to collaborate with packaging machine manufacturers, in particular Zacmi and Cama, in order to realize its concept of sustainability.

Among the changes introduced there are: the use of cardboard instead of plastic for multi-packs of cans. In addition to the environmental advantage, there is also the communicative one: with cardboard you transmit much more information related to the product and you manage a better brand customization.

The use of machines that offer a higher Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) index also helps increasing the efficiency of the company. Coroos achieves this goal, for example, with the use of Zacmi machines. In fact, the Dutch company recently purchased a seamer from Zacmi which offers a completely stainless steel hygienic and cleaning design. Zacmi also provides Coroos with filling technology that shows maximum flexibility to meet the different needs of multiple customers. Design with maximum hygiene compatibility, flexibility and predictive machine maintenance thus contribute to boost OEE on the production lines of the end customer.

To meet the changing needs of its end consumers, Coroos also finds itself having to process very different types of packages: hence the need to adopt secondary packaging technologies able to keep up with this one with extreme variety. Having to change production formats often, even in the middle of a machining shift, Coroos lines therefore need to be set up quickly not only for the filling phase, but also for secondary packaging tasks. The cans should be placed in box sizes package, while plastic containers in sleeve format one. The number of products and layers for each format must also change according to the end customer’s request.

To cope with these market trends, Coroos has also chosen a partner like Cama for its secondary packaging lines, recognizing its high level of quality in packaging processing: the first Cama machine was installed in Coroos in 2002, while the last one just six months ago. Coroos technicians are now very familiar with Cama technology, while the management has the utmost confidence in the quality of the machinery and in the competence of the team of this group from Northern Italy, a trust always well paid. Considering the difficult task of finding skilled technicians in the field to operate some machines, other appreciated aspects of Cama machines are their ease of use and their high reliability.  


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