A new filling machine designed by SIG Combibloc can fill cartons 20 per cent faster than its predecessor, says the Swiss company.
The new CFA 812 is now operating in Brazil at a plant owned by leading regional UHT milk producer Cemil. The Brazilian firm is using two of the new machines to fill UHT milk, UHT skimmed milk and soy products in combiblocMidi 1,000 ml. Each machine works at a capacity of 12,000 aseptic carton packs per hour, increasing processing speed by 20 per cent compared with the CFA 810 thanks to servo drives.
João Bosco, chief executive of Cemil, said: "We exchanged four machines from a competitor for two machines from SIG Combibloc. By changing the filling machines, we've been able to increase our productivity and cut waste at the same time".
The new filling machine is also highly flexible, making it suitable for dairy firms planning to introduce additional volumes and products in the future.
Luc Viardot, product manager of the Combibloc and combifit range, told FoodProductionDaily.com that the machine was developed in response to market demands. "The growing movement towards internationalisation and consolidation is leading to increasingly fierce competition among food and drinks manufacturers, and this in turn makes it more vital than ever that production be as efficient as possible."
Cartons are growing in popularity in Brazil's dairy sector. Volumes of milk cartons sold between 2005 and 2006 increased by 8.3 per cent to 7.6 billion units, according to data from Euromonitor. That compares with 4.6 per cent growth across Latin America as a whole.
Dynamic growth is partly driven by Brazil's booming dairy industry. The country is expected to become the world's fifth biggest dairy producer by the end of the year. Sales of UHT products are especially strong as they can be more readily distributed around the vast country without cold chain facilities.
Cartons are also being used increasingly for other beverages to increase innovation. Widely used to package fruit juices, companies have also launched water, sports drinks and RTD tea in carton packaging in recent months.
The SIG group was bought by privately owned New Zealand firm Rank last year and is aiming to increase its share in the carton packaging market, which is currently dominated by Sweden's Tetra Pak. SIG is the world's second-biggest maker of drink cartons after Tetra, with an estimated 15 per cent share last year.
SIG Combibloc generated turnover of €1.2 billion in 2006 and has around 4,000 employees in 40 countries.