Speaking at a recent Investor Day in Flamatt, Switzerland, René Lenggenhager, CEO, Comet Group, said for the full year 2017 it had confirmed its guidance sales of CHF 430-450m ($438m-$458m) and an EBITDA margin of 14-16%.
The company also expects to reach its targets for 2020 – sales of CHF 500m ($509m) and an EBITDA margin of 16-18%.
He said it was currently developing business for its ebeam technologies through new applications including Bell Food Group, an alternative environmentally-friendly method for the treatment of hatching eggs; sterilization of beverage packaging for Tetra Pak and the inactivation of microbes on granular foods, in partnership with Bühler.
However, the rollout in the sterilization of beverage packaging is happening slower than expected.
“The rollout is being adapted to match Tetra Pak's updated strategy, under which eBeam is to be integrated directly into the new generation of platforms. This leads to a delay in sales revenue,” said Lenggenhager.
eBeam sterilizes packaging material using electron beams instead of hydrogen peroxide systems. The lamps can accelerate production speeds of up to 40,000 portion packs per hour (+60%) and are produced by ebeam Technologies, a brand of the Comet Group.
The technology made its début at Anuga 2012 and Tetra Pak announced the global launch of its E3 platform, a series of filling machines which use ebeam; Tetra Pak E3/Speed; Tetra Pak E3/Flex and Tetra Pak E3/CompactFlex at Fispal trade fair, in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2015.
“Globally, capital investment in the food and beverage industry has not been as strong as expected due to the economic situation,” Elena Morruzi, director, Tetra Pak, told DairyReporter.
“However, we are committed to technology innovations such as eBeam, and we are integrating eBeam into our platforms.
“The system has so far been deployed in various markets by our customers in Japan, Egypt, UK, Brazil and Mexico and the technology is delivering positive results for our customers.”
As part of its accelerated growth strategy, Comet Group is investing in digitalization, diversification, speed & agility and go-to-market and has launched projects to drive these themes forward.
• Digitalization: Making production processes more efficient and rapid through automation, using ongoing analysis of product data for predictive maintenance and new product development, and optimizing customers’ processes.
• Diversification: An overall strategy for developing the Asian market; entering new applications for ebeam and radio frequency (RF) technology.
• Speed & Agility: To support customers’ ever-shorter development cycles, the Comet Group is moving to adopt faster processes at all levels of the company: for example, in setting up an RF test lab in Flamatt to fulfil requests from anywhere in the world for analyses and evaluations.
• Market access: Initiatives for heightening market access, cross-selling between segments, and lead management.
Trends like digitalization, miniaturization and additive manufacturing translate into attractive growth potential for the Comet Group’s x-ray business. In the smart factories of the future, testing systems will double as sensors that collect the data from the process, analyze it and permit automated optimization.