30 Mar 2018 --- Ecolean – a Swedish headquartered company which specializes in lightweight packaging – presented their two most cost-effective and sustainable filling solutions to date at Anuga FoodTec 2018 in Cologne. Christian Olsson, Director Filling Line Operations at Ecolean, sat down with FoodIngredientsFirst at the show to discuss the new EL2 and EL6 machines, and the strategy behind lightweight pouch production.
Click to Enlarge“The pouch itself is a growing segment. Within the food and beverage markets, we can see increased uptake in pouch packaging for soups and beverages, both for home consumption and the foodservice sector. We are putting a lot of emphasis on the foodservice – this is becoming a big segment for us.”
To meet the growing trend for lightweight pouch packaging, Ecolean have developed the designs of two pre-existing machines, the EL6 and EL2 fillers, both with substantially increased capacity output.
“For the EL6, we have increased the capacity up to 18,000 packs per hour, a 50 percent increase on previous machines. The EL2 Plus doubles capacity from 6,000 to 12,000 packs per hour.”
“We can see quite a strong trend for all our customers with more emphasis on the cost for billing, workforce and ownership. What we are doing now is to increase the speed of our machines which is a big parameter for bottom line effects, but also to do that while maintaining the footprint of the machines. We are focused on corporate effects and the sustainability perspective in equal measure.”
The new filling machine EL6 was exhibited for the first time at Anuga FoodTec 2018, filling up to 18,000 portion-sized packages per hour, for ambient distribution. It is Ecolean’s fastest filling machine ever developed – with a capacity increase of 50 percent. The new EL2+ filling machine has doubled capacity within the same footprint, filling up to 12,000 portion-sized packages per hour for chilled distribution.
Ecolean also showcased their EL4+ filling machine which boasts a 33 percent capacity increase in production speed and also features a fully automated Cleaning In Place (CIP) system. It is used for manufacturing portion packs of Ecolean packages and has a Click to Enlargecapacity of up to 12,000 packages per hour.
Christian Olsson was keen to highlight that Ecolean are working to position themselves as a full systems supplier. Meanwhile, the company’s core strategy to create flexible and lightweight packaging with a focus on sustainability remains key as they expand into further applications across various food and beverage sectors and the foodservice industry.
“We are providing everything in the supply from raw material and packaging material all the way to the filling machines and solutions, so we take full responsibility for the whole system.”
“The new EPDs [Environmental Product Declarations] are something we are launching here at Anuga FoodTec. It is a way for our customers to make comparisons between the systems in the most transparent way.”
Ecolean encourages packaging suppliers to ask for an EPD in order to fully understand the performance capability of the machines they use. The EPD currently covers the two Ecolean aseptic filling machines, the EL3+ and the EL4+. The EL3+ machine is used for filling family-sized Ecolean Air Aseptic packages 500 ml, 750ml and 1000ml, and the EL4+ filling machine is used for smaller portion-sized Ecolean Air Aseptic packages from 125ml up to 350ml. The scope for the EPD is cradle to grave and covers four different geographic markets: Europe, Russia, Pakistan and China.
At Anuga FoodTec 2018, Ecolean invited visitors to experience how their innovative packaging solutions can improve brand perception by exhibiting several packed shelves. The stall featured a lighter store to showcase products from all over the world distributed using Ecolean packaging. They also demonstrated the full process cycle, from the production of packaging material and filling of liquid food product, to how the lightweight packages stand out on the shelf, as well as what happens at the package’sClick to Enlarge end-of-life.
Distinguished examples of Ecolean packaged products include Olper’s (Pakistan) microwavable milk “Mini Jug”; Fauji Food’s (Pakistan) tea whitener, Dostea; Tianrun’s (China) “Mini Pack” yogurt; and Hemme Milch’s (Germany) slick black design dairy products.
Ecolean currently has commercial activities in 30 countries, the largest markets being China, Russia and Pakistan. Ecolean employs over 300 people and has its headquarter in Helsingborg, Sweden.
Anuga FoodTec reported a turnout of over 50,000 trade visitors at this year’s show – a new record. It was also the most international Anuga to date, with visitors from 152 countries. Anuga have pointed to a more diversified event and congress program as the source of inspiration for this record-breaking year.
By Joshua Poole
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