IAN boosts productivity with FX120, IPI's new high-speed aseptic filling machine
After a close and fruitful collaboration with IPI dating back to 1991, Grupo Alimentario IAN has further strengthened the partnership with the installation of IPI’s state-of-the-art aseptic filling machine, called FX120, at its factory in Spain. This represents a step forward for IPI, as the filling machine is being used in the Spanish market for the first time.
The FX120, the world's fastest flexible roll-fed aseptic filler to date, is the result of a revolutionary innovation in the field of aseptic carton packaging for liquid food products. The machine is used by Grupo Alimentario IAN for the packaging of fried tomato, helping this Villafranca-based company consolidate its leadership and offer a quality product to millions of customers around the world.
IAN is a reference point and a pioneer in the market of canned vegetables, ready meals and sauces, especially tomato, where it has a very significant market share. It has several national and foreign brands, including Carretilla, which is a leader in canned vegetables with asparagus and ready meals in microwaveable packaging. Through this brand, which is more than 145 years old, the company manufactures fried tomato in brick and also gazpacho, a world-renowned recipe of Spanish gastronomy. In addition, IAN is also a manufacturer of third-party brands, serving major European distributors as well as other international customers.
The company works in the FMCG, Food Service, Private Label and Industrial Sales markets, adapting to the specific needs of each market and customer (in terms of recipes, formats, brands, etc.), exporting to 55 countries.
The IAN Food Group, a long-time promoter of ecological policies, nurtures a corporate culture based on recycling and renewable energies. Last but not least, Grupo IAN fosters the socioeconomic development of the regions where it operates through various initiatives.
IAN Grupo Alimentario and FX120: a success story for the aseptic packaging industry
IAN and IPI go back a long way. In 1991, in line with its strong commitment to the environment, IAN signed a partnership with IPI, installing IPI’ s first aseptic 375 ml Slim fried tomato filler - the first of many. At the time, food manufacturers tended to use aluminium as the primary material for fried tomato packaging. IAN, in an effort to stand out from the competition, introduced a new product line in IPI's aseptic carton packaging, which is still in use today, along with IAN's more traditional line of aluminium packaging. Since then, IPI has been IAN's supplier, contributing to position the company as the leading manufacturer of the largest variety of fried tomato MDD brands in Spain. To date, IPI holds a 50% share of the Spanish market of fried tomato packaging.
Over the years, the bond between the two companies has grown stronger. Between the first installation, dating back to 1991, and 2012, IPI delivered 4 additional 375 ml and 200 ml Slim size packaging lines. Through this collaboration, IPI increased the customer's competitiveness in terms of performance, production capacity and quality, providing lower operating costs and essential technical support. In 2015, IPI installed an acceleration kit on its aseptic filling lines, increasing customer throughput by 20%. The following year, the Italian company also provided a smart factory software for line performance monitoring, i.e. Data Collection System, starting a service program with IAN to maximise the efficiency of the customer’s aseptic packaging lines. In 2020, Grupo Alimentario IAN installed the FX120 for 200 ml Slim. Finally, in 2021, installed the new NSA EVO.
IAN turned to IPI's FX120 for several reasons. First, the customer needed to increase its profitability and flexibility. Furthermore, it had to guarantee the output of a product in high demand in the market. This required a filler that was faster, even more efficient and, most importantly, could reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) without compromising performance. Therefore, the FX120 was the most suitable solution. Providing flexible aseptic filling on the world's fastest roll, the machine raises IAN's productivity to a whole new level.
In addition, the customer needed the reliability of a solid partner with a robust value chain and decades of experience behind it. Fried tomato is different from other liquid food products because it contains particles. This requires extensive experience in packaging and advanced knowledge of topics such as mechanical engineering, packaging and machine-material interaction. That being the case, IPI was the perfect choice. Today, the customer has a partnership with the company that has lasted more than 20 years. A successful and reliable relationship backed by the technological know-how, as well as by the spirit of innovation that characterizes the Italian company and its attitude in responding to customer needs.
In addition to FX120, the Group still uses many NSA machines for the packaging of fried tomato in 200 ml Slim and 375 ml Slim size cartons, which have provided a perfect solution to combine flexibility, productivity and performance for a customer like IAN competing in increasingly demanding global markets.
Why are liquid foods and FX120 a match made in heaven?
With a liquid food product such as fried tomato, Grupo IAN chose the FX120 to meet its packaging needs. First and foremost, quality: the customer was looking for a machine to consistently and reliably increase its performance. With up to 12,000 pph for portion sizes, the FX120 is ideal for IAN's 200 ml bricks. It has a speed adjustable to existing downstream and processing equipment. In addition, it features cutting-edge tools that contribute to improved functionality and connectivity between the software and the machine, making operations not only faster, but also easier.
In addition, the machine employs a fully mechanical drive system, which significantly increases the overall efficiency of the line by increasing its robustness and reliability, while ensuring more efficient troubleshooting as well as optimal accuracy, even at high speed. This, in turn, results in higher utilisation of production line time and lower operating costs, since maintenance must be performed less frequently.
Moreover, the packaging material sterilisation system is characterised by the highest degree of reliability, safety and control, thanks to the fact that the FX120 is built with a system for the automatic change of packaging materials.
"To achieve growth in the fried tomato market, Grupo IAN needed to increase production capacity and efficiency. With the installation of the FX120 - IPI's new aseptic filling machine - we are consolidating IAN's competitiveness in this market segment." assures Diego Iso, Director of IAN’s plant in Villafranca.
Most importantly, IAN's demand for a new, even more efficient filling machine was driven by the need to increase its productivity with modern, innovative technology. With this in mind, FX120 was a clear choice, as it allowed the customer to produce a wide range of containers from reels of multilayer material, enabling the customer to evaluate strategic changes in shape and size. These features are crucial in terms of time to market, especially for a leading food company like IAN. The ability to change shape and size gives the customer the opportunity to quickly adapt to changing market needs. Because of this, the machine allows for rapid renewal of brand and product strategies without any trade-off between versatility and quality. This, combined with the large aseptic carton surface and adaptability in terms of design, makes FX120 a perfect match for Grupo Alimentario IAN's fried tomato production line.
In short, the partnership between IPI and IAN Food Group is stronger than ever. Since 1991, the duo has held a strong position in the Spanish market for fried tomato packaged in aseptic cartons. Grupo IAN was looking for a reliable solution that would provide them with the least downtime and low operating costs for their fried tomato product line, to increase their productivity and efficiency and remain competitive in the face of new market challenges. Being a decades-long partner of IPI, IAN opted to double down on this relationship, signing an agreement for the installation of an FX120-based filling line in its plants, making it the first time this machine sets foot in Spain.