The Zaragoza case: aseptic carton packaging for UHT Milk
Contents of the article
In this success case, we will analyse the path undertaken by one of our clients in implementing its own production plans in the aseptic packaging sector.
Specifically, a few years ago, Grupo Liderlac, one of the main dairy groups in Mexico, began assessing the opportunity to launch a new line of products on the market.
While Grupo Liderlac was already a milk producer and distributor, it had no meaningful presence in the UHT milk sector in Mexico.
Client’s expectations in terms of reliability and ease-of-use
First of all, a leading company that wishes to increase its production in aseptic packaging needs to assess solutions with certain key characteristics, such as: reliability, ease-of-use of the machines, reduced footprint, efficiency, timely and efficient customer service, while keeping close attention to the initial investment and TCO optimisation.
TCO refers to the Total Cost of Ownership which among others includes not only the cost of acquisition, but also the cost related to owning, maintaining and operating the equipment.
Ease-of-use is also a critical element, since this is a feature that can considerably speed up recruitment and training times for workers charged with operating the plant.
Space requirements for the deployment of the system should also not be overlooked. Filling machines with a smaller space requirement – in terms of both footprint and height, allowing these to be set up in smaller spaces – can reduce overall investment while bringing forward very relevant outputs.
In many cases, by choosing filling machines with optimised dimensions, a producer who wishes to install additional capacity or new package profiles for a premium or niche product, may be able to do so without radical alterations to the overall plant layout.
Machine features alone are not enough. A reliable partner is also required
Before even evaluating any investment in a new packaging system, the reliability and soundness of the supplier must be assessed, as a partner that can consistently provide valuable solutions to grow the client’s business and allow it to achieve its objectives.
The machine’s features are crucial elements but, alone, they are not enough to choose one supplier over another for a company wishing to expand its production.
Specifically, Grupo Liderlac was looking for a company with established experience in developed markets, one that could supply machines for aseptic filling along with a comprehensive range of services geared towards its production’s growth.
The above mentioned were the essential requirements, which led Grupo Liderlac to identify IPI as the most likely partner for ensuring success in launching their UHT products in different packages in the well-developed Mexican market. The first approach was favoured by the fact that IPI is a company with a customer-centric organisation: indeed, it is structured in such a way so as to analyse the specific needs of clients, and provide dedicated consulting for designing the most suitable array of equipment options, features and deployment activities to fulfil their short-term and long-term goals.
It should also be highlighted that while IPI is part of a leading multinational, the company is very flexible, with focus on direct discussion between its own management and those of the prospective client. IPI is focused on handling each client promptly, giving them all their utmost attention.
Client’s assessments and choices
After an exhaustive feasibility analysis and once the potential for starting a new line of aseptic filling was assessed, the upper echelons of Grupo Liderlac visited the European headquarters.
IPI is a supplier in line with the features that Grupo Liderlac was looking for, having installed hundreds of packaging lines around the world, in both mature and emerging markets. It was therefore recognised as the ideal partner to put together a filling line with optimal performance in the short and long term.
The client, in particular, was impressed by the reliability of IPI’s systems, having personally verified the performance of the lines in a variety of settings – from the most sophisticated clean rooms requiring specific certifications (e.g. pharmaceutical and low-acidity), to the most basic ones.
A visit to Group’s R&D Centre also provided the client with an assurance of the highest degree of technical know-how, along with the ability to develop cutting-edge differentiated solutions.
Moreover, a visit by Grupo Liderlac managers to the IPI packaging materials production plant in Perugia reassured the client on the most advanced production and quality control processes, ensuring the best printing solutions in addition to the high performance of the packaging material.
Besides being reliable, the machines designed by IPI stand out for their ease-of-use, with reliable operation thanks to practical interfaces, among others.
IPI: expert in designing innovative carton shapes and aseptic filling machines
During the assessment stage, the managers of Grupo Liderlac could appreciate IPI’s drive for innovation, in terms of both new aseptic carton bricks and filling machines.
The IPI an R&D department focuses on designing and implementing new package shapes to better serve evolving market needs.
Real-life examples include innovative products, such as Caliz, an ergonomic rounded-edge package, designed to meet consumers’ modern eating and drinking habits, and SuperSlim, taller and more streamlined than other brick shapes.
Eventually, the client chose the well-established Square and Slim shapes because of distribution and local shelf compatibility issues.
When it comes to filling machine innovation, IPI has designed complete lines featuring the most advanced technology, such as the FX120, the fastest flexible filling machine in the world for aseptic packaging of UHT milk and beverages. Also, the NSA line which is a particularly reliable filling system, based on IPI’s technological innovation and experience gained in 40 years of business in the aseptic carton packaging sector. All operators can easily start up and manage production, even in complex production environments.
Dimensions, ergonomics and simple and functional HMI panels also make it possible for a single operator to manage two packaging machines at the same time.
The lines selected by Grupo Liderlac
After visiting the facilities and seeing first-hand the reliability and all the potential of the production lines, Grupo Liderlac decided to begin aseptic carton packaging of UHT milk under the Zaragoza brand, by installing two NSA aseptic carton filling lines designed by IPI.
The first one is for packaging 1000 ml Square products with Twist cap, while the other line is for the 200 ml Slim with straw.
The machinery supplied by IPI is quite suitable for work in areas with hot weather conditions while respecting the strictest safety standards: this met another of Grupo Liderlac's requests.
In terms of packaging materials, IPI was able to meet the client’s needs as well, printing completes the packaging with up to eight colours and some of the best flexo printing process anywhere around the world.
The results achieved
Results were remarkable. Once Grupo Liderlac kick-started production of UHT milk packaged in aseptic carton using the packaging lines provided by IPI, volume grew consistently: after a solid start, the customer's sales have increased by 90% between 2018 and 2019.
Zaragoza-branded products were met with significant success on the marketplace, enabling Grupo Liderlac to expand its offer with new drinks and dairy products such as juice and flavored milk, as well as to include other group brands, such as Leche Queretaro.
The high operational standards and the quality achieved by Grupo Liderlac, thanks to the lines supplied by IPI, have been critical in obtaining certification from Grupo LALA, one of the largest dairy groups in the world, where Liderlac is providing co-packing for some demanding LALA products.
The collaboration between IPI and Grupo Liderlac represented an important milestone for both companies. For IPI, this important success in Mexico has opened the doors for the development of new projects and installations across the region.
Would you like to know more about the IPI solutions that best meet your needs in aseptic packaging?
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