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Options open for German dairy

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SQUEEZED by tight time constraints and a tough competitive environment, one of Germany’s leading dairies was faced with a considerable challenge: increase efficiency with a system that offers a wide range of re-closable packaging options with no pause in production.

With large volumes, Milchhof Magdeburg could not afford a trial-and-error approach; the new machines would have to perform reliably and efficiently right from the start.

After an extensive analysis of various options, they decided that the Tetra Pak A3 filling machines offered the most attractive solution to meet its immediate and longer-term needs.

Flexibility

“We obviously did look at equipment from other manufacturers, but we opted for the because of its capacity, flexibility, ease of operation and, more importantly, its efficiency,” explained Helge Prott, CEO of Milchhof Magdeburg GmbH, the UHT milk competence centre for Nordmilch eG, Germany’s biggest dairy cooperative and a leading dairy in eastern Germany.

The Direct Injection Moulded Cap (DIMC) applicators integrated within the machines were among the decisive criteria for Milchhof Magdeburg.

“The built-in closure injection-moulding unit eliminates the need to apply the closures after filling, which reduces costs considerably but at the same time does not limit us to one package only,” Prott said.

“It offers us the opportunity, if market requirements change, to respond effectively by switching over to other packages or openings.”

The machine allows users to change to a different package from a selection of 22 different package sizes and shape combinations, within aseptic package ranges, from 200 ml to 2-litre sizes.

Moreover, a choice of six different opening and closure types are available.

Volumes or shapes can be changed within one eight-hour shift.

“With this machine, we offer a future-proof system that can respond flexibly to market changes,” Tetra Pak Germany key account manager Heinrich Reupke said.

“The FDA-filed machine satisfies all our customers’ requirements of format and closure options”.

“The whole platform offers high quality benefits such as an integrated cleaning unit and built-in process monitoring for accurate quality control,” underlined Claudio Casarini, Director of Tetra Pak A3, at Tetra Pak Carton Ambient in Modena, Italy.

Compared to its predecessor, it greatly reduces the time needed to change packages thanks to options which allow customers to switch between packages with the same bottom cross-section in only 10 minutes without alternating the sterile conditions of the filling machine.

Instant ramp-up

Installation was among the key challenges facing Milchhof Magdeburg.

The company needed to make the transition from the filling machines which had been its primary UHT milk packaging system virtually overnight, with no downtime.

Delivery, installation and commissioning all went off without a hitch.

The entire process, from the signature of the contract to commissioning took only four months.

“We are delighted with how everything has gone,” Prott said.

“The machines have operated right from day one with outstanding efficiency, even though they are an entirely new generation of machines, and new generations often have ‘teething problems’.”

Today, four filling machines are operating around the clock, in three eight-hour shifts, seven days a week. The operation has been so successful that now, said Prott, the company is thinking about expansion.

One option open to Milchhof Magdeburg is to expand and accelerate production by adopting the high capacity filling machine.

The world’s fastest aseptic carton filling machine, it can fill up to 12,000 one-litre Tetra Brik Aseptic cartons per hour.

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