- CCM (Continuous Compression Moulding) technology to produce coffee capsules
- Cycle times between 2.4 and 3.2 seconds
- Possibility to produce completely ‘green’ capsules
Coffee capsules: a global market worth over US$ 10 billion that has, in Western Europe alone, doubled in size over the last 4 years. Two Italian companies have started to use CCM (Continuous Compression Moulding) technology to produce coffee capsules in high numbers, and save energy at the same time.
Sacmi’s CCM series suitable for the production of coffee capsules
Bologna-based company ICA, a manufacturer of automatic machines for packaging with flexible materials, capsules and water-soluble single-shot products., is holder of over 200 international patents and offers a complete range of coffee roasting systems, including the capsule developed using the CCM 24 compression moulding machine from Sacmi. Another company, Milan-based company Mitaca, is specialized in the design, production and distribution of espresso coffee and other hot drink capsule systems for offices and large-scale businesses. In this case, the firm chose the CCM32 of Sacmi, due to its very short cycle times, energy savings and very good product quality, including process repeatability.
Cycle times between 2.4 and 3.2 seconds
A key role in the development of this application, which involved more than a year of intense research, was played by Sacmi’s R&D facility which developed the moulds for the capsule together with the customers, from the initial design phase all the way, via the various prototyping steps, to production performance checks and final capsule testing. The outcome: cycle times between 2.4 and 3.2 seconds with traditional materials (PP, HDPE), depending on the capsule geometry. This means 50% shorter cycle times than what can be achieved with current injection moulding technology. In addition, there is the possibility to implement real-time quality control by identifying any capsule faults, their origin and/or frequency directly on the line, thus allowing immediate correction. Another advantage is that CCM operates at lower temperatures and allows handling of the dose in a more viscous state than in injection moulding. And lower processing temperatures result in energy savings.
Possibility of producing completely ‘green’ capsules
And there is the possibility to produce “green capsules” as well. In cooperation with ICA and API, the leading Italian manufacturers of thermoplastic compounds and producer of the Apinat Bio biodegradable product series, Sacmi has developed capsules that can be disposed directly with the organic waste as it is made of 100% compostable and biodegradable material.
For Sacmi, which also provides form-fill-seal technology for the one-step production of thermo-formed capsules, this new approach paves the way to enter new markets which are not limited to coffee capsules. There is an enormous potential for other ‘pod’ products used in the food & drink sectors, such as soups and sparkling drinks. Just recently, American giant Coca-Cola’s acquired a 10% share of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the biggest producer of capsule products in the US.