IN 2011 THE DAIRY WANTED TO LAUNCH A NEW PRODUCT, WHICH UP TO THEN HAD NOT BEEN AVAILABLE IN EITHER THE ITALIAN OR EUROPEAN MARKET.
The idea of those responsible for product development was to offer “Gran Biraghi” cheese, which was already available in various sizes and shapes (e.g. as “Grattugia Facile”, “Biraghini”, “Grattugia Fresco”, “Biralungo” as well as in grated and flake form, and also as a snack or the classic piece of cheese), in the form of slices in a rigid and reclosable Freshbox.
The challenges were enormous. The dairy made the decisionto utilize MULTIVAC because of its confidence in their innovative solutions and their knowledge of high technical standards required, as well as the excellent relationship between the two companies. Those responsible for the project decided to place their trust in the packaging specialist for the development and implementation of the new pack, since they saw MULTIVAC as a partner to whom they could entrust a solution that would include both the packaging machine and the product handling.
The pack, which was made completely of rigid film, was an Innovation in the market where there was already a wide range of packs with a flexible upper web. The triangular shape of the cheese slices and the pack, which came from the shape of the classic cheese block, presented an additional challenge. The complexity of the project in its development phase, which began in the summer of 2011, required intensive effort and close cooperation between Biraghi and MULTIVAC.
Due to the special geometry of the pack, an asymmetric die format was selected, by which the packaging film could be utilised to its optimum and film trim therefore reduced to a minimum. Thanks to a development phase, which was carefully tailored to every detail, MULTIVAC was also able to fulfil another of the customer’s wishes: the packs had to be capable of being presented in an attractive way at the point of sale without special stand-up displays being required. MULTIVAC was able to meet this requirement by designing a pack, where the base of each pack fit perfectly into the thermoformed lid of the pack underneath it.
The R 535 high-output thermoforming packaging machine was selected for the project since it is capable of thermoforming the upper web (lid) as well as the lower web. The fan-shaped arrangement of the slices within the pack gives the product an additional distinguishing feature – and also makes it easier for the consumer to remove the individual slices.
Another important requirement was the handling of the fragile fanned-out cheese slices, as well as the transfer of these from the transport conveyor into the thermoformed packs. Biraghi placed very great importance on hygiene (i.e. no contact with the product by personnel) and on precise positioning of the product in the pack. MULTIVAC supplied an automatic handling module (H 130), which was specially designed for picking up the cheese slices correctly and placing them accurately and carefully in the pack. The integration of special tongs for handling the cheese slices presented another particular challenge. But the effort was worth it: the hygiene and productivity requirements were able to be met to the full satisfaction of the dairy.
The packaging procedure is completed by the best-before date and production batch being printed on the underside of the pack. This is performed by the MR297 IK direct web printer from MULTIVAC Marking & Inspection. In order to adapt the system to the customer’s requirements, a change in the program was required, allowing the four opposing packs to be printed.
At the beginning of 2012, the R 535 high-output thermoforming packaging machine with its H 130 handling module and MR297 IK direct web printer was installed, tested and accepted at the customer’s factory. The result of the project was highly satisfactory for all those involved. The Technical Managers, Claudio Vaira and Celestino Tibaldi, as well as the Marketing Manager, Dr Claudio Testa, and their colleague responsible for purchasing film, Allisardi, were actively involved in the Project and the intensive discussions with MULTIVAC.
By installing a packaging line with marking equipment and an automatic handling module at Biraghi, MULTIVAC Italy supported the customer in launching onto the market a very innovative pack, which has fulfilled all expectations with regard to efficiency and productivity. Thanks to a packaging solution from one single supplier, the customer can be absolutely certain that the various components of the line are perfectly matched to each other and that they all meet the strict quality, Hygiene and safety standards for which MULTIVAC products are well known.