From film pouch to thermoformed pack

In 2014 the Société Interprofessionnelle des Bouchers et Charcutiers Abatteurs à Surgères - SIBCAS for short - replaced its chamber machine with a compact R 085 thermoforming packaging machine.  The company was able to double its output, and it laid the foundation for further growth.

With 90 employees SIBCAS is among the medium-sized market players in the French meat industry. The rendering and processing operation in Surgères, situated about 30 kilometres from the Atlantic coast, is one of the last privately run companies in the sector. When it comes to its often much larger competitors, SIBCAS has asserted itself successfully for decades: “Our trump cards are quality, closeness to customers, speed of reaction, and hard work that gives us all satisfaction,” says CEO Nicolas Joyet with pride. Using a strategy focused purely on the local market, the entrepreneur ensures SIBCAS remains firmly anchored in the region of Poitou-Charentes: “Whether it is cattle, calves, horses or lambs, our animals all come from regional breeders. We know the pedigree of every individual animal. Our customers, which include 250 butchers shops, around 50 supermarkets and a number of wholesalers, are all located here in the local area.”

Nicolas Joyet took over the municipal abattoir in Surgères thirteen years ago and successively expanded the rendering and processing capacity. A new processing line to the latest standards went into operation in 2014. The company now produces around 6,000 tons of meat on it per year. Nicolas Joyet also wants to increase the production area by 2016. The entrepreneur’s expansion strategy has already borne fruit. SIBCAS has recently been able to expand its portfolio to include thinly sliced beef, calf meat and lamb.



Bottleneck with the chamber machine

The entry into the new market segment created an initial problem for production: SIBCAS only had one chamber machine, which was used to pack the individual pieces of rendered meat in vacuum pouches. This procedure had been well suited to the product range to date. However, packing in vacuum pouches reached its limits when it came to sliced meat products: “Due to the very high demand for the new product, the capacity of the chamber machine proved to be too small,” recalls Nicolas Joyet. The main problem was that loading took far too long. Four staff were needed to pack the required production quantity. “Therefore, our priority was to find a new packaging solution quickly.”

In the summer of 2014 SIBCAS turned to MULTIVAC. Following in-depth advice by the local sales adviser, SIBCAS decided on the R 085, currently MULTIVAC’s smallest thermoforming packaging 
machine. “This model was launched onto the market last year and is suitable for companies wanting to embark on automatic thermoforming packaging. The R 085 can be used to produce both vacuum packs and packs with inert gas,” explains Michaela Hattier of MULTIVAC France.

Entry into the thermoforming process was successful

The R 085 went into operation in Surgères at the beginning of October 2014. A MULTIVAC service technician was on site during the installation and assisted the customer with production of the first batches. Nicolas Joyet describes the first days of the launch: “We had never worked with this packaging procedure before. Operating our first thermoforming packaging machine was therefore a completely new experience for us. But we soon realized, that we had made exactly the right choice. We can now react much more flexibly to the wishes of our customers, and we now use the machine for both sliced product and individual pieces.”

The R 085 is equipped with four standard format layouts to enable users to achieve this flexibility. It has a quick-change system for the forming and sealing dies with proven slide-in technology, which is integrated as standard in the die design. This makes it easier for staff to convert the machine to other formats. With a pack depth of up to 80 millimetres, the R 085 offers the rendering and processing operation a whole range of possibilities for pack design. This includes running both flexible and rigid films.

The staff at SIBCAS working on the R 085 quickly got to grips with the new system. The R 085 is equipped with the IPC 06 machine control as well as the HMI 2.0 user interface with touchscreen.

Electric drives are used for the lifting units, as well as the transport chain. This means that the R 085 also fulfils the requirements for improved energy efficiency. It meets the MULTIVAC Hygienic Design™, which enables the machine to be cleaned easily from the inside and outside.

Thanks to its new packaging solution, SIBCAS can now assert itself even more on the regional market. Compared with its old packaging solution, the company has doubled its production quantity and is already thinking about purchasing a second thermoforming packaging machine, which will be installed in the new production hall.

R 085 Thermoforming packaging machine

Cut-off length (mm)          < 300
Forming depth (mm)         < 80
Output (cycles/min)           < 6*
Hygiene standard              MULTIVAC Hygiene Design™

*Depending on the equipment