Peder Rejmers, Vice President Operations
The packaging is the linchpin of the food processing industry. The relished edible food items are only as good as their freshness, taste, shelf-life, and hygiene, which are all determined by their packaging. Notably, food packaging and processing have evolved multifold in the last few years owing to the rapid surge in automation solutions that contribute highly to increased productivity and speed along with the reduced cost. On top of that, the use of robots is driving higher quality and efficiency, particularly in terms of their flexibility, speed, precision, reproducibility, and hygiene.
Deploying the recent trends to meet all these different business requirements of the food packaging industry is Germany-based MULTIVAC. With the mission to protect food from external influences, the company offers a wide range of food packaging products, including thermoforming packaging machines, traysealers, chamber machines, labelling, and quality inspection systems, and turnkey production lines.
After accumulating vast experience in food packaging, MULTIVAC has also ventured into the food processing arena. The firm delivers high-performance equipment, both as individual components and integrated solutions, for the processing and packing of meat and sausage products. All in all, MULTIVAC’s extensive product suite ranges from slicers and portioners to transport conveyors of all types and right up to handling modules for customizing the products and loading them into the packs accurately and hygienically.
Another major trend that MULTIVAC has witnessed is the rising demand for recyclable packaging, resulting from changing legal framework and customer habits. To follow this shift and align its solutions with the market requirements, MULTIVAC has developed suitable packaging materials that can be run on thermoforming packaging machines and traysealers.
The firm is constantly working toward reducing the packaging material by utilizing specific equipment and optimized pack designs. “We use different functional layers to produce packs from paper fiber-based materials. Users can separate the cardboard backing from the plastic barrier layer and then put it into the paper recycling,” states MULTIVAC. “We are also working with leading packaging material manufacturers to develop new packaging concepts, such as recyclable materials like mono films or fiber-based packaging materials.”
MULTIVAC lays particular emphasis on digitization, which has led the company to systematically incorporate innovation and the latest technologies into its food packaging solutions. A vast number of patented products, continuous focus on research and development of business models, and a highly standardized management process are the testament to MULTIVAC’s technological leadership. “Along with innovative, cutting-edge technology, and comprehensive product portfolio, we have built our market position on long-term expertise,” MULTIVAC mentions. “Our customers benefit from our profound knowledge of processes and automation.”
Over the years, MULTIVAC has garnered a worldwide reputation in the food packaging and processing market. Currently, the company owns 13 production sites and more than 85 subsidiaries and has served numerous customers in more than 140 countries. One of MULTIVAC’s customer, Alty Foods, a Japanese food processing company that specializes in processing meat, fish, and seafood, was looking to dominate the national market. As the Japanese population prefers fresh, appetizing, and high-quality food products with attractive packaging, Alty Foods had numerous challenges to overcome at production sites, such as limited production areas and sudden reductions in the economically active population. For Alty Foods, the most crucial agenda for the new packaging solution was to maintain foods’ freshness and color, as well as longer shelf life.
Additionally, the company wished to have standardized and reliable process sequences, which could be operated with subordinate staff. With such requirements, Alty Foods began its search for a new packaging solution, and the hunt concluded with MULTIVAC. “We put forward our T 300 traysealer for producing modified atmosphere (MAP) packs, which enabled small to medium-sized batches of trays to be packed in limited spaces,” says MULTIVAC. “This compact traysealer model could also be individually designed as multi-track and combined with discharge systems.” As highly user-friendly with touchscreen control, this traysealer further enabled users to scan a QR code on each MAP pack to gain additional information about Alty Foods, MULTIVAC, and MAP technology using a smartphone. “This innovative packaging type was well received by retailers and consumers, which put Alty Foods at the positive side of the end-users,” mentions MULTIVAC.
Having such success stories in the quiver, the future of MULTIVAC looks bright and promising. Currently the company is working toward building a new Center of Excellence for slicers and automation solutions and a new Center of Excellence for meat portioning in Germany. The firm has also signed an investment agreement to establish a new production company in Taicang, China, which will enable MULTIVAC to react to the customer requirements with greater speed and focus. In addition to this, a local R&D department will be set up on the site to target, empower, and develop regional customers. Undoubtedly, MULTIVAC has laid down an effective plan for the upcoming years that is tilted toward users’ benefit and advantage.