STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 10, Number 3

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28 STiR coffee and tea / Issue 3, 2021 (June / July) of making the material from waste products and says it can be injection molded using existing tooling. The material is currently being tested at Sacmi in Italy and at Husky in Luxembourg in readiness to scale-up pro- duction to around three billion capsules per annum. The company has also embarked on the development of what Girdlestone described as a "truly sustainable K-cup capsule," and is also developing its own lidding material for coffee capsules. Girdlestone told the virtual summit that Solinatra behaves and feels like conventional plastic and can be injection molded. He said it actually exceeds current certification requirements for compostability and will degrade in a garden. The speed at which it totally bio- degrades depends on temperature and bacterial activ- ity. The company is also working on a full life cycle analysis of the material to determine its carbon foot- print compared with other materials and will publish it in due course. To substantiate its claims about home compostability, the company tested Nespresso-com- patible Solinatra capsules with a 70 micro wall section in normal garden soil. Girdlestone said the capsules degraded almost entirely in 42 days and the remains of the capsules are very fragile, and crumble into pow- ered very easily. Fast growth in the capsules segment is also driv- ing innovation in packaging machines, as Sarong di- rector of sales and market Stefano Nanni, and IMA's Panzani, told the virtual summit. In Sarong's recently launched Magneta filling machines, which are available in 400, 800, and 1,000 capsules-per-minute versions, Sarong replaced belt or chain conveyors of the type that are usually used to transport capsules through a machine with independently operating 'magnetic shut- tles' powered by a linear motor. Nanni explained that adopting this solution en- ables the company to overcome limits that arise from the use of belt conveyors to transport capsules – limits that determine process cycle time because they act as a 'bottleneck' on production. They can also limit ma- chines to a single product or capsule. "With our new concept we have broken this para- digm, allowing for quick and simple format change- over," Nanni explained. He noted that Magneta also has a smaller footprint than many other machines and is easier to maintain, because of the lack of mechani- cal transmission elements and components, which re- duces the cost of ownership. IMA Coffee, who's new coffee pilot plant is due to come online later this year, developed the Unika, which is capable of processing up to 600 capsules/ minute. With a modular design, the Unika range of machines can be arranged in a number of configura- tions and configured on a case-by-case basis by IMA's technicians. Each machine group is driven indepen- dently by brushless motors. With a focus on dosing accuracy, Unika machines are adaptable for use with coffees of different densities, thanks to a sensor inte- grated into the doser. Panzani Nicola, chief executive officer, IMA Coffee Petroncini. "In 2019 IMA launched 'IMA NoP,' our 'no plas- tics program'," said Nicola Panzani, chief executive officer, IMA Coffee Petroncini. "NoP means we pro- mote eco-friendly plastic substitutes for the packages manufactured on IMA machines. IMA has also estab- lished an 'Open Lab' where material technologists de- velop and test compostable and recyclable materials." Widespread adoption of truly home-compostable capsules would be a game-changer for a segment of the industry that has had a bad press from environ- mentalists for years and manufacturers have been working hard to develop capsules that can be com- posted by consumers. As briefly highlighted by STiR earlier this year, Luxembourg-based Capsul'in Pro claims that its Zero Impact Nespresso-compatible capsule is the first of its kind to be 100% biobased and certified home compostable. Laurent Lombart, managing direc- tor, Capsul'in Pro told the virtual summit that the completely plant-based product – which uses only biodegradable and bio-sourced polymer and cellulose – does not contain materials derived from fossil fuels and that after use, it can be put in a home compost bin or collected with organic waste. It is, he told delegates, entirely compostable, at home, in 26 weeks. Also bringing a new home-compostable product to the AMI virtual summit was Coda Group, whose head of sales and marketing Simon Girdlestone told delegates about what the company claims, "is the world's first truly sustainable coffee capsule." The material used in Coda Group's capsule, So- linatra, is another type of biomaterial, in this case made from agricultural by-products, and is designed to be biodegradable in garden soil. The company cur- rently has eight patents in place covering a method

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