Sunday 19 May 2024
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IMA Coffee, Sales Director Nicola Panzani explains the path towards sustainability in coffee plant

IMA Zero is the foundation of our sustainable development program. Through the research and testing of alternative processes and materials, IMA Coffee contributes to creating sustainable products, production processes and services, benefitting from a renewed logic of sustainability.

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MILAN – Three days of immersion in the ever-changing world of single serve: the watchword, capsules, for the virtual summit sponsored by IMA Coffee. A digital platform designed to host a choral debate on the latest global trends, on the challenges that the industry must face in the face of a change in sensitivity with respect to the consumption and production of waste such as plastic and aluminium.

The first speech we have followed, and which we would like to share, is that of Nicola Panzani, Sales Director of IMA Coffee and CEO of IMA Coffee Petroncini S.p.a.: “The Coffee Plant you dream of” – latest challenges and developments towards sustainability”.

La Cimbali

Latest developments in coffee processing and packaging

Counting on the corporate organisation focused on new digital, sustainable projects and technological laboratories, IMA Coffee shares its expertise at every step of coffee processing or packaging to be the perfect partner to enhance the value of the coffee chain.

CO Tube the Next-Generation Degassing System developed by IMA Coffee
Petroncini, is an example of this new approach to sustainability” Panzani says.


CO-Tube was designed last year, and is what Nicola Panzani describes as a “strong evolution” of existing solutions. CO-Tube is a system capable of accelerating the degassing time with a nitrogen (N 2) injection, in a deep vacuum environment at -800 mbar. A closed-handling system almost allows zero-oxygen process conditions making it unique on the market. The oxygen does not enter in contact with the product, so as to guarantee the maximum aroma preservation with a significant impact on the product shelf-life.

“As a result of the closed-circuit adopted, CO-Tube is the only system available on the market today able to partially recover the nitrogen needed during the process. A nitrogen closed circuit reduces the quantity of nitrogen dispersed in the environment with significant savings in terms of inert gas to be added to continue the process, so as to have a nearly-free-from-gas working area and environment as a consequence” Panzani says.

Furthermore, this specific process engineering enables the temperature control of the gas so as to maintain the temperature stable inside the system, despite the environmental temperature.

C-900 High Speed Cartoner launched at Host

The new capsule cartoner C-900, Panzayni says, represents an excellent choice as a turnkey solution combined with IMA high speed capsule filling machines. “The cartoner can handle any type of capsule available on the market, in plastic, aluminium, recyclable and compostable material.” he says.

The C-900 can pack capsules in a wide range of sizes and carton configurations. To ensure
capsule stability and integrity, the cartoner allows the insertion of interlayers and/or inlays according to customers requirements. The capsule transfer feeding system is equipped with a buffer and capsules recirculation unit and guarantees extremely gentle handling, avoiding capsules damaging.

IMA Coffee Lab experience:

“Far more than a showroom where customers can appreciate the extent of IMA’s expertise at each step of the process, IMA Coffee LAB is a place to experiment solutions and gain a tangible overview of an entire plant. ” Panzani declares. The core of IMA Coffee LAB is the Pilot Plant, a fully operational scaled-down factory. From intake to cleaning and storaging, roasting, grinding and degassing, plus several packaging solutions, the entire process is accomplished in an area covering 3000 sqm. “Each stage is considered as an integral part of the whole, where innovative technologies and care for the product both play a vital and balanced role, from A to Z” he says.

Specialist technicians are available on a permanent basis at the LAB to provide visiting
companies with valuable advice and technical details covering all aspects of the machines and packaging solutions available. Working together on developing the ideal configuration enables IMA to adapt key features according to specific customer needs, leading to no less than a tailor-made solution.

“ Ultimately the goal is to provide all the answers needed to create an integrated processing and packaging line which will maximise production efficiency, performance and achieve the required product quality. Using the IMA Coffee LAB to optimise each aspect related to a customer’s product incurs no fees and simply reflects the importance IMA attributes to finding the best possible solution.” Panzani says.

IMA and NatureWorks:a solid partnership to foster a turn-key sustainable solution for K-Cup

“The partnership will accelerate the availability of a turn-key solution for K-Cup compatible
compostable coffee pods in North America with excellent performance in converting, assembly, filling, brewing, and taste.” Panzani says.

Compatibility testing on capsules, filter, and top lid films are being performed at IMA Coffee Lab with the precise aim to identify and achieve optimum material sealing parameters and limits as well as a suitable set up of IMA packaging machineries to handle the pods successfully. Tests are carried out under the supervision of IMA Coffee R&D team and in close and constant co-operation with NatureWorks specialists: dedicated tools are used to simulate filter and top lid films sealing phases and adjust parameters according to testing results.

“The sophisticated microleakage detection testing performed at IMA Coffee Lab has given more than encouraging and optimistic results allowing a significant step forward in the process that will proceed thoroughly towards the following coffee extraction testing phase. ” Panzani states.

For more information visit IMA Coffee website:



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