IMA DAIRY & FOOD, which comprises the long-established brands Erca, Gasti,Hamba, and Hassia, held a press briefing during which its new majority owner, Mr. Thomas Becker, presented his strategy for the company group’s realignment.
Moving forward, the brands will act independently in the marketplace, and their individual market identities will be strengthened by offering additional solutions across a broader set of niches. For example, Hassia Verpackungsmaschinen GmbH will expand its portfolio to include high-speed filling and sealing machines for pre-formed cups and bottles from Hamba, and its range of stick pack machines will be complemented with non-aseptic execution equipment and sachet machines. Erca S.A.S., based in the Paris suburb of Les Ulis, added to its machine portfolio the rotary ‘Gyro Cup’ filler and the newly developed ‘Flex Cup’ filling and sealing machine for pre-formed cups and tubs.
The portfolio expansions should enable the two companies to better fulfill customer demands in their markets and offer a broader array of solutions. Meanwhile, GASTI will continue focusing activities on its well-known filling and sealing machine portfolio.
Sales and service capabilities also will be expanded and supported by owned subsidiaries, including a new one launching in England; additional owned subsidiaries are in planning stages.
At the end of Q4 2018, IMA S.p.A. sold 60% of the filling business in its IMA DAIRY & FOOD Group, comprised of Erca, Hamba-Gasti, Hassia, and IMA Dairy & Food USA Inc. In introducing Mr. Becker, IMA DAIRY & FOOD is showcasing a deeply experienced majority shareholder intimately familiar with the packaging machinery business, and with a reputation for helping companies quickly regain sustainable success.
Mr. Becker explains, ‘I am very pleased about this partnership with IMA and, of course, especially with the owner family Vacchi. IMA DAIRY & FOOD, represented by the brands Erca, Hamba-Gasti and Hassia, continues to have a strong market position in the field of form, fill and seal machines as well as fill and seal machines. They are famous brands in this market segment well-known around the globe with further growth opportunities. I see this investment as a commitment to further developing the group and, of course, as a challenge that I will face with passion and dedication.’
Aseptic Competence Center
Combined, the companies comprising IMA DAIRY & FOOD have more than 100 years of experience in mechanical engineering, more than 40 years of aseptic know-how and over 20 years of laboratory practice.
Increased consumer demands for extending the shelf lives of sensitive products without using preservatives prompted the establishment of an Aseptic Competence Center at the Ranstadt premises in Germany. The new venture offers customers comprehensive packaging line solutions from initial planning to configuration, testing and integration – all from a single source. The aseptic team also handles validation, troubleshooting, inspection and existing plant optimization.
The newly established laboratory is certified to work with microorganisms up to Risk Group II, and has comprehensive equipment for implementing various microbiological methods. Further analyses of product properties can be carried out in the physical laboratory.
The IMA DAIRY & FOOD aseptic team consists of specialists in hygienic and aseptic filling systems with expertise in the fields of process engineering, microbiology, food technology and regulatory requirements. The center’s core competence consists of routine quality control of all hygienic machines before delivery, as well as on-site customer support. This includes, for example, determining the kill rates of sterilization processes by microbiological stress tests – a vital step toward commercial sterility.
To investigate new sterilization technologies, a variety of testing stations are set up in the laboratory for microbiological testing. As a result, the aseptic team can not only evaluate the efficiency of new technologies, but also assess applicability under production conditions before filling machine integration.