Back with a bang: interpack 2023

Back with a bang this year, the latest edition of interpack has so far proved to be an incredibly successful show, showcasing the best of the industry as it returns after a six-year hiatus.

Themes running through the show included sustainability, energy efficiency and digitalisation, as it became clear that exhibitors are operating with the future in mind.

Our Innovator interview for the January/February issue, Lex van Houten, Marketing Manager of AMF Bakery, was there in force to showcase the range of their solutions for bakery which included complete turnkey lines and a new sauce depositor which, he noted, doesn’t use compressed air – making it easier to clean and reduced the water consumption.

“We try to inspire,” he explained. “We try to move further than our competitors.”

“There are different paths of digitalisation,” he added, as one of AMF Bakery’s solutions includes integrating a smart solution with a Waterfall Applicator. As produced pizzas pass through, it is capable of detecting how much cheese is on each and whether to increase or reduce the amount of cheese according to pre-set specifications by the operator. No manual intervention is needed.

Sustainability is a big focus for US-based Reading Bakery Systems who had three main topics on show at interpack: sustainability, low pressure technology and continuous mixing.

Through their solutions, they are looking to offer “A soft transition,” as Luis Montoya, Sales Manager, Latin America Region at Reading Bakery Systems termed it.

Their latest solution is an electric oven that can run off green electricity but also natural gas, through a changing combustion chamber. Using continuous mixing technology, Luis explained, creates “A more stable process” with big benefits for bakers including reduction in energy, labour savings and overall product quality.

When asked what else he sees having a big role in the industry, healthy ingredients came up. “People are looking for healthier snacks,” Luis said, noting this meant more natural ingredients.

But this isn’t all plain sailing, as natural ingredients can impact on that ever-crucial thing in snacks: the crunch. “That [the crunch] represents quality as well,” he said. Every piece of equipment Reading Bakery Systems make is designed to give that key crunch.

Moving from baked snacks to chocolate, MacIntyre Chocolate Systems are concerned with energy efficiency as the skyrocketing cost of energy has made it much harder for producers to operate profitably.

“Energy consumption is a huge factor,” stressed Joe Gorman, Managing Director of MacIntyre Chocolate Systems. They are showcasing their 500kg Refiner/Conche which has been updated to be more energy efficient. Some producers when refining, he explained, tend to run a refiner for hours and hours – “When they’ve probably got what they need after nine hours,” said Jeremy Scott, International Sales Manager.

Over at Syntegon, the core solutions on display is their NutraFlash, a turnkey production line, their new SVX VFFS packaging machines and paper-based packaging.

The NutraFlash can play a key role in nutraceutical gummy production in particular, Dr Sandra Link, Product Manager at Makat Candy Technology told me. “The focus of the customers themselves is on the supplement,” she said, noting that for the nutraceutical industry in particular, more common is simple shapes and colours – in comparison to standard gummies.

The growth of nutraceuticals, she explained, can be attributed to the pandemic. “Covid has driven the trend,” she said, as people have become more health conscious. US consumers in particular like to take supplements.

In developing the depositing station, Dr Link noted, it was all about accuracy, which is especially important in the production of nutraceuticals. It cut out manual mould handling completely, as an automated solution.

“It’s all the same story,” she said, “To see product quality at the end.”

Martin Boutkan, Product Manager for VFFS Technology at Syntegon was in agreement: “Ergonomy and accessibility are key words for all the machines.”

Accessibility and ease of use were recurring words given by manufacturers by the show – and no more apparent than for Roy Fraser, Global Product Manager at ABB as they have on show their high speed picking line, using vision guided robots and their PickMaster Twin software, first introduced in 2019.

“There’s no programming needed,” Roy explained. “This is about simplicity.”

I spoke to Roy for our Robotics feature last year and recalled what he had mentioned about robots providing opportunities, as opposed to fears that they would replace jobs.

“These are the dangerous jobs in tough environments,” he said, referring to manufacturing, which arguably has witnessed the biggest boom of robotics as robot arms can be used for picking and placing and palletising in a number of industries including confectionery.

In the US alone, the welding industry is expected to be facing approximately 300,000 job shortages by 2024. This is where robots can help.

“Robots used to improve output, now they protect output,” Roy said.

After an incredibly successful three days, interpack looks to be back with a bang after six years of postponement owing to the pandemic, with another jampacked four days to go. The International Confectionery Magazine team are exhibiting at North Entrance 1, Stand 12, and look forward to seeing you there!

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Media contact

Caitlin Gittins
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920

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