Steeped in tradition, the dairy manufacturer OLMA a.s., Olomouc, Czech Republic, focuses on variability, hygiene and productivity. Guided by this threefold formula, the company has been operating on the Czech market for 50 years with great success and is one of the top three dairy companies in the country. By investing in the Ampack FCL filling and sealing machine, the company has once again opted for a cup filling machine from Waiblingen, Germany-based Syntegon Technology, formerly Bosch Packaging Technology.

The Czech company processes around 200 million kilograms of raw milk per year. Its portfolio comprises 150 products, including fermented products, cream and sour cream, desserts and various yogurt products. New products that meet the current demands of consumers are added continuously.

"We strive to be the market leader," says Martin Krystián, Olma’s managing director. "That is why we started to plan the investment in a new cup filling machine that would broaden our range of yogurt and dessert products."


A long-term partnership

Over the years, a number of Ampack machines have been installed at Olma. When the initial discussions about the new machine started, the company looked back on a long partnership with Syntegon. Five Ampack filling machines, with some performing reliably for as many as 30 years, and other processing equipment have proven themselves to be efficient and reliable machinery for many years.

"Based on our plans and discussions with Ampack during the course of the project, we once again chose an Ampack line. On the basis of our long-standing collaboration, we were certain that the Ampack team would be able to master the task with ease," says Krystián.

During the company‘s discussions about the new machine, it quickly became clear that Olma’s threefold formula of variability, product quality and productivity also should apply here. The Czech dairy company selected the newest addition to the Ampack product range, the Ampack FCL 1080 U filling machine from Syntegon Technology.

The machine at Olma is set up for an output of 18,000 cups per hour, with a cup diameter of 68 millimeters. The machine is configured for a processing program for four products: mixed fruit yogurt in four varieties, cream with a fat content of 33%, vanilla/chocolate pudding with a whipped cream topping (180%) and vanilla yogurt with up to four different top cups. These consist of a 15- to 40-millimeter-high snap-on lid that contains chocolate balls, cereal or cookies, for example. In addition, the various products can be combined with each other to be able to produce multi-layered products.


Accounting for flexibility

In addition to product variety, one thing counts for Olma above all: flexibility.

"The machine should be able to cover about 90% of all conceivable dairy products; that's part of our strategy," Krystián says.

As a result, the three dosing units are integrated into the line in the form of volumetric piston dosing units — adapted to the different product properties. The product filling volume ranges from 10 to 330 milliliters, offering maximum product variability. The pre-dosing unit is designed as a rotary valve with a central drive and a pump size of 20 to 175 milliliters. The main dosing station, in the form of a cutting valve with an individual piston drive, uses a pump with a delivery volume of 30 to 330 milliliters. The post-dosing station is a negative doser with a central drive and a pump size of 10 to 100 milliliters.

With such a large product range, the upstream tasks cannot be underestimated: The separate Ampack fruit station is designed for up to five different products such as fruit concentrate, stracciatella and chocolate balls. Based on feedback from Olma’s operators in the Czech Republic, Syntegon Technology implemented a number of upgrades.

"We redesigned some functionalities of the Ampack FCL in close cooperation with Olma," explains Roland Schulz, project manager at Syntegon Technology. "The fruit station for the supply of fruit concentrates, for example, includes an innovative tube connection. The heavy tubes and arch-shaped coupling device no longer have to be moved or re-connected for cleaning. This is now standard on all our fruit stations, enabling easy and fast cleaning processes."


Hygenic design

The Ampack machines‘ high standard of hygiene was the decisive factor for this order placement in particular. The broad range of products, with varying microbiological sensitivities, calls for reliable and safe filling processes. The ultra-clean version of the machine, which has been in operation at Olma since late 2018, complies with Category V of the VDMA aseptic standard for nearly all test values.

The Ampack FCL 1080 U performed well in the site acceptance tests from the very beginning. Dairy products with a pH value of > 4.5 are classified as microbiologically sensitive.

To prevent germ growth or spore formation, the machine’s disinfection systems are tested using a test germ. The microbiological inspection at Olma determined a mean logarithmic germ-kill of ≥ 6 on the cup and ≥ 5 on the lid. In the dosing chamber, the machine outperformed the specified mean logarithmic germ-kill of ≥ 3: The tests concluded with a value of ≥ 5.7.

From early 2020 onward, the line will produce additional pH-neutral dessert products — and once again, maximum hygiene standards are an absolute must. Thanks to its efficient cleaning program, the Ampack FCL 1080 U maintains its ultra-clean status continuously.


High output rate

For all products, the Ampack FCL 1080 U achieved the required output rate, even surpassing it in some cases. For some products, the output rate was almost a third higher than Olma’s requirements. The machine is highly efficient and ensures an availability of more than 95%.

"With the achieved standard deviation, we remain well below the value specified by law," says Stanislav Černocký, investment manager for Olma. "This is of course a question of profitability."

During operation, the machine offers new possibilities for operators. The HMI 4.0 from Syntegon Technology simplifies operation; product changes can be implemented quickly. Maximum adaptability is important.

"We schedule our production flexibly, depending on each order. Batch changes are made according to market requirements. Speed is of the essence since we don’t have much time for order optimization," Černocký explains.

Using the Ampack FCL‘s HMI 4.0, operators have more scope for process and production monitoring.

"We also signed a maintenance contract to keep up the condition of the technology," Černocký says.

With this modern equipment, Olma is well-prepared for the continuous expansion of its product portfolio. "We could always count on professional support from Ampack throughout the installation of the machine and the production launch," Černocký says.