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Turnkey coffee line
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Turnkey coffee line
    At six facilities in Europe and Australia so far, Nestlé has carried out a product relaunch for its Nescafé Gold instant coffee, which under the project name of “Ergos” was given a new shape of jar and sophisticated dress.

    Nestlé has had seven Krones Topmodule labellers installed for this purpose. At its German Nescafé facility in Mainz, Nestlé went one step further. Here, for the first time, the world’s market leader in the instant coffee segment placed a turnkey order for designing a complete coffee filling and packaging line with a single vendor: Krones.

    Nestlé Deutschland AG’s plant in Mainz on the Rhine has been producing Nescafé for more than 50 years now. But that’s not the only article involved: this facility also makes cocoa-based drinks like Nesquik and Nestlé Finest Hot Chocolate, with about 400 staff achieving an output totalling around 24,000 tons of finished merchandise each year – from roasting the raw coffee beans, freezing and spray-drying, all the way through to filling and end-of-the-line packaging. The products are sold not only in Germany, but all over Europe, and in Asia as well.

    When in 2009 the Nestlé Group kicked off the “Ergos” project by relaunching the container for Nescafé Gold, the time had come for the facility in Mainz as well to think about revamping its labelling and filling capabilities for Nescafé Gold.

    A new standard of labelling

    The goal of Nestlé’s “Ergos” project was to set a new standard of labelling excellence for a glass package of instant coffee, designed to stand out distinctively from its competitors on the supermarket shelves. In very close and mutually supportive cooperation with Krones and the glassworks of the supply chain, Nestlé Product Technology Centre in Orbe, Switzerland, had developed an entirely new, highly attractive container shape, which they called “24 K”: with concave recesses on four sides and flattened at the edges, the jar is dressed in high, narrow body and back labels affixed by cold gluing, plus self-adhesive side and lid labels for product specifications. The labels, the adhesive, and above all the labelling technology involved had to be meticulously matched to the new design concept. As a sensible alternative, Nestlé opted for Topmodule labellers rated at 19,800 containers an hour, supplemented by a Checkmat featuring specially developed software and a dynamic upstream buffer.

    This configuration was to be the same for all facilities in which the new “Ergos” concept for Nescafé Gold had been earmarked for implementation. Which included the plant in Mainz. As the turnkey vendor involved, Krones’ task was to coordinate existing machinery with its own new machines and kit from other vendors.

    Mutually supportive, solution-driven planning

    What was vital in making this turnkey project a success was the shared performative mindset and the mutually supportive planning process, plus the fact that Nestlé’s facility team was involved in the project from a very early stage. The solution-driven approach adopted by everyone concerned, plus personalised interfacing between Krones and Nestlé’s project team, comprising Jörg Brombach, Production Manager Filling/Packaging in Mainz, Di Sun, Project Engineer Packaging in Mainz and Michael Hautz, Head of Coffee Packaging in Frankfurt underpinned by comprehensive support during installation and commissioning, were the crucial factors contributing towards the project’s highly gratifying progress.

    In-depth staff training at the Krones Academy

    In order to assure high line availability levels, the workforce of the Nestlé Mainz facility took part in an in-depth training program at the Krones Academy. Before the line was installed, Nestlé sent a total of twelve line operators, two people in charge of make-ready, and four electricians to Krones’ plants in Neutraubling and Rosenheim for them to be trained on the machines in question. “To provide training in this form was something unprecedented for us”, explains Michael Stryszyk. “With the two old lines, everybody had to be able to operate everything. The idea now was to create knowledge-owners who specialise in certain areas of the line and then impart the knowledge they have gained to others. This concept has definitely paid off. And what’s more, we don’t regard this training as a one-off event, but are aiming to assure the level of skills and knowledge attained on a continuous basis.”

    Placing the order as a turnkey job was definitely the right decision

    “The installation phase was then very well supported by Krones”, says Bernhard Rau. “It’s important to us that the entire line runs with maximised stability”, emphasises Michael Stryszyk. And Bernhard Rau adds: “What’s really noteworthy about the whole thing is that the service support we got from Krones was really brilliant, even after the project had been handed over. Any reworking jobs were handled responsively without any fuss; our inquiries were invariably answered promptly. In the medium term, we aim to achieve an operating efficiency for the line of 90 per cent on a lasting basis.”

    “Placing this order as a turnkey job was definitely the right decision“, emphasises Michael Stryszyk. “Krones is without a doubt second to none when it comes to handling turnkey jobs with consummate professionalism. I would recommend them to anybody.”


    Selected machines and solutions
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