Almarai Chooses Ampack To Increase Efficiency And Safeguard Product Quality

Monday, September 9th, 2019

Our growing population and changing diets fuel a demand for customised dairy products. To accommodate these needs, the global dairy industry is estimated to expand its volume by 234 metric tons by 2021. Europe is one of the top producers globally, and is the leading producer of cow’s milk, producing 56.5 million litres each year. Europe is closely followed by North America, who exports 45 billion US dollars’ worth of dairy products annually, and Asia, who has tripled its domestic milk production volume since 2000. However, at over 3 percent CAGR, the Middle East is the third fastest growing region in terms of dairy production and consumption. The dairy product company Almarai is a key player in this region and recently invested in three new filling and sealing machines from Bosch Packaging Technology in order to strengthen its position and expand its business in the Middle Eastern region.

Almarai started operating in the field of dairy production in 1977. Within four decades, the company has grown and developed rapidly. Based in Saudi Arabia, Almarai has become the largest food and beverage manufacturer in the Middle East, with fresh dairy making up the company’s core business. With over 170,000 cows on six farms, dairy production exceeds one billion litres per year, making Almarai the region’s largest vertically integrated dairy company.

True to its motto “quality you can trust”, the brand enjoys customer loyalty on the local market and is known for its high-quality and innovative products. Its popular product “Zabadi”, for example, is a set-style yoghurt with a firm texture and is enjoyed plain, with fruit or added local ingredients. Due to the market’s rising demand for Zabadi, production capacities needed to be expanded. Consequently, the company looked for a filling solution that would increase production volume and efficiency, while keeping product waste to a minimum. Additionally, the new solution had to provide a hygienic filling environment for sensitive products and maintain both the product’s high quality and taste.


Easier, High-Speed Yoghurt Filling

The biggest challenge when filling set yoghurt is that the product is highly liquid—comparable to water—at the time of dosing. Due to the rapid movement of the cups in such a high-speed production environment, there is a higher risk of spilling the liquid product during the filling process. After filling and sealing the cups, the yoghurt is given time to ferment. The so-called incubation process gives the set yoghurt its firmer texture compared to other yoghurt products, while making it highly nutritious and easier to digest.

Thanks to its reputation and experience in the field of hygienic filling and sealing machines for the dairy industry, Ampack GmbH, part of Bosch Packaging Technology since 2012, was the partner of choice for the project. After working closely with the customer for a few months, Bosch found an optimal packaging solution for Almarai to ensure the highest possible product quality and production efficiency.

In the end, Almarai invested in three Ampack inline filling and sealing machines to fill its Zabadi set yoghurt into pre-made cups. Equipped with a double index motion system, each unit reaches speeds of up to 38,000 cups per hour. Additionally, the inline cup filling machines come with a servo-driven vibration damping software, allowing a very precise and reliable movement of the cups. As a result, they enable higher output capacities while keeping product waste to a minimum.


Higher Level Of Efficiency

By investing in Bosch equipment, Almarai now meets the strict market requirements with regard to food safety. For example, the chemical-free cleaning processes for packaging material and sensitive machine parts mean that Almarai can ensure higher product quality. In addition, the product hopper and dosing-station are pressurised with sterile air to prevent product contamination. Furthermore, all three machines are designed according to the latest hygienic design standards, ensuring safe operation and hygienic production. An intuitive Human Machine Interface (HMI) facilitates ease of use and quick adjustments. In terms of efficiency, the inline cup fillers are equipped with an intermediate cleaning option that is supported by an automatic rinsing bar. At the touch of a button, the rinsing bar moves under the filling nozzles of the dosing station. The whole dosing system can then be cleaned automatically, while keeping the machine and its sensitive areas closed. This results in shorter cleaning times and leads to a significant increase in production efficiency.

On top of that, Almarai appreciated the possibility to run extensive tests in Germany prior to the shipment of the machines to Saudi Arabia. This way, Almarai was confident that the right customised solution was designed to meet their specific needs. Not only were the pre-tests promising, but the three high-speed filling machines were installed ahead of schedule.


Further reading:

Flora-Based Milk Protein: No Cows About It!

Predicting The Future Of Maintenance In F&B Plants

Combatting The Allergy Issue