It’s in the bag with ADM Packaging Automation

ADM Packaging Automation

ADM Packaging Automation supplies coffee roasters with packaging equipment that improves efficiency, increases productivity, and delivers cost savings to their production line.

Coffee is only as good and fresh as the packaging it comes in, but ADM Packaging Automation CEO George Fakhry says too often, packaging solutions are an afterthought.

“As a coffee roaster, it makes sense your roasting machine is usually your top priority, but that often means packaging becomes a secondary concern,” George says.

“A lot of coffee companies in Australia still operate ‘cavemen style’ regarding packaging, manually packing by hand rather than using automation. It might be cheaper at the start, but the more you pack and the bigger your business gets, the more labour it takes and the more that extra staffing offsets your growth.”

Once a roaster is packaging upward of one or two tonnes of coffee per week, George says automation is necessary to scale the business without increasing overheads.

“A few years ago, we received a couple enquiries from the coffee industry and looked at what machines were available on the market. Many came from overseas and have similar designs to our equipment, so it was only a small jump to adapt our machines from other food products to coffee,” he says.

“Ever since, we’ve been kicking goals. Being Australian made and designed in-house means our partners are getting a VIP service. If there’s an issue, they don’t have to send us an email and hope we’ve replied by the next morning if at all. They can get on the phone with us within a minute and we’ll have the machine up and running again.”

ADM’s ideal machine for the coffee industry is the ADM-DP31 Coffee Gusset Bag Packaging Machine, with other machines in the DP3 line tailored to different packaging applications, such as the DP-30 for doy pouches.

Fully automating a roaster’s coffee packaging line, the ADM-DP31 weighs and doses coffee beans or ground coffee, uses special suction cups to open the premade plastic or paper gusset bag, and deploys high powered vibration to settle the coffee beans or ground coffee in the bag. It then fills and seals the bag and prints the best before date, all in the same process. George says working with premade bags rather than a basic forming and sealing process results in a higher quality presentation of the product as it leaves the roastery.

The machine is controlled from an intelligent touchscreen, which can be as simple or involved as the operator requires.

“We’ve been doing this for 30 years and understand that most packers want a simple user interface that’s quite easy to operate. For them, operating the machine and changing settings is as easy as copy and pasting a program and making small changes,” George explains.

“But for those who are tech savvy or want to take an advanced approach, there are a wide variety of options and variables they can access, like dust extraction, gas flushing, and pressure monitoring. It’s all in the manual for those who want to go there.”

The ADM-DP31 easily opens 250-gram, 500-gram, and one-kilogram bags with a one-way coffee valve, using materials including laminated, plastics, foil, and craft paper. It features a quick five-minute changeover time between different packaging sizes, a speed George says is unmatched in the market.

“Our machine can package 10 to 12 one-kilogram bags per minute or 12 to 14 250-gram and 500-gram bags. If your downtime is even as much as 10 minutes between format changes, that can make you fall behind by 100 kilograms, so a fast changeover is crucial,” he says.

“The reduced downtime is also where you see the benefits of a high-quality locally made product. If you’re down for even one hour, that’s 600 kilograms worth of production time you’ve lost.”

ADM’s in-house engineers work with its client’s floor plans to integrate existing systems and application requirements to customise their packaging line. 

“It’s not like coming in to pick up a new car and off you drive. This equipment needs to be set up correctly to get the best results out of it. We are onsite to install the machine, including training, with free-of-charge follow-up visits scheduled to answer any questions or carry out further training. After that, we’re only a phone call away,” George says.

“Companies that purchase our equipment are more than customers to us, they’re partners, and the service and relationship goes beyond the initial sale.”

Too often, George says he will hear from companies – not just in coffee but many industries – who have bought cheaper imported packaging equipment and come to regret it. He adds external service technicians have referred many customers to “ADM in Melbourne” after being brought in to fix faulty imported equipment.

“The imported machine might seem like a cheaper investment, but they can cost you a fortune in downtime, so the customer ends up spending their money twice,” George says.

“Buying locally means you are getting the Rolls Royce of equipment. A few Asian companies have tried to break into the market with their packaging equipment and can undercut us on price because manufacturing in Australia is quite expensive. The problem is, I haven’t found one satisfied customer, and on many occasions have replaced them.”

George says he’s never lost a customer that purchased an ADM packaging machine to another supplier. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite.

“Almost every company we’ve sold a machine to has had their volume or capacity go up by 50 per cent. One customer was even so wrapped with our machine that he told me, alone on a Saturday, he can roast and pack 1.5 tonnes of coffee in a single shift,” George says.

“There are many smaller coffee roasters who are not yet roasting those volumes, but it’s still a lot of hard work to handle coffee roasting, packing, and dispatching all manually. As they grow, they need to think about how automation in something like packaging is going to make them more efficient, and if they’d rather settle for a machine that will contribute to downtime or provide them with maximum ability.” 

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This article appeared in the October 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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