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Yoghurt maker describes machinery improvements

Wade Groetsch, vp of operations at Noosa, a start-up maker of “indulgence yoghurts” based in Bellvue, CO, talks about packaging machines and sustainable packaging.

Wade Groetsch, vp of operations at Noosa
Wade Groetsch, vp of operations at Noosa

Packaging World:
When some yogurt makers are leaning toward thermoform/fill/seal systems as a means of cutting costs, why did you opt for premade containers?

Wade Groetsch:
We only launched the company a little over three years ago. The cost of entry is too high if you invest a million or more in form/fill/seal. Running and maintaining that equipment might be more demanding, too.

Has sustainability been a priority at Noosa?
It has, yes. High-efficiency air compressors help us keep our energy use down. We also harness the cooling power of the river coming down off the mountains. As a supplement to mechanical cooling, it brings us about a 60 percent savings in energy use requirements. Also, not too long ago we switched to a Delkor Spot Pak system for secondary packaging. It puts six primary packages on a corrugated pad, stacks the pads two high for a total of 12 cups, and sends those 12 through a film overwrap and shrink tunnel. It reduced our corrugated usage by about 70 percent compared to the hand packing into conventional corrugated cases that we were doing before.

Any other noteworthy machine developments unfolding at Noosa?
We were among the first, if not the very first, to use a new technology from Delkor that brings us a 40 percent improvement in cooling time. It’s tooling, which can be retrofit onto the Spot Pak system, that perforates the shrink film being applied over yogurt cups on their corrugated pads. Because it lets more air circulate, the yogurt gets down to its refrigerated temperature much more quickly.

What about controls, integration, IT—that sort of thing?
More data from the machines combined with better networking capabilities lets me generate reports more quickly. I know right away how long every operational sequence takes, in processing and in packaging. The networking makes it easier for machine suppliers to patch into our machine PLCs remotely so they can see faults and correct them much more readily.

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