Volpak’s sustainable & flexible pack for coffee

Coffee bean pouch solution with degassing

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Volpak coffee packaging
Volpak packaging for coffee pods Photo Volpak

Volpak, a Barcelona-based Coesia group company, is specialized in the designing and marketing of flexible packaging solutions. Coffee is one of the fastest growing markets among the industries covered by the Spanish company. Working with many roasters in Europe and worldwide, it has long experience for the packaging of roasted beans and ground coffee. Today’s challenges are mainly around sustainability and flexibility.

Volpak for coffee – a concrete example for the Turkish market

Recently, the company had to face a new challenge on behalf of a Turkish roaster – an established business in this industry and a long time Volpak client that requested a full plant for the packaging of coffee beans, complete with an advanced degassing system. This is a common request among roasters, which is necessary to protect the product’s aroma and increase its shelf life, avoiding its contamination with oxygen.

The challenge is due to the fact that coffee cannot be vacuum packed after roasting, as the packages swell due to pressure and may break. In fact, freshly roasted coffee releases significant amounts of carbon dioxide. It is a slow process, since the coffee beans retain part of the gas after roasting and gradually release it. It is estimated that they can continue to emit CO2 for more than two weeks. Also, both oxygen and humidity, as well as other elements of the environment, can damage the coffee beans. To keep it fresh, with its aroma, its flavor and all its qualities, it is absolutely essential to isolate it from these threats.

A tailor-made solution

The solution developed by Volpak is based on the SP 170, a machine for pouch forming and filling, used by many customers for its durability and flexibility. In this specific instance, as is often the case, the company did not just provide a technologically advanced machine, but it also leveraged its expertise to assist the customer throughout the project development stage. In particular, Volpak helped the client in the identification and deployment of the best degassing system, based on valve operation.

The use of a degassing valve for coffee means that packaging can be carried out after roasting, thus saving storage time prior to packaging, and money in the medium term. The solution created by Volpak is based on the development of a unique system for air outflow. It is actually a one-way valve, which allows the exit of carbon dioxide and prevents the entry of oxygen and moisture. The degassing, through the valve, is carried out by leveraging a physical principle – the pressure of the film inside the valve increases with the heat and the hot air exits through one of the sides of the coffee valve. Once the external pressure is balanced with the internal one, the valve remains closed.

A portfolio of flexible and green oriented machines

In addition to this specific solution, Volpak offers a wide range of machines and systems for coffee packaging that are highly efficient and extremely advanced in terms of sustainability. Machines such as the SP 170 can use fully sustainable packaging materials, such as PLA. Other units, such as SC+, can also use paper, offering a wide range of applications for this and other industries. Volpak’s machines also boast a high level of flexibility, making them ideal for the secondary packaging inside pouches of products such as non self-protected coffee capsules, a solution that can be ideal for industries such as hospitality.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

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As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.

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