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UNIKA by name and by nature

Here is a closer look at UNIKA, processing up to 600 capsules/minute by leading packaging specialists IMA Coffee.

Post published on 16/07/2020

UNIKA by name and by nature

When developing a capsule filling machine whose aim is to enhance performance and efficiency, you need to evaluate a variety of aspects starting from the concept and the design phase. This is exactly the way IMA approached the task. And the result is a unique solution from which operators, production line managers, producers, and eventually the customers, will benefit. Here is a closer look at UNIKA, processing up to 600 capsules/minute by leading packaging specialists IMA Coffee.


Unique, yet flexible

Built according to a modular design concept, UNIKA can be arranged in a variety of configurations. Each machine group is driven independently by brushless motors.

Upstream, the infeed can be set for all systems, starting from a robotised KUKA depacker which unpacks pre-arranged aluminium capsules from boxes and places them into the destacker unit. Further solutions are available, including denesters and centrifugal unscramblers for bulk-fed or stacked capsules in other materials, such as plastic or compostable varieties.

Further flexibility comes from the speed at which capsules are handled at infeed, the number of rows and other aspects which can be pre-configured by IMA technicians on a case-by-case basis to satisfy customer requirements.


Dosing precision and reliability

Again the beauty of UNIKA can be seen in terms of its quality processing abilities. Precise dosing is a feature coffee capsule producers can count on throughout the machine’s lifecycle. Uniform dosage is achieved with tolerance levels in the order of 0.2 g and this is possible with different-density coffees, teas and powders, thanks to a doser-integrated capacitive sensor. The dosing unit itself is a highly compact set of 5 units each with screw feeders and the dosing group is connected directly to the customer’s feeding unit.


Intuitive control for better results

Controlling equipment needs to address two key aspects: ease of use for the operator and the value generated by the data made available. Both these aspects have been accounted for with the integrated 15” multitouch HMI and Siemens industrial PC. Featuring an intuitive control panel, operators or production line managers benefit from data generation with production statistics, notifications regarding planned maintenance requirements, plus warnings and alarms including prompts to solve issues without calling maintenance teams. Production data can be saved for each shift on an internal database and thanks to a Client OPC UA, data can be shared with the customer’s server to be analysed with the ultimate goal of increasing product efficiency.


Making access quick and easy

One of the essential aspects a designer needs to consider is optimising access to the machine for any cleaning needs or maintenance requirements. This minimises downtime and therefore boosts productivity for no other reason than you are saving significant amounts of time. Built as a modular machine, in which each single group can be removed for intervention, UNIKA also offers simple access from both sides. No mechanical tools are required to access each section which detaches automatically with the push of a button.


Extra features to satisfy your customers

Thinking of the end-user, UNIKA can incorporate more features for custom requirements. Inner components such as filters (paper or plastic) and bottom lids can be implemented. A flavour dosing unit is also one of the optional features that can be added. A special additional cut & seal unit can be integrated as well as a second sealing unit, useful when the capsule being sealed does not have a flat circular profile. Final product quality is also guaranteed by a dedicated camera aimed to control correct lid positioning.

So, if you require maximum flexibility for all capsule types, accessibility to boost you production efficiency, quality dosing and the ability to handle a broad variety of additional needs, UNIKA is a unique solution, placing your company at the forefront of coffee capsule processing. As with the majority of IMA solutions, customisation capabilities are far-reaching and the engineers who are familiar with your processes are at your disposal to tailor each details to suit your objectives.