Initial filling tests at IMA COFFEE Lab on K-Cup compatible compostable coffee pods based on NatureWorks’ low-carbon Ingeo™️ PLA biopolymers accelerate based on promising results
BOLOGNA, Italy and PLYMOUTH, Minn., (February 22, 2022) – Announced back last April 27th, 2021, NatureWorks and IMA Coffee’s joint strategic partnership accelerates on the first significant trial phase on K-Cup compatible compostable coffee pods.
Compatibility testing on capsules, filter, and top lid films are being performed at IMA Coffee Lab with the precise aim to identify and achieve optimum material sealing parameters and limits as well as a suitable set up of IMA packaging machineries to handle the pods successfully.
Tests are carried out under the supervision of IMA Coffee R&D team and in close and constant co-operation with NatureWorks specialists: dedicated tools are used to simulate filter and top lid films sealing phases and adjust parameters according to testing results.
The sophisticated microleakage detection testing performed at IMA Coffee Lab has given more than encouraging and optimistic results allowing a significant step forward in the process that will proceed thoroughly towards the following coffee extraction testing phase.
At NatureWorks, development of new single-stage thermoforming processes and capsule designs continues to produce precise capsules that meet IMA’s specifications for filling and sealing on their packaging machines.
NatureWorks has also constructed a custom Data Acquisition System for K-Cup compatible pods that is being used to understand and benchmark how differing capsule designs perform under various brewing conditions.
“With the promising results we’ve seen so far, we have already begun the next phase of development by partnering with converters in North America to bring these new compostable pod designs to commercial scale making them available to brands and roasters seeking to meet consumer demands for more sustainable packaging and to circular economy directives that specify compostable packaging as a key enabler of recovering food waste for compost,” said Flavio Di Marcotullio, Global Industry Manager, Single Serve Beverages, for NatureWorks.
Coffee capsules are complex structures where the capsule body, lidding, and filter must be precisely designed to deliver a consistently high-quality brewing experience. Before the capsules reach consumers, it’s critical that these components perform well during assembly and filling as well as on the shelf and during brewing. By bringing together NatureWorks’ materials and applications knowledge with IMA’s machinery expertise, the partnership aims to deliver a turn-key compostable coffee pod solution to the entire coffee industry making it simple to have a great cup of coffee and dispose of the used pod in the most sustainable way possible.
With this in mind, to give greater impetus to the topic and direct the production chain towards increasing environmental sustainability, in 2019 IMA launched IMA NoP – No Plastic Program. “NOP (No-Plastic Program) means we promote eco-friendly plastic substitutes for the packages manufactured on IMA machines. Through the research and testing of alternative processes and materials, together with customers, material suppliers and partners, we foster plastic-free and sustainable, compostable packaging solutions. IMA has also established the Open Lab where Material Technologists study, develop, and test compostable and recyclable materials to be used on our packaging equipment,” says Nicola Panzani, IMA Coffee Sales Manager and IMA Coffee Petroncini CEO.
NatureWorks and IMA will share more about the latest innovations in single-serve compostable coffee capsules as well as developments from the partnership at AMI’s Single-Serve Capsules Global Virtual Summit from March 29-31, 2022.
Founded in 1961, IMA is a world leader in the design and manufacture of automatic machines for the processing and packaging of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food, tea and coffee.
IMA’s mission is to invest in technologies that will improve the quality of life on the planet, reduce food waste, increase access to more effective drugs and allow greater respect for the environment. Its position of leadership is the result of significant investment in R&D, regular and constructive dialogue with the end users in its sectors and the Group’s ability to expand internationally, conquering new markets.
IMA Coffee Hub is a cluster of specialists each providing a key slice of the experience and expertise needed to serve the coffee industry from A to Z. IMA has created the hub in an aim to leverage expertise at every step of coffee processing or packaging and be the one-stop answer to large and small coffee producers worldwide. For more info visit www.coffee.ima.it.
NatureWorks is an advanced materials company offering a broad portfolio of renewably sourced polymers and chemicals. With performance and economics that compete with oil-based materials, naturally advanced Ingeo™ biomaterials are valued for their unique functional properties and used in products from coffee capsules and appliances to tea bags and 3D printing filament. NatureWorks is jointly owned by Thailand’s largest ASEAN leading integrated petrochemical and refining company, PTT Global Chemical, and Cargill, which provides food, agriculture, financial and industrial products and services to the world. Learn more at natureworksllc.com and follow NatureWorks on Twitter and Linkedin.
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