For the entire product range, around 800 million kg of milk are processed each year and delivered to 75 countries from three production sites in Mertingen and Günzburg in Germany and Opole in Poland.
The independent family enterprise, founded in 1926, has committed itself to innovation and research, a mission it has realised with its own cup plant on the factory premises.
The cup plant was built in 1987 and now produces some of the containers that Zott needs for its products. There are now 25 injection-moulding machines in operation.
The dairy in Mertingen has recently launched a new product for the Zott Jogobella line supplied to markets in Central Europe. The product has been on the market since the early 1990s and so far all cups have been imprinted immediately after production.
The alternative has recently been produced on a new machine. For this purpose, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag supplied an El-Exis S 350-2300 with an 8+8-cavity stack mould producing in a cycle of 4.8 seconds.
“We chose the El-Exis due to its low energy consumption, an aspect that is very important for us,” said production manager André Liebscher. “We have also integrated the IML paper technique into the new machine.”
Depending on requirements, the system produces labels with two different motifs simultaneously. They can also be exchanged during production due to 32 integrated change systems.
Quality control combines a sensor that checks the position and the presence of the label, and a hole test is carried out using high voltage.
The company is confident about its new manufacturing concept: “We not only have a very high output, but also a new transport system to the packaging machines. Thanks to the latest technology, this runs on little electricity, and the version used by Zott is the first of its kind to be used in the production areas.”
“We produce some 600 million cups each year,” said Liebscher. “We also buy containers, as our own production concentrates on a narrow range of component weights and shapes.”
For the paper in-mould labels it needs, Zott works with a regional suppler in as far as there is no direct imprinting on the cups.
For five years, Zott has been producing its own plastic ‘goblets’ for its premier brand, Zott-Sahne-Joghurt, using the in-mould process. The injection-moulding machines from Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, EL-EXIS 250-1450, produce the goblets 24 hours a day using the IML technique.
“At the same time, machines of the same type produce the Zott Jogole cups,” said Liebscher.
The handling systems on both machines stack the cups before they are transported onto the packing station.
A sensor detects the label during the quality assurance phase and picks out any cups that have been left undecorated. The cups are then checked for holes at a turning station by applying a voltage. The cups with no flaws are packed in the plant’s own cardboard packaging system. The cups from general production are each designed to hold 150g of yogurt.
“The combination of several machines for one product and the high output this entails guarantee a cost-effective production process,” said Liebscher. “Producing our own cups gives us an economical delivery situation at the filling stations.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2018