A partnership was sealed 40 years ago and enhanced with collaborative and continuous innovation

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Simpl-Cut™ is the P.E. Labellers’ revolutionary technology for Roll-Fed labellers.

When goals are combined, results are achieved faster and more effectively than the others. Here lies the secret of an authentic collaboration that focuses entirely on the common and important benefits and achievements to be reaped. This is the story conveyed by P. E. Labellers and Spumador, two companies that have made the history of Mineral Waters and beverage, and continue today to lead the international markets with strength and vision.

To begin with, not only these mineral waters, but also their bottling and sale on the market have continued for over 100 years: Recoaro, a Spumador brand that is synonymous with guarantee, is widely spread and appreciated by thousands of customers all over the world. Incepted in 1927, the company was acquired in 2016 by the historic Spumador, which has been on the market since 1888 and presents a milestone in Italian beverage worldwide.

Spumador and Recoaro are part of the Refresco group, which is the largest company on a global level in the third-party production of soft drinks, fruit juices and mineral waters. Today Refresco is positioned as the world’s largest independent bottler, with 60 factories in Europe and North America. Spumador alone has 5 plants in Italy including that of Recoaro Terme and produces 1.3 billion bottles a year with 24 lines. The bottled products range from carbonated and “still” drinks to mineral waters and from juices and soft drinks to alcoholic drinks.

It is a very wide offer in multiple formats, such as disposable and returnable glass, aseptic and standard PET, and bricks and cans, with a distribution system that embraces large-scale distribution, the Horeca channel and discount stores. Recoaro mineral water represents a treasure of Italy that springs within the heart of the Small Dolomites in a protected area deeply linked to its territory of origin.

It is a product to be enhanced not only in substance, but also in shape, with bottles of various sizes and materials, to be “confectioned” in the best possible way. Then the meeting came about with P.E. Labellers, a historic Italian company active for almost 50 years in the production of automatic labeling machines, and recognized for its innovative drive and modular philosophy in conceiving its offer solutions.

Spumador and PE Labellers: history of a partnership

“The partnership story with PE has lasted for more than 40 years – explains Tullio Tiozzo, the company’s Manufacturing Director. The collaboration was born in the 1980s, when we felt the need to rely on a flexible and innovative supplier that could guarantee excellent after-sales service. This made the difference in the choice compared to other labeling companies. I have known Bruno Negri since then, and today I can say that our companies have had a very similar development, targeting more on innovation which the markets demand year after year.

This way of doing business has rewarded both our companies, making them today a point of reference in their sectors”. This relationship has evolved over time, with respect and mutual knowledge. “We are proud to play an important role in the Recoaro production chain, confirms Bruno Negri, Senior VP of PE Labellers. For us, listening to customer needs and meeting every production requirement have proven to be the most successful factors over the years. “Even before being a winning business strategy, it’s the PE philosophy, our DNA”.

PE develops and produces smart Innovation design solutions, which satisfy different production needs. We created the rotary labeling machines combined with independent self-adhesive stations, cold glue for fiscal and guarantee seals, linear sleeve models with thermo-retraction tunnels, special optional solutions such as optical orientation systems, label presence control, and correct position verification of the labels applied. Machines are designed in ergonomic solutions, strongly oriented toward energy saving as requested by many different sectors, from beverage to food & dairy, and from personal & home care to the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Demands of the past and present: what is behind the choice of a product

In the Recoaro factory’s two-year period 2019-2020, two PE machines were installed on the two PET lines with excellent results that were seen immediately. The new demands were expressed and satisfied. But how have the needs of the company changed over time? “With respect to the past, today we serve more flexible machines and with fast format changeovers, given that the market requires continued developments both in the shapes of the bottles as in the labels, which should have increasingly greater impact on the eyes of consumers, says Tiozzo.

Modular machines are the correct answer to current needs”. The standards of the mineral water market and the beverage market in general, have become highly demanding today with regard to packaging methods. This trend is largely manifested precisely in the PET industry, which requires increasingly lighter bottles, with R-PET and new formats that are both ergonomic and with a strong appeal and image. This trend can also be found in other materials: for example, glass, which is making a great comeback and calls for new formats and attractive labels.

The challenge to face and the solution to meet it

An important and articulated reality like Recoaro is called to face equally complex critical issues. “Today, in order to meet the challenges posed by an increasingly competitive market, we must continue to invest in new technologies – continues Tiozzo, to enable the raising of the standards of productivity and reduce production costs.

It is very important that the costs of maintenance of the machines installed are increasingly limited, and consequently, the most far-sighted choices will select partners that meet these needs”. The company recently installed a new P.E. machine on the PET mineral water line, with the primary objective of replacing paper labels with plastic ones and increasing the overall efficiency of the line.

“The requirements requested were clear, challenging and satisfied at best – said Negri. The machine had to be made with market components, proposed format changes interchangeable with the other two installed on an equal number of production lines, and the guarantee of a low annual maintenance cost. We understood the production needs of Recoaro: the customer’s challenge has become ours, and we have achieved joint success”.

The results expected and new goals to reach

In Recoaro, business travels at high speed and safely. The new machine installed should produce 30,000 Bt/h in OPP with 4 different formats, relying on the care that P.E. pays to every step, assembly and installation, and testing and maintenance on all the formats. The objectives to be achieved are ambitious and manifold: to increase the productivity and flexibility of the line, replace the paper label with plastic and, in the medium to long term, increase efficiency with a decrease in maintenance costs.

Recoaro’s Next Step: what to expect from the future and how to equip yourself to move in advance

“The macroeconomic dimension that is outlined for the future inevitably suffers from the negative effects brought by Covid-19 – says Tiozzo. The scenario that we can foresee sees the concentration of the number of players in all sectors, due to a takeover policy implemented by large groups. Only those who will be quick in innovating and interpreting the increasingly sudden changes expressed by the market will overcome the complex challenge that lies ahead”.

Recoaro chooses to set up strong and rewarding actions to consolidate its market share and acquire new ones. First, it will be through an increasingly strong return to customer-oriented business in all senses, focused not only on bottling but also extended to all the related services. High priority for concrete sustainability and quality of what is produced and distributed will be the point on which the company will make no compromises, and will continue to invest in.

Refresco Italia is anticipating and aiming for new markets to conquer, such as that of co-packing in the hard seltzer alcohol sector, and planning future investments to the benefit of current customers. New horizons will be addressed with the support of historical partners. P.E. will be called to new challenges, competing as always in the company’s projects, in the proposal of innovative and performing labeling solutions. History will be the witness.

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