As one of Europe's leading and most innovative suppliers of packaging and processing machinery for the food industry, the IWKA Group of companies has been built on a philosophy to provide solutions that are tailor-made to industry requirements.
The group provides complete solutions, which cover the purchasing costs, operating costs and system costs. Whereas, up until quite recently, a host of different companies might have combined to provide certain processing and packaging solutions, now the idea is for one provider to supply the total solution, from conception to installation and servicing.
IWKA chairman of the executive board, Hans Fahr, believes that it is the globalisation and increasing integration of the packaging and processing machinery industry that is the key to its future. FoodProductionDaily managed to speak to him and find out a little more about this belief and how it has impacted IWKA in recent years.
How does the increasing globalisation of food manufacturers affectcompanies producing packaging machinery?
"To save time and money customers are increasingly demanding complete packaging lines from a single source. Key accounts and international multinational companies request that a global player such as IWKA PACUNION is as close as possible to their main production centres."
What impact is globalisation having on technological advancements?
"Globalisation means that one has to always attain the highest possible technical level, as well as the highest quality products. This is why it is crucial that major suppliers should quote and install complete variable packaging lines and have competency for system integrations too."
Why is the dairy business so important to you?
"The concentration of our business in the dairy industry seems to be a worldwide phenomenon. IWKA PACUNION serves many companies that are specialised in this industry and has a leading edge in technologies such as aseptic packaging, extended shelf life technologies, as well as a large amount of filling and dosing systems for primary packages.
In which food markets have you seen the largest growth in recent years?
"IWKA PACUNION had its biggest growth in sales in the US, Europe and Asia (Russia and China). If we look at our customer groups it is the dairy industry in particular that has become much more important. It now represents about 30 per cent of order receipts for our Packaging Technology Divison. The general food industry now comes second, representing 27 per cent of our order receipts."
How does IWKA intend to stay ahead of technological advances in theindustry?
"Innovation is the key driver of growth in the consumer industry. The market therefore requires innovative packaging machines and systems with high productivity and flexibility. In the past years we have made substantial investments in Research and Development. At the recent Interpack 2002 we were able to show the first promising results to our customers, with our companies presenting 54 new machines at this important fair."
"We are committed to reinvesting a substantial part of our profit into R&D in order to sharpen our competitive edge and to boost our success in the future."
Who dictates technological innovations, is it the customer or IWKA?
"Customers know in detail what their market needs are. What we have to do is 'listen' to their requirements, very carefully."
Which trends within the food industry will have animpact upon packaging machinery design in the future?
"The food industry is demanding easily cleanable machine surfaces that fall in line with good manufacturing practice. Easy cleaning, sterilisation, ready assembly and quick changeovers are also important for wash-down dosing and product feeding."
Are there any particular technological innovations that will impact uponthe market in the future?
"Yes, there are. For example convenient food or the tendency to offer a combination of several foods in one package. This type of food product requires a system for packaging with extended shelf life."