As we all know, regulation is a key driver for changes in the tobacco industry. So the question is: how fast are you to respond to these changes?
In this article we share our background story around ITM CERES, the answer to new tobacco tax regulation affecting the industry. Our colleagues Allard Doornebal and Harro Hokse look back to share their experience.
Allard kicks off: "Our story begins early 2013. After studying the proposal Tobacco Products Directive (TPD II), we recognized that the Tax Stamp had to move to an alternative position on the cigarette pack. It also became clear that the current installed technology at our customers was not capable of placing the stamp on this new position on the cigarette pack. Together with our partner Lareka we developed a new stamper that could be easily integrated in the current cigarette packing lines.”
He continues: “ITM presented its new Stamper technology to its customer base, first in face to face meetings and at later stage with an in house demonstration of the new stamper in running condition; ITM’s Tour of Duty and we were presenting our technology on the Tax Stamp Forum in Vienna 2015.
We were pro-actively offering our customers a solution to overcome this TPD challenge, the stamp position had to move to the side of the pack which was not possible with their current stamper technology.
Our solution made it also possible to have a controlled roll out in the factories of the integration of this new technology in order to prepare for the deadline without creating a huge disturbance in their daily production.
After the installation, our customers were able to run the production with the ‘traditional stamp position’ and when required with the new TPD tax stamp position.”
Flexibility to drive innovative solutions
Allard also highlights the importance of working together: “Lareka is a partner for ITM in the Tobacco industry for over two decades doing rebuild work on pack wrappers and when the donor machines dried out they developed the new ITM Sirius pack wrapper for ITM.
The portfolio was expanded by the integration of the tax stamper into the Sirius wrapper which was the start of gaining knowledge on tax stampers.
Then we embarked on a tax stamper project for Africa and subsequently TPD. The concept for the CERES stamper is inspired by existing technology and the development was executed by Lareka.
For this project, VSE was Lareka’s partner for the controls side.
During the TPD project Lareka decided to stop all their activities in Tobacco to be able to fully focus on the confectionary business and we had to take over all IP to be able to provide our tobacco customers with the required services for the future.
This also included the ITM CERES TPD tax stamper.
One of the conditions, from one of the multinationals, to order a large number of CERES stamper was the reduction of the footprint.
That was the first big task for the Kampen team. Then we developed the side and top folding and incremental improvements of the machine.”
Responding to customers’ needs
Harro adds: “The machine had to be able to process up to five hundred packages a minute. Including a quality checks using a camera, vision inspection. “In a slightly later phase, other aspects played a role, such as top folding and side folding. The stamp has to remain firmly attached under all circumstances, so the adhesive has to set quickly. Our strength lies in being able to develop and build a new machine in a short time frame. That’s why we were able to refine and improve the existing machine very quickly. We performed the mechanical engineering and VSE was responsible for the motion, the controllers and the software.”
Focus on Next Generation Products
Today, most European countries are compliant to TPD. But at ITM, it’s busier than ever. We now focus on developing Next Generation Products, like tobacco heating-, vaping products and oral tobacco products.