Rootree automates the application of degassing valves for coffee packaging with Syntegon


As all coffee lovers know, there is nothing better than the aroma of a freshly opened package of coffee. The degassing valve is an essential aid in preserving the delicious aroma during the sometimes really long journey from the roaster to the consumer. The Canadian packaging manufacturer Rootree has a strongly growing customer base, made up mainly of small coffee roasters. Hence the basically manual process of applying the degassing valves generated bottlenecks and long delivery times for customers. But Syntegon was there to help and automated the Rootree process with a valve applicator. It significantly increased production, while fully meeting the company’s high sustainability standards.

From scented laundry beads to dog treats, Canadian company Rootree packages virtually anything sold in flexible packaging formats, such as pouches or pouches. But also, the portfolio of services offered by the company goes far beyond contract packaging. Rootree’s in-house creative agency develops personalized designs, which are then digitally printed on bags or pouches produced according to the specifications provided by the client. Packaging material can also be individualized, as Rootree offers a selection of conventional, recyclable and even compostable bags and pouches. More and more Rootree customers, mostly small and medium-sized businesses, are deciding on one of these last two options, a trend that fills Rootree with satisfaction. “For us, sustainability is a fundamental value on which every new development is based,” says Pia Simran, Vice President of Product and Business Development.

About two years ago, Rootree found itself in the middle of another emerging trend that was actually also a cause for satisfaction: the arrival on the market of a good number of small Canadian coffee roasters who wanted to package their products in the bags by Rootree. Excellent news, but in practice, it posed a challenge for the company. The process of applying degassing valves to coffee containers, which at that time was still primarily carried out manually, created a bottleneck in otherwise smooth production and lengthened delivery times. . A new solution was needed to apply the valves.

The importance of degassing valves in coffee packaging

Degassing valves may be small and discreet, but they are essential for optimal coffee packaging. During roasting, the complex carbohydrates in the beans break down, producing gases, among other things, which are then slowly released. This process takes several weeks, so it is still ongoing when roasters have to package and ship their product. Therefore, coffee containers must allow the controlled escape of gases to prevent pressure from building up and the container from bursting. In this sense, air-permeable containers are not an option, since roasted coffee oxidizes in contact with oxygen. This can cause a loss of flavor and aroma.

Hermetic bags equipped with degassing valves are the solution to this problem. As the coffee releases the gas, pressure builds up inside the bag. When this pressure exceeds the pressure of the ambient air, the gas in the bag pushes out a membrane inside the valve and escapes. Once the pressure is equalized, the ambient air presses the valve membrane again to close it. This prevents air from entering and protects the volatile aromas of the coffee. The valves guarantee a considerably longer conservation of the packaged coffee, up to 30 months. This offers coffee roasters the opportunity to not only sell their product locally and within a tight time frame after roasting, but also to ship without fear of quality losses.

Adaptation to sustainability standards

In early 2022, Rootree began searching for a new valve delivery system and supplier that met the company’s requirements. The goal was to find a solution that was more efficient and productive than the previous solution, but that also met other requirements. Pia Simran, who led the project on behalf of Rootree, recalls: “It was especially our sustainability standards that ruled out many companies from the beginning. In fact, Syntegon was the only company on our list with a clear roadmap to solutions. of sustainable valves”. On many Syntegon machines, measures that enable more sustainable production are not (just) a vision of the future, but are already a reality. Rootree chose the CVA 2000 VIS internal valve applicator for its production, which applies the valves using ultrasonic sealing. This technology allows the machine to process the most environmentally friendly monomaterials from Rootree’s recyclable and compostable product lines, as conventional sealing methods, such as heat sealing, cannot be used for monomaterials.

Fast results and seamless integration

Rootree uses conventional, recyclable and even compostable materials for its coffee bags. The CVA 2000 VIS internal valve applicator is capable of processing all three.
Although Syntegon also offers complete production lines with integrated valve application, the “retrofittable” CVA 2000 VIS valve applicator was the best solution for Rootree. It can be seamlessly integrated into Syntegon lines, as well as systems available from other manufacturers, offering a more cost-effective solution. Rootree integrated the CVA into an existing Totani line. Once the decision was made to purchase the Syntegon CVA 2000 VIS valve applicator and Totani had provided all the necessary information about the existing machine, the final phase of preparations began. The Rootree and Syntegon project teams, led by sales engineer Marco Weritz, coordinated closely, and Pia Simran was quickly able to see that she had made the right decision: “Often we didn’t even have to ask for information, because our Syntegon had already gone ahead and provided it to us without asking for it. The help they provided was always reliable, which made my life as a project manager much easier.”

In September 2022, the installation process itself at Rootree’s production center also went smoothly. Thanks to the careful preparations, this process did not take us too much time: the machine could be installed in one day. Syntegon had developed a bespoke solution to seamlessly integrate and mount the CVA 2000 VIS valve applicator into Totani’s existing preformed bag production machine. In this way, the old semi-automated line became a much more efficient and fully automated line. Now flat bottom pouches or doypacks manufactured by Rootree, as well as three or four side sealed pouches, are automatically fed into the valve applicator, without the need for any manual work. Installation was followed by machine calibration and finally training of operations staff by highly qualified Syntegon experts. As the CVA is easy to operate and all important components, including the valve refill container, are easily accessible from the ground, Rootree staff were soon able to put the new knowledge to the test and put the modernized machine back into operation. production line after only two days of production stoppage.

Thanks to the training provided by Syntegon specialists…

Since the new start-up, the system has been producing valved coffee bags reliably and at a significantly higher speed than before. The manual valve application process that Rootree used before automation provided six to ten ready-to-fill coffee packets per minute. Rootree’s new CVA equips 50 to 60 bags per minute with valves (with a possibility of increasing the performance up to 85 bags per minute). The bags can then be completed and delivered to customers in a much tighter time frame. The accelerated production process also allows Rootree to offer a unique combination of products. “We are currently the only Canadian company offering in-line valve application in combination with digital printing for flexible packaging,” explains Pia Simran. Unlike other printing processes, digital printing requires much shorter preparation. “This makes it ideal for small batches and is simply much faster. Combined with our new automated solution for valve application, we can now offer our customers very attractive delivery times.”

Phil St-Cyr, President and CEO of Rootree, keeps the past in mind when looking to the future: “The decision in favor of Syntegon to automate our inline coffee valve application was an easy one. Syntegon ticked three boxes that were important to us at Rootree. Firstly, a perfectly defined sustainability roadmap allows us to continue developing the same environmentally friendly products. Secondly, the new system helps us deliver our products to customers in shorter times and with consistently high quality. And finally, it makes life easier for our employees and operations staff thanks to seamless online integration and reduced manual work. “We look forward to further sustainable advancements from Syntegon.”