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Growing together

From the January 2016 issue.

Having just completed a significant merger, Italy’s Gruppo Gimoka knew it could rely on Neuhaus Neotec to help build its production capacity.

When Gruppo Gimoka saw the need to upgrade its facilities to accommodate its growing business, it decided that the project should not only cover its growing needs in terms of volume, but should also feature technology that reflects modern environmental considerations.

“Gruppo Gimoka needed a particularly high performance – 5000 kilograms of roasted coffee per hour – with a roasting process that permits the quality to be constant,” says Gimoka’s President, Ivan Padelli. 

“Likewise, for me, and for the group, it was important to make sure another thing: the roasting plant was to be environmentally friendly,” Padelli adds. “Gruppo Gimoka’s production site is placed in a special environment: the Valtellina, a valley on the border with Switzerland, surrounded by beautiful mountains, very close to Lake Como.”

With this in mind, Padelli reached out to a company he had used many times in the past for similar projects – German plant machinery manufacturer Neuhaus Neotec.

“Previous to the plant buying, Gruppo Gimoka had set up different Neuhaus degassing silos and a plant for the transportation of the green coffee and the relevant cleaning,” he says.

Padelli says that he first came to work with Neuhaus Neotec due to their strong reputation among his extensive networks in the coffee industry.

“They are a very important partner in our value chain, a partner that I have known for a very long time,” he says. “For many years I have had the luck to nurture good relationships with other roasting companies on the international set, roasting companies who let me know about Neuhaus before Gruppo Gimoka had to value a plant choice of this type.”

With environmental responsibility such a key consideration in the design brief, Padelli says that Neuhaus Neotec stood out from the alternatives.

“This awareness and circumstances could not be within the design specifications, the choice fell on the system because Neuhaus guarantees air emissions below the benchmarks required by the most strict national regulations, such as in the US and Japan.”

The third-largest coffee roaster in Italy, Gruppo Gimoka was founded by Padelli in the early 1980s. 

The group controls the entire value chain, from the procurement of raw material to roasting and grinding, to packaging and capsule wrapping.

The group services professional channels, such as hotels, restaurants and catering, and vending machines, as well as the domestic market. The group sells its coffee through its own brands as well as with Italian and international private labels. 

In November 2015, Gimoka merged with Espresso Italia, a leading manufacturer of single serve coffee and capsule system coffee machines.

“The group’s evolution reflects Gimoka’s natural inclination to interpret the challenges of a constantly changing market through an ongoing review of its strategies and of the resulting organisational structures, with the aim to identify and seize opportunities as they present themselves,” Padelli says. “The merger will allow us to achieve higher investment levels, for the benefit of both the industrial structure and the phase of international expansion and growth, which has seen a significant acceleration in recent years.”

With the company growing at a rapid rate, Padelli says the need to upgrade their facilities was obvious. Ensuring a consistently high quality of roasting and grinding of the coffee is at the heart of Gimoka’s operations, Padelli tells GCR Magazine, so getting this right was a key consideration in planning any upgrades.

“The roasting process is a fundamental and strategic phase for us,” Padelli says. “For our group, consistency and process control are becoming more and more critical to serving our customers according to their different needs in terms of volume. These considerations led us to equip ourselves with the latest production facilities, developed and designed by leading manufacturers on the world stage – Neuhaus Noetec was therefore a choice fully in line with these strategic considerations.”

The project itself was a mammoth undertaking, commanding the attention of multiple teams across a number of sites.

“It is a project that has taken more than one year of planning, from its conception to its introduction and it involved a number of teams of different nationalities and skills,” he says. “While Neuhaus Neotec was the leader on the project due to clear reasons of technological skill both during design, development and during the installation, in the last phase we also had teams of Italian engineers and carpenters, managed by German engineers and technicians, taking part in order to carry out the physical plant installation at our site, which took six months.”

Once the installation was completed, Gimoka and Neuhaus Neotec continued to collaborate to ensure Gimoka’s staff would get the most out of the new machinery.

“The Gimoka personnel training program was necessary to get the most out of the investment,” Padelli says. “This allowed for the best use of the plant in different circumstances, in addition to contributing to the professional development of our staff. Now the Neuhaus Neotec machine works full speed, the plant works and it is made to work by a single operator.”

With the new equipment in place and fully operational, Padelli says his company is equipped to embrace any challenges and opportunities the future brings. This means being ready to continue to grow in traditional areas, while also being open to developments in new markets and new market segments, he says.

“Our group has been constantly growing, both on the domestic market and on the international one; it is a very dynamic reality that presents new projects and products over and over again, not only concerning the traditional lines of beans and ground coffee, but also with reference to the variable portion segment,” he says. “In addition to this is the necessity to guarantee and assure our customers of regularity and continuity of supply. Therefore it is quite easy to identify the position that this plant has had for us, guaranteeing us a strong foundation for growth in the different markets. As President of Gimoka Group I wish that such a partnership continues to develop and strengthen in order to support our future growing plans.” GCR

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