The first thoughts that come to mind about Republic of Costa Rica are either typically the beautiful beaches or its natural rainforest and wildlife resources. However, this country in Central America offers so much more than just a perfect holiday destination. It is, for example, the headquarters of the leading cookie producer in the region—Pozuelo Cookie Company, a subsidiary of Nutresa Group S.A. that delivers an array of sweets and confectionery to the regional markets since 1919.
One of Nutresa’s core strengths is the Group’s long experience in the local market as well as its focus on creating the best products possible for the Central America’s sweet-toothed consumers. These values are reinforced by Pozuelo each day with its nearly 100 years of expertise. However, the rapidly growing market along with difficult climate conditions have required the company to enhance its packaging line while increasing its productivity in order to maintain its strong position in the market. All this was possible to achieve with support of an all-in-one packaging solution from Bosch Packaging Technology.
On the path to success
The quest for increasing productivity started in 2013, when Pozuelo set out on a search for new solutions that would improve the output of its “Chiky” biscuit product line. The cookie company’s famous “Chiky” biscuits, which have the bottom half coated in chocolate, are extremely popular among consumers in the region. However, while it is that layer of chocolate that in part gives the cookie its distinct look and flavor, it also posed a unique packaging challenge for the biscuit manufacturer.
While the goal was simple—to achieve a high level of output for the product line—there were major obstacles ahead. One significant concern was that the cookie company needed to find the right packaging supplier that would be able to meet both its budgetary and quality needs. “Money is key in this region, and as a leading cookie manufacturer, we wanted the best technology for the best price in the shortest timeframe. These were requirements that we knew would be difficult to manage without potentially compromising on quality—which we could not afford. Not only were we able to ramp up our production capacity, we also achieved our goal of increasing our employees’ working environment overall.” says Santiago Builes Maya, director of operations at Pozuelo.
A second challenge that the company faced was unique to the location of the facility itself. Costa Rica’s hot and humid climate presented a risk to the chocolate covering the biscuit. Allowing the biscuits the proper time to cool down after baking and prior enrobing was also an issue—not only because of the high temperatures in Pozuelo’s facility but also because of the tight factory footprint. These factors all drove the company to seek an all-in-one solution provider that could work with the company to deliver a custom line suited to its individual requirements.
Meanwhile, Pozuelo also had a limited timeframe to ensure the best performance and delivery time because of increasing market demands. Fortunately, the company was already familiar with Bosch Packaging Technology because its sister brand had previously worked with the supplier in Colombia. After witnessing the success of this earlier partnership, the cookie producer turned to Bosch specialists for a solution, relying on the company’s excellent reputation for supplying high-quality products and lines. “We were looking for a supplier that could meet all of our integration needs as well as one that offered all of the technologies on our list. Knowing Bosch’s work in the past, we were confident in an overall successful outcome,” says Builes.
Right from the start, integration of the equipment was a key goal for the cookie manufacturer and Bosch was able to provide a high-quality, custom-fit solution from its wide portfolio that precisely matched the cookie manufacturer’s budget and needs. The new line for the “Chiky” cookies included a Rotzinger belt conveyor system, a CKG 1300 cooling tunnel and two Pack 201 HS horizontal flow wrappers.
The conveyor system transports the biscuits from Pozuelo’s oven to the existing enrober, which is where the biscuits receive their distinctive chocolate bottom. Following the enrober, the cooling tunnel ensures the proper tempering of the product before they are penny stacked and loaded manually into magazine feeders. These feeders present the product to the wrapper in a systematic way that allows the chocolate side of the cookies to not face the packaging film, ensuring the consumer would only experience the best version of the product. Capable of handling multiple product sizes, the Pack 201 HS was a practical choice for this application, as it is a proven wrapper for biscuits. When combined, all three technologies made up a single, harmonious line for Pozuelo’s cookies.
In addition to providing the appropriate technologies and deliver what Pozuelo needed, one important piece in the decision making process was the human factor. Bosch has a strong reputation for its consulting expertise, and in this case Nelson Morera, sales representative in Central America, and Carlo Medina, regional sales manager for Central America and Caribbean Island, were hands-on throughout the integration process. “Both became familiar with our needs and truly knew us. They provided consultation and guidance to our team through the decision process, enabling us to have the new line’s details outlined and articulated in a way that made logical sense and was beneficial,” Builes notes.
Bosch worked closely with the Pozuelo team to ensure that the entire system was installed and integrated. In addition, the new solution from Bosch enabled the company to achieve production goals with less labor costs and, consequently, reallocate resources to more advanced tasks. Prior to purchasing the equipment, the company first involved its line staff in the process, so that employees would understand and support the upcoming changes.
Sweet smell of success
“At first, we were slightly concerned about the scope of the adjustment. However, working with Bosch, we were able to increase our productivity both simply and easily, without compromising the quality of our product. With the equipment’s ergonomic design, we were able to optimize the working environment for our employees. The accessibility of the equipment makes it easier for quick changeovers and maintenance. Add to these features its underlying reliability, and we’re extremely satisfied with the end result.” says Builes.
A few years into production, Pozuelo has been running the new line providing 25 percent more capacity and more productivity than ever before.
“We look forward to future cooperation with Bosch. We’ve seen quality results on our existing line and look forward to expanding further with automated technologies,” Builes remarks.
About Bosch Packaging Technology
Based in Waiblingen near Stuttgart, Germany, and employing 6,200 associates, the Bosch Packaging Technology division is one of the leading suppliers of process and packaging technology. At over 30 locations in more than 15 countries worldwide, a highly-qualified workforce develops and produces complete solutions for the pharmaceuticals, food, and confectionery industries. These solutions are complemented by a comprehensive after-sales service portfolio. A global service and sales network provides customers with local points of contact.