IMA DAIRY & FOOD, Leominster, Mass., announced its new majority owner as Thomas Becker.

Moving forward, the brands will act independently in the marketplace, and their individual market identities will be strengthened by offering additional solutions across a broader set of niches. For example, Hassia Verpackungsmaschinen GmbH will expand its portfolio to include high-speed filling and sealing machines for pre-formed cups and bottles from Hamba, and its range of stick pack machines will be complemented with non-aseptic execution equipment and sachet machines. Erca S.A.S., based in Les Ulis, France, added to its machine portfolio the rotary Gyro Cup filler and the newly developed Flex Cup filling and sealing machine for pre-formed cups and tubs.

The portfolio expansions enable the two companies to better fulfill customer demands in their markets and offer a broader array of solutions. Meanwhile, GASTI will continue focusing activities on its filling and sealing machine portfolio.

Sales and service capabilities will also be expanded and supported by owned subsidiaries, including a new one launching in England; additional owned subsidiaries are in the planning stages.

“I am very pleased about this partnership with IMA, and of course, especially with the owner family Vacchi,” says Becker. “IMA DAIRY & FOOD, represented by the brands Erca, Hamba-Gasti and Hassia, continues to have a strong market position in the field of form-fill-seal machines as well as fill-and-seal machines. They are famous brands in this market segment well-known around the globe with further growth opportunities. I see this investment as a commitment to further developing the group, and of course, as a challenge that I will face with passion and dedication.”

IMA DAIRY & FOOD also established an Aseptic Competence Center at the Ranstadt, Germany, premises, offering comprehensive packaging line solutions, from initial planning to configuration, testing and integration – all from a single source. The aseptic team also handles validation, troubleshooting, inspection and existing plant optimization.

The newly established laboratory is certified to work with microorganisms up to Risk Group II, and boasts comprehensive equipment for implementing various microbiological methods. Further analyses of product properties can be carried out in the physical laboratory.

The IMA DAIRY & FOOD aseptic team consists of specialists in hygienic and aseptic filling systems with expertise in process engineering, microbiology, food technology and regulatory requirements. The center’s core competence consists of routine quality control of all hygienic machines before delivery, as well as on-site customer support. This includes, for example, determining the kill rates of sterilization processes by microbiological stress tests.

To investigate new sterilization technologies, a variety of testing stations are set up in the laboratory for microbiological testing. As a result, the aseptic team can evaluate the efficiency of new technologies, and assess applicability under production conditions before filling machine integration.