After almost two decades, Atlanta Stretch Ibérica’s success is based on product knowledge. From the beginning, technology has been their trump card, and being designers and manufacturers of their machines, allows them to continuously monitor, improve and constantly evolve. We look back at the company’s history with Albert Llaveria, Operations Director of Atlanta Stretch Ibérica, who also tells us about their participation in Hispack.
They have been manufacturing end-of-line machines for almost 20 years. How do you think the sector, and specifically the machines in your speciality area, have evolved?
Atlanta Stretch’s history begins long before these twenty years with the brand founder, Angelo Forni. We have more than forty years of experience in the sector if we consider that in his day Forni, who was a visionary and ahead of his time, developed our Sfera robot prototype. In regards to our sector, we can say that it has evolved in every sense.
So has Atlanta Stretch. Our principle is to accompany each customer in the equipment and starting-up of their end-of-line so that they obtain the most efficient machinery possible. In these twenty years, we have monitored the market in order to create a proposal according to the moment’s needs. We are now working on much more responsible machinery, focused on efficiency, but also with respect for the environment, on a much more efficient plastic management for pallet stretch-wrapping.
How has Atlanta Stretch evolved in terms of manufacturing and customer service?
We keep direct contact with the main production plant in Italy. And we created a very strong commercial, technical and distribution network for quick customer service. Our company concept ensures a direct relationship with the end user from all our international subsidiaries so that our technical service is available, in less than 24 hours, anywhere in the Iberian Peninsula.
What role does Atlanta Stretch Ibérica play in this international network?
Atlanta Stretch Ibérica is part of the official subsidiaries that Atlanta Stretch has all over the world and we provide exclusive service in Spain and Morocco. We developed a strong market in which our product portfolio fits every packaging need. Our Spanish subsidiary offers a fast and nearby technical service, which allows us to do rush deliveries of spare parts and create a supply chain with a machinery warehouse for immediate delivery. We are also committed in developing an engineering department, thus add more value to the Atlanta choice made by the customer.
Wrapping machines are not the only protagonists of the catalogue. Atlanta Stretch also owns the Comarme and LP Packaging brands. What value do they add to the company?
Both Comarme and LP Packaging are leading names in sealing, forming and shrink-wrapping machines respectively. Owning these two brands allows us to fully cover any company’s end of line needs. Wrappers, shrink wrappers, formers and sealing machines coexist in many logistics centres, warehouses and filling, capping and pallet preparation factories for distribution shipment.
Because we are manufacturers, our prices are realistic, and the customer is always at the centre. If you have control on the product, you can not only offer a better price, but also a better service. The information chain is never broken and ensures that we are present throughout the entire process, from project design to installation and subsequent maintenance.
Are your customers cross-cutting or do you have a clearly differentiated customer portfolio?
The scope of our catalogue allows us to work with all types of customers, from small wineries with small productions, to large multinationals that require automatic machinery in large filling, forming, sealing and packaging lines. I think one of the great things about Atlanta is that it adapts to each customer thinking how to provide the best possible solution. The company that comes to us to install a wrapping machine is a potential customer for another kind of machine. Process automation and efficiency are of priority and any customer is likely to want to improve his company’s performance.
In what way do you think the machinery and the after-sales service you offer are different?
Atlanta Stretch machinery is made to last. They are robust machines that can handle any type of production. Having automatic and semi-automatic machinery allows us to reach many more customers and their real needs. An important fact that sets us apart from other brands is that all our production is based on standardized components that the customer can find in the market. The electronic boards and elements, both pneumatic and electronic, are from leading brands, which makes spare parts much more affordable, traceable and easy to replace in case of failure.
In after-sales service, the fact that we have mastered all the know-how means that our technicians can act quickly to solve any malfunction that may occur. To design, manufacture and distribute your own machinery gives you full knowledge of what you sell, so response times are greatly reduced.
Do you detect any common characteristics in terms of customer demand?
Each era is characterised by different trends, and recently we have been working very much on carbon footprint management. We are at a crucial time for the planet, and we believe it is everyone’s responsibility – including manufacturers – to take a stand on the impact that packaging has on the environment.
A very current trend is the use of new materials, much more technical, with less thickness and also recycled. For this purpose, we developed special carriages, thinking about dispensing stretch film more efficiently. On the other hand, we have also enhanced sealing systems in our sealing machines using completely ecological paper tape and gummed paper.
What needs do you detect most frequently among your customers?
One of the most interesting aspects about our sector is that every customer has a specific need. There are many variables: packaging speeds, machine location, volumes… Practically every case is different from the previous one, the generic machine is the wrapping machine, from there, the engineering teams create a totally customised product for each request.
All sectors have very different demands depending on the type of process. Canning and packaging machinery, for example, require stainless steel to prevent rust, while logistics centres of large multinationals always think in terms of high packing speeds, so we directly offer automatic machines, with double reel fast rings. Every customer is different, and Atlanta Stretch is there to help them with their choice.
What role does sustainability play in the company’s strategy?
Sustainability has always been one of Atlanta Stretch’s top priorities when developing machinery. The brand’s designers, innovation and development engineers have always thought, and still do, about optimising the use of stretch film, which is why sustainability and the environment are part of Atlanta’s DNA.
How can your machinery help make more efficient use of plastic?
Basically through the different pre-stretching carriages in our catalogue. More and more technical films requiring special carriages are being used. Nanotechnology is entering the market in full, and Atlanta’s machines already have the solution for it, ensuring more grip with less material. These pre-stretching carriages will also allow the use of recycled material.
Will you be presenting anything new at Hispack?
There will be many innovations, both in automatic sealers and wrappers. We invite all visitors to visit stand 170 at Hispack. They will learn about the changes in sustainability, efficiency and convenience in the packaging industry.
After these last two years of crisis due to the pandemic, what are your expectations on Hispack?
Basically, to get back in direct contact with people that conform the packaging family. Hispack will allow us to rejoin with people from around the world and will once again generate synergies that the pandemic has weakened. Beyond relationships, it will be good to see new developments in automation, robotics and the technology that will set the pace for the coming years.
Cristina Benavides, Hispack collaborator