Gelato Messina

Voted “Australia’s best gelati” in the Sydney Morning Herald’s “Good Food Guide” was a just reward for Gelato Messina, says Production and Facility Manager Alex Blias.

“We use only raw, natural ingredients, and make everything ourselves, every day. What we do is really artisan. It’s labour intensive because we make every batch from scratch, but our philosophy is to make fresh, natural gelati — just as it was made it 100 years ago.”

Alex says because making the gelato is already labour intensive, Gelato Messina was looking to automate other parts of the production process.

“We wanted to remove manual labour from areas that don’t need to be artisan — such as labelling — and spend our time on our product, because that’s our specialty.”

Every day Gelato Messina’s production kitchen mixes recipes for 40 different flavours, with base ingredients and any inclusions from a near-endless list that includes roasted hazelnuts, stewed rhubarb, jam and brioche. Milk is then added and the product heat treated, cooled and put into food-grade bladders which are packed into boxes and shipped off to Gelato Messina’s 10 stores along Australia’s east coast. Dry-ingredient premixed recipes are also sent to the US store in Las Vegas, which adds milk on site. New flavours are introduced daily through rotation.

Alex says, “This way the recipe never leaves us; we control the intellectual property, but also, it means no recipe mistakes in store.”

“However,” Alex says, “we were printing labels one at a time and then labelling boxes one at a time. It was very time consuming.”

Find out which solution they chose and why.

GELATO MESSINA

APPLICATION:CARTON CODING

BACKGROUND

Gelato Messina specialises in artisan gelato and gelato desserts. With a philosophy of simple methods from a century ago, its emphasis is on pure ingredients, eschewing all ready-made inputs. The company, which was established in 2002, has 10 stores in eastern Australia and one in Las Vegas, USA.

It has been voted “Australia’s best gelati” in the Sydney Morning Herald’s “Good Food Guide”, and listed as one of the nation’s top gelato makers in the Australian edition of The Guardian newspaper.

SITUATION

Using only raw, natural ingredients, Gelato Messina’s production kitchen in Sydney mixes recipes with base ingredients and any inclusions (e.g.: nuts, fruits and so on) for 40 different flavours. Milk is then added and the product heat treated, cooled and put into food-grade bladders which are packed into boxes and shipped to Gelato Messina’s 10 Australian stores. Dry-ingredient premixed recipes are also sent to the Las Vegas store, which adds milk on site. New flavours are introduced daily through rotation.

Because making the gelato is already labour intensive, Gelato Messina was looking to automate parts of the production process that don’t need to be artisan, thus allowing it to spend time on its product. Coding cartons for traceability was one such very time-consuming area, with labels hand printed and applied one at a time.

PROCESS NEEDS

Production identification and carton traceability needed to be automated, and fit into Gelato Messina’s existing factory space.

The solution needed to fit with a new conveyor belt, to remove manual handling and further automate the process.

BUSINESS NEEDS

Printing on boxes needed to be clear and easy to read, so receiving stores could quickly identify each of the 40 different flavours. The coding system needed to be easy to use, and allow for quick product changeover.

After-sales service was also important.

SOLUTION

Matthews recommended an Mperia Thermal Inkjet Printer, which was delivered and commissioned as a turnkey solution that included a conveyor, to prints the product name and batch code directly onto the carton.

OUTCOME

Gelato Messina has gone from a completely manual to more-automated coding process, increasing its operational efficiency. Depending on batches, the business is saving between 1.5- 2 hours each day in manual labour.

Pre-mixed bladders are packed into a carton which is run across the conveyor, where

the Matthews Mperia prints product name and batch code directly onto the carton. Carton coding is in real time, and happens automatically.

Cartons are turned automatically by guides as they travel along the conveyor, so staff don’t need to manually do this. Matthews is working with Gelato Messina to further refine the process with guides to automatically fold cartons shut before making their way to the taper; this would remove the need for staff to manually guide folding cartons.

The Matthews Mperia coding solution has made Gelato Messina’s operations easier in production as well as more cost effective: printing directly onto boxes rather than onto labels has saved on label costs.

Service is easy, with changing cartridges the main task. Gelato Messina has found cartridges last for many weeks.

“It’s been really quite an easy solution in terms of useability and saving costs and time. But I also like Matthews’ after-sales service: they’re there if you need them.”

— Alex Blias, Production & Facility Manager, Gelato Messina