Perfectly labelled with pure, unadulterated flavour

Ukrainian market leader in tomato sauces invests in a fifth Gernep labeller

150 kilometres from the Ukrainian city of Lviv rests the ancient town of Lutsk in the west of the country. Thanks to its convenient position between Kyiv and Poland, it quickly developed into an important location for trade and industry.

In 1945, PrJSC “Lutsk Foods” was also set up there. Today, the company is among the leading Ukrainian manufacturers of high-quality and healthy ready-made sauces in glass containers. Quality and natural ingredients play an important role for PrJSC “Lutsk Foods”. The company does not allow any artificial preservatives and colours to enter its jars. As a result, this corporation, with its own brand “Runa” (РУНА), stands apart from the competition as its products have a particularly fine taste: “We do the best we can to ensure that our products taste just as good as if they were homemade,” explained Volodimyr Schevchuk from “Lutsk Foods”. 

Investments to increase efficiency
The own-brand Runa range comprises over 40 different products including sauces, soup stocks, relish, mayonnaise and ketchup. Even foods that are relatively unknown to us, such as adjika – a crumbly paste used as an alternative to salt – sell like hot cakes. In countries neighbouring on Germany, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, it would be unimaginable to have a supermarket range that did not include Runa sauces. Nowadays, PrJSC “Lutsk Foods” exports its products to four continents across the globe, including Asia, Africa, North America and Europe. At the turn of this century, after more than 60 years, PrJSC “Lutsk Foods” decided to modernise its production from scratch. The first modernisation phase lasted two years. This was when the company first got in contact with Gernep. They needed two new labellers to ensure their product would be perfectly presented. The first two Gernep wet-glue labellers were then delivered to Lutsk in 2008 and 2009. Equipped with one wet-glue labelling station per machine, they have been applying a wrap-around paper label to three square glass containers (200ml, 430ml, 460ml) ever since. To this day, the Gernep labellers have been impressing the Ukrainian food producer with their great reliability. PrJSC “Lutsk Foods” only ever orders original spare and wear parts from the German machine manufacturer. Gernep has a high percentage of self-produced and customer-specific spare parts that are all available in a large storage facility at its production site in Barbing. Thanks to this, the customer can rely on short delivery times, even at times of crisis. The high quality of the parts also reduces costs. Through the use of original spare parts, Lutsk Foods also primarily aims to achieve the best possible results as regards labeller efficiency. 
There was then a consistent rise in demand for Runa sauces and the filling of external brands. As a result, two new product lines were put into operation in 2016. “We soon noticed that two labellers were no longer enough. This is why we contacted Gernep once again,” remarked Volodimyr Schevchuk, technical director of PrJSC “Lutsk Foods”. Another wet-glue labeller of the same type was delivered in 2019. The food producer can use it to label an additional 6,000 containers per hour. 

Second-hand labeller for PET line
In addition to its classic sauce jars, PrJSC “Lutsk Foods” also produces vinegar and oil in 0.75l and 1.0l PET bottles. Since 2022, the company has also been relying on the Bavarian labeller specialist when it comes to the labelling of these containers. Oil and vinegar containers may prove difficult in some circumstances as the labels do not always adhere to oily surfaces. To counteract this, a choice was made in favour of a hotmelt labeller, type Rollfed 8-480 1RA. Unlike the jars, these bottles are decorated with film labels. For the quickest possible delivery, PrJSC “Lutsk Foods” decided to purchase a used machine. The machine received a general overhaul from the Gernep technicians at the German factory and was equipped with the latest labelling station technology. The Gernep Rollfed labelling station is perfectly suited to the labelling of plastic OPP labels. Its production is particularly economic thanks to its hotmelt gluing of reel-fed labels. The labels are cut from the reel on a vacuum-assisted cutter drum and then passed on to a vacuum-assisted transfer drum. Using the Gernep HotSpot nozzle system, the glue is applied to the label leading edge and the trailing-edge gluing strip in spots, thus saving glue. As the glue is dispensed in spots and in a closed glue system, glue consumption is reduced to a minimum and the glue cannot be contaminated from the outside. Another advantage is the low energy consumption and fewer omissions. The time needed to heat up is very short in this labelling station. Compared to other systems, the Rollfed labelling station also stands out thanks to its minimised conversion and cleaning times, and can operate without problems if gaps form in the bottle flow because of back-ups. 
Due to the global political situation, it was not possible to send Gernep service personnel to Lutsk for commissioning. However, the machine manufacturer and food producer easily overcame this hurdle. The hotmelt labeller was set up by “Lutsk” foods employees with the aid of telephone support from Germany. This was undoubtedly only possible due to the fact that the Ukrainians were already very experienced in the handling of Gernep machines. “Easy operation and intuitive menu guidance make learning how to handle the labeller easy. It also helped that our contact person at Gernep for many years can also speak our language,” acknowledged Volodimyr Schevchuk. The hotmelt labeller has been operating continuously since then, handling up to 10,000 vinegar and oil bottles per hour.  

New wet-glue labeller impresses at every turn 
Today, two thirds of the 40 Runa products included in its product range are decorated with labels applied by Gernep labellers. An order has already been placed for a new machine, type Labetta 4/3/8 480 1A, and its delivery is planned for the spring of 2023, when it will be able to label a further 6,000 glass containers per hour. The persons in charge at PrJSC “Lutsk Foods” were totally impressed with Gernep’s advancements in the field of wet-glue labelling. The new labelling station was developed together with the parent company, Krones AG, and has established itself well on the market. It uses the original Krones glue pallet system, a new glue pump and a new glue measuring system. The newly calculated labelling station curve control is unique to the market. The durable powder coating provides protection against corrosion and the new labelling station seal optimises maintenance and cleaning times. This makes the wet-glue labelling station not only more precise and more efficient than its predecessor, it also means that it is easier to handle for the employees. Training courses in Germany are planned and are aimed at explaining the technical innovations to the “Lutsk Foods” employees. With these courses, the employees should learn how to operate the labeller in the best possible manner and also be able to remedy minor faults themselves so that a smooth and efficient production sequence can be guaranteed. “We are already looking forward to the new labeller and our further collaboration with Gernep” reported Volodimyr Schevchuk, technical director of PrJSC “Lutsk Foods”.