GEA strengthens its market position as a total solutions provider in the beverage processing industry with finalizing the acquisition of the Slovenian machine manufacturer VIPOLL d.o.o. in January 2018. VIPOLL develops and produces filling technologies for soft drinks, beer and fresh dairy products. GEA can now also fill beverages that do not require sterile processing into glass bottles, can and plastic containers. The company is already the innovation leader in blowing and filling processes in the aseptic as well as all sensitive beverage segment, especially for PET and HDPE bottles.

VIPOLL supplies mainly filling machines and components for beverage processing lines, including pasteurizers, mixers, carbonating and capping systems, as well as conveyor, bottle cleaning and CIP technologies. In addition, the engineers are planning and building complete lines for beverage processing, which VIPOLL mostly distributes to breweries, wineries and soft drink specialists in the DACH region (Germany, Austria & Switzerland) and in Slovenia. The VIPOLL strategy as a flexible machine and process integrator gives customers the opportunity to optimally custom-assemble their filling systems according to technical and commercial market requirements.

Continuous beer and soft drinks production

Paddy Kenna, Head of Application Center Beverage at GEA: “We are pleased to include VIPOLL in our corporate family. The company specializes in glass and can filling systems with low and mid processing speeds, fitting precisely the requirements of our customers. Breweries in particular, with their high demand for glass bottles, can benefit from the fact that we now support them throughout their entire production process from brewing to bottling and storage. That is an ideal fit to our Brewery 4.0 concept.” In terms of global climate protection goals, glass and cans will become even more important in the future. Refillable bottles are an essential cornerstone for a reutilization strategy and cans are a part of the recycling loops. Both could help mitigate CO2 emissions, says Kenna. Therefore, it is consistent for GEA to invest in the filling expertise.

Filling is key technology

For GEA, filling is one of the key technologies in the beverage industry, which increasingly demands more flexibility and efficiency in the highly competitive market. “Customers are increasingly converting from conventional batch production to continuous production, which we need to consider as a process planner,” says Kenna. “As a technology leader, GEA aspires to shape market developments rather than just react to them. Together with VIPOLL, we can now offer our customers the added value of highly flexible, multifunctional beverage lines that can rapidly switch between bottle, can and PET filling.” At the drinktec 2017, VIPOLL presented the new All-in-One monoblock filler (glass/PET/can), which can be adapted to various container types in a very short time thanks to the flexible filling and capping head. The patent procedure is currently ongoing.

GEA puts VIPOLL on growth course

Stanko Zver, Managing Director of VIPOLL also expects the acquisition to boost business momentum. “We fit perfectly into GEA’s product range and complement the filling expertise for key customer groups. In addition, we share our consistent customer focus and ambition to develop technologically leading solutions for the beverage industry. With GEA’s large sales and service network, we can also penetrate regions where we have had little or no activity so far.”

VIPOLL, established in 1991 employs more than 100 employees today in Križevci pri Ljutomeru, near the university town of Maribor in the north-east of Slovenia. In 2016, the formerly family owned company generated sales of approximately EUR 20 million. To meet future demands, GEA will expand on-site production facility during 2018. 

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