ITO EN’s company credo says it all. “Our mission is to put the customer first…spare no effort and earn the confidence and trust of society.”
It is then no wonder why ITO EN remains a world-leading Japanese manufacturer of green tea and healthy beverages. For nearly 55 years, ITO EN has developed a legion of devout followers thanks to its incessant commitment to creating authentic and high-quality tea products. Its product line includes single-use tea bags, Matcha+tea blended product, bottled teas and blended product packaged tea bags distributed across the world.
In 2020, ITO EN Australia, a subsidiary of the Japan-based parent company ITO EN, opened a new manufacturing facility in Australia. While it is the first location outside of Japan, ITO EN was certainly not new to Australia. The company has grown and processed crude green tea in regional Victoria for nearly 30 years, primarily exporting it to its parent company in Japan. The new facility in Australia was established to help ITO EN sustain and grow its business with major Australian supermarket chains.
When establishing the new facility, ITO EN Australia required a compressed air system up to the task—one that is reliable and durable, to meet the demands of its growing business, yet also conforms to both ISO 8573.1 and ITO EN’s own stringent quality assurance (QA) standards. As ITO EN publicly states, when it earns the confidence and trust of consumers and society, the company aims to keep them for the long-haul.
When planning its new Australia facility, these principles were top-of-mind. ITO EN Australia engaged Sullair Australia early on to discuss its need for a new compressed air system. By developing a deep understanding of ITO EN Australia’s needs and goals, both locally and company-wide, the team discussed the available technologies to determine the appropriate solution.
Through the discussions, it was quickly learned that compressed air is used at multiple stages of the production cycle. Ultimately, the compressed air contacts the consumable end product.
“We manufacture tea bags out of a mix of refined tea and matcha,” said Rory Brooksbank, Manufacturing Coordinator at ITO EN Australia. “It uses a filter material to wrap the teabag, cut it, put it in an envelope, flush it out with nitrogen to keep it fresh, and then it goes on to be collated into 20 and put into a box.”
With many contact points, an oil free compressed air system was the only viable solution. Working together with ITO EN Australia, Sullair Australia devised a solution including a N2generation package and a Sullair SRL Series oil free scroll air compressor.
With compressed air operating the gamut of pneumatic-driven machinery – from packaging and sterilization equipment in the clean production room, to the N2 generator outside – gambling with a traditional oil flooded compressed air system was a risk ITO EN Australia was unwilling to take.
After all, safe is a key pillar in ITO EN’s product development concept. The company prides itself on providing products that consumers can enjoy with complete peace of mind and safety. An oil free air compressor would help ensure their renowned product – tea – would remain safe. Selecting an ISO 8573.1 Class Zero certified air compressor, like the Sullair SRL Series, just made sense.
“Sullair’s oil free solution allowed us to mitigate that risk of any air system failing,” added Brooksbank. “If you have a traditional oil lubricated air compressor with filtration, you’re still relying on that filtration system to work as efficiently as possible. With oil free, there’s no oil in the production of the air, so there’s no risk of oil getting into the production cycle.”
Additionally, the Sullair SRL Series met ITO EN’s internal QA standards. ITO EN’s internal QA standards require all production to meet a global standard. By meeting the global standard, the product is market ready for continued supply to its parent company in Japan and for global export.
Since opening its new facility in Australia, ITO EN has seen considerable growth and increased demand for its tea products. ITO EN Australia continues to execute contracts with major Australian supermarket brands, and they are manufacturing upwards of 70 tea bags per minute.
As a food and beverage manufacturer, an oil free assurance is often one of the, if not the, most valuable components of its compressed air system. Such is the case with ITO EN Australia.
“The QA requirements designated by our parent company specify that zero trace of oil exists in the product,” added Brooksbank. “Each day production sends samples to the parent company, and we have yet to see a single trace of oil in the production system.”
The Sullair SRL Series, an ISO 8573.1 Class Zero certified oil free scroll compressor, will help ITO EN Australia continue to earn and retain the trust of its consumers and society at large. In turn, consumers everywhere, for generations to come, can continue to enjoy ITO EN’s legendary tea offerings.