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German equipment manufacturers stay on top with innovative technological developments.

Business is reported as steady or even thriving for many involved in the non-foods side of the German frozen food industry. A lot of equipment manufacturers are emphasizing faster, more efficient machines. Others, such as Baader, are keying in on specific solutions to specific problems. Linde AG has unveiled a new line of computer-controlled and centrally monitored freezing cabinets. And flexible-use industrial freezers are being marketed by Justus and Heinen.

New recycling regulations from Bonn have forced processors to re-think their packaging strategies to reduce waste. Companies such as Europa Carton are making that task easy by introducing systems that allow product to be cooked or heated and consumed within the single package it is shipped in. This development and others reported below were brought to the attention of Eduard de Haas, Europe representative for Quick Frozen Foods International, during his recent field survey of leading German QFF equipment specialists.

Europa Carton

Europa Carton announced that its Feb. 17 merger with St. Germain Cartonnage and Cartonnage de France makes them the biggest frozen food packaging player in Europe. The joint venture arrangement will facilitate the free flow of technological skill as well as marketing knowhow.

But it is a packaging system from the USA that is getting a lot of attention at the moment. The company is carrying the QuickPack carton developed by Gulf States Paper Corp. of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The ovenable package, which is erected on Kliklok equipment, is made of polyester-coated SBS paperboard. The ability to stand upright or stack in freezer cases gives it a big merchandising advantage. And that's not all.

The QuickPack features a single-piece, single compartment configuration. Because of the gusset-seal design, it can be formed at faster speeds and has improved push-through capability in a plate freezer, making it the better choice for large, fast-moving filling and forming operations used during entree production.

"This will be the future style of packaging in Europe. It's much easier to handle because it has right angles. It can also have two compartments," said Gert Schroder, marketing director. "Furthermore, the carton allows for in-the-package cooking, thus eliminating excess outer packaging material. This is a big plus in markets like environmentally-conscious Germany, while also saving on costs in the bargain."

4P Nicolaus Kempten

The big news at 4P Nicolaus Kempten in Allgau is its teaming with 4P Emballagnes of France to form the 4P Folding Carton Division, which since last year has been part of VanLeer Packaging Worldwide. The parent company ranks as one of the top ten global packaging concerns, with sales of some |pounds~1.6 billion.

The German-French partnership is concentrating on opportunities in the Single European Market, with an eye peeled toward the growing frozen food and ice cream sectors. It has not gone unnoticed that the fragmented supplier market for folding cartons in Europe is worth upwards of DM 12.5 billion, and that 85% of the universe is found in a handful of countries: Germany, the UK, Italy, France, Spain and the Benelux. Half of the volume can be traced directly to food products. Langnese-Iglo and Nestle are listed as top customers, buying DM 56.4 million and 25.3 million worth of such packaging in 1991.

Among the 4P organization's recent technical developments is the Cambroform machine which precisely forms top-loaded packs quickly and efficiently. Throughput of up to 250 units per minute is possible, as the equipment deftly turns flat blanks into containers for spinach or any number of other food products.

The company is supported in its work by the systematic application of computer techniques including the CAD system, which enables calculation and display of standardized shapes, alternatives and changes in a matter of minutes. In addition, electronic image processing guarantees pack motifs of consistently high quality.


Dusseldorf-based Rheon Automatic Machinery GmbH looks after the European market for Utsunomiya, the Japan-headquartered specialist in automatic co-extruding and encrusting systems. More than 2,000 machines have been sold on the Continent to date, compared to 28,000 elsewhere in the world.

A recently patented pre-proofing technology for frozen baked goods has been especially well received by pizza manufacturers and bread makers who have long been frustrated in finding a way to properly bake off crusts. The technique involves freezing dough after it has been fully formed and fermented. Handled right, it can then maintain elasticity for more than a year under -40 |degrees~ conditions, as well as attain 1.5 times more oven volume after up to two years in storage. Furthermore, six fold volume expansion can be achieved within 14 minutes of baking from the frozen state. All this while yielding a fresh-like quality in taste, texture and color.

The Rheon FAR-II baking process machine stretches pre-proofing dough into sheets. It is connected directly to mixing and forming systems which are computer-controlled to minimize damage often associated with manual work.

Yamato Scale

Not far from Dusseldorf, in the city of Willich, is the European headquarters of another Japanese equipment specialist: Yamato Scale GmbH. The well established 72-year-old company considers itself to be a pioneer in multi-head weighing technology. Among recent introductions is the ADW-713RB unit, which boasts 10 weigh heads with memory buckets.

Yamato's high-speed Check-weigher line monitors food package weights, identifying for rejection those that are too light or heavy. The product weight consistency of shipped goods is maintained, effectively controlling raw material costs and maximizing profitability in the process. Computerized systems sport command consoles that integrate all operational instructions into a user-friendly touch screen display.

The scale's "combination selecting" mode divides products to be scrutinized among weight heads, with each holding about one-fourth of the desired weight. A micro-computer calculates the combination of four weigh heads closest to the target. Allocated volume consequently lies within a fraction of exactitude.


Baader is a name synonymous with state-of-the-art fish filleting and processing among seafood packers around the world. Doing business since 1917, in recent years it has branched out to supply the poultry, meat and vegetable industries.

Based in Lubeck, near the former border with the old DDR, the company reports that it is active in providing turnkey systems for use aboard Russian trawlers and in onshore factories. But this is nothing new. Good working relations with the USSR were in effect for many years prior to Communism's fall from grace.

"A lot of the same old fellows are still in charge, so the business of getting orders goes on as usual," Dieter Rother, public relations manager, told Quick Frozen Foods International. "But the big difference today lies in getting paid. In the past the money was there. Once a deal was made and the job was completed, you were compensated. Now all the newly independent states want to buy, but unfortunately there's not too much hard currency to go around to pay for the purchases. Nonetheless, we continue to sell there and are getting paid for the effort."

Among the new products developed by Baader are customized lines to fillet Alaska pollock and plaice. What is extraordinary about the machinery is that it is capable of extracting roe undamaged from the fish. The patented system, aimed especially at the Japanese market, removes the roe sack intact before proceeding to fillet the meat. During the so-called B season the equipment is modified to exclusively perform filleting operations.


Versmold-based logistics specialist Thermotraffic GmbH runs a consolidated hub for frozen and chilled products being shipped into the interior of Europe. Its location is in an area where some 60% of German meat processing and sausage making takes place, which means that there is steady business for refrigerated transporters.

The quick-turn delivery operation requires minimum cold storage space. "We handle a lot of meat for steak houses, which are growing in Germany," Heinrich Peter Loos, managing director, told Quick Frozen Foods International. "Our sister company, Eurofrigo BV in Rotterdam, forwards a good deal of South American-sourced meat our way."

Loos was the owner of Thermotraffic until it was bought out by Nichirei Corp., Japan's leading refrigerated warehouse operator and manufacturer of frozen foods. In recent years Nichirei has also acquired Eurofrigo and HIWA, the latter of which is a Dutch fruit juice, cold storage and transportation concern.

The managing director believes that the onset of a faster-paced Single European Market will stimulate the need for consolidated groupage and just-in-time shipping -- services that he is quite prepared to provide. The only problem in the short run, he noted, is that tariffs have fallen as a result of the flurry of new licenses issued to out of work coal haulers in the eastern part of Germany.


As the old saying goes: clothes make the man. The adage can be altered a little to better suit the frozen food production and warehousing industries: Properly insulated and designed protective clothes make the man working in frigid conditions more efficient.

Tempex GmbH, the Heidenheim-based freezer clothing specialist, has been dressing the cold storage and QFF factory laborer for success for more than 20 years now. Its line was recently updated to not only provide wearers greater comfort and protection, but to make a more fashionable statement in the process.

The Tempex wardrobe is expansive enough to outfit workers from head to toe. Everything from socks and boots to thermal underwear, pants, coats and hats are made. Highly-insulated but well-fitting woven and non-woven designs are created to maximize safety and productivity.

The company produces a full range of articles for specific activities, with low-temperature clothing tailor-made for various requirements including low activity work, high activity chores, and less demanding supervisory roles. Whatever the need, Tempex can customize protective gear for jobs performed in any sub-normal temperature environment. As an added personal touch, nametags or company logos can be incorporated into all designs.


Known especially well throughout Europe as a quality manufacturer of cold rooms, Telewig Kuhltechnik is also in the business of supplying components such as all-metal precision hinged free doors and automatic sliding doors, safety locks, energy-saving air curtains and accessories. Customers span the globe: from Germany to the Mid-East, Africa and China.

But the Melle-headquartered company's primary activity is selling pre-fabricated cold and freezer rooms for use in various settings such as retail food stores and restaurants. Its Model GZ 120, complete with a Frigomat 2000 Frost unit, is polyurethane foam-insulated to a 120 mm thickness with a K-value of 0.16 W/|m.sup.2~ K. Interior and exterior surface finishes feature white plastic coated galvanized plate. The hygienic top layer is corrosion resistant and easy to clean.

Plenty of frozen foods can be stored in the 360 cm x 240 cm room, enabling clerks to keep back-of-store inventory on hand to replenish fast-moving stocks. And in the interest of protecting the environment, doors are now available with CFC-free insulation.

Telewig hopes to expand business beyond its traditional client base into areas where frozen and refrigerated food consumption are rising. It is looking for dealers to represent and distribute lines in developing countries.


Kaefer Isoliertechnik, one of the old names in industrial Bremen, is in the insulation business. Turnkey projects are its forte, with installations ranging from cold stores and ship galleys to food factories and surpermarkets.

New EEC regulations that mandate upgrading of nearly all European slaughterhouses to comply with stricter hygiene standards should keep the company busy for some time, Owen Griffiths told Quick Frozen Foods International. And with 36 satellite stations in Germany and dozens of offices throughout Europe and the world, Kaefer is ready for the upsurge in activity. Its system usually entails the deployment of a single contractor to handle all aspects of a job -- be it new construction, reparation or maintenance.

The former East bloc is being eyed as an enormous potential market, since entire infrastructures will have to be built from the ground up in those countries. But as for now, a lack of hard currency makes doing business there problematic. Cumbersome and time consuming barter deals usually must be arranged if one hopes to be paid for services. Nonetheless, Kaefer is attending trade shows behind the fallen Iron Curtain in an effort to make the right contacts for future transactions that will be done in cold cash.
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Title Annotation:News from Europe
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Apr 1, 1993
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