Setting the pace for packaging excellence
With ISM and ProSweets rapidly on the horizon, leading packaging business Theegarten-Pactec is making final preparations for the major confectionery extravaganza. Neill Barston reports on the company’s performance and expectations for the annual industry showcase
Having recently completed a major €30 million expansion of its headquarters in Dresden, Theegarten-Pactec has been enjoying remarkably strong fortunes.
From building upon its established series of confectionery equipment, through to integrating some of the latest industry 4.0 solutions into its machinery, has offered a dynamic range of challenges for the company.
After being invited to tour its expanded site in Germany last summer, its advanced facilities – which are now operating at an enhanced peak produc- tion capacity, have helped cement its position as a market leader. It seems little is left to chance by the business, which is continually enhancing its existing range of confectionery packaging and wrapping equipment that has placed a vital emphasis on both quality and efficiency. Supported by dedicated research and development teams, the business, which now employs over 400 people, has been at the forefront of developing individual solutions for its varied customer base around the world.
As its CEO Markus Rustler explains, the past year has proved an especially memorable one for the company, which proudly traces its origins back more than 80 years within the confectionery sector.
Speaking exclusively to Kennedy’s fresh from visiting customers around the globe including in Africa and Asia, the CEO confirmed that his business had continued its positive momentum after recording a record turnover of €65 million.
“For 2017, the major point of the year has been Interpack, which we had placed a lot of resources into. We generated a lot of orders following the show, so it proved very successful right across our programme, including our chocolate and candy wrapping systems.
“But even before Interpack, our order book had been busy, and it is extremely full going into 2018. In terms of our re- gions, Iran has been doing well, and is a very interesting market for us, as are other areas including Africa and Russia as well,” reflected Mr Rustler on the state of the company, which is continuing to enhance its global confectionery portfolio.
In terms of the upcoming ProSweets in Cologne this month, he believed the global industry event would prove particularly rewarding for the company. According to event organisers, over 300 companies across manufacturing, packaging and ingredients are exhibiting in Germany between 28th and 31st January.
As Kennedy’s has highlighted in this special preview edition for the show, some of the brightest developments in the industry’s production technology and finished confectionery products will be on show for the first time. This year is likely to be no different in that respect, with organisers of the event anticipating that among some of its major trends being a focus from confectionery manufacturers on expanding their portfolio to include sugar or fat-reduced sweets and snacks in response to a global shift towards healthier product options.
For many companies, including Theegarten-Pactec, it will offer a valuable opportunity to test the market with its present range of equipment, while also gathering a host of ideas on where to next focus its equipment range.
Mr Rustler enthused: “We are looking forward to meeting our valued customers at ProSweets in 2018, as well as linking up with new clients within the confectionery business.
“In 2018, ProSweets will be the major confectionery event for us in terms of orders and projects that we are anticipating from visitors.
“While we are there, it will be interesting to see all the new products that are being launched there at ISM, so it will be useful for the company from a market research perspective to see what new items might work well with our equipment,” added the CEO who explains that he intends to be personally on site across the entire show, such is its importance.
“For our ProSweets stand, we will be displaying the CFW high speed wrapper, which we believed would be the best focus for the event, having recently shown other equipment including the EK4 at GulFood in Dubai - which was also an excellent event for the Middle East, attracting visitors from both Africa and Asia,” added the CEO of its presentation plans for Cologne this month, with plenty of preparation going into what should prove an especially dynamic event for the industry.
In addition to responding to a global drive for creating products that are perceived as providing healthier lines, another of ProSweets main themes for 2018 is expected to focus on specific challenges within the packaging sector. This includes addressing means of improving the freshness and quality of products. One of the key means of achieving these goals are potential solutions being presented at the trade fair such as development of dye within packaging that alters colour over time, indicating product freshness.
Major company expansion
Speaking on the Theegarten-Pactec’s expansion, taking its site to 60,000m2 of production facilities being added to its headquarters over a two-year period, Mr Rustler explained the project had been of critical importance.
The company’s CEO revealed that not only did it physically improve the work- ing environment for employees, the expanded floor space had also made its facilities more responsive to production challenges in its specialist area of small piece confectionery packaging.
Mr Rustler added: “We’re really happy that we have managed to complete our construction project at our facilities here in Dresden. It was important that we were able to handle this without either any delays or extra budget, and I think the results of this are good.
“Our customers are happy to see that we have extended production facili- ties, as it gives us even more ability to deliver on our strategies. It has been developed to support our work across the entire confectionery sector.” Speaking on the development to Kennedy’s, the company’s marketing manager Steffen Hamelmann agreed that the work had proved a worthy investment.
As he explained, the work had been carried out in two distinct phases, with expanded site also including upgrades to the company’s general staff offices and communal facilities that had im- proved facilities for customers visiting the site. With the company being founded on a belief in building long-term relationships with its clients across the confectionery sector, Theegarten’s CEO is especially passionate to maintain its position at the forefront of the market.
“I’ve been very involved with both the sale and financial side of the business, and building a direct relationship with our customers is something that has been very important to me as we’re still a family-owned business. This has meant we are travelling a lot working on international projects,” enthused Mr Rustler on its broad scope of operations.
Response to Industry 4.0
One of the major areas of machinery development that the confectionery sector is continuing to place much of its energy has been in developing Internet of Things (IOT) applications within machinery ranges. As Theegarten’s CEO adds, the company’s teams are exploring ‘industry 4.0’ opportunities for further improving machine efficiency, design and operator safety.
The company’s research and development work has focused on core areas including enhancing user interface equipment, as well as machine monitoring systems that have been designed to tackle potential loss of downtime, as well as maintenance and cleaning activities.
Mr Rustler explained: “In terms of what we are achieving, industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things is something that is talked about a lot in confection- ery production and it is an area that we are continuously working on.
“Our teams have been trying to gain a feel for what is really necessary in this respect, and have been identifying the processes that customers regard as most important. So we are focus- ing on areas that will give competitive improvements in making equipment more efficient. It’s something that is a worldwide trend.
“One example of this is where machinery operators may not have as high a level of operating skill as may have previously been the case, so IOT functions can help in terms of creat- ing greater automation that can make production lines more safe to operate. There may also be instances where there may be cases in which there are issues such as smearing of chocolate – this might not be seen by an operator, but this could be something that could be monitored by a machine.”
With so many aspects of the compa- ny undergoing continual refinement, its drive to stay ahead of the competition appears to be paying off significantly. As regards the company’s outlook, the CEO believed the business was in a strong position moving into 2018, with its present range of packaging equip- ment enjoying a strong share of the industry market.
He added: “While we are not able to predict the future, we have seen that our customers are continuing to make investments – which is something that is taking place all over the world. So all indications for this coming year are looking promising.”
Showcasing a star of the confectionery packaging range
As Theegarten-Pactec explains, one of the highlights of the past year in machinery terms has been the release of its new CFW-D high-performance packaging machine. The equipment designed for chocolate products in fold wrap was successfully unveiled at Interpack, and has been noted for setting a new record with an output of up to 1,400 products per minute.
With the new CFW-D, for the first time ever Theegarten-Pactec can offer confectionery manufacturers a wrapping machine which can handle moulded or enrobed chocolate articles such as Napolitains or small caramels as well as waffles, with a top capacity of up to 1,400 products per minute in fold wrap, with or without banderols.
This performance is achieved thanks to a twin-lane machine design. Product tolerances can also be compensated for by the use of spring-loaded retain- ing cheeks on the packing head, a performance feature that is particularly important for enrobed articles when it comes to sensitive wrapping and packing. Thanks also to the sensor-based monitoring of the delivery capacity, any product build-up pressure can be minimised, and the machine speed optimally controlled in line with the products being delivered.
The CFW-D stands as just one of the company’s successful machine ranges that covers everything from hard and soft candies, through to other non-food categories. Presently, the company produces over eight chocolate packaging machines, as well as its renowned FPC5 flow pack machine, capable of process- ing up to 1,500 products a minute. For more details on its complete systems, visit www.theegarten-pactec.com for more information.