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Delicious tomato sauces from Tomamore sell from refrigerated cases in southern Germany. Processing and packaging equipment from Hermann WALDNER, parent company of WALDNER North America (Booth C-1513) put the product on store shelves.
Tomamore is a startup making inroads into the hotly contested ready meals market, scoring with fresh ingredients and organic quality. Walter Stauß, MD of the Ravensburg, Germany-based company, relies on the processing of fresh goods and an industrial process, which comes very close to the way “Grandma prepared it in Sicily.”
PROCESSING AND PACKAGING
The initial contact by Tomamore to Hermann WALDNER came through an inquiry about packaging with a Dosomat. However, it quickly became clear that WALDNER Process Systems might also be considered for the challenging production of the sauces. After many discussions, both divisions of WALDNER were awarded the order. Christian Heinzelmann, Packaging Technology/Design at WALDNER Dosomat reported, “We were awarded the order due to the fact that we maintain control of the specially shaped containers from the filling line through to the end-of-line packaging process, thereby ensuring a secure and efficient process work flow.
Our proximity to the factory for support, service and good straightforward communication were other factors important to Mr. Stauß. There was often a call and three hours later we were sitting down together and discussing the project onsite.”
In-depth engineering knowledge and commitment convinced Stauß about Process Systems as well. He says, “There are no longer many manufacturers
of batch cooking systems, and there are major quality differences between them. I quickly realized that there was a lot of ‘hot air’ with the other providers. When I consider all the challenges we had to overcome to handle unforeseen problems and coordinate process work flows, the system would still be standing idle today. With WALDNER, I immediately noticed that I was speaking to professionals, and that also turned out to be the case.”
GOOD TEAM WORK
On the WALDNER side, a team of engineers from Dosomat and Process Systems quickly came together to jointly design the system. “ is was an unusual case, as we had very little in the way of specification. Mr. Stauß had a goal, but it was not yet clear which approach would achieve it,” reports Christian Heinzelmann. One thing was certain: The tomato sauce was to be filled into a triangular container with a round overall diameter. “While transporting the cups through the system, the containers were not allowed to rotate and needed to be held securely from filling to final packaging with the same orientation,” explains Christian Heinzelmann.
“Therefore, we developed a special cassette system to transport the containers throughout the process and keep them facing the same way. With pick-and-place units supporting the transfer from system to system, the containers always remain securely in position with the same orientation.”
COOKED LIKE GRANDMA MADE IT. . .
Klaus Ohlinger of Process Systems adds: “The claim that it ‘tastes just like Grandma made it’ is extremely important as it is always something very different when something is cooked on an industrial scale. On an industrial scale, this means 2 tons/hr., approximately 6,000 of the 350g containers/hr.” It was also a challenge to implement the new concept from Italy, where the onions and garlic are prepared separately, on one system. “To achieve this, we developed equipment that first sautés the onions evenly until translucent and then adds the other ingredients. . . and finally allows the entire mixture to cook together in a single container. That really is an innovation. Essentially an industrial-scale Thermo-mix,” explains Ohlinger.
PRAISE FROM THE CUSTOMER
The transition from cooking to the filling and packaging system runs smoothly, thanks to the collaboration between the engineers. Ohlinger explains: “Because we are supplying everything from a single source, the systems have the same valves and pumps and are synchronized with each other. That provides the customer with major benefits when it comes to holding spare parts. We also have the same software for all machines that is networked together, which leads to ease of operation.” Even the specially folded cartons for the containers come from a WALDNER machine. At the very last minute, Gerhard Heinzelmann, responsible at DOSOMAT for packaging, even came up with lids for these cartons.
“The customer, and hence also us, received the information that the cartons needed a lid very late. In a night session, we then developed a solution with our MD, Mr. Karl Angele, and the customer to extend the system with an additional component,” reports Gerhard Heinzelmann.
Angele gets to the heart of things when he adds: “We often have a moving target. That is what makes our work so exciting.”
Stauß is very satisfied: “Interventions such as these show me to what extent I can rely on someone. Collaboration with WALDNER has always been good, regardless of how long and how exhausting the day sometimes was. The engineers and I, as the salesman, always worked together constructively and in a targeted manner. . . Tomamore was born in May 2015. No machine had been drawn at this time. The financing and subsidy from the state was clarified in the third quarter of 2016. And when it became clear that WALDNER was capable of making my ideas into a reality, there was no longer a problem with the bank: The name WALDNER is synonymous with reliability and quality. The ground was broken in March 2017, and in June 2018, we supplied the first tomato sauces. We really pulled out all the stops.”
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