Despite celebrating its 50th birthday this year, interpack 2008 showed no signs of a midlife crisis. With more than 2,700 exhibitors showcasing their accomplishments in confectionery processing as well as packaging, the triennial event filled all 19 halls of the Dusseldorf Trade Fair Center. 

Despite celebrating its 50th birthday this year, interpack 2008 showed no signs of a midlife crisis. With more than 2,700 exhibitors showcasing their accomplishments in confectionery processing as well as packaging, the triennial event filled all 19 halls of the Düsseldorf Trade Fair Center.

Woody Associates.

(Editor's note: The report reflects actual visits, but some license has been taken with the sequence of events.)

All right, I’ll come clean. I missed the opening ceremonies featuring conductor Georg Fritzsch and the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra serenading interpack’s 50th birthday with performances of  Robert Schumann’s Symphony Nr. 3 in E flat major and Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s Violin Concerto in E minor.

But understand, it had been a long flight from Chicago to Munich and then Düsseldorf. Moreover, there was a delay – what else is new - as our connecting flight from Munich to Düsseldorf arrived an hour and a half late. And, of course, one still needed to set up the booth.

A good night’s sleep, however, revved up this editor for interpack 2008.

After getting the lay of the land a bit, it was good to see familiar faces on the first day of a show. At Woody Associates, Inc., Harry Reinke, president, and Steven Ziolkowski, design engineer, shared stories about travel, expenses and expectations. Located in Hall 2 against the wall, York, Pa.-based Woody Associates appeared guaranteed of heavy traffic.

The Woody Stringer on display would certainly draw the attention of many of those passing by. Reinke provided a brief update on the unit, explaining that the model at the booth featured a PLC control, which enabled easy integration into a production line’s computerized control system.

Allan Aasted of Aasted-Mikroverk.

Across the aisle, the Aasted-Mikroverk booth beckoned for a visit. Despite the crowd, managing director Allan Aasted took some time to explain the company’s latest development, the Jensen family of compact modular moulding lines.

Built in modules, this new moulding line - named after the man (Johannes Jensen) who invented the first continuously operating moulding line in 1923 – comes in three different sizes (500, 700 and 1,000) and various capacities, depending upon customer needs. Output can range from 480 kg/hr to 2,200 kg/hr.

 What’s important for manufacturers, Aasted pointed out is that lead times from order to delivery have been dramatically shortened.

“Typically, it will take between 8 to 10 months to produce a moulding line,” he said. “With the Jensen, because of its modularity, that lead time has been reduced to four and one-half months.”

Aasted also walked me over to the company’s new AMC SuperNova temperer with an aeration feature designed into the unit. One of the new design aspects engineered into the temperer is the separation of the tempering process from the aerating option.

In this manner,  the chocolate goes through tempering and crystallization before being aerated, thereby ensuring the integrity of the chocolate mass recipe. It also enhances flexibility to run both aerated and non-aerated chocolates. Manufacturers can also add an external aroma and color tank to expand aeration capabilities.  

Oliver Nohynek and Hans Peter Schwendeler of Driam.

From Aasted-Mikroverk, it was just a short walk to Driam’s booth, where Oliver Nohynek, managing director, and Hans Peter Schwendeler, sales manager, took some time to chat about their company’s latest innovation, the DriaConti-T continuous cycle coating machine. The unit allows for the continuous coating of various layers of soft and hard sugar in the same machine by replicating a batch process within the machine.

Moveable flaps within separate chambers convey the material from one processing step to another in a regulated manner. A production rate of 600 kg/hr is possible with extremely soft centers.

Not only does the DriaConti-T deliver improved quality and consistency, it reduces ingredient intake. Because solids and liquids are automatically added in specific quanities, raw material requirements are better managed, thus reducing costs.  Products like jellies, fruits and berries as well as extruded chewables, nuts and fondant can be produced economically and controlled at a consistent quality.

Rainer Krauss of Hosokawa Group.

Just behind Driam’s booth was Max Riner. Peter Baumlin, the company’s chief executive officer was busy doing business with clients. Nevertheless, he graciously offered a glass of champagne to me and my colleague, Dee Wakefield, our European marketing manager who had just joined me on  my  walking tour.

At interpack, the company has introduced RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology into its moulds. With the use of RFID, manufacturers can easily track moulds throughout the chocolate moulding process, from depositing to sanitation. Such traceability further enhances consumer protection as well as production efficiency, Baumlin stressed after concluding talks with his clients and chatting with us for a brief moment.

Upon leaving the Max Riner booth, Wakefield and I strolled over to Hosokawa Confectionery and Bakery’s booth. There, we sat down with Klaus Korndoerfer, the recently retired president of the company.

After reminiscing briefly about the past, and touching upon what activities he’ll engage in during retirement – “There are many books that I’d like to read that I never had a chance to while working.” - Korndoerfer introduced us to Rainer Krauss, the new co-president of the company who took over late last year.

At its booth, Hosokawa Confectionery & Bakery, which includes member companies Ter Braak, Bepex-Hutt and Kreuter, exhibited a Smartline for cereal and aerated bars, an easy-to-clean rotary bar extruder, a new Caracoat enrober, a new Chocoat enrober and a new Triple extruder.

In addition, it had its Smart Kitchen, type 750 on display as well as a new Contimix.

Confitech Toffee Servomatic line.

On my way out of Hall 1, I took notice of Attilia Ruffinatti, wife of Confitech’s managing director, Gianni Ruffinatti. We hugged and exchanged pleasantries. Unfortunately, Gianni was busy, but I decided to take a quick scan at what the company was displaying at the show.  There was a complete toffee SERVOMATIC line for production of chewy candies and milk caramels that included the following: a weighing and mixing machine SL.2000 for slurry preparation; a continuous toffee cooker CKT.600M; a coloring/flavoring station; a fully automatic cooling drum RCT.900 with batch weighing and cutting unit as well as dry feeders for the addition of acid; a puller TZ.60; and a sheeter LAM.200.

Even though Gianni couldn’t break away, I promised Attilia I would return and made my way out of Hall 1 into Hall 2.

Mads Hedstrom and Dave Cote of A.E. Nielsen and American Chocolate Mould Co.

The segueway from Hall 2 to Hall 1 was  easy, the  two buildings are connected. It was a short stroll to the A.E. Nielsen booth. There, I happened to see David Cote, son of Ray Cote, president of American Chocolate Mould Co., which represents A.E. Nielsen in North America. The two of us chatted while waiting for Mads Hedstrom, president of A.E. Nielsen, to finish his discussions with a customer.

Before we could start comparing notes on attendance and activity in interpack – strong on all accounts – Hedstrom joined us. Taking a breath for a second, “We’ve been busy,” he went on to detail what equipment the company was exhibiting at this interpack.

In addition to A.E. Nielsen’s  Master enrober in a 1,300 mm band width, which was connected to a 20-meter cooling tunnel, visitors could view a new XXL cooling tunnel in a 1,800 mm band width. In addition, there were demonstrations of  the M510 moulding line that’s capable of handling moulds in 510 mm, 680 mm and 850 mm widths as well as two Junior enrobers in band widths of  620 mm and 820 mm.

A.E. Nielsen has also added new PLC systems onto its Junior and Master series of enrobers.

Marti Lloveras and Jordi Torres of Lloveras.

Abutting A.E. Nielsen’s booth was Lloveras, which showcased a broad range of equipment at this year’s interpack. Jordi Torres, Lloveras’ sales and marketing manager was also busy holding discussions with potential clients, so I  took the opportunity to sit  down with Marti Lloveras, the  company’s  managing director.

The BK bar forming line, which was on display, was going to be shipped to Kloeckner Hansel’s R&D center, he explained. The two companies have  been partnering together for the past several years, and this was yet another  step in extending their affiliation.

In  addition to the  bar forming line, Lloveras also showcased its SIMA N-600 model moulding line, which provides compact solution in moulding that can handle a broad product range encompassing solid pieces, cream-filled tablets and tablets filled with whole sized nuts as well as other inclusions such as almonds, raisins, rice, etc.

The SIMA moulding range offers adjustable capacities in order to meet diverse production needs. Capacities range from 200 kg/hr with the SIMA-360 range to up 800 kg/hr with our new SIMA N-400/600 models. 

The company also exhibited its integrated cocoa processing plant, the Unicom 2/300 with PLC control as well as a universal refiner laboratory unit. It was at that point that Torres joined Lloveras, which prompted me to propose a quick Kodak moment. A couple of flashes later, and I was on my way to see Jorg Summer at F.B. Lehmann.  

Jorg Summner of F.B. Lehmann and Farid Yahiaoui.

F.B. Lehmann, which  manufactures complete confectionery lines to produce chocolate, compounds, fillings, coatings, fat binders, chocolate blocks, chocolate spreads and nut pastes, was showcasing its latest generation of five-roll refiners, ball mills, a new developed laboratory roaster and different new control concepts.

The company’s full-scale cocoa processing and nut processing lines are designed and produced to achieve high quality nut paste and cocoa mass and butter. A large selection of different machines, capacities and modules are available to adapt concepts and designs as close as possible to meet a customer’s request.

There was plenty to review at the booth, the company highlighting its capabilities and accompanying  equipment in confectionery, which included processing of chocolate and compound masses on the base of five-roll refiner lines and/ or ball mill lines; nut creams and spreads; fillings, coatings and fat binders; and lines for transporting, weighing, blending, storing and distributing.

Those interested in cocoa and nut processing, could sit down and pour over a broad range of equipment and lines.

As it so happened, Sommer was also busy, deep in negotiations with a customer, Farid Yahiaoui, managing director of Nestar, a confectionery concern based in Bouira, Algeria. Motioning to Sommer, I asked him if his customer wouldn’t mind taking a quick break to pose for a photo. Yahiaoui seemed thrilled to have a member of the confectionery paparazzi snap his photo.

Martin McDermott of Chocotech and Dee Wakefield of Candy Industry.

Looking for a place to rest my feet  I saw co-presidents Jim and John Greenberg at the Union Confectionery Machinery booth. Jim was in the process of dialing home to the family using Skype and John had found a sandwich for lunch to scarf down before the next onslaught of customers. It was clear they were having a busy show so I promised to come back when they were less busy.

A sincere thank you and a wave and I was back to meandering the halls, this time moving from 2 into 3.  To get to Hall 3, one has to step outside a bit. The cool yet sunny weather re-invigorated this trepid editor, inparticularly when I stopped to get one of the famed bratwurst on sale at one of the many outdoor kiosks. After all, man doesn’t live by confectionery processing alone.

Ralf Schäffer of Sollich.

Hall 3 held several companies on my list, so I had actually done some preplanning and scheduled appointments. My first stop was at Sollich KG for a visit with Ralf Schäffer, the company’s executive director.  Schaeffer didn’t hesitate in noting that this year’s triennial extravaganza would be the company’s best interpack to date, following what had been the company’s best year to date, with sales having improved by more than 25%.  In fact, together with its sister company, Chocotech GmbH, Sollich’s booth space encompassed 1,500 square meters.

Schaeffer explained that many of the improvements being highlighted at the show reflected a combination of practical improvements resulting from customer demand for higher output as well as ease of operation and sanitation. For example, Sollich has introduced an improved line of TURBOTEMPER tempering machines that can handle 10% to 15% more capacity, but still use the same footprint. 

Another example regarding customer input led to Sollich creating a mini bar-forming line. Some segments of the industry wanted equipment that had smaller capacity, so the company had developed a line that was 300 mm wide and could turn out 150 kg/hr. A regular production volume CONBAR bar forming line with slitting, spreading and cutting of cereal and candy bars was also in operation at the booth as were different models of cooling tunnels, with polyurethane covers and stainless steel covers, that were linked together to  forming and enrobing lines.

Chocotech’s Jellymaster.

From Sollich, it was just a short walk to Chocotech, its sister company. Although Martin McDermott, the newly promoted director of sales and marketing, was busy, he graciously sat down to chat about the new developments at the booth.

Moreover, birthday congratulations were in order, as McDermott revealed his colleagues had surprised him with an impromptu celebration the evening before. Not looking a day over – well, readers can ask McDermott himself how many moons have passed – the head of sales and marketing proceeded to list what was on display.        

On display was  an AUTOGRAV system for ingredient weighing, mixing and dissolving complete with PLC for recipe control and recipe saving; a new SUCROFORM W embossing plant for hard candies, chewy candies and croquant items; a TURBOWHIP 300 for aerated candy nougat; and a new CHEWMASTER, which provides a pronounced pre-crystallization to chewy candies so that they can be formed without extrusion.

Visitors could also check out a JELLYMASTER with the new SUCROTWIST cooker, and a CARASTAR batch cooking unit for caramels,  binders and various other products. McDermott also pointed out the YPP continuous caramel cooker, which remains unique in that it is the only cooker available that cooks and caramelizes simultaneously, as well as the SUCROMASTER vacuum and screw extraction system for high boils, sugar-free, dairy and real fruit products.

Still, much of the visitor attention was drawn to Chocotech’s FROZENSHELL system, which featured a PRALIMAT depositor, in operation.

Jan Hammink, Jeffrey Kloppenburg and Olaf Schepel of Caotech.

After a quick photo session, I was off to visit my favorite Moscow transportation expert, Jan Hammink at Caotech. Before Hammink and I launched into interpack talk, we briefly chatted about the U.S. election and economy and its subsequent impact. Although pessimistic about the state of the U.S. economy, he was more than encouraged by the interest in cocoa, particularly in Russia, the Ukraine and former CIS countries. That, coupled with continued opportunities in Asia and a building resurgence in South America bode well for the cocoa and chocolate processing supplier.

Those developments reflected – in part – what was on display at the Caotech booth. The company had its CAO 3000 IN-LINE installation on display, including the Mini Mix automatic weighing and mixing unit, together with the well-known CAO B2000, as part of its highly automated, high output  processing. 

Within the cocoa arena, the new N5000 cocoa nibs pre-grinder was unveiled at this year’s interpack, an outgrowth of the successful N4000. The capacity of the N5000 will be around 5,000 kg/hr.

The company has also developed an alternative continuous conching unit to be used as a wet conching system. This CWC 2000 (Continuous Wet Conche) can be placed behind traditional conches for final homogenization and conching, as well as behind ball mill systems for obtaining a high quality chocolate.

Before I left Caotech, I had a chance to meet Jeffrey Kloppenburg, sales director for the company, as well as chat with Olaf Schepel, sales manager. Naturally, I quickly snapped a photo of the three and bid them luck at the show.

NID mogul.

From there, it was an easy saunter to NID. Corrado Cencioni, global sales manager for NID, happened to be busy (seems to be a pattern developing here) with my friends from Elah-Dufour, Pierangelo Pagliotti, director of research and development, and Maurizio Ristori, production manager. Nevertheless, I had a good conversation with Matthew Curtis, the new president. He pointed that NID had the only mogul running at 32 moulds per minute for the entire duration of the exhibition.

The design featured extended use of 316 stainless steel for improved sanitation and wear. 

In the feeder and stacker, nylon chain boxes eliminate the need for sprockets, making the clamp guides virtually maintenance-free.

All pump and machine adjustments are performed from the operator touch screen and automatically and instantaneously cascaded through all machine thanks to all servo-driven mechanisms and NID proprietary software.

Seeing Cencioni still busy with the Elah-Dufour contingent, I “pushed off” to visit another supplier on my list.

Barth roaster.

It was at that point that I felt I needed a coffee. So where else but to Buhler should one go take a coffee break? Why Buhler, you ask. Simple, because that’s where Giovanni Meok, three-time barrista champion of Switzerland, was going to make me a cup of coffee.

I discovered this from Doris Sieber, marketing communications manager for the Swiss-based supplier, who sat down with me for Meok’s famous cup of Joe. Not only was the coffee delicious, but I had never seen cream stylized in such an artistic design before.

Barrista Giovanni Meok and Doris Sieber of Buhler.

After coffee, we then went up to Buhler’s Future Center, an open-air area atop small meeting rooms that oversaw Buhler’s booth. The Future Center was designed to allow “engineers to talk to engineers” about the varying pieces of equipment on display as well as foster discussions about solutions to operating challenges in cocoa and chocolate processing, Sieber explained.

With its recent acquisition of Barth, the Buhler Chocolate & Cocoa business unit has strengthened its activities in the cocoa and nut business allowing the know-how in the treatment of cocoa beans to be bundled with its expertise in chocolate processing.

Starting with the cocoa and nuts processing, the company exhibited the highly efficient winnower W4000 as well as the NR3 nut roaster, which uses novel technology to allow a substantial shelf life increase of hazelnuts. 

In the world of chocolate and compound processing, the company displayed the advantages of the modular solution CompLineTM 600, a highly efficient and compact piece of equipment to process complex compounds.

In the field of chocolate mass production, visitors could inspect the state-of-the–art two-stage refining system with the PreFinerTM 1800 and FinerTM 2500 V with the newest features. Adjacent to the refiners were  DÜC and ELK 3 conches as well as a new highly efficient TM  liquifier LiQ 4.5.

Naturally, the company had its SeedMaster 2000 T, the ultimate in proven pre-crystallization technology. With regards to depositing and moulding, Buhler Bindler had its family of depositors – PowerShot, PreciShot, VersiShot – and the CoolCore cold stamping system on display. For highly flexible production, the multihead FlexiStamp cold stamping technology – was exhibited for the first time.  On the MultistarTM moulding line, visitors could see the 3-D article decoration. 

Finally the company debuted its FlexiShot, revealing a complete new technology in depositing with flexible nozzles to allow a highly precise, non tailing depositing.

Duyvis Qchoco QC-400.

At Duyvis Wiener, I came across Ingrid Schoorl, who informed me that I had missed Miriam van Dijk, the managing director. Schoorl, indicated she’d be back the following day. Although I didn’t get a chance to connect with Miriam, Schoorl provided me a description of the company’s latest development, the  Qchoc QC-400, an all-in-one batchwise mixing, refining and conching system for chocolate.

The Qchoc consists of an intensive pre-mixer based on the principle of taking crystal sugar as a basic ingredient and getting and keeping it in suspension without any problem. This pre-mixer has evolved out of a combination of existing techniques, which have been combined in a unique manner. First, the mixing time has been reduced to practically zero by this special design. This means that after adding the last ingredient the grinding can be started immediately. Grinding takes place in a specially dimensioned ball mill, which executes the grinding highly efficiently by means of the configuration of the stirring arms, as well as the choice of the right ball diameter. 

By making good use of the created surface of the Qchoc and a special warm / cold water system, the temperature of the product can be strictly controlled.

The integrated Taste-Changer checks the product and treats it intensively using hot air, shifting tension and surface enlargement.  The Taste-Changer gives the product the identical same characteristics as if it were conched.

The product is pumped through the machine by a specially designed pump, which is also suitable for pumping crystal sugar in suspension.   Because of the closed water system and the efficient handling of supplied energy, the Qchoc has little or no negative environmental impact.

The Qchoc can produce 400 kg chocolate in two hours, but is also available in 600 and 800 kg capacities. It is easily installed and maintained.  

Demonstration of triple-shot depositor at WDS booth.

A quick glance at my watch, and I noticed it was time for a press conference at Winkler und Dünnebier Süßwarenmaschinen (WDS) GmbH. Word had it that the good folks at W&DS would also be serving lunch, always a pleasant accompaniment to any press gathering.

Rainer Runkel, WDS’s managing director, together with the help of Peter Lindner, v.p. – sales, told the media in attendance that the company was continuing to perform strongly, building on strong sales posted in 2006 and 2007. The dynamic growth curve necessitated the adding on of a new building as well as additional employees. Building on the company’s philosophy of “customer care with method,” WDS has continued to push technological developments to fit the demands and needs of its customers in the confectionery industry. 

Two key processing parameters were further enhanced for the interpack show: capacity and flexibility. All of the company’s confectionery lines are separated in single production modules, which enables WDS engineers to comply with different customer requests and production capacities. 

Customers could view key enhancements made to the lab depositor, the mogul line type 461 B/1 as well as the depowdering machine 462 GL and the starch conditioning line 462.10 (drying, cooling) at the booth.

The company has also entered into a cooperative agreement with Kaupert in developing a revolutionary technology for casting hard candies into plastic moulds. The MultiSweet technology enables confectioners to use less costly plastic candy moulds instead of conventional aluminium moulds. The use of plastic also enhances the ability to design a broad range of shapes and designs previously only found in chocolate moulds.

Michael Wolf of Wolf Spezialmaschinen.

From WDS, I walked over to Wolf Spezialmaschinen GmbH & Co. KG’s booth. The company offers complete solutions relating to tempering, enrobing and cooling, decorating, chocolate coating, depositing compounds, and special units such as nut cutters and nut cluster machines.

Although  President Michael Wolf was busy, I could see that the company was exhibiting a broad line of equipment, including  the TC 320 coating machine and tempering machines UF 100 and UF 200; a nut cluster machine Portiomat PM 320; a new disc tempering machine UST 350;  and a cooling tunnel WK-420.

Known for its belt coaters, the  DRA 600, DRA 1600 and DRA 2000, Wolf Spezialmaschinen was also displaying a new belt polishing machine, type BPM 1200, available in various working widths according to the corresponding coating cabin capacity.

After finishing talks with his clients, Wolf took me over to see the computerized Decowolf DW 820 C as well as a high-performance drop depositor for the production of small chocolate drops. And then night fell and everyone went to the Alstadt for beer.

Christian Werner at Hebenstreit.

The following day found me taking a short walk to the tram stop, each car crammed with humanity heading toward the fair grounds.

Today’s plan of attack involved more visits to suppliers in Halls 3 and 4. Hebenstreit happened to be on my path and I had a chance to make eye contact with Christian Werner, long-time sales director for the company. It wasn’t long before I was sitting down for a cup of coffee – I didn’t have time for one at the hotel this morning – and quizzed Werner about how the show was going.

Judging from the number of people visiting the  booth, he was pleased to say excellent. He quickly ran down some of the improvements the company had made to its Supersize wafer baking line, such as a larger wafer sheet size (730 mm x 350 mm), a burner system that reduces emissions and saves gas, a wafer sheet arch cooler, a wafer sheet conditioning tunnel, a wafer sheet spreading machine with multifunctional spreading head for various fillings, a wafer sandwich cooling tower, a wafer batter preparation plant and a wafer cream preparation plant. 

Of course, not everyone needs a Supersize line, and  Hebenstreit supplies production systems for flat and hollow wafers that range from semi-automatic lines with a capacity of about 120 kg/hr to fully automatic, high-efficiency lines rated at 1,200 kg/hr and more.

Petzholdt Heidenauer refiner.

Before bidding adieu, I made sure to take a quick snapshot of Werner and dashed off to the Ladco Group, which includes MacIntyre Chocolate Systems, Petzholdt Heidenauer and Beetz Mixing Technology. At the booth, MacIntyre Chocolate Systems displayed its Universal 1250Kg batch capacity Millennium chocolate refiner/conche, a 500Kg per hour continuous tempering machine, a 1,000 kg chocolate storage tank, a 1,000 mm wide chocolate enrobing machine, a 300 mm wide moulding head (from our range of continuous moulding lines), a 1,000 mm wide chocolate drop & chip depositor – piston type and chocolate lentil rollers.

The company has also been expanding its range of refiner/ conches, which are now available from sizes 20-kg batch capacity up to 10,000-kg batch capacity.  

Petzholdt Heidenauer exhibited a pre-refiner HVS100, a five-roll refiner HFS180E with an automatic fineness measuring unit HMB 180, a continuous conche HCC 125 and a laboratory ball mill while Beetz Mixing Technology showcases its 500-kg twin shaft mixer and a laboratory vacuum mixer.

Olaf Heide of Habasit.

As I worked my way through Hall 3, I made a quick stop at the Habasit Group’s booth, hoping to find Bernd Roser. Unfortunately, Roser had stepped away from the booth, but his  colleague, Olaf Heide, was there to make me feel welcome.

A world leader in belting, the Swiss-based Habasit Group recently launched a new product line of silicone coated belts, specially designed for high duty and delicate food applications. 

These new belts feature two different types of surface finishing. First, there’s a super adhesive one, which facilitates excellent product indexing and is suitable for steep incline and decline applications. The second coating, which consists of a fine textile-structured surface, provides improved release properties and is visually less delicate.

Haas-Mondomix HMH Capper and Cream system.

From there I strolled onto Haas-Mondomix B.V., a business unit of the privately owned Haas Group whose brands include Franz Haas Waffel- und Keksanlagen and Haas-Mondomi. Haas-Mondomix remains the world-wide market leader in the fields of continuous aeration-related processing equipment and turnkey solutions for the bakery, confectionery and dairy industries.

As Peter Meyer, commercial director for Haas Mondomix points out,  “We do not just sell machines, we sell total solutions.” 

One of those solutions is its High-speed Depositor, which debuted at the show. It is suitable for depositing all types of aerated chocolate creams, batters and marshmallows. It combines undreamed-of possibilities with the company’s undisputed stamp of quality.

The unit is capable of depositing at very high speeds; up to 300 rows per minute depending on the product. Other features include a changeable and flexible program, easy changeouts of depositing tools and more.

The company also showcased its new HMH Capper and Cream system in cooperation with Houdijk Holland.

AVK’s Valeiry Novikov at Tanis Group.

It wasn’t far from Haas-Mondomix to the Tanis Group. There, while chatting with Rob Coppejans, v.p. – sales, and Jan Peter Meyboom, I spotted Vadim Cherkasov, sales director for Gloriett LLC and a translator for Candy Industry magazine. He was sitting with Valeiry Novikov, director of innovations, and Andrey Dikunov, general director, from the Ukrainian confectionery company, AVK.

Cherkasov told me that Novikov was one of the featured speakers at the Tanis Group booth, lecturing on chocolate tempering. In his lecture, Novikov touched upon all major issues of real chocolate tempering, specifically essential theoretical and practical aspects of tempering the real chocolate masses and mistakes that shall be avoided to achieve perfect quality product. 

It’s indeed a small world, I thought to myself. The last time I spent time with Cherkasov and Novikov was in Moscow at the Hotel Ukraina several years ago.

Alan Mann at A.M.P.- Rose.

Speaking of small world, I didn’t have far to walk before seeing the smiling faces of Mike Dalby, North American representative for A.M.P.-Rose and  president of the European Candy Kettle Club, and Alan Mann, its managing director. 

Mann took me around the booth to highlight some of the equipment the company was exhibiting, such as its ‘750 ET’, cut- and double-twist wrapping machine as well as the ‘755 ET’, which has been designed to wrap long products of up to 150mm in length.

The folding version of the Super 42HS high-speed cut and wrap, which boasts an output of over 1000 pieces/minute, was also on display.

Upon leaving A.M.P. Rose, I managed to hail Peter Tanis, the managing director from Tanis Food Tec.  He told me his company looks to “lighten up” product processing with TFT technology involving aeration, mixing, tempering, crystallizing and depositing. Examples of Big Bubble chocolate aeration used in the filling of different products such as pralines, bars, wafers and biscuits were on display.

Knobel wasn’t far away, so I made a dash. Everyone was involved with clients, however. I did manage to get close up and personal with the company’s new KCM/N depositor, which can handle large inclusions such as whole nuts.

Klöckner Hänsel’s patent-pending chain and rotary die former.

Taking a look at my watch, I thought it best to high tail it toward our booth in Hall 4, realizing it would be good to check in with our crew. I also had an appointment with Frank Temme, sales and marketing director for Klöckner Hänsel. I waved to Heiko Kuhn, the company’s managing director, and thanked him for his hospitality the night before, the BNP staff sampling some post-show snacks and beverages.

Temme and I then sat down for a quick overview of some of the innovations at the booth. He started by pointing out the Sucroliner 1700, which featured a new patent-pending design featuring a chain and rotary die, thus enhancing the production of seamless hard candies. Temme also cited the company’s new Strada forming line as well as improvements made to its complete line of batch and continuous cookers.

Noting that several pieces of equipment in the booth had already been earmarked for sale, he affirmed continued strong demand from the Middle East and ex-CIS countries. He also cited the company’s well-equipped CandyLab in Hannover as an ideal place for customers to test recipes and inspect processing lines.

Before leaving Hall 4, I made a quick stop at Awema’s booth to chat with Andreas Fischili, marketing and sales manager. Wearing a bright green tie – it is the corporate color – Fischli commented on how well the show was going, and the interest shown in the company’s newly designed one-shot depositor, the UDM-111OS48 as well as the Universal moulding. Again, the interest by high-end chocolatiers in technology was paving the way for such equipment.

Irene Miretti and Angelo Bertini of OPM Group.

After leaving Awema, I headed toward Hall 17, which sounded extremely far from Hall 4, but actually was just a short distance. Irene Miretti from the OPM Group  (OPM Chocolate, FIMA, Jointech, OPM Packaging, Samas) warmly greeted me and offered a true Italian espresso to pump up the discussion.

After some small talk, we went over to inspect OPM’s moulding line on display., which featured a patented Laser Scattering 3D Moulds Detection System. This innovative system uses a low-power laser illumination source and a low standard camera for the detection of the reflected light. Scanning the mould’s surface, the system detects undemoulded products or part of them, making possible the mould’s removal.

The moulding line could be controlled through a palm top, using a wireless connection instead of the classic cabled Ethernet connection. This system gives the operator the possibility to operate the plant from whatever position he is along the same plant.

In addition, by working in cooperation with Max Riner AG, OPM installed an RFID moulds identification system on its moulding line. The system, which using RFID technology, not only identifies the moulds by reading them, but also allows operators to write information about mould use as needed. 

From OPM, I hauled myself over to see Ulrich Kreimeyer at Loeschpack. LoeschPack was presenting a broad range of flexible high speed solutions at interpack under the “Packaging your Ideas” motto, including  a new LTM-DUO fold wrapping machine for chocolate bars with a special folding facility that’s expanded the format range increased capacity to up to 180 packaged bars/min.

Gerhard Schubert of Gerhard Schubert GmbH.

All I could do was wave since he seemed thoroughly engaged with customers. Next I was off to the Gerhard Schubert GmbH booth in Hall 14. This time I elected to take the shuttle bus, meeting a gregarious group of South Africans taking in the show. Wakefield had scheduled an appointment with Gerhard Schubert, managing director of the company and I was anxious not to be late. Luckily, the shuttle was quick and I managed to get a quick tour of the booth – 46 TLM packaging robots in all – before sitting down with Wakefield and Schubert.

One of the highlights touted at the show was the company’s continued progress toward automatic tool changes.  Until now, whenever a tool was changed on the company’s TLM machines, be it an erecting die, gripper or closing took, the connector of the tool had to be unplugged and the new one plugged in.

It was both a time-consuming and laborious operation. With the development of its electric coupler, Schubert has now automated the process of plugging in cables when changing tools.

The coupling element developed by the company is a cylindrical component with a length of 60 mm and a diameter of 50 mm. It has its own intelligence and is present as an active component in the TLM-F2 robot. Not only does the coupling element reduce wear and tear, it saves eight minutes on each tool change. It also sets the stage for totally automatic tool change in the near future.

I also happened to see Audrey Waidelich at the Ishida booth in Hall 15. During the course of chatting, I discovered she was getting plenty of exercise by alternating visits from Ishida’s booth to Heat and Control’s booth in Hall 3. Given that Ishida partners with Heat and Control, that was understandable.

Francois Adele of Dumoulin.

After snapping a photo of Gerhard by one of his robotic lines handling Loacker wafers, I headed back toward Hall 1 and Dumoulin. I had tried several times to catch Francois Adele, the managing director, in a free moment, but I had been unsuccessful of late.

Luckily, Adele was in the process of catching his breath from dealing with clients when I stopped by. In addition to exhibiting the IDA 3002X (sugar-free coating 3 tons capacity) and the IDA 1002CV (Chocolate coating and  varnishing 1 tons capacity), Adele was anxious to show his latest development, an economical, small capacity automated coating unit.

“Many potential customers asked about getting a small volume automated coating machine. They were looking for something less expensive than a unit designed to handle 500 kg.”

Almost a year in development, Adele came up with a brand new member to the Dumoulin line, one that could handle 250 kilos, but was available at a quarter of the price.

By designing in some manual elements into the panner, as well as reducing the capacity, Dumoulin can now offer small and mid-sized confectioners an automated panning machine.

“It’s been a huge success,” he says. 

No surprise, I thought to myself. Obviously there was a need in the market and Adele was quick to see and fill it.

Moreno Roncato and Roberto Bucchi of Carle & Montanari.

As I was about to call it a day, I recalled that Carle & Montanari had their booth in Hall 8A, which was right next to the tram line. Ducking rain clouds, I managed to dash into the hall without looking like I had been dunked into a tub of water.

After savoring some good espresso – can you ever get enough at a monster show like interpack – I hooked up with Moreno Roncato, president of Carle & Montanari USA. He then took me over to a special area by the booth to view the company’s “H concept.” Upon opening a door, we went inside a totally closed area with two conveyors feeding into a mockup of a chocolate moulding line.

“An H connector enables operators to direct the flow of moulds from one line to another, which greatly increases the flexibility in the moulding line,” he explained. “It also facilitates sanitation by allowing cross movement of moulds from one line to another.” 

After ushering me out of the enclosed area – and closing the door – Roncato took me over to show the new Multicenter 12000 Triple Shot Rotative Depositor. The triple-head depositor allows for one-shot depositing with two centers as well as many other variations.

“It’s an extremely flexible machine, featuring six servo drives and mould tracking,” he added. The unit is designed for easy sanitation as well as for quick changeovers.

Just as Roncato was ending his comments on the depositor, Roberto Bucchi, Carle & Montanari’s managing director, joined us.

No better time than now, I thought to break out the camera. A few flashes later, coupled with sincere wishes for a safe flight home, I shook hands and headed toward a crowded tram ride back to the hotel.

August Heinzer of Bosch-Sapal.

The next day included a field trip on my agenda, a bus ride and tour of Bosch’s pilot plant facility in Viersen, Germany. Jeff Cummings, the publisher of Candy Industry, and I headed toward the Bosch booth, an extremely large one segregated into confectionery, food and pharma to rendezvous with Andreas Leitze, our point man for the tour.

Leitze explained the company had to add another tour (there were three scheduled) in order to accommodate demand. After loading onto the buses, with some last-minute arrivals getting into taxis, the Caravan rolled off to Viersen. The pleasant 35-minute drive brought us to the plant where a large tent in the parking lot acted as the meeting point. The 100-plus visitors were brokered up into four groups and then ushered into the production area. There, a Contiline production line was cranking out cereal bars while adjacent to it, separated by a temporary raised viewing platform, a chewy candy line, featuring an inline crystallizer, was also operating.

Tour guide members were able to get up close and personal during production and free to ask as many questions as possible. In addition, product samples were available at the end of the tour, although the chewy candy hadn’t quite cured the required amount of hours to obtain the right texture.

Some of the highlights of the bar line included the “keep on running” features, which include tool-free quick release design of the line and the run and clean aspect allowing heavily soiled machine parts to be cleaned during  production. On the chew candy line, the inline crystallization unit provided cost, space, time and labor savings.

After some refreshments, we board the bus back to the interpack fair grounds. Before heading off to make some final rounds, we stand down with August Heinzer, a veteran of Bosch-Sapal dating decades back. Heinzer is retiring this year, but was called in to help with the organization of the booth for the show. In addition to some travel and client stories, Heinzer showed the TwinHead double-twist wrapping machine. This high-speed unit can handle 1,800 items per minute. It also can double from double-twist to basket or single-end fold quickly, enhancing its flexibility.

Matt Cottam (right) and the BCH crew.

On my way out, I had to say hello to the Matt Cottam at BCH. The lights were almost turned off, an end-of-the-day signal, but Cottam was still chatting with customers. No doubt he was chatting about the company’s new 100% fruit cooking and extrusion system, which allows the production of snack bars  using 100% fruit ingredients. Cottam and his crew did gather together for a snap shot, however, before I bid my goodbyes to them, and to interpack.