ProSweets reveals a broad array of equipment and confectionery systems
This year’s ProSweets in Cologne held plenty of surprises in terms of product launches, innovation and technology development across the trade fair. Editor Neill Barston reports from Germany
A wide array of new and enhanced equipment and systems for the confectionery sector drew a diverse international audience for this year’s ProSweets trade fair.
With Confectionery Production returning to exhibit at the four-day event in Cologne last month, there were a number of technical breakthroughs on display that set the scene for next year’s Interpack trade fair.
According to official figures from Kolenmesse, visitor numbers were up by five per cent, to 21,000, with attendees taking advantage of a programme of special events, speakers and equipment showcases.
Its major themes included customising technologies, environmentally friendly sustainable packing solutions as well as new developments within digital networking in the production sector.
Among the stand-out product launches came in the form of Aasted’s latest stainless steel tempering system, the StellaNova, which the company has claimed will bring about significant savings in production time for chocolate manufacturers. Speaking on the new system, Henrik Folmer, international sales manager, explained it had been attracting considerable attention on its stand.
He said: “We’re taking tempering into a new era – it’s fundamentally different from what is presently on the market, as this there is so much more shearing effect with it, making it that much more efficient,” explained the sales manager of the new stainless steel tempering unit, adding that a key difference with its latest entrant is that chocolate is cooled separately from the shearing process.
As a result, processing exit temperatures of 27 degrees are possible that enable a high quality of crystals, which in turn is said to raise production line output by up to 40 per cent through a much-reduced cooling period.
Designed for up to 3,000kg capacities with a more compact stack and a motor that is 60 per cent smaller than previous equipment has also enabled reported energy savings of 50 per cent against more traditional tempering units.
For this year’s event, there was a particularly bold approach from Bühler, which made a strategic decision not to exhibit equipment at the trade fair. Instead, the business placed its focus on personal meetings with its customers, discussing how its ongoing integration of Haas into its business is progressing.
As with a number of other exhibitors, the company made use of virtual reality displays to represent some of its key product lines for confectionery and bakery systems.
Thomas Breg, marketing director for Bühler (pictured below with Silvia Wipfli), said the business was continuing on ‘a fascinating journey’ integrating Haas into the company.
He said: “There are some very important topics that we wanted to bring to this year’s trade fair. We made a strategic decision that we would not be showing any physical equipment here as we wanted to focus on catching up with visitors to the show, as those relationships are important.
“But we haven’t forgotten about showing our technology here, which we’ve done through our ideation table and our technologists are here to speak to customers.”
He added that another key focus for the company at ProSweets was on its ongoing customer servicing capabilities as Haas is continuing to be integrated within the overall Bühler business.
This year’s ProSweets was also a notable one for Dresden-based confectionery packaging specialists Theegarten-Pactec. For last month’s show in Cologne, the business displayed two of its MCH machines for chocolate products in aluminium foil, as well as another machine set up for wrapping 20 millimetre chocolate balls in double twist designs.
One of the major advantages of this equipment beyond its flexibility comes in its modular structure, which allows confectionery producers to easily switch between product formats and styles. It is also fast, registering a throughput of 1,200 products per minute.
CEO and president Markus Rustler (below), explained the business had enjoyed another record financial year during 2018, which placed it in a positive position.
He said: “The visitors numbers had been promising, with people coming to see us from all over the world, so it is an event where we hope to be able to close deals.
“This year we exhibited machines from the MCH series for double twist wrapping styles that also have features including easy changeovers. The trade fair has been as good as we had expected it to be, though the number of visitors did reduce from the Tuesday, but overall, there were a number of leads produced.”
Meanwhile, there was also plenty of interest in GEA’s daily equipment demonstrations at the event, which proved among the highlights of the fair.
Mira Arts, marketing manager, explained that the company had seen genuine interest in its displays, which included its GEA Smartpacker CX250-S, vertical form-fill-seal packaging system, as well as the established GEA Aquarius Twistwrapper.
“For GEA ProSweets 2019 was special edition because for the first time next to lollipop and vertical packaging equipment, we highlighted what GEA can offer in snacks, cakes and bakery technology.
“We were able to re-engage with the customers and talk about new opportunities. The team experienced ProSweets as a truly international event, and it is of a great benefit for us to be held at the same time with ISM.
“I think the future of confectionery is colourful, healthier, more conscious, yet full of exciting tastes and flavours,” explained the marketing manager.
There was also a similar picture of positivity from Italian-based packaging specialist, CAMA.
Mark Chivers, area sales manager, believed the trade fair had been particularly successful for the company, ‘describing it as the perfect exhibition for the business.
He said: “I think it’s a great platform for us for confectionery, to have much closer contact with them to communicate the developments that we are making with our machinery.
This includes everything from the IF318 platform we continue to develop, through to the advances that we have made within industry 4.0 – whether that’s RFID (radio-frequency identification), or digital twin, so it’s a great audience for us here.
“The traffic of visitors here has been amazing – this exhibition attracts the right clientele, and we have met new customers as well as maintaining existing relationships.”
Moreover, fellow Italian packaging business Sacmi, providing a series of turnkey solutions, also reported a productive period over the course of the trade fair.
The company exhibited a Vpack2 CFU/CDU, the multistyle intermittent motion wrapping machine running up to 800ppm, improved to provide a high level of flexibility.
As the business explained, the series was designed for chocolate small eggs and balls in double twist and fancy rolled style, now can handle a variation of products, including asymmetric eggs.
It also displayed its Alpha 1, a small horizontal conching machine with a single agitator shaft for final conching of the refined mass with a load capacity of 1000 kg/batch, and the Beta X2, a vertical tempering machine.
Furthermore, James Hosford, divisional sales manager, tna Europe, felt visitors had responded positively to the company’s appearance at this year’s event.
He said: “We had a great show this year. There was a steady stream of visitors at our booth with a lot of people particularly interested in our ATEX-compliant NID starch moguls. Overall, the show seemed busier than in previous years, which is a really positive sign for the confectionery industry in general.”
Christian Werner, of equipment manufacturer Hebenstreit, was equally enthusiastic about the event’s results. He confirmed the past year had been a particularly satisfying one for the business.
He explained there had been ‘a huge demand’ for high quality wafer lines, with orders for machinery spread consistently around the world.
“It’s been a good trade fair for us – we’ve met a lot of regular customers as well as handling new enquiries, so we are happy with how it has gone, explained the sales director.
He added: “We have our new snack extruder here based on corn grits and based on vegetable powder that is for healthier ranges of products.
“We have combined various features that we believe no-one else has, such as the direct injection of water into the process, and can even start with full corn kernels, so we have done a lot of work with it and it’s very flexible, added the marketing director, who said there had been a high level of enquiries from emerging territories, including North African markets.
For this year’s event, Gerhard Schubert showcased its lightline Flowpacker model,equipped with its latest heat sealing technology, with which heat-sensitive products such as chocolate can be packaged gently whilst still maintaining the highest level of performance.
As the company explained, the Flowpacker is part of the new lightline machine series with the business offering its customers three competitively priced, preconfigured machines to take on standard packaging tasks.
For its part, UK equipment manufacturer BCH also enjoyed a brisk rate of enquiries at this year’s event. Stuart Grogan, operations director, said that upgrading to a larger stand this year had paid dividends for the business, with an increased level of interest.
He said: “We’ve had interest from Australia to California and everywhere in between. It couldn’t have been more far reaching.
“It’s been at least a case of 50/50 for new customers compared with existing ones, and it has been particularly good to see people coming back to us. Probably the icing on the cake was an order the other day from a company in Finland for a big project installing a full licorice line, which we are excited to get started on.”
Scotland’s MacIntyre Chocolate Systems experienced a busy trade fair with the official launch of its new generation refiner/conche equipment series.
Jamie Hutcheon, business development manager, said: “The Sunday was a really great start for us – MacIntyre has such a strong name in the industry, people were coming up to us on the stand and were genuinely very interested in what we are doing.
“With the connections we have with our sister company HDM, which now has its test centre in Dresden, we have a solution to fit all with our equipment and the expertise we have within the sector.”
German-based manufacturer Sollich also played a prominent role within the fair, exhibiting a number of lines of equipment during the show, including its Turbotemper chocolate production system.
A spokesperson for the company said: “The show went very well for us and our stand was very busy with meetings and we have displayed a lot of equipment as part of the event.”
Similarly, Netherlands-based manufacturer Caotech noted that the event had registered an encouraging number of enquiries for its equipment lines.
Sales manager Olaf Schepel confirmed around €1 million of trade had been done by the company at the fair, with interest coming from a wide range of nations.
Enthusing on the event, Kevin Wymbs, of UK-based Wymbs Engineering said the company had benefited from a prominent stand placing, which helped with footfall levels.
“We are considering new markets for our business, and we’re looking at Russia, and have had interest there, especially regarding aerated chocolate, and we are also looking at expanding into African countries.
“But there have also been a number of European visitors to the show who have shown a huge interest in our products- right from marshmallow through to pastry equipment,” said the director who explained that the company had been developing its ‘Mini Wymbs’ depositing line. He explained that the system had proved especially popular with customers in enabling them to effectively trial confectionery lines.
Speaking to Confectionery Production, Netherlands-based Tanis Confectionery (below) also reported a strong performance during the trade fair. Sandra van der Vlugt commented: “We’ve met a lot of our customers during the fair, as quite a number of new people.
“With our markets, Tanis is very active in America, though we are active in all areas of the world, from across European countries, through to Africa, with specialist areas in gums and jellies, as well as bar production lines. We have a great sales team and it’s something that I’ve really enjoyed being part of, as the Tanis family is very close to each other. One of our main focuses now will be in preparing for Interpack next year.”
Meanwhile, Renee Visser, marketing manager of Netherlands-based confectionery equipment firm Lareka, also welcomed its results from the event. She said: “The exhibition was for us was a good success. Especially the Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. We had a lot of positive reactions on our two new packaging machines The BTB25 for wrapping bars, and the NP60 for wrapping napolitain chocolates. But also our new product ideas for the napolitains, that will create more value.”
In addition to a host of new equipment on display across the show, second-hand machinery specialists, Ecomec, also reported strong interest at the event.
Greg Meredith, managing director, said: “This has been a good show for us, though as we deal in second hand equipment, it’s not really a case of any one line standing out, but with economies being uncertain, there is a good level of demand for second hand machinery.”
Christiaan Mulder, of Bosch Packaging Technology, which exhibited a wide range of equipment solutions at the event, also agreed it had been a success.
He said: “For us, ProSweets was very successful. There is always a good vibe on the event and it gives us the opportunity to connect with potential new clients, but also to strengthen the relation with our existing clients.
“During the event we spoke with a lot of visitors. For some, it was an introduction to our portfolio, for others it was a more detailed discussion about the best solutions for their packaging challenge. We obtained a satisfying amount of leads and even closed a number of deals on the spot.”
For Italian-headquartered equipment firm Livetech, the company said that its second time exhibiting at the event proved particularly memorable. Andrea Roano, area manager, explained it had been a challenge to decide upon which of its series of machines to display at the event. She said: “This year we showed a LWA machine, a multi-format secondary packaging system capable of boxing bags both in classic wrap-around and tray and hood display cases. This proved a winning idea, as these are our most requested packages, especially for confectionery.”
Meanwhile, Maartje Hendrickx, marketing manager for GNT, explained the company could offer solutions across the complete supply chain, from seeds, right through to products directly aimed at the end product market.
She explained: “We’ve seen that people don’t want to use artificial colours anymore due to the bad connotations that it carries, so it is only really in Asia that we still see that happening.
“There was a switch to natural colours – but for instance there are such colours as carmine that produce a natural red colour, but it is done using insects.
“When you know it’s made of beatles and a chemical process, that’s not something that’s really natural anymore, but we can offer replacement with radish, carrot or beetroot. So, we are getting a lot of enquires about replacement of such carmine processes. We only use raw materials and water to dilute, and a little sugar to make it stable.”
The company’s main series remains its Exberry colouring foods series, which has now been a market leader for the past four decades.
However, as GNT’s marketing manager explains, there remains further consumer education work to be done within the category.
She added: “When people are using our products, we can actually tell them where those carrots or other items have been grown, in Germany, the Netherlands or Belgium, so the traceability is 100 per cent,” explained the marketing manager, who explained that the company is now partnering with 18 of the biggest top 20 global food businesses.”
With product reformulation and healthier alternatives high on the agenda, nutrition companies such as Glanbia responded in unveiling protein-enhanced bar ranges.
Among the company’s range of snack products showcased was its whipped texture protein bar. This finely milled product features flaxseed of BevGrad XtraSmooth, which provides ALA-Omega 3 and a smooth taste, which when combined with the specially designed milk protein concentrate of BarPro 287, has been developed to create a smooth and light satisfying texture.
The bar benefits from 13g of high-quality protein per 50g bar, making it a convenient solution for those looking to boost their protein intake whilst on the go. In addition, its trail mix protein bar combines fruits, nuts and chocolate into a format aimed at health-conscious consumers, there is 10g of protein per 35g bar. Containing BarFlex 191 and OatPure Gluten Free Jumbo Oats, it has been formulated to release carbohydrates for maintained energy levels throughout the day.
As the company revealed, its whey protein isolates and concentrates minimise bar hardening whilst providing a clean flavoured protein. This allows its Trail Mix Protein Bar to enjoy a long shelf life. Finally, the company has also devised a classic confectionery style bar, featuring 20g of protein within its 60g portion.
Overall, ProSweets provided a significant range of equipment and technology solutions for the sector, with its success rates for businesses reflected by organisers confirming that 70 per cent of visitors intend to return next year.