Theegarten-Pactec gears up for ProSweets return with latest confectionery packaging lines
Markus Rustler, CEO and president of Theegarten-Pactec packaging equipment, has been named as president and chairman of the advisory committee for Interpack. Neill Barston interviews him ahead of his appearance with the business at this month’s ProSweets.
Following directly in the footsteps of one of your parents can often pose its challenges, yet Markus Rustler appears to be taking on the mantle of becoming chairman of the advisory committee for Interpack very much in his stride. See our exclusive ProSweets preview video with Markus here.
Clearly, it’s meant a lot to him to take on the pivotal role once enjoyed by his father Erhard, as the instrumental packaging industry event is set to make a much-welcome return next year – after what will be six years since it was last staged in 2017.
With the 2020 edition of the event held every three years axed due to the pandemic, next year’s show will likely prove momentous for sectors including confectionery. “It’s an honour to be appointed chairman of the committee for Interpack, for many years I’ve been the vice president.
“One of the founders of Interpack was my grandfather, so there’s a personal touch to it, with my father as well, so it’s a good tradition and I’m looking forward to the next event, especially with having missed the last one with the pandemic. So there will be a huge welcome back to Dusseldorf next year,” he enthuses on the 2023 edition of the event. In the meantime, most immediately, the Theegarten-Pactec CEO is planning the company’s appearance at ProSweets in Cologne.
While the ongoing coronavirus has threatened to derail its staging from 30 January, organisers have confirmed a ‘3G’ enhanced hygiene precaution format for the event. “I hope they’re going to be terrific. Let’s look forward and be positive, if instances of Covid come down and travel restrictions are not that bad, then I think these will be fantastic shows. “Our plan is to show the CHS packaging system, which is a complete new development- it was originally going to be launched at the last Interpack that didn’t happen in the pandemic, so this will be the first time that it is shown to the public at ProSweets.
“It’s a modular high speed chocolate system wrapping small chocolates, in various styles and the successor to previous machines, and amid the pandemic, we’ve used this time to do our industrial testing, so it’s absolutely ready for the market. It’s already in operation with some customers, and it has proven itself to be really good and we’re very happy with it, explains Rustler, of the high performance machine featuring its newly integrated “envelope fold” design.
The company’s ProSweets demonstration will see small chocolate pralines packed effectively at a rate of 800 products per minute, with the business setting itself ambitious targets for the industrial trials that are slated after the trade fair. With the CHS, for example, it hopes to achieve an output of 1,200 products per minute via a single-track infeed and as many as 1,600 products per minute with two tracks.
According to Markus, the company has taken some encouragement from recent events to have taken place including Gulfood Manufacturing in Dubai, Pack Expo In Las Vegas, US, and wider sector shows in Russia. He says that while technology serves a purpose with Zoom meetings and digital correspondence, he says that ‘having a beer or dinner is just different to sitting in front of a monitor,’ and is hopeful that personal meetings will not be consigned to the history books in future.
Regarding the events of the past two years, he notes that it’s posed its fair share of tests, yet he believes the company has been equal to meeting them. “As for every company, it’s been challenging for us, we’ve seen some uncertainty in the market, with making new investment decisions. We had a bit of slowdown in production, but nothing too harmful. It’s been the same for everyone in the industry. I think overall we’ve coped well,” he states, describing that the company had followed German regulations for hygiene measures on disinfection points and using home offices where possible, as well as daily Covid testing for those who were unvaccinated.
So, in spite of such tests, he felt that the company has proved itself through a difficult period that has placed a strain on many logistics and supply chains around the world.
He adds: “The order intake for 2021 is hugely improved from the previous year, and now we are facing a shortage in electronic components, as with everyone else in the world, which are difficult to source. This affects our delivery times, but our customers are facing the same situation, so they do understand,” explains the CEO, who adds that the travel restrictions of the past 18 months have created fresh obstacles for the business to overcome, yet it is weathering the storm, stating there has been a strong level of business activity in Africa as well as in Turkey and the Middle East, US and Europe.
With one eye to the future, he adds that some of the key trends of the past few years have included sustainability of packaging and materials, with Theegarten exploring paper-based wrapping of confectionery.
This has included solutions for fold-wrapping for pralines and double-twist in paper-based materials. Furthermore, he notes that robotics have clearly had an impact: “Robotics is of the interesting developments we have had on the agenda – customers have increasingly asked for difficult shapes in the chocolate field, such as teddy bears, Easter bunnies and heart shapes that can be difficult on traditional packaging systems. So this is where vision picking can really be useful in terms of being high speed and very efficient, which is why we created our own vision picking feeding technology,” notes the CEO, who appears clearly optimistic as the business heads further into 2022. Theegarten-Pactec will be appearing at ProSweets at stand G020 H029 in Hall 10.1