The product portfolio of Germany’s special machinery manufacturer Wilhelm Rasch includes packaging systems for confectionery as well as tempering machines for chocolate masses and glazing. With its own high quality demands, innovative drive and a sophisticated service network, the company offers its customers around the world top solutions for their products.
By Dr. Bernhard Reichenbach
Wilhelm Rasch GmbH & Co. KG, headquarted in Cologne/Germany, has specialized in customized packaging and production solutions for confectionery industry customers for over 60 years. The 60-employee company views itself as a globally active highly specialized systems provider for “Made in Germany” customized solutions tailored to its customers’ products. The company’s essential characteristics include solidity, a long service life and value retention in its products.
Along with packaging and wrapping machinery for all types of confectionery, Rasch also develops customized feed-and-discharge systems. And customers can equally rely on the company’s expertise in the field of production. Its tempering machinery, chocolate mass pumps and valves are highly sought-after components for the manufacture of high-quality confectionery products.
The TR model special tempering machine, for example, is available in five different models with a performance range of between 500 and 2,500 kg/h. It is a pre-crystallisation machine for chocolate and compound masses, glazes and similar fat-based mixtures.
CEO Tina Gerfer, the third member of her family to run the company, praises the machine’s virtues saying: “It ideally fulfils all of the requirements for pre-crystallisation, the formation of very small, stable fat crystal modifications and their even distribution in the melt”. Prior to tempering, users can also add ingredients such as hazelnuts, nut pieces and in some applications also dried fruit pulp pieces or particles of brittle. Ms Gerfer explains: “The TR series has particularly proven itself for tempering sensitive nougat masses. If there is breakage or other rework, it can simply be re-added to the storage container. This ensures the traceability of the batch”.
Rasch’s chocolate mass pumps are slow-running vane pumps fitted with four sliders which can convey warm chocolate and cocoa masses, cocoa butter and fat masses of all kinds. The conveyance performance range is between 300 and 20,000 kg/h, with possible slope increases of up to 20 m and horizontal pipe lengths of up to 100 m.
The top sales products at Rasch, accounting for 75 % of sales, are in fact packaging solutions for all kinds of confectionery including filled and unfilled chocolate products, biscuit, wafer and marshmallow products. The maximum discharge performance of these efficient systems runs at between 55 and 400 pieces per minute. Rasch’s broad product spectrum stretches from stand-alone machinery for special products such as chocolate lollipops or chocolate eggs through to modular designed automated universal packaging systems. These “multitalented” devices can be equipped with modern servo technology and can handle a wide selection of articles including bars, balls, barrels, small bottles, truffles and hollow figures. The products can be packaged in a variety of folding packaging options including front and bottom folding or double twist wrapping.
The machinery is easy to operate and its many strengths include easy format changes along with add-ons and retrofitting with additional format sets, functions and devices. The machines can also be augmented with various customized feed and discharge systems ranging from simple feed belts to aligning modules, complex pick-and-place systems and complete automation. Ms Gerfer notes: “The proportion of automated systems is on the increase”.
Rasch is constantly at work on the expansion of its product portfolio, with a focus on innovation as a crucial driver for the company’s future growth. “For us, however, innovation doesn’t simply mean new wrapping machinery”, Ms Gerfer elaborates. “Instead, we are always optimizing our production processes. We rely on our unusually large level of production depth. This allows our know-how to flow into the production of an ordered machine early on. For our customers this means lower manufacturing costs for a system coming from a single source”.
Rasch’s performance spectrum also includes format set construction for various confectionery articles. The company relies on its own precision production of each format part in order to ensure that these high quality and often highly sensitive products can also be processed appropriately during the packaging process.
Regardless of whether the customer requires one format set for an existing machine or a format for a newly acquired used machine (high-quality used machinery is also another mainstay of Rasch): “The customer’s products receive customized casings built by us using modern CAD and CNC technology”, explains Ms Gerfer. The format parts are developed on the basis of 3D data of the figure. This eliminates deviations like those that can occur with scanning or casting.
Customer service is a priority overall at Rasch, where service does not only begin with the sale of a machine. The company’s specialists are already on hand to advise and assist the customer right from the beginning of a project. The sales team is particularly specialized in recommending the best possible geometry for hollow chocolate objects in order to achieve a top quality packaging result. The creation of foil dimension sketches is auto-matically a component of an order. Ms Gerfer comments: “Upon request, we accompany the customers from the planning stage right through to the start-up of their tempering or packaging system”.