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WITTENBURG - SternMaid, one of Europe’s leading contract manufacturers, is still expanding vigorously. One of the main reasons for the company’s success is that the major part of its profits is ploughed back continuously into the production plant.
SternMaid, one of Europe’s leading contract manufacturers, is still expanding vigorously. One of the main reasons for the company’s success is that the major part of its profits is ploughed back continuously into the production plant. Since construction work started in 1998, the factory has been systematically enlarged – currently at a total capital expenditure of 13 million EUR. Over 5 million EUR of this has gone into the installation of a new fluid-bed processing plant which will widen the company’s range of processes and services to include drying, granulating, agglomerating and coating. The plant consists of two fluid-bed dryers with different capacities: a small pilot-scale unit on which parameters can be tested to permit upscaling for commercial production and a large multi-purpose industrial unit suitable for batch or continuous operation. The small dryer is already in use, and the big plant is due to be commissioned in June this year.
New blending line; enlargement of the warehouse
In order to comply with increasingly strict requirements in respect of cross contamination and allergens, SternMaid is enlarging its production capacity by adding a new blending line. “That will enable us to meet a large number of specific requests on the part of our customers – for example for products in kosher or halal quality”, plant manager Mark Riemer explains. “Our new blending line 7 will be used exclusively for these special product groups. That will make us much more flexible.”
In addition, the company is investing in a warehouse complex with an area of some 5,000 m². The aim is to offer customers optimum service in this field too. The incoming goods area will be completely redesigned and the raw materials warehouse enlarged to accommodate a further 9,000 pallets. After the alterations, the warehouse will have space for 20,000 pallets.
There are two reasons for enlarging the production area and the warehouse. One is that the warehouse and the blending plant were gradually reaching the limit of their capacity; the other is that by introducing fluid-bed technology, SternMaid intends to open up new markets. Mark Riemer: “The enlargement of the warehouse and production facilities is a forward-looking investment that will shorten our throughput times and create additional reserves. The fluid-bed plant will enable us to make up innovative products for our sister companies, on the one hand, and also to manufacture tailor-made products for our customers which have totally new attributes and are not yet available on the market. Techniques like drying, granulating, agglomerating and coating will make it possible to realize a whole host of new ideas.”
SternMaid’s customers will benefit by the construction measures, too. For example, they will be able to use the latest technologies without the need for capital expenditure of their own. Together with SternMaid’s process technologists they can test ideas for new products. The ideas will first be realized on a laboratory scale, then the products will be made up on a larger scale to test their acceptance by the market. If the new product develops successfully, full-scale production can start.
A further point in SternMaid’s favour is its large warehouse capacity. “Unlike many of our competitors we offer a central warehousing service. That means our customers’ products are often collected directly from us and delivered to their own customers. That saves logistics costs. This central warehousing service has developed enormously in recent years”, Mark Riemer says. But with the current measures the company is also creating reserves for even more expansion. An area of about 1,000 m2 is available for further production lines as needed. So SternMaid is well equipped to meet the future.
© SternMaid GmbH & Co. KG / BulkInside
This article is published by SternMaid GmbH & Co. KG
“Blending, drying, granulating, agglomerating, coating” – SternMaid was established in 1996 and is one of Europe’s most modern contract manufacturers, producing 30,000 tons of powdered food ingredients annually. Seven blending lines are available for the ...View company page