SternMaid has invested €14m in its Wittenburg factory to enlarge capacity and extend the range of its products and services, involving the introduction of new fluid bed technology.
The technology enables the production of dried, granulated, agglomerated or coated powders. In the food industry, it can be used to make products ranging from baby food; carbohydrates; coffee; dairy products; additives; health food extracts; and soup mixes.
The Wittenburg site specialises in customised solutions for blending, processing and filling powdered foods, and food supplements.
The cash injection also enables SternMaid, which is part of Hamburg-based Stern-Wywiol Gruppe, to expand into production for the pharmaceutical industry for the first time, it said. Indeed, the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries would be the main focus of the plant, it added.
That said, the investment has also been made to help keep up with growing demand from the food industry for its contract manufacturing expertise, the company said.
Two fluid-bed processors with different capacities have been installed. A laboratory-scale pilot plant is available for test runs for developing and optimizing new functional ingredients. Commercial-scale production is then carried out in a multi-purpose industrial unit.
“Fluid-bed technology is one of the most important formulation methods in the pharmaceutical and food industries,” said SternMaid managing director Stefan Schliesser. “With this versatile technology we will be able to enter new markets with a promising future.
“On our counter-current container blending line we can already mix, process and fill active pharmaceutical ingredients and excipients according to the most stringent regulations.
Extending our offer
“With the fluid-bed unit we are extending our offer to include the segments drying, granulation, agglomeration and coating.”
A company spokesman told FoodProductionDaily.com the facility could also handle "grinding of coarse grains and fractionation".
The Wittenburg site now covers a total area of more than 16,000m². Blending capacities have been increased to 40,000 tonnes a year, and the enlarged high-bay warehouse accommodates 20,000 pallets.
In addition, a new incoming goods area and a larger area for small packs have been created. And the 50,000m² site still offers room for more growth, said SternMaid.