GEA technicians assembling a cupcake production line
Recently, GEA successfully concluded the acquisition of Imaforni in Verona, Italy, a leading supplier of advanced lines for crackers, soft and hard biscuits. This complements its acquisition of Comas from Torrebelvicino, near Venice last year, a company supplying top level equipment and complete production lines for cakes, pies, cookies, layer cakes, pastry, pizza and selected bread applications. These two acquisitions complete GEA’s entry into the bakery market allowing the company to provide turnkey systems for a wide range of products, from mixing to packaging by using proprietary technology and full line integration.
As part of GEA the companies will benefit from global routes to market and worldwide representation. GEA customers will have access to the technology and expertise of these two market leaders, from a single source.
Quality, reliability and consistency
In acquiring Imaforni and Comas, GEA has recognized the requirement for quality, reliability and consistency as key differentiators in a very competitive market. Both companies’ products have gained a reputation for high efficiency, especially for high-volume applications; engineering excellence resulting in exceptional reliability and low down time; and high quality products with absolute repeatability across the range. This technological pedigree, combined with the operational know-how gained through many years of process experience, unrivalled R&D facilities and global back-up enables GEA to provide a unique offering to the industry.
GEA integration from a single source
Imaforni and Comas together provide a total scope of supply for the bakery market. However, as part of GEA, the offering can now be expanded to include all areas of food processing including: product reception, bulk handling, liquid and powder processing, process control and a range of packaging services all from a single source. Pierluigi Castello, the manager of the Imaforni business in Verona, is excited about the future as part of GEA. “We are very proud of our position as a leader in the bakery market, however, with GEA we are even stronger in terms of market reach, customer proximity and the opportunity to co-develop innovative products and high-performing solutions for our customers,” he said.
A collaboration that drives innovations
One of those key services to customers is through the GEA Bakery Experience Center. Here GEA’s expert food technologists work closely with customers to develop new recipes, improve existing ones and perfect production processes to provide new, innovative products and bring them to market quickly and effectively.
Marco Gandini, Head of Bakery for the GEA Application Center Food, said that it was this level of support and process experience that made GEA the first choice for customers worldwide. “We can help customers to develop products within their range or create something totally different from nothing more than an idea,” he said. “Whatever our customers want to do, we have the ability to design and supply systems that can turn their ideas into reality and bring them profitably to market.”
This level of innovation also extends to developing process lines for gluten or allergen-free product lines that can be difficult to handle. GEA also has extensive experience in CIP technology for food processing that enables the fast, efficient cleaning of equipment for quick product changeover, simple maintenance and maximum productivity.
GEA provides a global after-sales service with local staff in most locations worldwide. “Now we can be physically much closer to our customers, providing trained service technicians who fulfil planned service schedules and provide a fast response to minimize downtime in the event of a critical event,” explained Marco.
GEA made its entry into the bakery sector last year with the acquisition of Comas. With Imaforni now also as part of the group, backed by GEA’s global footprint and engineering prowess, it has become a major player in this key area of the food processing industry.