The Austrian roll plant manufacturer will work alongside EPP (European Process Plant) to supply, install and maintain bakery machinery and will expand its product portfolio to include mixing, transporting, dough processing, proofing, product handling, baking, cooling and packaging.
Drive capital investment
Nicola Perbellini, who has over 25 years baking industry project management experience, will head up Koenig Technology Project and Steve Merritt, MD, EPP will lead operations.
The subsidiary, based in Verona, Italy, has already won a number of projects including; a Spanish rustic bread plant with dough sheeting and board handling; a flatbread plant in Germany, for dough sheeting, product handling, belt proofer and stone tunnel oven and a baguette and ciabatta line in Italy with dough sheeting, freezing and a plate circulation oven.
Merritt told BakeryandSnacks, said innovation is the ‘life-blood of the baking industry’ and it needs to reinvent itself to drive capital investment in new plants and equipment.
“The market will continually demand new and interesting products. Areas of high growth include artisan-style products, free-from, prepared meal components and snacks,” he said.
“Bakers will be looking for equipment that will allow them to develop these products while, at the same time, ensuring they have the flexibility to meet future demand.”
Developments include a series of direct and indirect-fired single-deck modular tunnel ovens, indirect-fired multi-deck ovens for baked products and a board and pan handling system which gently transports dough pieces as well as pan or boards.
Koening has also expanded its equipment line-up with proofing systems including step, tray and rack proofers.
Demand to keep prices low
“With the fall in sterling and increasing commodity prices, basic food prices will rise and this will result in bakers and food manufacturers remaining under significant pressure from retailers to keep prices low. The answer will be investment in new equipment that cuts labour costs, provides energy savings and reduces waste levels,” added Merritt.
“In the longer term Brexit will lead to some form of immigration control being applied in the UK. This will directly impact the food manufacturing sector given the high level of temporary, short term and factory labour currently filled by EU migrants.
“Any shortfall in the workforce will drive up labour costs as what has been a previously readily available migratory source dries up. Again, this is likely to fuel a demand for further investment in automation with a particular focus on removing those low level repetitive tasks where the sector has come to rely on a constant source of labour to provide flexibility.
“The bakery sector is used to meeting the challenges facing it and with the right investment forward-looking and thinking bakers can ensure they can successfully equip themselves to meet them in the years ahead.”
The subsidiary brings the Koenig group up to over 500 employees, 260 of them in Austria and the rest in German, Hungarian, Italian, US and Russian subsidiaries.