The company which produces cheese from 100% hay-milk ie no silage is used for feeding the cows, just fresh grass or hay, has seen a 100% growth turnover of €40m in the last five years with potential for further expansion.
1,400 cheese blocks a day
More than 300 farmers, of which 100 are bio-milk producers, supply 30 million litres per year of pure hay-milk to the dairy.
The company produces 1,400 cheese blocks in Sulzberg, Austria, every day before transporting them to Steingaden for maturing, further processing, and packing using a Multivac R 245 thermoforming machine.
Tino Winterhalter, operations manager, Käserebellen, said R 245 is suitable for producing modified atmosphere (MAP) packs and vacuum packs, which means it can pack a range of cheese varieties on the same machine.
A base web film is drawn into the machine, then heated and formed in a die to create pack cavities. Then the staff load the cheese blocks, which weigh up to six kilograms, packed in eight to 10 batches a day.
An upper web is subsequently guided over the product and sealed. During this process the air is removed from the pack.
The Käserebellen product range includes 30 cheese specialities such as Bergrebell, Rotweinrebell ,Fitnessrebell and Feuerrebell (chilli taste) and Heublumenrebell with its aromatic hay flower mixture.
Käserebellen maturation rooms
The 30 cheese varieties are packed mostly as whole blocks but also as halves, quarters or eighths, depending on the order.
The semi-hard cheese must mature for a number of weeks, and the hard cheese for some months, in the firm’s maturation rooms.
The cheese maturation storage facility in Steingaden has a capacity of 120,000 blocks of semi-hard and hard cheese and when the maturing process is completed, it is packed to extend shelf life and for onward transport to customers.
Multivac first analysed the existing packaging concept and then highlighted potential for improvement. A pack and a suitable system concept was then developed in conjunction with Käserebellen.
It also had to ensure certain technical requirements were met such as puncture resistance packs, for products with small pepper corns to be packed securely.