'Steam on demand'
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'Steam on demand'

  • 03 January 2014
  • By: Hanneke Stegeman

Scharff Techniek in Utrecht is strong in steam. For over 30 years, this Dutch family-owned business has been advising its clients on using steam to heat food products rapidly yet in a controlled manner.

Manufacturing steam boilers is a skill in its own right. The Scharff Techniek website features several YouTube films that show just how much is involved. “For us, the main priority is to offer our customers the best solution for their particular heating situation,” says company director Bernard Scharff. “Although steam is a key process, strangely enough it often gets neglected. One of the reasons for that is a lack of knowledge, which is where our expertise can help.”

Energy-efficient heating

Scharff Techniek supplies steam boilers and steam generators from the leading German manufacturer Certuss as well as thermal oil installations and ADCA devices to companies across Europe and beyond. “Steam is a relatively expensive energy source but it offers significant advantages” he explains. “An energy-efficient Certuss steam boiler will often deliver a very satisfactory return on investment, since good steam boilers can easily last for 25 years or more. Our newest boiler, the Certuss Junior TC, is an extremely low-energy machine with a high output. The machine determines exactly which level of power is necessary to maintain the right operating pressure. It has a touch screen for ease of operation and we can control the machine very precisely. A steam generator enables you to heat accurately and in a controlled manner – we call it ‘steam on demand’. Our boilers take just three minutes to reach the desired operating pressure from a cold start. In stand-by mode, steam is delivered directly without prior venting,” says Scharff.

'The new Certuss Junior TC: an energy-efficient steam boiler with a high output'

Working closely with the customer

“The food industry is one of our major sales markets,” he continues. “Steam is used to heat sauces, soups, smoking chambers in the meat sector, etc. I’ve just returned from the company Koetsier, a manufacturer of meat products in the village of Ruinerworld, who we’ve supplied with a new steam boiler. Koetsier recently installed new smoking chambers with increased capacity, so the old steam boiler needed replacing. We’re also involved in a project with the Ekro veal slaughterhouse at the moment. We believe it is important to listen to our customers and work closely with them to devise solutions. That’s how we add value.”

Bernard Scharff: “With our German steam boilers, we stand for quality”

Substantial investment

“There are a total of six members in our team, and each of us is committed to providing service with a capital ‘S’,” says Bernard of the company philosophy. “Being a small, family-owned company makes it easier for us to move with the market and be flexible enough to adapt to changing demands. A new boiler is not something you buy every day: it’s a substantial investment that has to be carefully considered beforehand. A lot of energy is needed to convert water into steam, which makes it a relatively expensive technology. If heating with hot water is sufficient to meet a customer’s needs, we’ll tell them so. It might mean that we lose out on the sale, but that’s just how it is. Advice, maintenance, support in using the machines – those are all aspects that we focus on. Long-term relationships are important to us. We are seeing that the price factor is playing an ever-bigger role for our clients. In the case of larger facilities, consulting firms will often include a product in the remit from the beginning, meaning that the decision is already made. Satisfied customers make for loyal customers; we understand them, their companies and their issues. My father started this company more than 30 years ago, and now I often find myself working with the sons or daughters of my father’s customers.”

Steam of the future

“New innovations demonstrate that food-industry technology is evolving all the time. To what extent will these offer alternatives to steam? Perhaps heating with electromagnetic waves will. Nevertheless, I expect that steam will continue to play a key role in heating processes, including for food. How could we make our steam generators even more energy-efficient? We keep a close eye on the developments and regularly discuss them with our clients – and a trade show is an ideal opportunity to do just that. This autumn we will be exhibiting at Industrial Processing 2014 in Utrecht, The Netherlands (30 September – 3 October). A great place to talk about innovations in our industry,” states Scharff.


Source: Scharff Techniek