Customer Interview - Meet Heinen
This month we sat down (virtually) with Jochen Hottinger, Managing Director of Heinen Freezing GmbH & Co. KG, a leading manufacturer of spiral systems for the food processing industry and long-term partner of Habasit.
Speaking from his office in Varel, North Germany, Jochen Hottinger explains that Heinen’s proud history goes back to 1856, when it started as an iron foundry. The company began building spiral freezers in 1982. Today Heinen has customers in more than 30 countries,including in Europe, North and South America, the Far East and Africa, and anticipates that this number will increase in future.
As the global market leader for spiral freezers, Heinen also offers spiral solutions for pasteurizing, cooling and proofing in the baked goods, meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, and fruits sectors. The firm’s customers include many of the world’s top food manufacturers.
Expert knowledge from the start of the relationship
Jochen Hottinger describes how Heinen’s connection with Habasit began: “The relationship goes back to 2004. At that time we were not using plastic modular belts, but we were approached by Habasit with a request to explain spiral systems and do some training for them.” This was Heinen’s first experience of Habasit’s commitment to understanding how equipment works in real life situations by seeking out expert knowledge. As leaders in their fields, both companies know this is only way to design optimal solutions.
Jochen Hottinger continues: “We started doing business together in a small way in 2006, as Habasit had developed products for spirals. But business really took off from 2010, when Habasit introduced its M5290 2” Radius Flush Gridbelt.
A truthful, reliable and open business relationship
Jochen Hottinger says,“We believe in long business relationships. If you know each other well, and have a truthful, reliable and open relationship, you can do business better and quicker. Habasit has always dealt with us professionally and quickly. Other companies don’t seem to build business relationships for the long-term like Habasit does.”
Habasit is a responsive supplier, always coming up with new ideas
There have been many important and innovative co-developments over the years. “We believe in listening to the market,” explains Jochen Hottinger, “so when our customers requested a belt capable of moving five to six tons of raw dough, we turned to Habasit and worked together to create a new flush grid curved-top modular belt with a unique 1.3” (33 mm) pitch. Named the M3398 by Habasit, it was a very successful collaboration. Another example is the close cooperation between our engineers and Habasit’s that led to the M5290 Radius Flush Grid 2”, which continues to be very successful in the cooler and freezer market.”
Intelligent spirals – a key future trend
Jochen Hottinger yet another innovative joint project: Habasit. This real-time spiral conveyor belt monitoring system is embedded in the plastic modular belt. It measures and wirelessly transmits belt tension data to an external unit or web platform 24/7, with the aim of quickly detecting problems and allowing preventive action. Coordinating also with third-party suppliers, Habasit and Heinen have worked closely over recent years to develop it. Jochen Hottingert ells us: “It’s clear that customers want intelligent systems to warn and guide their human operators, so this is the direction we will continue working on.”
It makes all the difference to have a good supplier
Reflecting on the collaborative, highly productive and beneficial relationship between Habasit and Heinen, Jochen Hottinger says: “I hope the open discussions and shared information will carry on in future. I like the way we work together - it makes all the difference to have a good supplier.”