German coffee roaster manufacturer IMS-Ritter combines accessible and flexible machines with a focus on fast and reliable service and maintenance.
IMS-Ritter started life as a roasting machine service and maintenance specialist in 2004, but the experienced team that started the business quickly came to believe they could design better machinery.
“It was a big problem for the coffee roasters that their machines were not always easy to access, clean or change parts. The hygienic condition of the machines was also a problem. You could see a lot of insulating material and the aeration process wasn’t very clean. None of that is what you want as a food producer,” says Ann-Katrin Struken, marketing manager at IMS-Ritter.
IMS-Ritter’s first model was the RDRF, now the company’s flagship series. Struken says the company started with just a few, but important, German customers and has grown organically through the quality of its machinery and service.
“The main advantage of our RDRF models is the great flexibility these machines offer. Whether it’s high-end mainstream or specialty coffees, or short or very long roast times, our customers tell us that they really can roast any product on this machine, which is very unique,” she says.
“Some of our customers use multiple machines from different manufacturers, and often they say our machine being shut down for maintenance would be the worst case scenario as it’s the only one they could use to roast anything.”
The RDRF series of drums has a capacity of 500 kilograms of roasted coffee per hour in its smallest models and up to 3000 kilograms in its largest. The roaster uses a special air circulation system with a bypass in the hot air supply which allows an immediate interruption of the flow of hot air and thus allows the beans to “stir in their own juice”. Additionally, it can divert portions of hot air from the roasting drum to roast specialty profiles.
The RDRF Series full liner solves the problems IMS-Ritter has had with existing roasters to create a safe and clean machine environment.
“This makes the machine easy to clean, use and maintain,” says Struken. “We work with the philosophy that when we develop something, our customer and his operator should love our machines and be happy to work with them. Because if they do, they will also take care of it and the machines will have a long life.
IMS-Ritter has not lost sight of its maintenance and repair experience and has made it its goal to be the fastest rotisserie manufacturer when it comes to responding to service requests.
“We strive to maintain the strength of this part of our business because it is so important for customers to have access to reliable and fast service. No one wants to buy a machine from a manufacturer that will sell and work and we are remembered by many customers around the world for the quality of our service,” says Struken.
“We recently reorganized this agency to be even more responsive so that our clients can count on us. With COVID, we have also improved and expanded our remote machine services, which we believe can solve most problems. »
IMS-Ritter continues to innovate and update its machines with new technologies that become available to meet new market demands. A recent development that has quickly come to the heart of the industry is the focus on the environment and sustainability.
“Fifteen or even ten years ago, energy efficiency was hardly an issue. Today, it’s one of the first questions a customer asks, and we’ve really focused on that over the past few years,” says Struken.
“Exhaust treatment will continue to be an issue for the coffee industry in the coming years, but beyond sustainability, coffee roasters will need even more flexibility as trends in coffee consumption will continue to change from year to year. Businesses will need a machine that can react quickly in a changing market.
IMS-Ritter’s portfolio of machines also includes the DR range of drum roasters, taking the innovative heating system of the RDRF series and applying it to a more traditional drum roaster. Depending on the model, the DR series has a roasting capacity between 1000 and 3000 kilograms of coffee per hour.
For large scale roasting and especially for solubles, IMS-Ritter’s RCRF (Roaster, Continuous, Recirculation, Flexible) model is ideal. The fully automated roaster is continuously filled with small batches to enable cost effective roasting with consistent quality, no stops and high output ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 kilograms per hour.
“When I think of our primary customer base, I wouldn’t exclude or emphasize one type of business over another. We have customers who are large, well-established industrial manufacturers with five side-by-side roasters and we also have very small specialty coffee shops that roast in-house,” says Struken.
“We also have customers all over the world. We started mainly in Germany at the very beginning, but very quickly built strong relationships with customers in the Philippines, China, Turkey and even have strong bases in South America. A South American roaster has different needs than a Central European one and we have succeeded because we have the flexibility to meet these different requirements.
Joining the German Ritter Group in 2019 also gave IMS access to resources to complete turnkey coffee factory projects, including control systems and building optimization.
Struken says this has allowed IMS-Ritter to meet virtually all of its customers’ coffee roasting needs.
“The roaster is like a musical instrument. We deliver it to the customer, and then they have to be able to play it to get the sound out of it,” says Struken. “With IMS-Ritter, the difference is that you have an instrument that can play on every track.”
For more information, visit www.ims-ritter.com
This article first appeared in the March/April 2022 edition of the Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.