German roasting manufacturer IMS-Ritter combines accessible and flexible machinery with a focus on fast and reliable service and maintenance.
IMS-Ritter began its life as a roasting machine service and maintenance specialist in 2004, but the experienced team that started the company quickly came to believe they could design machines in a better way.
“It was a big issue for coffee roasters that their machinery is 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 insulation material, and the air process was not very clean. None of these are things 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 began with only a few, but large, German clients and has grown organically thanks to the quality of its machines and service.
“The main advantage of our RDRF models is the wide flexibility these machines provide. Whether they’re mainstream coffees or high-end specialty, or short or very long roast times, our customers tell us they can really roast any product on this machine, which is very unique,” she says.
“Some of our customers operate several machines from different manufacturers, and often they say our machine being turned off for maintenance would be the worst-case scenario because it’s the only one they could use to roast anything.”
The RDRF drum roster series features 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 flow system with a bypass in the hot-air feed that allows for immediate interruption of the hot air flow and thus makes it possible to let the beans “stir in their own juice”. Furthermore, it can divert portions of hot air away from the roasting drum to roast special profiles.”
The full cladding on the RDRF series addresses problems IMS-Ritter saw with existing roasters to create a safe and clean machine environment.
“This makes the machine easy to clean, operate, and maintain,” Struken says. “We work with the philosophy that when we develop something, our customer and operator must love our machines and be happy to work with them. Because if they do, they’ll also take care of them and the machines will have a long service life.”
IMS-Ritter has not lost sight of its maintenance and repair background, and boasts the goal of being the fastest roasting machine manufacturer when it comes to responding to service requests.
“We strive to keep this branch of our company strong, because it’s so important for customers to have access to reliable and quick service. No one wants to buy a machine from a manufacturer that will sell and run and many customers around the world remember us for the quality of our service,” Struken says.
“We reorganised this branch recently to be even more responsive so our customers can rely on us. With COVID, we’ve also improved and expanded our remote machine services, which we’ve found can deal with most problems.”
IMS-Ritter continues to innovate and update its machines to new technologies that become available to meet new demands form the market. A recent development that quickly came to the heart of the industry is a focus on the environment and sustainability.
“Fifteen or even 10 years ago, energy efficiency was practically not an issue. Today, it’s one of the first things a customer asks about, and we’ve really focused on this in the past few years,” Struken says.
“Exhaust gas treatment continue to be an issue for coffee business in the next few years, but beyond sustainability, coffee roasters will need even more flexibility because trends in coffee consumption will continue to change year on year. Businesses will need a machine that can respond quickly in a changing market.”
IMS-Ritter’s portfolio of machinery also includes the DR drum roaster range, taking the innovative heat system of the RDRF series and applying it to a more traditional drum roaster. Depending on the model, the DR series has a capacity of roasting between 1000 and 3000 kilograms of coffee per hour.
For large-scale and especially for roasting for solubles, IMS-Ritter’s RCRF (Roaster, Continuous, Recirculation, Flexible) model is ideal. The fully automated roaster is continuously filled with small batches to allow for cost-effective roasting with consistent quality, no stops, and a high output ranging from 2000 to 4000 kilograms per hour.
“When I think about our core customer base, I wouldn’t really exclude or stress any type of business over the other. We have customers that are well-established big industrial manufacturers with five roasting machines side by side and we also have very small specialty cafés that roast in-house,” Struken says.
“We also have customers worldwide. We started mainly in Germany of at the very beginning but very soon formed strong relationships with customers in the Philippines, China, Turkey, and even have strong bases in South America. A roaster in South America has different needs to Central Europe and we’ve succeeded because we have the flexibility to meet these different requirements.”
Joining the German Ritter Group in 2019 also provided IMS with access to resources to complete turnkey coffee plant projects, including control systems and building optimisation.
Struken says this has provided IMS-Ritter to fulfill practically any customer’s coffee roasting needs.
“The coffee roaster is like a musical instrument. We deliver it to the customer, then they need to be able to play it to get the sound out of it,” Struken says. “With IMS-Ritter, the difference is you have an instrument that can play in every tune.”
For more information, visit www.ims-ritter.com
This article was first published in the March/April 2022 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.