When Vietnamese coffee producer Tran Quang was looking to build a state-of-the-art coffee plant, it opted for an RFB roaster from Neuhaus Neotec with extraction equipment from sister company Devex, both part of Germany’s Kahl Group.
The Kahl Group in Germany is unique in that it can completely fit-out a new operation with all the coffee infrastructure from roasting to extraction. Vietnamese roaster Tran Quang recognised this one-stop shop advantage and engaged process engineering company Devex for the coffee extraction for three-in-one sachet products, and considered sister company Neuhaus Neotec to install its roaster and grinding section.
Lars Henkel, Head of Marketing for Neuhaus Neotec, says the family-run Vietnamese company attached great importance to installing state-of-the-art technology that sets the highest standards in energy efficiency as well as product yield.
“This demand for the highest quality equipment and solutions runs like a thread through the entire concept of the factory,” Henkel says. “The owners also apply the same high standards to their social responsibility towards their employees making this plant a leader in the region.”
The facility has become a showcase plant in South-East Asia, including a viewing platform that allows visitors to see the coffee roasting plant in operation.
The RFB batch roaster is well known for its innovative hot-air roasting system. The coffee industry often talks about two types of roasters: drum and hot-air, but the competitive advantage with the RFB is that it is not a paddle roaster.
“All other roasters are paddle roasters and that means they need a paddle or an agitator to move the coffee beans around, and then they use contact heat to the roasting chamber or hot air to roast the beans. The RFB is the only technology where you don’t need all these moving parts in the roasting chamber, just the air to move the beans and to heat up the coffee,” Henkel says.
The absence of paddle is an advantage in a number of ways. Paddles produce abrasion on the beans and can detach fine particles that stick to the roasting chamber and are wasted, there is also the matter of wear and tear, and parts.
The RFB moves the coffee out to the cooling chamber in the shortest time using gravity, which allows the shift of the quenching process from the roasting chamber to the cooling chamber. As a result, the material stress is significantly reduced and the roaster is able to start with the next roasting batch without time and energy consuming reheating times.
“The complete design of the RFB follows the intention to minimise material stress and to warranty for a maximum lifetime of the equipment,” Henkel says.
He points out that while the initial cost of an RFB can be slightly higher than traditional drum roasters, Tran Quang could see that it would make savings in the long term.
“The total costs are much lower because you have less energy consumption, less spare parts, less maintenance and less roasting loss, so these are the driving arguments for the instant roasters,” Henkel says.
Since the commissioning of the factory in Ho Chi Minh City, many domestic and foreign customers interested in the roasting and extraction technology of Neuhaus Neotec and Devex have already enthusiastically inspected the plant, which the two sister companies are proud to call a showcase plant for the entire Asian region.