07/10/2022 – Baking Focus / HEUFT / Ovens / Thermal / Germany
A TRAILBLAZER IN THERMAL OIL OVEN-TECH – Our Q&A with German innovator HEUFT at IBIE 2022
For more than three centuries, HEUFT has been at the forefront of oven technology innovation, and today the German company leads the world in oven systems heated with thermal oil – the best heat conductor on the market. Simon Tabruyn, Export Manager at HEUFT Thermo-Oel GmbH & Co. KG, speaks to Food & Beverage Networker from the IBIE 2022 baking expo in Las Vegas about the company’s established and patent-pending innovations with energy efficiency at their core.
Please could you describe the origins of the business, and its activities today?
Simon Tabruyn: “HEUFT has been successfully building baking oven systems for artisan and industrial bakeries for over 300 years. HEUFT is a German company specialising in 100 per cent thermal oil heated oven systems, which makes it the world market leader in this field today.
“Now in its eighth generation, HEUFT plans, develops, and builds all systems at its headquarters in Bell, Germany. To be able to draw on a broad range of knowledge, the company's internal team includes not only sales engineers and field-tested application engineers, but also a total of 30 specialist departments that work hand in hand. In this way, every thermal oil oven, tailor-made to individual requirements, is an absolute premium product in terms of craftsmanship and strengthens our customers in competition.
“Today, HEUFT customers can be found all over the world. In a fair and personal partnership, from the initial contact to the spare parts service, every bakery is looked after individually. From Bell out into the world – our quality, ‘Made in Germany’ offering has established itself internationally.”
Could you describe the thermal oil technology upon which HEUFT’s ovens rely, and the benefits of this technology?
“A central heating system heats up thermal oil, and this hot thermal oil is running inside radiators that are positioned inside the baking chambers.
“Thermal oil is the best heat conductor on the market – on volume, it can transport 2,600 times more energy than air. The result is that with our thermal oil technology we need 45-per-cent less power to heat up our ovens in comparison with traditional oven systems heated with hot air.
“On average, we can save 25–40 per cent on your consumption. Also, with a thermal oil system, our customers are free to choose how they want to heat up the oil. It could be gas, fuel or electricity. And the big advantage is that this can be changed at any time – how the oil is heated has no influence on the baking quality.”
What is HEUFT showcasing at IBIE 2022?
“At IBIE, we’re highlighting our large oven systems, the reduction of CO2 emissions, and our thermal oil technology.”
Can you provide a brief overview of the facilities HEUFT has in place to support its operations?
“HEUFT has been based in Bell, Germany for over 300 years now. From here, our artisan and industrial oven systems are shipped all over the world.
“Thanks to our international sales and service network, every customer is looked after individually. In a fair and personal partnership, from the initial contact to the spare parts service, HEUFT guaranties a smooth project management. From Bell out into the world, our quality ‘Made in Germany’ offering has established itself internationally.”
Have there been any recent investments in the business that you can highlight?
“HEUFT is continuously investing in its people, as well as in research and development. As a world market leader, we set the standards – and we would like to keep it this way.”
Who are your major customers today, and what segments do you serve?
“HEUFT is a strong partner with premium oven solutions for industrial bakeries and for medium-sized artisan bakeries, worldwide. We have more than 2,000 active customers, and many bakeries have worked with us across generations.”
What factors have been most important to your company's success as an esteemed innovator in the baking sector?
“As our CEO, Thomas Heuft, says: ‘Each generation has managed to hold on to the time-honoured traditions of our craft and transformed it into modern concepts’.”
Can you please tell me about HEUFT’s approach to Quality, including the after-sales support you offer to clients?
“After drawing up an oven concept, we make sure that the customer’s investment will pay off well into the future, offering competent after-sales support and a range of specialist services.
“Our experts can be reached around the clock through our dedicated support hotline. If a problem cannot be resolved through remote support, our service technicians will come – wherever in the world.
“Thanks to our proven logistics and the industry standard of all our components, any spare parts required are available worldwide in the shortest possible time.
“At our warehouse in Bell, we keep around two million parts in stock, catering for new as well as older models.
“Problems can, however, generally be prevented by having the oven commissioned by our specialist technicians who also train our customers’ staff, and by adhering to the recommended maintenance intervals.”
What areas of R&D focus is your company currently pursuing?
“A patent-pending innovation from HEUFT is the hybrid thermal oil heater, which heats thermal oil sustainably and can help earn independence in energy management. It combines two technologies: an electric and a fired heater. Moreover, the electric heater can use electricity from regenerative sources, in order to operate sustainably. The fired heater, in turn, can use either natural gas or heating oil as an energy source. In this case, possible alternatives include burning liquid gas, biogas, wood pellets, or hydrogen. In any case, it is able to supply the entire heating output required on its own. It is then up to the bakeries to choose which type and how much renewable energy they want to use, depending on its availability. The aim is to use all sustainable energy sources that are readily available, so that nothing has to be fed back into the grid. Optionally, a buffer tank can be added to help with this, as it can increase energy efficiency with an extra step.”
What current market trends and challenges can you identify today?
“The security of fossil fuel supply is acutely volatile at present. Uncertainty feeds huge spikes in energy prices, making energy management the hot topic at the moment.”
Learn more about HEUFT’s thermal oil heated oven systems here
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