Reiser offers range of custom cheese packaging solutions, industry expertise

By Alyssa Mitchell

CANTON, Mass. — As a provider of cheese processing solutions, Reiser is growing as a leader in cheese packaging with the ability to offer custom solutions and industry expertise for cheese manufacturers.

For nearly 60 years, Reiser has been a leading supplier of processing and packaging equipment solutions for the cheese, meat, poultry, seafood, prepared food and bakery industries. During that time, the company has gained recognition for its high-quality equipment, innovative engineering, and outstanding service and support, Reiser notes.

Mike McCann, packaging specialist, Reiser, has been with the company for 25 years, and in the industry almost 40 years. He notes his job is to ask the right questions of the customer to find out what they need and give them the best solution.

The company continues to add to its roster of packaging specialists in order to have customer service on hand at all times in various regions, he adds.

Reiser’s full line of form/fill/seal, tray seal and vacuum chamber packaging machines help to keep products fresh and looking their best. Reiser packaging equipment offers customers the highest levels of efficiency, speed and reliability, McCann notes.

“There’s a constant evolution across our product line as we’re reformulating packaging for cheese and making cheese snack packages,” he says. “We’re trying to be a more total solution for the customer every chance we get.”

Reiser can offer solutions for cheese packaging sizes ranging from 40-pound blocks to “the smallest of diced chunks of cheese you can imagine,” McCann adds. “Reiser is really built on small customers that eventually grow because of how we’ve been able to help them every step of the way.”

• Packaging solutions

Reiser’s Repak line features a new generation of horizontal form/fill/seal equipment for food packaging. The machines are used for all types of cheese products and can produce vacuum and modified atmosphere packages (MAP) including flexible and semi-rigid materials, as well as Vacuum Skin Packages (VSP), and packages with formed top webs. Machines can be manually and automatically loaded and are built for sanitation and access for maintenance.

Compact configurations are available for low-speed production, as well as high-performance machines capable of the highest production rates in the industry, McCann says.

Reiser’s Variovac Optimus, an entry-level packaging machine, runs at speeds of up to 13 cycles per minute. Variovac machines feature RAPIDAIRSYSTEM to achieve up to 60 percent greater output. The machines also feature a sanitary design for thorough cleaning, and they are easy to operate and maintain, McCann says.

Variovac packaging machines produce all types of flexible, semi-rigid and skin packages with consistent and reliable seals, he adds. Separate lifting systems for forming and sealing are controlled independently to ensure the highest performance, he says.

Efficiency is key among Reiser’s packaging solutions. The company’s Variovac horizontal form/fill/seal thermoformers also are highly efficient packaging machines suitable for the industry’s most demanding environments, McCann says.

Reiser’s Supervac automatic vacuum chamber packaging is the technology leader in manufacturing automatic belt vacuum chamber packaging machines, shrink tanks and dryers, McCann says.

“These machines have an outstanding reputation among cheese processors worldwide for producing high-quality vacuum packages,” he says. “Because Supervac makes a full range of machines, you can choose a machine that is the right fit for your business needs. Supervac vacuum packages are ideal for small retail cheese blocks and cheese wedges, as well as larger bulk cheese blocks and cheese wheels.”

Supervac machines reduce labor costs while increasing productivity, McCann adds. One machine can handle the production requirements normally handled by two or more double chamber packaging machines, and the ergonomic design allows a single operator to load, run and style the packages.

“The small footprint of a Supervac means that it will fit into tight areas where other machines cannot,” he says.

Meanwhile, Reiser’s Ross tray sealers produce modified MAP and VSP from preformed trays of almost any size or shape, McCann notes. These machines package fresh, refrigerated, retort or frozen food products at a full range of output rates.

Ross MAP and VSP systems produce leak-proof, tamper-evident packages with greater seal integrity and extended shelf life, he says, adding they are ideal for all types of cheese packaging.

Ross manufactures a variety of tray sealers, including machines that feature an inline design, as well as machines that use a tray carrier design.

All inline models are designed to allow rapid tool changeover between tray sizes, reducing downtime and maximizing production efficiency, while the carrier-design tray sealers use a customized tray carrier to perfectly fit each tray. The tray carriers positively position the trays in the sealing station, which leads to consistent seals and virtually eliminates leakers.

Guenter Kuhl, packaging specialist with Reiser for 32 years, is quick to note Reiser is a full-service supplier.

“We integrate a lot of our machines with packaging — whether it’s goat cheese, Hispanic cheeses — we can always supply a whole solution from processing to portioning to packaging,” he says.

• Customer Center

Reiser has an extensive Customer Center at its headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts, which recently underwent an expansion that nearly doubled its size to 13,200 square feet.

The Reiser Customer Center features customizable processing rooms with space to run individual machines or fully automated lines, and a full test kitchen for preparing, cooking and sampling finished product. The facility allows processors to test and develop new products and processes under the same conditions found in most food plants.

“We always have machines available for processing or packaging, so we can make some mock up samples of products or print inserts,” Kuhl says. “We have a 3-D printer, and we can try it out to see what works for the customer.”

Reiser’s full line of processing and packaging equipment can be tested at the Customer Center. The center also includes modern conference rooms for meetings and training, as well as comfortable workstations for visitors.

“We can conduct multiple customer visits simultaneously,” McCann notes.

“They can make a product from scratch and package it, portion it — whatever they need to improve their process,” he says. “Other people have Customer Centers, but we’ve really developed things. You might have a baker in one room developing a new gluten-free bread and another developing a new top secret cheese snack, maybe a conventional meat company doing injecting and tumbling of meat. It really differentiates us in a big way.”

The center also features a packaging sample area where Reiser showcases every style of packaging equipment it has available, McCann says.

“We have employees who work all week long to make product type samples for customers. That’s the biggest tool for us — we can not only talk about our offerings, we can prove it out ahead of time so there are no surprises or problems when the installation happens,” he adds. “For me, that’s a really big thing. We have dedicated people who focus on that.”

McCann says customers are welcome to the center anytime.

“That’s what it’s there for, and why it’s been expanded after two years,” he says. “Our customers have shown us that it makes all the sense in the world.”

Kuhl adds it can be challenging to translate an idea from a piece of paper to a machine, so the center’s technology is really helping Reiser to come up with quick, easy, effective solutions.

“We can pretty much duplicate any process, from cooking to chilling to making the product,” he says.
• Safe and efficient solutions

Sanitation and safety are key components of all of Reiser’s processing and packaging solutions.

“We work very hard to keep up on all the regulations, whether it’s sanitary design changes or other regulations,” McCann says. “We work to stay ahead on all sanitary designs, and we have a lot of great features with our machinery.”

He adds that Reiser strives to keep machine design simple in all categories.

“We want to make them simple for the customers to troubleshoot so they can keep them running and keep making money,” he says. “We try to make them simple and sanitary from the get go — but if we come up with an improved solution, we make that change everywhere so it benefits everyone.

“We realize that a sanitary issue can put a customers out of business,” he adds. “We keep up with standards. I believe the sanitary side is going to get even more focus moving forward.”

Food safety is always a top priority, Kuhl adds.

“All of our machines have to be fully sanitized and comply to strict wash down and sanitizing standards,” he says.

Sustainability also is important, Kuhl adds.

“Our form/fill/seal machines have a very unique RAPID AIR forming system that allows us to use thinner packaging films,” he says. “It’s a critical aspect — everyone wants to go ‘thinner’ and spend less on overhead costs for materials. We offer something that not many people can there.”

Moving forward, McCann says Reiser will try to have a presence at every show and every industry convention.
“We try to attend as many meetings as we can, and we plan on adding more cheese specialists out in the field to assist our customers, which is something we’ve already done on the meat and bakery side of the business,” he says.

Kuhl notes the company has its own engineering group, so if a customer already has a machine or wants to buy one, Reiser can take the ideas and see if it’s a viable solution from an engineering standpoint.

“Our engineering team can even travel to the customer’s plant to help with the proper solution,” he adds.

While the company is based in the United States, it has worldwide experience, Kuhl notes.

“We own factories in Europe, and we have access to a lot of information from all over the world. Sometimes people ask us about technologies they see around the world, and we have contacts we can access to look into that for them, or even get samples shipped over to get a better understanding for what they’re looking for.”

Looking ahead, Reiser will continue to be a provider of accessible expertise and packaging solutions for cheese, Kuhl says.

“The No. 1 thing is to listen to your customers — what they want is what we have to deliver,” he says.


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