Grinding of tea at Martin Bauer

A long-standing partnership based on a shared commitment to quality and innovation

Founded over 90 years ago, the German company Martin Bauer has never lost sight of its traditional values such as quality, responsible sourcing and a passion for nature. However, the organization has continued to evolve over the past nine decades, with its focus on innovation and creativity delivering solutions for successful products of tomorrow. Since the late 1960s, it has been supported by numerous processing solutions and systems from within the Hosokawa Micron Group. The results of this partnership between two like-minded global companies are clear evidence of the fact that, when it comes to business success, ‘long-standing’ is definitely not the same as ‘standing still’.

We regard Hosokawa as a leading supplier in terms of technology and quality. Wherever we face the highest demands on our equipment, we know we can rely on the company.

Thomas Weber, Head of Process Engineering at Martin Bauer

Built on a passion and love for nature, Martin Bauer GmbH & Co KG has stood for expertise in botanical products since 1930. The group has expanded steadily over the years from its humble beginnings as a herb processing plant founded by Mr. Martin Bauer himself, at the age of 28, in the Bavarian hinterland. Today, the company has grown into a multinational enterprise with more than 2,500 employees, operating more than 20 manufacturing sites around the world and generating a consolidated annual turnover of more than €550 million. Part of the company’s success is built on its commitment to responsibly sourced, high-quality botanicals such as peppermint, hibiscus, rooibos and mate. These raw materials are processed using rigorous, certified methods into a wide range of products for Martin Bauer’s customers: manufacturers in industries including tea and other beverages, a wide variety of food products, animal nutrition, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

But in today’s dynamic world, quality alone is not enough to guarantee long-standing business success. Rather than standing still, it is necessary to continue to evolve in order to deliver bespoke solutions that meet customers’ current – and future – needs. In the Hosokawa Micron Group, Martin Bauer found a like-minded partner to support its innovative and forward-looking approach. “The first time we sold a mixer to Martin Bauer was back in the 1960s, so we have a long history together,” says Daan Goris, Team Manager Food at Hosokawa Micron BV in the Netherlands. Like Martin Bauer, the Hosokawa Micron Group has a global presence, with facilities for research, engineering, manufacturing and service throughout Asia/Oceania, the Americas and Europe.

“I have worked at Martin Bauer for more than 22 years and my relationship with the people within the Hosokawa Micron Group has always been characterized by partnership. In fact, I have known some of them for nearly my whole working life,” states Thomas Weber, Head of Process Engineering at Martin Bauer. “Cooperation for such a long time leads to a general understanding of our needs and our standards. The people at Hosokawa know what is important for us, even if it’s not explicitly mentioned.”

“We regard the company as a leading supplier in terms of technology and quality. Wherever we face the highest demands on our equipment, we know we can rely on Hosokawa. We use a huge variety of mixers and mills in our company sites, in countries ranging from Poland to Turkey as well as Germany,” he continues.

Minimizing waste

Some of those machines are supplied by Germany-based Hosokawa Alpine for use in the early stages of Martin Bauer’s production process. “. For tea, which accounts for the lion’s share of our business, we appreciate the mills' easy setup for different products, easy maintenance and low abrasive wear,” adds Weber.

“Dust is a major waste product in the tea industry,” explains Benedikt Kapinos, Sales Manager in the Food Division of Hosokawa Alpine AG in Germany. “Hosokawa machines are built to minimize the dust produced in the grinding process.”

High demands on the mixing technology

The next process step for Martin Bauer is mixing. According to Goris, there are a number of factors to take into account, especially when mixing multiple components to make a composition for a tea blend, for example: “During the milling step, one aim is to mix them all together smoothly without creating dust. Since the components can be quite fragile, very gentle mixing may be required in order to preserve all the unique properties and characteristics. It also is important to achieve good evenness and uniform accuracy in the composition,” he says. “All this places high demands on the mixing technology to achieve the optimum quality. Our mixers offer the ideal solution in this kind of scenario thanks to their low-intensity mixing. Moreover, because they are available in a range of sizes, they offer Martin Bauer the flexibility to adapt each mixing operation to the required volumes,” adds Goris.

Shared focus on sustainability

The fact that the two companies Martin Bauer and Hosokawa share a number of values provides a strong foundation for their common history. “We can all draw on many decades of experience. Martin Bauer was founded 90 years ago, while Hosokawa Micron is celebrating its hundredth anniversary in 2023 and at Hosokawa Alpine we have been around for 125 years,” states Kapinos. “Besides that, we definitely have some similar genes and share the same mindset in several respects,” he continues.

One example of a shared value is sustainability, which is high on the agenda at both companies. “Whether for cutting, milling or mixing, all Hosokawa technology is engineered to the highest standards and designed to use as little energy as possible,” comments Goris. “We also have various sustainability projects of our own, such as 4,500 m2 of solar panels on the roof of the production halls at Hosokawa Alpine. In Doetinchem, we’ve reduced the energy consumption of our operations by installing solutions such as LED lighting and a new central pressurized air system, and we’ve launched various initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of our core machine-building process, such as by modernizing the CNC machine park, improving our internal logistics and redesigning our supply chain network for machines and spare parts. Moreover, our ISO 14001 environmental management certificate helps us to support Martin Bauer’s sustainability efforts.”

In 2020, Martin Bauer published its first sustainability report documenting its short-term, medium-term and long-term goals alongside a broad spectrum of measures in the area of sustainability. In fact, the company recently received a 2022 Hallbars Sustainability Report Award in the business sector ‘Tea’ for its sustainability report. “We want our business in numerous plant raw materials from around the world to function in harmony with nature and be good for everyone involved. To ensure that the best plant ingredients are still available to us in the future, we must do everything we can now – and reap the harvest of our forward-thinking actions,” comments Katharina Peter, Expert Corporate Communications at Martin Bauer. “Our sustainability strategy has put us on the right path to get fit for the future: the nature network has set itself the goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2030. And we are not only promoting sustainable practices at our own sites, but in our supply chains as well.”

The high quality of our products is one of the basic factors contributing towards our business success. We consider quality assurance and its systematic improvement to be everybody's business, not just that of the company management but also that of the employees, too.

Daan Goris, Team Manager Food at Hosokawa Micron B.V./The Netherlands

Quality control

Another common denominator between the two companies is their strong commitment to quality. “For us at Martin Bauer, quality management is our most important task. It starts in the countries where our botanicals are sourced and continues throughout every step in their processing and transportation right up to the moment they are enjoyed by our customers. Our consistent quality and safety concept allows us to live up to the great responsibility we bear,” explains Peter. “Our product quality is monitored by PhytoLab, an independent, accredited laboratory for plant analysis that is affiliated with the nature network. Each day the laboratory, which was founded in 1993, assesses 200 samples and gives clear information about quality and purity of products.”  

Speaking on behalf of the Hosokawa Micron Group, Goris adds: “The high quality of our products is one of the basic factors contributing towards our business success. We consider quality assurance and its systematic improvement to be everybody's business, not just that of the company management but also that of the employees, too. The basis for implementing our quality policy is a quality management system that is continuously updated and improved.”

Collaborative partnerships

Last but not least, both companies are aware of the importance of innovation in order to maintain their leading market position. Above all, they understand that the best results can be achieved by pooling their commercial insights and technological expertise in collaborative partnerships. “The food market is developing faster than ever. Consumers know that what they eat and drink influences their health, their mood and their daily energy level, and this is driving an evolving market for meat and dairy alternatives. Hence, nutritious and healthy food combined with sustainable manufacturing matters,” says Weber. “This requires ready-to-use solutions for our customers, which in turn needs strong R&D partnerships to keep pace with the demands for new products, recipes and applications. The experts at Hosokawa have proved to be reliable partners who are available for discussion and brainstorming on innovation at any time. They also proactively ask us about our needs and the demands we face, which not only forms the basis for their own future developments but also gives us new insights and ideas.”

“The pace of change has definitely picked up, especially over the last couple of decades,” agrees Kapinos. “At Hosokawa, we are looking forward to continuing to support Martin Bauer’s wide-ranging innovation activities with our own advanced technological solutions, now and in the future. By working together, we are in no doubt that we can help the company to remain a leading supplier in its industry for many decades to come,” he concludes.

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