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Brambati builds research and development centre

From the August 2018 issue.

Italian coffee equipment manufacturer Brambati has built a state-of-the-art research and development centre to further its pursuit of coffee innovation.

Throughout the world, countless coffee roasters turn green beans into brown ones each day using Brambati coffee roasting equipment, from small five-kilogram batch roasters to large-scale 600-kilogram machines, built using traditional  design and advanced technology and automation.

Over the past 73 years, Brambati has worked hard to harness its skills and experience to be identified as a market leader of coffee processing and roasting equipment manufacturer. The industry and its technology has changed throughout that time, and the Italian company has evolved to keep up. But in doing so, it has managed to do one thing consistently: innovate.

To complement the past several decades of pioneering technologies – electronic controls in the 1960s, the development of complete turnkey solutions in the 1970s and 80s, 3D engineering and design, environmental enhancements and modular designs – Italian roaster manufacturer Brambati has announced its latest development. In October 2018, it will open a newly constructed Advanced Food Lab (AFL), a state-of-the-art research and development (R&D) centre at its headquarters in Codevilla, Italy, just outside Milan.

Aside from Brambati’s mission to always  innovate, the idea for the AFL was born out of a need to drive greater scientific methods of production at its industrial plant. Thanks  to the AFL’s well-equipped technological laboratory, it aims to give scientific credibility to new findings, and test different internal processes and customer products. For the past two years, it has been an idea in the making, and it’s now a reality.

“The Advanced Food Lab is a result of Brambati’s continuous commitment to search for innovation, where theoretical tests and trials are not enough, but instead, there is a need to test, confirm and support results with laboratory analysis,” says President Fabrizio Brambati, the third generation of leadership at the Italian company, which also has manufacturing operations in the pasta, confectionary, and plastic and chemicals industries.

Brambati says the primary purpose behind Brambati’s new AFL test facility is for its internal R&D team to perform scientific tests and trials on new processes and technologies in an isolated environment.

“It is not only important to guarantee a result, but to use science to understand how results are reached, which is made possible with a laboratory equipped with the latest technologies available on the market,” Brambati tells Global Coffee Report.

The pilot plant and lab at Brambati’s 10,000-square-metre engineering facility will host Brambati’s latest equipment, including a five-kilogram fully automatic BR batch roaster and a fully automatic KL3-600 roller grinder. The AFL will use cutting-edge technologies such as 3D scanners and dedicated graphic software to customise solutions for customers, and conduct physical, chemical and organoleptic laboratory analysis on raw materials and processed foods in cooperation with universities and national research institutes such as the Polytechnic University of Milan and nearby University of Pavia.

Tests run through the new AFL will help Brambati and its customers establish links between final roasting colour, roasting curves, coffee yield, hourly productivity, plant emissions, energy efficiency and more. From there, the AFL hopes to optimise current production processes, experiment with and develop new ones around the resulting parameters, adjust or even add levels of quality control to better ensure food and environmental safety compliance, and work to reduce energy consumption and emissions.

In doing so, Brambati can confirm and enhance its internal technical knowledge to remain competitive and continue to innovate.

The pilot plant and lab are available to customers to test and analyse their products in the closely monitored environment with the high-tech equipment and Brambati technicians on hand. While coffee processing and roasting customers likely have their own R&D teams, the AFL is designed to be a resource for them to leverage onsite at Brambati rather than using R&D centres at client sites. Still, customers will be able to go back to their own facilities and reproduce the conditions and processes trialled at the AFL.

“The AFL guarantees availability of a 360-degree test facility for customers,” Brambati says. “It also allows us to further provide a quality guarantee to customers that only a centre of this kind can.”

Brambati also plans to use the AFL as a food processing research and learning centre for schools and universities. According to Brambati, one of the objectives behind the AFL is for students “to better understand food process systems and develop new ones”, with the possibility to nurture fresh ideas that may eventually come to fruition – young ideas that could lead to new innovations for future generations.

In 2015, Brambati celebrated its 70th year of production since the day Francesco Brambati began to design and build machinery for mills. A man of vast technical experience, it was Francesco who introduced improvements and innovations during his first years working with various firms as a technical consultant.

After 17 years working in the construction of machines for flour processing, he started to produce systems for the milling industry and founded the firm Francesco Brambati Costruzioni Meccaniche in 1945. Since then, the company has been owned by the Brambati family and is still managed by family members of the third generation.

Brambati adds that it’s the company’s vast experience in different types of food industries that has helped sustain the business and position it as a global force in coffee processing and roasting machinery.

With so much innovation happening of late, Brambati says staying competitive in the always booming and expanding coffee field is extremely important for Brambati’s national and international customers. Hence the secondary motive behind the AFL.

“Times are changing quickly. Other companies will similarly innovate in order to keep up, but we will continue to focus our time and resources on our work,” Brambati tells GCR. “What we consider essential is innovating to keep up and keep evolving with the times and possibly even anticipate them with scientific certainty.”

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