With its two independently controlled cooking zones, the original CookStar revolutionized in-line cooking. A few years later, the CookStar TurboCook added a third zone for roasting and browning and the performance benchmark was firmly established. The first new generation GEA CookStar Turbo has been delivered to Dalco Food in Oss in the Netherlands.

A commitment to quality

Nearly 40 years ago, Dalco’s founder Gerard Wagemakers took a bold step and moved from a successful family run butcher’s shop into a meat processing operation that supplied catering businesses and wholesale customers. In the early years, Dalco prepared red meat – lamb was important in the beginning – by hand. There was no further processing, but as customers increasingly requested cooked or semi-prepared products, Gerard quickly took the opportunity. This was how he first came into contact with Wim Koppens of the GEA heritage product line Koppens, at that time a fast emerging player in the processing machine sector.

As both companies were family businesses with commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, Dalco and Koppens developed a close relationship – and the cooperation still exists today. Dalco remains a family business, and now serves the Dutch market as well as several export territories including Germany, Scandinavia, Cypress and Greece. The product range has expanded to meal components, hamburgers, chicken parts, vegetarian and meat substitute products, and biological meat products. Beside retail and foodservice, they also supply most of the global QSR (Quick Serve Restaurant) companies.

Confidence in its ability to perform

The first machines purchased from Koppens included a FlowCook, a BRN400 fryer and some coating machines. The company was also the first to order a PerFormer forming machine, and a SuperFry fryer. They were also early buyers of the original CookStar, so Dalco’s premiere with the new generation GEA CookStar Turbo is a fitting chapter in the history of both companies. The machine was ordered before the first prototype had even been tested, such is Dalco’s confidence in its ability to perform as specified.

“The GEA CookStar is the best machine ever produced. The uptime of this machine is amazing. With the new generation GEA CookStar Turbo we are securing our flexibility and improving our yield and efficiency”

Stefan van den Hanenberg, Director of Operations for Dalco takes up the story, “We have never had a machine from GEA that didn’t do exactly what we expected it to do”. Stefan has been with the company for 15 years, and remembers the first CookStar being installed and commissioned. He continued, “It has been running day and night for ten years and we’ve never had an hour of unplanned downtime. It’s even still on its first conveyor belt.” This made the decision to order the New Generation GEA CookStar easier, and the two machines now work side-by-side in the Dalco plant.

Securing our flexibility

When asked why he chose the New Generation CookStar, Stefan pointed out that one of the more important ‘performance’ parameters for Dalco is flexibility. They need to switchover to different products typically two to four times a day for processing line. The quicker it can be done, the more productive the line is, and his experience with GEA equipment in this respect is very positive. “Form plates on GEA forming machines are easy to change for example. Adjusting GEA cooking equipment for different time and temperature, and frying equipment for different product height and oil level is very straightforward”. So he looked into the New Generation GEA CookStar’s specification in this respect. “Cleaning is radically simplified, with removable belt wash brushes and improved access to the inside. There are no doors or flaps, everything is accessible in the hood once it is raised”, he added. Besides, the future demands roasting of natural products, which can be efficiently done in the New Generation GEA CookStar Turbo.

Another factor that plays an increasing role is yield. Dalco’s customers can easily compare suppliers’ prices via Internet for example. This increases pressure, so every increase in yield that Dalco achieves enables the company to sharpen its competitive edge. The New Generation machine is already delivering very impressive results, with 2-5% higher yield for some product types, so it is also fulfilling its lifecycle performance expectations. The improved hot airflow in the new CookStar also increases its capacity compared to the previous model with 10-30%, so there are productivity gains as well.

A third consideration that is gaining importance is sustainability. Pressure from customers for environmentally responsible products in combination with tougher legislation from local, regional or national governments is even affecting capital investment. The Local Authority in Oss for example, is striving to become the greenest in the country, so rules are very stringent regarding energy consumption of new equipment. Fortunately the New Generation GEA CookStar also performs very well in this relatively new competitive arena. Energy consumption is down by up to 10% compared to the previous model. After 10 months of practical experience, it can be confirmed that all promisses on improvements of both yield as well as output have been over achieved. So, the New Generation CookStar continues the tradition of setting new standards for cooking and roasting and is ready to boost your bottom line in the production of meal components and further processed products.

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