LECCO – A family business that can boast more than a century of experience in the field of roasting equipment production: this is a summary of what lies behind a perfectly run-down company like Trabattoni, which from Lecco carries on its business by adapting to new market demands, between technological innovation and artisan spirit. We spoke with them about this other flagship of the made in Italy.
Trabattoni, from 1910 to 2023: over 100 years of business in roasting design. What’s changed? What’s remained the same?
“From 1910 to this day, it’s always been the same family and, through the generational
transitions from Farina to Trabattoni to Nigra, we’ve been able to pass on a lot of experience and skills over the years: father to son, uncle to cousin. We’re proud to be able to boast of a business continuity which few in our field can.
We’re people and family before the company, so reliability and professionalism come first. Regarding our roasters, the construction materials necessary to guarantee a high level of product roasting quality have certainly remained the same, like the wrought iron and the
brick oven. The homogeneous and soft heat manages to reach the inside of the grain and
allows it to develop at its best.
On the other hand, everything concerning the software and burner control has changed
immensely. Technology, in these cases, has given us important tools to maintain constant
product quality through increasingly advanced controls on temperatures. We have just launched new ITT Roaster software to control the modulating burner on models 30/60/120/180/240 Kg per load, a very easily accessible program that allows you to communicate via the web and also with the software platforms currently in use. (Artisan and Cropster).
It’s a program specially designed by us for roasting. It’s quite versatile and completely customizable both in the creation phase and when the variation of parameters is done directly by the client. For the smaller models of 10/15 kg per load, we have also studied more “smart” solutions, a more simple ITT Simplyroaster software and, through a PLC, making it possible to record and reproduce the roasting profiles and download them to the PC.
Intelligent technology is a great added value but it must also be supported by a good,
educated roaster perfected precisely thanks to the centenary experience of the company.
Another distinctive feature of our roasters has always been the double cylinder which
prevents heat from concentrating in one point and allows it to be distributed evenly, gently
wrapping around the beans and allowing them to develop correctly.
All of this technology, however, also leaves room for a great return, the wood and pellet
roasters, both extremely traditional and sustainable.
Thanks to the construction materials and the double cylinder, our roasters are the only ones to have the firebox directly in the machine which makes it possible to have direct, immediate feedback regarding the temperature and, therefore, greater control.
Wood roasting is the pinnacle of craftsmanship and leaves the operator free to interpret. The temperature variations are very soft, which makes the process easier and more manageable than one could imagine. Also, in this case, it’s possible to create communication between the roaster and the Artisan and Cropster software.
We build roasters and machines on request. Because of this, each customer chooses the
type of power supply on the command side (gas, wood or pellets), the number and
positioning of the temperature detection probes, the colour and, above all, the type of
software based on the need (from simple to fully automatic).
Each machine is ‘one-of-a-kind’ precisely because it’s custom-made like a tailored suit!
Unfortunately, historical importance is often confused with lack of innovation. In reality,
historical importance and innovation can complement each other because, without the
experience gained through history, conscious and wise innovation wouldn’t be possible.”
With the arrival of ‘specialty’, there are more and more micro-roasteries. What equipment do they require as compared to more industrial production?
“We, like even the largest of our customers, have the roasting result as a priority and we are convinced that the quality of the coffee is the only weapon to enter a market that would
otherwise be saturated. Distinguishing ourselves and daring is the winning recipe, paying meticulous attention to the quality of the raw materials and the equipment that you decide to buy. For us, every customer is a specialty client. We get to know them well. Usually, we have helped them to get started and we continue to accompany them throughout their growth process, trying to offer our support through individualised and rapid assistance.”
Maintenance is also becoming an essential operation and we are increasingly moving towards prearranged and remote interventions: what do you propose?
“Fortunately, history has taught us that Trabattoni roasters do not need great maintenance, thanks to the construction quality. However, after-sales service is one of our strengths especially in terms of technical support and consultancy.
Remote teleservice is very useful for understanding software problems as it has been, in
fact, conceived for highly technological systems and in 4.0 to manage an entire system from the computer.”
Today, even roasting machines have to deal with the challenge of sustainability: how is Trabattoni acting on this issue?
“In partnership with a consulting firm, we’re designing a completely sustainable roaster but
we can’t reveal the details of the project. Follow us and you’ll be able to find out more!
Another hot topic and current issue is the uncertainty related to the supply of gas.
Fortunately, because of the strong insulation of the brick and cast iron in the Trabattoni, the
gas consumption is reduced to a minimum. Many are turning elsewhere and, therefore,
specifically to wood or pellets.”
What other equipment do you produce for the operators? Silos, coffee grinders: how do you stand out in the market?
“We are used to starting roasting from scratch and we try to build the plant step by step while respecting the customer’s budget so that the design is initially studied for the entire machine while building it by adding one part at a time. Generally, we start with the roaster. Then, we move on to the silos for the roast and, finally, the raw organisation details. This is so that the customer, while elaborating, has time to realise what their needs really are.
It’s a different speech for those who are already working and have problems in mind. In this case, we can choose together how to solve the issues in order to simplify the job.
The construction of silos isn’t simple because roasted coffee is very delicate and must be
moved very quickly without damaging it. This is done with quality vacuum transport and slide systems that cushion the fall.
We also produce two models of industrial grinders (150 and 300 kg / h of production) suitable for continuous production since they are vertical and turn slowly according to the
diameter of the grinder, so they do not heat the product.”
Does Trabattoni already have their next moves in mind? What can you tell us about what waits around the corner?
“The big news currently also concerns the other products that can be toasted with our
roasters which are cocoa, hazelnuts, corn, rye and malt for the creation of flour. For these
products we are researching construction and software modifications. Around the corner, as always, we have numerous projects, we have gone through two wars and two pandemics now so nothing scares us. Our strength lies in the unity of family and the benefits of a small company which can still manage to treat each customer personally. Large eco-sustainable projects and large plants that are also very technological, but as always with an eye for practicality, reliability and the environment.”