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Pallet made-to-measure for manufacturers of Roquefort cheese


The standard model of the CS1 plastic pallet from Craemer is the basis of the modified version, which has been perfectly customised to ensure optimum transport of Roquefort cheese. Photo: Craemer Group

From sheep's cheese curd to maturing: The transport of Roquefort cheese requires sophisticated logistics with load carriers that are completely adapted to special requirements. Photo: iStock/barmalini

The production of Roquefort, the traditional blue cheese with protected designation of origin (PDO) from southern France, is a delicate process. A manufacturer of this sheep's milk speciality needed a food-safe and robust plastic pallet specially designed for the extremely demanding transport of this cheese speciality during its various stages of production. The French cheesemaker turned to Craemer France Sarl, a sales company of the internationally operating Craemer Group. At its German headquarters, Craemer, a pioneer in injection moulding with decades of experience in plastics processing, customised its CS1 pallet model to meet the customer's special requirements. After delivering 15,000 load carriers made of pure-grade polyethylene (PE), the Roquefort cheese – with an average annual production of 10,000 tonnes –can be safely transported.

The production of this world-renowned cheese speciality is based on more than 150 years of expertise and includes precisely defined special processes to meet the requirements of the protected designation of origin (PDO). Since 1925, genuine Roquefort cheese is labelled with the PDO seal – making it the first protected type of cheese in France. This cheese is based on raw, untreated sheep's milk which is collected in cheese dairies around Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, a village located in the Aveyron department in Southern France. The cheese loaves are then taken to natural maturing cellars in the region where they develop their typical flavour. After a maturing process of at least three months, the cheese curds slowly mature into Roquefort cheese.

The distances between the individual production processes are short. However, they require strictly controlled handling and highly developed logistics with load carriers that are completely adapted to the requirements and peculiarities of this production environment. A major manufacturer of Roquefort cheese needed to replace the pallet stock in use. After studying various offers on the market, the cheesemaker decided on the Craemer pallet model CS1.

Further developed for special requirements

In order to meet the French customer's specifications, Craemer's development department made several modifications to the CS1 model. They designed the durable Euro pallet so that its perfectly tailored to the transport of Roquefort cheese. “It is one of the great strengths of the Craemer Group that we completely adapt to the needs and peculiarities of our customers,” says Cyril Wahl, Sales Director at Craemer France Sarl. “If no pallet or pallet box in our standard range meets the customer's expectations, we can offer a solution made-to-measure.” He provides background information: “At our German headquarters, we have everything under one roof, from research & development, toolmaking for producing injection moulds, to actual production facilities. Therefore, we can map the entire production process. From the first sketch to the delivery of the pallets, we ensure complete traceability of the product.”

The CS1 pallet, customised by Craemer to meet the customer’s requirements, is specially designed to hold exactly 49 special containers that are used to transport the Roquefort cheese from production to packaging. To hold the containers securely on the pallet, Craemer designed the stable seven-millimetre outer edges of its model for this customer in such a way that they perfectly lock the load and provide extra stability.

Increased load capacity thanks to reinforcement profiles

To further increase the load-bearing capacity of the already extremely robust plastic pallet, Craemer decided to equip it with two reinforcement profiles. Taking account of the particularly humid conditions in the natural maturing cellars, the plastics manufacturer chose reinforcement profiles made of stainless steel especially for this application to avoid corrosion damage.

“The Craemer Group was the only supplier who took into account our specifications with all the regulations for our PDO product and offered us a customised pallet model that perfectly met our demands,” explains the head of the company's maturing and packaging department. He further adds: “It is very important for us to ensure that the Roquefort cheese is transported in the best conditions. Thanks to this pallet, nothing stands in the way of safe and controlled logistics”. In addition to taking logistical specifications into account, Craemer made the pallets in a special colour matching the Roquefort manufacturer's corporate logo.

CS1: a high-standard pallet

The French cheesemaker chose the CS1 model because of several quality and design features. Apart from its durability and food-safe properties, specially chamfered edges on both sides of the skids, which are ideal for various industrial trucks, also played an important role. The forks of the small electric pallet truck used on site can also retract easily. This pallet is therefore ideally suited for automated storage. Furthermore, the pallet excels by an almost completely closed upper deck and welded skids. This makes it very easy to clean – an indispensable prerequisite for comprehensive hygiene in the food industry.

The one-piece plastic pallet made of high-quality PE is extremely robust, nearly unbreakable and splinter-free and has a service life of several years even with high turnover rates. Craemer CS1 pallets are 100 percent recyclable, thus also meeting the French customer's commitment to sustainability. “At the end of their service life, the pallets are taken back by Craemer and will be fully recycled. This is very important to us, as it is in line with the objectives of our CSR policy”. Obviously, the company representative of the Roquefort manufacturer is extremely satisfied with this solution.

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