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Genuine Black Forest ham is cured and smoked in the Black Forest itself. Source: Schwarzwaldhof.

Black Forest Ham Specialities Stay Fresh Longer Thanks to Modern Vacuum Packaging

The good taste of the Black Forest

The German company "Schwarzwaldhof Fleisch und Wurstwaren GmbH" in Blumberg in the Black Forest produces all kinds of Black Forest ham and sausage specialities, as well as raw cured products. Its modern production buildings process only the best quality raw materials from regional cultivation.
Schwarzwaldhof also demands the highest quality when it comes to the vacuum supply of its packaging lines, and for years has been using a central vacuum supply from Busch Vacuum Solutions.
A recent increase in production capacities made it necessary to expand the vacuum supply – a challenge intelligently implemented together with the vacuum experts from Busch. Now an additional, especially energy-efficient vacuum system supplies production at Schwarzwaldhof with the vacuum it needs.

Since 1969, ham and sausage products have been processed and packaged ready for sale at "Schwarzwaldhof Fleisch und Wurstwaren GmbH" in Blumberg. All manner of specialities of Black Forest ham, diced ham and sausage salads are produced in an assortment of variations. As a subsidiary of EDEKA Südwest, Schwarzwaldhof supplies more than 1,000 EDEKA branches throughout Germany with its multi-award-winning ham and sausage specialities. For more than 50 years, the manufacturer has served to maintain the traditional production of Black Forest ham. A total of 300 employees work at its Blumberg plant.

In traditional ham production, the pieces of meat are rubbed with the special in-house salt mixture and placed in a brine, where they remain for eight to 12 days. After some time in the firebox to reduce the humidity, they are then smoked on fir brushwood. This lends the ham speciality its unique flavor. The hams are then vacuum-packaged either in pieces or cut.

As early as 2004, the vacuum pumps, which were still installed directly in the packaging machines up to this point, were banned from the production area. For this reason, the first central vacuum system from Busch was installed in a separate machine room. This not only significantly reduced noise emissions and eliminated exhaust air from the production area, but it also quickly proved to be of great benefit in terms of the maintenance of the vacuum system. Maintenance personnel were now able to carry out maintenance outside of the production area. This was a huge advantage for reasons of hygiene. In addition, the packaging process was no longer impaired, as maintenance could be carried out during ongoing operations.

The centralized vacuum system used until recently supplied ten packaging lines, which are equipped with both thermoforming machines and rotary machines, and on which vacuum packaging is carried out under protective gas (MAP) such as CO2 or N2.

In 2021, the central vacuum system was due to be expanded. Consumer demand has increased significantly and more and more packaging machines have been used at Schwarzwaldhof. As a result, the demand for vacuum also increased. Bernd Goder, Head of Industrial Engineering at Schwarzwaldhof, relied on the vacuum experts from Busch to expand the vacuum supply. They suggested a state-of-the-art dry vacuum supply that offers high energy efficiency. The new system consists of MINK claw vacuum pumps, COBRA screw vacuum pumps and PANDA vacuum boosters. Schwarzwaldhof has since also concluded a full service maintenance contract with Busch and fully relies on the vacuum specialists from Maulburg for maintenance.
The dry solution also significantly reduced maintenance costs.


All vacuum pumps of the new, second vacuum supply are equipped with a variable speed drive (VSD). This enables the pumping speed of a vacuum pump to be adapted exactly to the actual requirements of the packaging process. With a variable speed drive, vacuum pumps can be automatically adjusted to match variations in vacuum demand precisely. By compensating for such fluctuations in demand, Schwarzwaldhof was able to benefit from high energy savings.

The two central vacuum systems are designed redundantly. This significantly increases operational safety because there is no loss of performance in the event of a component failure. A total of 15 packaging lines are supplied with vacuum. Further packaging lines are already planned at Schwarzwaldhof and can be supplied with vacuum from the two central systems without any problems.

Bernd Goder is extremely satisfied with the new central vacuum system. Neither the old nor the newly installed system have experienced any malfunctions to date – which also means no system failures
. He most appreciates the flexibility he now has with the vacuum supply during maintenance work. Due to the redundancy of the system, it is possible that individual vacuum pumps can be switched off for maintenance while others continue operating. This means that all maintenance work can be carried out during normal working hours without any impact on production. Since energy management is a top priority at Schwarzwaldhof and people are always looking for potential for improvement, the energy saving aspect of the new vacuum supply is a decisive advantage.