Energy-efficient chocolate production

Ritter Sport is the first major manufacturer of chocolate bars to grow its cocoa sustainably. Now its production practices will also be safer for the environment. By using a new energy management system, the company intends to cut its energy consumption by an additional 1.5 percent each year.

At Ritter Sport, sustainability begins with the selection of raw materials. Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG has been managing its own cocoa plantation in eastern Nicaragua for several years now. In 2018, it became the first major manufacturer of chocolate bars to switch entirely to certified sustainable cocoa. And the company recently declared its intention to plant one million trees by 2028 as part of the Plant for the Planet movement.

 

Environmental factors also play a key role in production. Since 2002, Ritter Sport has operated its own CHP plant that’s based on the principle of combined heat and power. Following a renovation in 2016, the CHP plant has produced 9.9 million kilowatt hours, which covers approximately one-third of its total power demand and 70 percent of its heat demand. 

Continuing to increase energy efficiency

The company has also set itself ambitious energy-efficiency goals, according to Eberhard Pfeifer, Staff Planner at Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG: “We’ve taken it upon ourselves to cut energy consumption by 1.5 percent each year.” To achieve this, the company wanted a modern energy management solution that would not only meet ISO 50001 requirements but also track down hidden potentials in production. “For Ritter Sport, this is the first step toward determining how much energy goes into each individual bar of chocolate,” Pfeifer says.

 

The new energy management system was intended primarily to integrate all energy data from production, buildings, and power generation into a single system and to store and archive the data in a central database. The new system also had to be able to link energy data with process information so that Ritter Sport could determine the energy efficiency of its production practices. Finally, the new solution needed to be intuitive to operate, so that the production and energy management teams could view the data at any time.

Efficiency through transparency

Ritter Sport found a solution that meets all these criteria: Simatic Energy Manager PRO from Siemens. The system collects not just the data from production but also the energy data from the Desigo Insight building management system. It’s user-friendly, easy to maintain, and can be scaled or modified in the future without having to use any external resources.

 

The company is currently planning to directly record the measured values with Simatic S7-1200 and S7-1500 controllers and with Simatic AI energy meters. Sentron PAC measuring devices will also be installed in order to integrate additional measuring points into the system.

We were deeply impressed with the software, the training sessions, the support, and the entire process of working with Siemens.
Eberhard Pfeifer, Staff Planner, Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG

Installed in just four days

Siemens supported the commissioning of the new system and trained Ritter Sport’s employees on site. The system was installed in only four days, and the employees were able to work with it immediately after completing the training course. Since then, the energy management system has met every expectation. Pfeifer says, “We were deeply impressed with the software, the training sessions, the support, and the entire process of working with Siemens.”

 

Ritter Sport now has a system that not only lets it manage energy in compliance with ISO 50001 but also collect and link data from a wide range of sources. As a result, the company can establish a relationship between consumption values and production data to gain detailed insight into how much energy each process consumes. It can thus identify hidden potential and continue to increase its energy efficiency.

 

“With Simatic Energy Manager PRO, both the easy data management functions and the wonderful visualization capabilities fascinated us from the very beginning,” says Benjamin Flaig, Energy Manager at Ritter Sport. “The system delivers transparency, so that we already know who the biggest consumers are, and we also know where we need to expand on things and probe deeper.”

Little effort for a big payoff

The system provides a number of dashboards that Ritter Sport employees can use to access energy and production data at any time and easily evaluate and analyze the data. The information can be called up directly on the PCs and terminals on the shop floor as well as on mobile devices. “I can access the figures from anywhere, which is very convenient” Flaig says.

 

The system’s versatility and ease of handling won Flaig over from the very beginning. “I like to say that energy efficiency is a smart way to be lazy,” he says, adding: “The Simatic Energy Manager fits in very well with this idea, because you can really do a lot with little effort.”

“Simatic Energy Manager PRO gives us transparency. We now know the areas that we need to expand on.”
Benjamin Flaig, Energy Manager, Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG

Chocolate history

When Alfred Eugen Ritter and Clara Ritter, née Göttle, established their chocolate and confectionery factory in Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, they laid the foundation for Ritter Sport chocolate history, because this was where the first Ritter chocolates were manufactured and sold. In 1932, Clara Ritter came up with the square chocolate shape, which remains a standard feature even today. The family-run enterprise now employs 1,500 people and generated €482 million in sales in 2017. Every day, more than three million chocolate bars leave the factory in the Swabian town of Waldenbuch for export to more than 100 countries worldwide.

 

Ritter Sport produces high-quality chocolate and aims to make each of its many chocolate bar flavors the best in class in its category. For the company, this means that the raw materials and manufacturing processes must be of consistently high quality. Ritter Sport has placed great stock in sustainability and environmentally friendly packaging for many years. In 2012, the company purchased land in eastern Nicaragua and began sustainably cultivating its own cocoa beans. In 2018, it became the first major manufacturer of chocolate bars to begin procuring all of its cocoa from certified sustainable sources. Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG received the 2018 German Sustainability Award in the Mid-Sized Company category for its efforts. The jury of experts found Ritter Sport to be “an excellent example of how sustainability can be designed throughout the entire value chain, from cocoa cultivation to packaging.”

2019-02-01

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