The Handtmann HVF660 deli product system with PVLH228 linking and hanging line made Weisswurst with collagen casing.


LAKE FOREST, Ill. – A small but very significant piece of Biberach, Germany has taken root in Lake Forest, Ill. On April 26, Thomas Kittle, president of Handtmann Inc., welcomed invited guests and senior management colleagues from Germany to the grand opening of the new Handtmann Inc. headquarters facility and dedication of the Albert Arthur Handtmann Technology Center.

Handtmannn’s senior management group, based in Biberach, included Thomas Handtmann, president of Albert Handtmann Holding GmnH & Co. KG and son of Albert Arthur Handtmann, chairman of Albert Handtmann Holding GmbH & Co KG and namesake of the new technology center; plus Karl Keller and Thomas Neher, managing director and director of sales and marketing, respectively, for Albert Handtmann Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG.

The highlight of the event was real-time audio-visual remarks given by Chairman Handtmann, 85, from Germany during the technology center dedication. “Good morning, everyone. I would like to thank you for this honor,” he said at the beginning of his remarks about the company’s history and dedication to the industry.

After the dedication ceremony, Kittle told the crowd: “Today I stand proudly at our new Handtmann headquarters in Lake Forest. This 36,500 sq. ft. facility is almost double the size of our previous location where we were situated for 21 years in Buffalo Grove, Ill.

“This facility has been planned from the ground up to operate efficiently and enable collaborative and creative work with our Handtmann team and our customers and partners,” he added. “Most important is the design of flexibility in this facility that will let us adapt to your needs and changing dynamics of our markets.”

The new facility features walk-in refrigeration and freezing capabilities. “We can also grind, blend, emulsify and precisely portion any one of your cuts,” Kittle said.

The facility also has the capabilities to fill and clip chubs; stuff sausage into natural, collagen, cellulose or VegaCasings made by Ruitenberg; and smoke products in an Alkar oven, among other things.

“We invested in an upscale employee break room, which also doubles as our consumer test kitchen,” Kittle said, “with all of the methods of cooking you’d have at home, such as deep frying, grilling, pan frying or microwave.”

Kittle also thanked and complimented his entire Lake Forest team and also called out Lea Ann Kinman, Ph.D., director of new technology since last September. She is responsible for the strategic direction and operational management of the technology center, which is dedicated to research, development and testing.

Near the conclusion of the program, guests viewed demonstrations of the ComPro 200 system, which made breakfast sausage with Ruitenberg VegaCasings; a Handtmann VF608 vacuum filler linking bratwurst with natural casings; and a Handtmann HVF660 deli product system with PVLH228 linking and hanging line, which made Weisswurst (a traditional Bavarian sausage) with collagen casing. Samples of all products made by this machinery were also available.

After the program ended, guests were treated to an Octoberfest-style German buffet luncheon in an outdoor tent complete with live German music. Other events planned for the day included an afternoon tour of a local brewery, golf and dinner.

“This facility represents the Handtmann core values, our culture, our drive to satisfy our customers and our passion for the meat business,” Kittle told “We designed and built this facility to have the flexibility to provide our industry partners and customers a place to come where we can work together for the betterment of the total industry. I think we succeeded.”

When asked if the new Lake Forest facility had room to expand or add capabilities, Kittle said: “As I said in my talk — as you look ‘Ever Forward,’ there are always ideas [for the future]. We own the property next door. At present, this new facility fits our needs quite well. We have only been here less than a year and look forward to making this our home for a long time.”