Käserei Champignon

Lauben, Germany

Turbine Service for Käserei Champignon

[ Published in HOERBIGER@MOTION 03/2010 ]

130 gallons of milk and a great idea: that is all Julius Hirschle and Leopold Immler needed in 1908 to lay the foundation for one of the most successful cheese dairies in Europe. Käserei Champignon of the Hofmeister Group in the Allgäu region is famous for its soft-ripened cheese. The "Champignon Camembert" is arguably one of the best-known products. Reliable power is essential to ensure the production operation. A steam turbine safeguards the power supply, and the HOERBIGER Service Team ensures the operation of the turbine.

The various locations of the Hofmeister Group produce approximately 50 different types of cheese–and export them all over the world. The soft-ripened cheese from the Bavarian Alps is highly valued as far away as the USA and Russia.

State-of-the-art technology ensures the quality and efficiency of the production operations. This applies in particular to the power supply of the cheese dairy. It must be available around the clock: after all, approximately 1,300 dairy farmers rely on the Hofmeister cheese dairies accepting their product every day. The milk must be stored, undergo hygienic treatment, and cooled, even if cheese production is temporarily suspended on the weekends or for cleaning and maintenance work.

The power center is therefore the core of the cheese dairy. At the Lauben site, it is connected to the local medium-voltage power grid. The operation of the equipment requires a constant voltage of 20,000 Volt at a frequency of 50 Hertz (Hz)–365 days a year. Ensuring constant power supply is a daily challenge for the employees of the electrical shop because in the Alps they have to expect severe storms and especially strong thunderstorms. Any lightning strike in the vicinity can prompt interruptions. The grid operation must then be replaced by the off-grid mode, for which the Käserei Champignon is equipped with a dedicated boiler house fired by natural gas and a hydraulically controlled hot steam turbine. During normal operation, the turbine supplies about one third of the required electrical power, safeguarding the power supply. Regular and thorough maintenance is therefore of the utmost importance and performed at intervals of 50,000 operating hours.

The HOERBIGER Compression Technology team carried out the overhaul for the first time in April 2010–and delivered an impressive performance. The workshop of HOERBIGER Benelux B.V. in Heerlen, Netherlands, completely cleaned and inspected the rotor of the turbine, which then underwent high-speed balancing at a partner of HOERBIGER. At the same time, HOERBIGER organized the timely reconditioning of the 10-ton generator. Calibrating the complicated hydraulic controller turned out to be a challenge because this is done relatively infrequently. In addition, the controller for the equipment in the Käserei Champignon features three independent control circuits. They had to be precisely matched to each other in terms of rotational speed, steam pressure, and the current frequency to be supplied by the generator. The result: after it was serviced, the turbine ran considerably more smoothly and efficiently than in the months prior, and the customer was satisfied.


The Hofmeister Group in Lauben in the Allgäu region operates a hot steam turbine to safeguard the power supply of the Käserei Champignon and Alpavit production operation. The system supplied in 1980 by then AEG-Kanis Turbinenfabrik GmbH is equipped with a very complex hydraulic controller. Using speed-dependent control, it ensures that the power generated by the turbine and generator is always supplied at a voltage of 20,000 Volt and a frequency of 50 Hz. A mere fluctuation of 1 Hz in either direction automatically shuts down the cheese dairy. Experts from HOERBIGER Service carefully serviced the turbine and exactly calibrated it to prevent this from happening.

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Precious milk from the Alps, traditional cheese-making artisanship, and a recipe that has been closely guarded to this day as the secret of their success—these are the ingredients of the best-known brand of camembert in Germany: Champignon. In addition to Käserei Champignon in Lauben, the Hofmeister Group includes Mang Käsewerk GmbH & Co. KG in Kammlach with its St. Mang red culture cheese brand, which has been in existence since 1910, Hofmeister Käsewerk GmbH & Co. KG with its Moosburg and Pfeffenhausen plants specializing in soft-ripened and hard cheeses, as well as Molkerei Hainichen-Freiberg GmbH & Co. KG. The latter manufactures Saxony's leading camembert brand Striegistaler Zwerge.


Over decades, HOERBIGER has earned an excellent reputation around the world for compressor services. Based on the unique selling propositions of the HOERBIGER compressor valves, and through innovative materials for rings and packings as well as efficiency-boosting hydraulic controllers for compressors, the HOERBIGER service teams offer their customers a portfolio with tremendous potential for added value.