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It is difficult to imagine life without cutlery. It seemed that a fork, spoon or knife is such a trifle that we rarely pay attention to. However, we cannot completely do without them. Cutlery has a long history. But the main qualities of modern forks, knives, spoons and other tableware are, first of all, ease of use and elegant appearance.
There are two main groups of cutlery - professional (made specifically for hotels, cafes and restaurants), as well as household. Professional cutlery is more expensive, as it is designed for more intensive and longer use, as well as for cleaning with special chemicals in the dishwasher. The assortment of almost every manufacturer has cutlery of various price categories.
In the domestic market of professional cutlery, European manufacturers prevail. In particular, Rosenthal, WMF, HEPP (Germany), Fortuna (Austria), Barenthal (France), Robert Welch (Great Britain), Abert, Morinox (Italy) products are in great demand. Some companies specialize in certain types of tableware. So, for example, the Spanish company Arcos, the owners of the Gude, Wuesthof, Boker (Germany) brands produce mainly knives. Among the Russian factories - manufacturers of a wide range of cutlery, one can name VSMPO-Ural, OJSC Nytva, Virazh-Pavlovo, OJSC Trud, Ashinsky Metallurgical Plant, etc.
The main buyers of cutlery are enterprises operating in the HoReCa segment (cafes, restaurants, hotels, hotels, canteens, etc.). The average restaurant, as a rule, has a sufficiently rich selection of cutlery: table and snack spoons, forks and knives, dessert dishes, tea and coffee spoons, butter knives with a blunt blade and special tools for various dishes. The assortment of cutlery in a high-level restaurant is even more diverse. It includes special devices for fish and meat, fruits and desserts, cheese knives, forks for oysters, snails and crayfish, spoons for sauces and salads, spoons for soup, tongs for pastry, chocolate, ice, asparagus, sugar, lobster, shovels for cake or fish, etc.
The production of modern cutlery is a fully automated process, which, however, involves the direct participation of a person. Moreover, the more expensive the manufactured products, the greater the importance of the human factor.
One of the best materials for the manufacture of such products is considered to be 18/10 chrome-nickel steel, which is also called AISI 304. The chrome in its composition (18%) gives this alloy strength and stainless properties, and nickel (10%) protects products from aggressive food acids. The same component gives the devices a noble silver shine. This steel has properties such as strength, corrosion resistance, hygiene.
AISI 420 stainless steel is typically used for the manufacture of knives. This steel differs in chemical composition from other alloys: it is more durable and has good cutting properties. The knives, which are supposed to be sharpened during operation, undergo preliminary hardening, which is possible only when using steel 18/10 with a higher carbon content.
Steel grade AISI 430 (18 / C, 18/0) is used for the manufacture of cutlery and tableware budget class. Even a layman can distinguish products from these alloys: devices made of steel 18/0 are attracted to the magnet, and devices made of more expensive steel 18/10 are not magnetized. AICI is an international brand whose name is an abbreviation of the American standard American Institute Steel and Iron.
In addition to steel, cutlery is also made from nickel silver, brass or cupronickel, which are often plated with silver or gold. Contrary to popular belief, pure silver is practically not used for the production of tableware, as they are not strong enough, too expensive, heavy and inconvenient to use.
Steel is purchased from steel mills and delivered in the form of coils bundles (for the manufacture of cutlery) or large sheets (for the manufacture of trays). Billets are cut from a solid polished metal sheet with a thickness of 2 to 6 mm (the thicker the sheet, the more expensive the product). Then the handle and working parts are rolled. All parts are faceted, cleaned, polished. If necessary, patterns, drawings are applied to them, additional elements are inserted. To increase the hygiene of the instruments, all the teeth are carefully rounded, and the surfaces between the teeth and in the slots are additionally polished. This is how the cutlery production process in short looks like. Most often it is carried out “cold”, which means that all phases of production are carried out without heating the workpieces.
Technological steps include the step of stamping (cutting) the mold; a rolling step, resulting in a flattened bowl of a spoon or a prong of a fork; the stage of sheet stamping (cutting) of a cup of a spoon or tooth of a fork; a degreasing step to remove oils after stamping; the stage of minting to give shape and design; polishing step with abrasive paste; a washing step to remove residual paste; and in some cases, a step of applying gold or matting elements.
Often, knives are more expensive than other cutlery, as they are made using different, somewhat more complex technologies. There are three types of knife production. Stamped products are produced in the process of "cold" stamping, like other cutlery. For the manufacture of forged knives by "hot" processing, a metal rod made of AISI 420 stainless steel is used. A knife is modeled from a hot rod. First, the rod is cut to the specified size, then warmed up. First, the handle is forged, and the blade is extended and thinned by hot rolling. Then a profile is cut to shape the blade. The blade is cooled, ground and sharpened. At the first polishing with abrasive pastes, plaque is removed after cooling. Then, to remove residual abrasive paste, the surface of the product is degreased. At the next stage, an incision of the handle is minted without heating, then the knife is again polished with abrasive paste, degreased, marked and packaged.
Knives with a vacuum (empty) handle are considered the most expensive. Their blades are made using the same technology and the same material as forged knives, but the handles consist of two steel shells welded together by cold stamping. Then they are connected to the blade with a second bond or attached using a special adhesive. Finally, the product is polished, degreased and packaged.
Knives usually vary by type of blade, which can be hardened and non-hardened. The first ones are more durable and durable, and the second type of knives can become stained and bent over time. The cost of the product is also affected by the quality of polishing, which can be either matte or mirror. The former are more expensive than the latter, since initially the surface of all knives is mirrored, since they are made of polished sheet. To achieve a matte effect, it is additionally processed using small balls or sand.
Solid knives are hardened during manufacture, which allows them to be sharpened and protects against corrosion. Knives with overhead (or attached) handles are more expensive, since the assembly and grinding of such a product and the joints of individual parts is a laborious and lengthy process. After the introduction of the blade to the middle of the handle, both parts are connected using special porcelain cement.
High-quality cutlery and kitchen appliances are necessarily certified for compliance with the international standard ISO 9001. They also issue a declaration of conformity with GOST.
To organize the production of cutlery, you will need special equipment (usually European-made) and molds (vary in the number of places).
You can open production from scratch or purchase a ready-made business. So, for example, the existing cutlery plant will cost 25-30 million rubles. The production capacity of such a plant is up to 80 kg, the staff of the enterprise is 15-20 people.
Despite the fact that not all Russian companies operating in this segment survived the crisis, the production of cutlery of various price categories for the HoReCa segment is a profitable business. Restaurants, cafes and hotels purchase these products regularly, and not one-time. Cutlery is often lost, often they are stolen by visitors and staff of institutions, so replenishment of their supplies is an essential expense item of such public institutions. However, in order to survive in this highly competitive market, it is necessary to strictly monitor the quality of products and to establish a marketing system.
As a rule, goods are sold individually to catering enterprises and shops (approximately 80% of the total output). Sets of forks, knives and spoons (tea and table) are much less in demand, which must be taken into account when planning the assortment.
Also for the success of your company is of great importance the range of tableware that you offer your customers. Many manufacturers produce the same amount of spoons and forks, but the knives are made in half in batches. Experts note the growing interest on the part of consumers in devices of unusual innovative forms, but at the same time, unusualness should not be to the detriment of the usability of the product. But nevertheless, classical cutlery in an elegant form, without decor and decoration, with a smooth surface, is in greatest demand among Russian restaurants and cafes. There is also interest in matte appliances and products that have the effect of an aged surface. Large manufacturers produce limited series of devices using a titanium coating, which gives the product a beautiful gray-granite color, as well as imitating a copper or gold surface.
However, if you do not have enough start-up capital to open your own cutlery production for cafes and restaurants, it is worth paying attention to related areas. For example, in the West, designer collections of cutlery for various target audiences are very popular. These include, for example, a series of functional toys from the designer Luc Salmon. These cutlery are designed specifically for babies who are just learning to eat on their own. Forks and spoons are designed so that the child cannot get hurt while eating and does not lose their contents along the way to the mouth. All dishes in this series are made from a new generation of material that prevents the development of pathogenic bacteria.
There are even edible cutlery, the production of which requires very little money. Such spoons are produced, for example, by one Indian company that supplies its products to hotels, pastry shops, public and school canteens. Edible cutlery is made from a special flour made from Sorghum cereal. Such disposable spoons are not only convenient, but also useful, since sorghum is considered an important source of nutrients.
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