Tag Archives: Ovens


Rational’s VarioCookingCenter

Rational VarioCookingCenter at a cooklive demo

As an authorised Rational Service and Spares Partner, AC Services Southern repairs and maintains the complete range of Rational units. This includes the VarioCookingCenter previously sold under the Frima brand. So this week we’re focusing on that as one of the units we service for clients across South West England and South Wales.

Rational’s VarioCookingCenter® is the ideal multi-functional appliance for any kitchen because it can do a multitude of cooking tasks at the same time. The beauty of the appliance is the value it offers – savings in time, cost, speed and ultimately, profits.

The VarioCookingCenter® is suitable for any catering requirements, from small caterers to high-end restaurants. With over 95% efficiency, it cooks up to four times faster than conventional appliances. And uses up to 40% less power consumption.

Moreover, it has cooking versatility, letting you cook several different dishes quickly at the same time. The multi-functional cooking technology lets you bake, boil, roast, toast, braise, deep fry and a host of other cooking techniques. So if you are serving a full English breakfast; you can serve up the fried bacon, boiled eggs, sautéed tomatoes and toast all at the same time.

Pressure Cooking

The appliance also offers a pressure-cooking feature, enabling the reduction of cooking times for a range of dishes. Times for soups, stews, casseroles and braised dishes can be cut by 30% without compromising taste or quality. The built-in cooking intelligence VarioCookingControl® ensures the desired cooking level is achieved precisely.

Another major benefit of the VarioCookingCenter is its space-saving value. If you are tight on space, then this system is the perfect solution. It has an integrated water outlet which allows draining without any movement to the pan. This prevents scalding and allows the appliance to be installed without a floor channel drain. Furthermore, because nothing sticks or overcooks, cleaning time is minimised.

Expert Design

The appliance has been designed by experts using intensive R&D, testing and analysis to attain the optimum cooking intelligence. As a result, the VarioCookingCenter works day and night with minimal monitoring or checking required. Because the appliance sensitively regulates the temperature at the touch of a button, you get a perfect cooking result the next morning. This is a major boost for larger cuts of meat that need overnight boiling like ham or cured pork, beef and brisket.

The VarioCookingCenter is a sustainable and holistic approach to everyday cooking designed for resource savings using the very latest technology. Contact us here at AC Services (Southern) for more details if you need it serviced or maintained on 01454 322 222.

If you’d like to buy one, contact Rational UK or attend a local cooklive demonstration to see its suitability for your business.


Published Date: 4th February 2020
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News, Ovens, Rational
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Regional Food News Round-up

South West and Wales Food News

The summer has arrived in style, crowning the England cricket team champions of the world in what must be the most nerve-racking and exciting sporting final ever broadcast. The subsequent celebrations involved food and drink galore, which leads nicely on to our latest regional round-up of all things to be eaten and drunk.

First, keep an eye on social media as Cardiff is getting ready to host its month-long street food celebration with the Summer Feastival returning for summer 2019. Last year, a host of street food traders took over Sophia Gardens. This year, it will be held at City Hall Lawns from Saturday, August 10 until Sunday, September 8. It’s free entry to the festival featuring a changing line-up of different street food traders from across Wales and the South West. A stage will feature live music performances.

South West Business Booming

In the year ending March 2019, HMRC has reported that businesses in the South West exported more than £850m of locally produced food and drink with a surge in trading with Singapore, growing by 31%. Overseas sales of drinks from this region showed the largest growth over the period, increasing by 17% to reach more than £134m. Food Minister David Rutley said, “it is fantastic to see the growing appetite for the South West’s quality produce in markets such as France, Spain and Singapore.” In the first three months of 2019 the nation’s food and drink exports were £5.7B.

There’s a new scheme taking place in Bristol this summer. Some of city’s restaurants and cafes are serving green-inspired dishes to support food redistribution charity, FareShare South West’s #ActiveAteBristol campaign. The campaign’s aim for 2019 is to provide over 40,000 meals to children at projects and holiday clubs throughout Bristol during the long summer holidays.

School food support stops in the holidays and the charity wants all children to eat properly over the six-week break. By ordering a dish inspired by the green in FareShare’s logo at a partaking cafe or restaurant; a donation will be made to FareShare South West. The scheme runs from July 19 to September 1.

Wales Does Well

The Development Bank of Wales attended the Royal Welsh Show last week, Europe’s largest agricultural show. The Development Bank has a range of funds available to help all sectors including farming, tourism, retail, and food and drink. The fund’s key aim is to finance tourism projects, which have the opportunity to create positive impact on growing the sector and Welsh economy. In the last financial year the Development Bank supported Welsh businesses with 220 micro loans.

The show saw Welsh food and drink business support programme, Cywain, celebrating a decade of nurturing talent in the sector by showcasing some of the new enterprises. Cywain guides and encourages small food and drink businesses. Support is achieved through packages of business support targeted to individual requirements. These include expert advice and mentoring, product development, networking, clustering, and test trading and market opportunities.

AC Services News

At AC Services our new Engineer Steve Miles joined us in March and attended Rational’s 3 Day training in Luton in April. He continued his side-by-side training with our two Senior engineers and is now out in his own van helping customers.

Helen commented: “Steve is doing extremely well helping our full range of customers big and small, old and new with their Rational oven breakdowns, service and installations. It is great to have him in our team


Published Date: 23rd July 2019
Category: News
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SafeContractor Accreditation

SafeContractor AccreditationAC Services (Southern) has again received the SafeContractor accreditation. This seal of approval is issued by Alcumus and is testament to the company’s health and safety arrangements, policies and qualifications of contractors. This third party accreditation scheme confirms a company’s competency in the practice of health and safety.

AC Services received the accreditation following a stringent vetting process which examined all health and safety procedures and their track record for safe practice. It is used by thousands of organisations in the UK including SMEs and FTSE 100 companies.

Indeed there are a further 300 nationwide businesses, from several key industries, who have signed up for a separate scheme to select only accredited contractors for services including building, cleaning, maintenance, refurbishment or electrical and mechanical work.

Seal of Approval

AC Services will continue to use the SafeContractor seal of approval on their documentation and marketing material and will be included on the SafeContractor website, accessible only to registered users and signed up client organisations, enabling them to choose a potential accredited contractor.

Gemma Archibald, Director of Alcumus SafeContractor said: “Major organisations simply cannot afford to run the risk of employing contractors who are not able to prove that they have sound health and safety policies in place. More companies need to understand the importance of adopting good risk management in the way that AC Services has done. The firm’s high standard has set an example which hopefully will be followed by other companies within the sector.

Helen Hagger, MD of AC Services is delighted but not surprised at the accreditation. “We take health and safety extremely seriously and our organisation has adhered to the highest standards both in the office and in the field when we service our clients. We are proud to consistently employ best practice in our operations and the SafeContractors seal of approval is testament to this.


Published Date: 5th September 2017
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News
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The Summer of Sport 2016

Summer of Sport Euro 2016It’s only just over a week to wait until the summer of sport kicks off with the Euro 2016 football tournament on 10th June.

The next major global event is in August with the Rio Olympic Games.

As usual, the supermarkets have been the first to alert the expectant British public with point-of-sale displays popping up everywhere, with a glut of useless, but must-have paraphernalia to complement the beer and food deals.

Incidentally, for those collecting the Panini sticker book, it has been calculated that it would cost over £600 to fill an entire book and that’s without duplicates!

Euro 2016

For both England and Wales fans, the 2016 Euro tournament starts in earnest on Saturday 11th June at 5pm, when Wales take on the Slovakian team in Bordeaux followed by England battling it out in Marseille against Russia at 8pm. The crunch match will be 16th June in Lens, when the two home teams face each other. The final matches will take place on the 20th June. Will the outcome affect the voting outcome in the EU referendum a few days later? Only results will tell.

Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy are the men expected to do their duty alongside the more experienced Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott and Joe Hart. Coach Roy Hodgson says “he is not afraid to give youngsters a chance” which is why he has included 18 year-old Rashford in the squad. Let’s hope he doesn’t have as much cause to regret it as Sven-Goran Eriksson did with Walcott, a decade ago.

Road to Rio

The tournament concludes on 10th July but for die-hard sports fans, the summer of sport continues with an extra treat. The Road to Rio is almost at its destination and 5th August sees the opening ceremony in Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.

For lovers of statistics, a record number of countries are taking part in a record number of sports. Kosovo and South Sudan are competing for the first time and there are more than 10,500 athletes expected to turn up. Newly-introduced events include rugby sevens and golf, with the events spread across 33 venues in the host city Rio and at five venues in São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Brasília and Manaus.

Rio will go down in history as the first South American city to host the Summer Olympics and these are the first Games since 2000 to be held in the Southern Hemisphere.

The success of the infrastructure will only be seen when the athletes and visitors start arriving but a massive urban waterfront renovation project has been ongoing. This includes 430 miles of public networks for water supply, sanitation, drainage, electricity, gas and telecoms; 2.5 miles of tunnels; 43 miles of roads; and three new sanitation treatment plants.

It is hoped that historic civil disturbances, the Zika virus and Rio’s notorious gun crime history will not affect visitors’ enjoyment of the Games.

Join the Elite

All eyes as usual will be on the elite track athletes, with the viewers’ favourites including Mo Farah. Greg Rutherford, Jessica Ennis-Hill and the mighty Usain Bolt. Rowing, swimming and cycling are a good bet for the British contingent, after a mighty medal haul four years ago in London. Eton Dornay became a household name when GB’s rowers won four gold, two silver and three bronze and hopes are high for Rio. Between 2013 and 2017 the sport has received the biggest proportion of UK Sport funding, a whopping £32.6m.

If you are catering for the 2016 Summer of Sport, make sure your Rational ovens are serviced and maintained regularly before the events start. The engineers at AC Services (Southern) are always ready to come out and repair any undue mishaps but pre-emptive measures are highly recommended. An emergency call-out during a crucial England or Welsh penalty shoot-out may not be fully appreciated.


Published Date: 31st May 2016
Category: Blog, Events, News
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Run in the Footsteps of Champions

Run in the footsteps of champions World Half MarathonSurprisingly for Wales, it rained and was windy on Saturday, but that didn’t dampen the spirit of all those who took part in the IAAF/Cardiff University World Half Marathon Championships to run in the footsteps of champions.

The world’s best runners, including top Ethiopians and Kenyans as well as Mo Farah, descended on Cardiff for the event, which proved exciting and tense.

Birmingham was the last British host for the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in 2009. 2016 was the first time the UK has also hosted a public race at the same time as the elite runners reflecting the growth in the numbers now running this distance.

The race was won by last year’s winner Geoffrey Kamworor in a time of 59:10, setting a new course record, even though he suffered a fall at the start, while his team mate and compatriot Bedan Karoki finished second.

Britain’s Mo Farah delighted the crowd by finishing third. Prior to the race, Farah expressed his delight and anticipation of the event. “I’m really excited to be here. It’s part of my journey to Rio. I want to be here and I love the support of the home crowd – it makes a massive difference.

The medal for Farah came in his first entry in the event, and was the first by a British man since 1993, when Carl Thackery took bronze in Brussels. For the Welsh contingency, Welshman Dewi Griffiths achieved a personal best of 1:04.10 and 27th place as well as finishing in the top three British finishers.

In the women’s race, Kenya stole the accolades with Peres Jepchirchir winning from Cynthia Limo and Mary Wacera in a time of one hour seven minutes and 31 seconds. Great Britain’s Alyson Dixon was the highest-placed home runner in 27th with a time of 1.12:57.

Over 16,000 registered runners took to the streets and enjoyed the warmth of the enduring support of the crowd. Tagged by the organisers as the opportunity to run in the footsteps of champions, the reality for some was simply to beat the conditions as ideas of personal bests got blown away across Cardiff Bay!

Runner’s Village

The events in Cardiff are not just about the runners. Catering is at its foremost, with a number of catering companies geared up to offer healthy meals tailored to the sporting elite. Diet is vital to athletes so spare a thought for those who ensure that the right ingredients and food combinations are available at all times to ensure that nutrition is suitable for the individual athlete’s exact requirements.

Equally for the non-elite runners while the build-up was all careful carbo loading the day before, once the race was run, it was surprising how many hot chocolates and cakes needed to be consumed across the city in cafes and coffee houses by runners and supporters alike.

Here at AC Services (Southern), we know from experience that the Rational range of ovens is one of the only appliances on the market that can cook variably, from grilling to steaming to roasting. In addition, it allows a variety of food to be served at the same time . . . no waiting, no cold food and no delays. Just what any runner, regardless of how fast they are, needs after they have run in the footsteps of champions.


Published Date: 29th March 2016
Category: Blog, Events, News
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Ready for Christmas?

Ready for ChristmasIt’s begun. The countdown to Christmas starts today with the first window of advent calendars around the country opened and consumed.

Or perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who have an advent calendar filled with expensive cosmetics from some of the more affluent stores, which is the current trend amongst the girls.

So it’s time to start thinking about food. It’s not just about buying an uber-sized turkey or getting the nut roast out of the freezer, there is so much more to prepare and cook for the week long traditional eating fest. Think of the vegetables: brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, carrots, cabbage and not forgetting those all-important roast potatoes. Then there’s the stuffing, sausages and pigs in blankets.

The bird or its equivalent for vegetarians, vegans and pescetarians takes pride of place then you have to think of the pudding. Traditional Christmas pudding with brandy sauce and dollops of custard, or trifle, profiteroles or anything else that makes you so uncomfortable that breathing becomes a chore.

It’s All in the Timing

Whatever amount of food you have, the planning and timing of the cooking process is vital. There isn’t a household in the country that hasn’t faced the nightmare of cold, overcooked or undercooked food at Christmas at some point. And that’s where a good oven comes into its own. For commercial caterers, pubs, restaurants and hotels, it is essential that the kitchen has a reputable and reliable oven, such as the range from Rational Ovens.

Here at AC Services (Southern) we recommend the Rational range for its reliability, reputation, performance and maintenance support network. Over the years and in thousands of locations, Rational ovens have proved their resilience and reliability, as well as their cost efficiency.

Rational ovens are one of the best professional kitchen cooking appliances on the market today. Rational ovens can be pre-programmed to perform almost any combination of cooking methods, including roasting, grilling, frying and broiling. What could be better for a Christmas banquet?

The manufacturer has a long-term relationship with AC Services as an approved partner, with numerous maintenance and service packages available to suit any budget across South West England and South Wales.

In addition, we supply all the assistance you need to service and maintain your oven, from Rational Grill Cleaner, Rational Rinse Aid, Rational Oven Cleaning Tablets for the SCC (SelfCooking Center®) range and for those with Care Control, Rational Care Control Tablets and accessories.

So enjoy the countdown to the big day and if you have a Rational oven, make sure it is in working order and has been recently serviced. If it’s not been serviced recently, then call us now and we can talk you through the options available on 01454 322 222 to make sure the Christmas season goes ahead without drama.


Published Date: 1st December 2015
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News, Ovens, Rational, White Efficiency
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Rugby World Cup comes to the UK

Rugby World Cup 2015 logoFinally the waiting is almost over for rugby and sports fans across the globe as the Rugby World Cup comes to town.

Actually, it comes to quite a few towns, including two of the most historic in the South West, Gloucester and Exeter where games will be played. While Cheltenham, Bristol, Swansea and Cardiff all welcome teams at ceremonies involving rugby clubs and schools.

Kingsholm, Gloucester’s ground is said to have the noisiest crowd in the league, and the Shed Stand is as familiar to rugby fans as the Kop is to football punters. With a total capacity of 16,500, tickets for the Rugby World Cup matches are like gold dust, with teams from as far away as the USA, Japan, Argentina and South Africa making their appearance in the town for the first round of matches.

Gloucester Rugby

Gloucester boasts a prestigious history, with its landmark cathedral and the traditional limestone villages of the Cotswolds. Its nautical history is represented by the rejuvenated Victorian quays and canals, and it was once home to the infamous Dick Whittington.

Today, the city is gearing up to welcome visitors from all over the world for the tournament and the regions’ hosts and in particular, the caterers, are expected to be on full alert as the competition commences.

Similarly further down the M5, Exeter is also getting ready for the start, with teams from Namibia, Georgia, Italy, Tonga, and Romania amongst others making the city their home for the tournament. Sandy Park is home to the recently-promoted Exeter Chiefs who started playing rugby as early as 1873.

Sandy Park is set to be one of the biggest rugby grounds in England, with a current capacity of 10,744, which is set to double in the next two years with a refurbishment planned. In the meantime, the ground is expected to be packed for the upcoming games, and the town is on standby for the hordes of visitors who will descend on this university town.

In fact, Exeter has already announced a Fanzone, located in Northernhay Gardens in Exeter, which offers free entry throughout the tournament, with matches screened live on a big screen, and a variety of events and entertainment for everyone including food stalls.

Venue and team preparation

There will be 13 venues overall hosting the Rugby World Cup 2015 which begins on Friday September 18, 2015 with the opening match at Twickenham through to Saturday October 31, 2015.

England’s Rugby World Cup squad has just been named with a third playing for South West clubs as follows:

• Full-backs: Brown (Harlequins), Goode (Saracens)
• Wings: Nowell (Exeter), May (Gloucester), Watson (Bath)
• Centres: Joseph (Bath), Barritt (Saracens), Slade (Exeter), Burgess (Bath)
• Fly-halves: Ford (Bath), Farrell (Saracens)
• Scrum-halves: B Youngs (Leicester), Care (Harlequins), Wigglesworth (Saracens)
• Hookers: T Youngs (Leicester), Webber (Bath), George (Saracens)
• Props: Marler (Harlequins), M Vunipola (Saracens), Cole (Leicester), Wilson (Bath), Brookes (Northampton)
• Second-rows: Lawes (Northampton), Launchbury (Wasps), Parling (Exeter Chiefs), Kruis (Saracens)
• Flankers: Haskell (Wasps), Robshaw (Harlequins), Wood (Northampton)
• No8s: Morgan (Gloucester), B Vunipola (Saracens)

If you are a caterer or own a restaurant or pub that is showing the games, make sure that your team is ready and your kitchen equipment is up and running, in particular the oven. Call AC Services (Southern) for a pre-emptive check on your Rational oven before the games begin!


Published Date: 1st September 2015
Category: Blog, Catering Business, Events, News
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What’s on in Wiltshire

Westbury chalk horse WIltshireThe summer is well and truly underway and the weather is putting smiles on the faces of all event organisers, not least those in Wiltshire.

The county is playing host to many festivals, events and happenings throughout the summer. If you are heading that way over the next few weeks, check out some of the seasonal festivities below.

The ancient market town of Malmesbury has long been associated with carnival time, hosting this most popular event for more than 90 years. Food, fun and entertainment abound! It’s held until 6th September.

Similarly, Devizes International Street Festival and Carnival spans two weeks over August and September with events including Picnic in the Park, the Confetti Battle and Devizes International Street Festival.

And don’t miss out on the Summer Spectacular Salisbury Fete on 22nd August which promises not only funfairs, food and drink, but hot air balloons and a tribute to Queen. Free for all the family, it is always eagerly anticipated.

In fact, it may be a good idea to book an extra couple of weeks holiday in Salisbury as the town is hosting Salisbury Food and Drink Festival, – “an annual week of foodie events, family fun and gastronomical discoveries”. This event runs from 11 Sept to 13 Sept.

For those who embrace our history, meander through the ‘Magna Flora’ Flower Festival in Salisbury, where over 500 flower arrangers will create “a feast for the senses with the smell and sight of many thousands of blooms in arrangements inspired by Magna Carta”. This event runs from 15 Sept to 20 Sept.

Regular Farmers’ Markets

Wiltshire has always been renowned as a county with a pronounced countryside connection, and this is reflected by the myriad farmers’ markets  which, if you look carefully enough, can be found scattered around the region.

Take a trip to Bradford on Avon on the first and third Thursdays, for the country market and the Farmers and Artisan Market on the last Sunday of each month. Or wander over to Calne where there is a Farmers’ Market every second Saturday of each month.

Try Royal Wootton Bassett for a Farmers’ market every fourth Saturday of month on High Street, or Salisbury where Foodie Friday on second Friday of the month from March – October has to be worth a morning off work! Marlborough, Devizes, Warminster and many other towns also hold markets.

AC Services and Wiltshire

Wiltshire is famous for its many attractions, not least Stonehenge, Avebury, Castle Combe and Longleat Adventure and Safari Park, but seasonal events are a-plenty for locals, tourists and hard-working AC Services engineers.

We at AC Services love this time of year as, although it is busy with our engineers constantly on call ensuring that Rational oven appliances are kept in tiptop condition, we get to travel around Wiltshire and enjoy some of the festivities.


Published Date: 11th August 2015
Category: Blog, Catering Business, News, Rational
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Rational Ovens’ Regional Development Chef

Tim Calvert Rational Ovens Regional Chef for SW EnglandTim Calvert thinks he has one of the best jobs in the world. As a former chef and now employed by Rational, Tim’s job is Regional Development Chef.

Basically, what this entails is roaming around the South West of England one day a week giving cookery demonstrations on his Rational SelfCookingCenter 5 Senses.

Tim visits four locations once a week: Gloucester, Bath, Bristol and Swindon (the latter two at the local football clubs) and shows his talents off to a diverse range of clients, from care home owners to restaurateurs to decision makers in schools. And he loves his job.

You wouldn’t buy a car unless you test drove it first, and the same should apply to a combi oven” he explains. “My job as a skilled and highly trained chef is to show what a Rational appliance is capable of, and in addition, the clients can relate to me as I have a catering background, just like them.”

Rational has a strict policy of employing only staff who have experience in a kitchen environment, allowing them to empathise with the customer and understand what kind of problems are faced, chef to chef. Tim believes that this is what elevates Rational Ovens above all other competitors.

Kitchen Experts

I began with Rational a year ago, and have been over to the manufacturing site in Germany to see exactly what goes into a Rational appliance,” continues Tim. “The company knows what challenges face those working in a kitchen environment, and liaising with chefs and those with a catering background means that solutions to unseen and unforeseen problems are integrated into the design.

Tim’s party piece is demonstrating how a full English breakfast can be cooked on a Rational oven in just seven minutes. Seven minutes to produce the perfect fry-up! “It’s because these appliances cook on average 30% faster than conventional ovens,” states Tim. “And that is nothing but good news for those who run a catering establishment.

Success Rate

And the roaming Regional Development Chef concept works! Tim is proud to confirm that 80% of those who attend his demonstrations go on to buy a Rational oven. That’s an impressive turnaround and one that Tim puts down to the reliability, engineering and capacity of the appliances.

Rational produces the SelfCookingCenter® range of ovens with advanced automatic programming software that are reliable, versatile, come with a two-year guarantee and have fully automated self cleaning. Tim works closely with the team at AC Services (Southern), who service and maintain Rational ovens and who are one of Rational’s top service partners with a customer service record that is the envy of the industry.

So if you are considering purchasing a new oven, get along to one of Tim Calvert’s demonstrations throughout the South West. Call AC Services (Southern) on 01454 322 222 to find out when he will be in your area, and see for yourself how a Rational appliance can benefit your business.


Published Date: 18th November 2014
Category: Blog, News, Ovens, Rational
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Rational Ovens – Fine Dining Wouldn’t be the same Without Them

Rational ovensRational ovens are one of the best professional kitchen cooking appliances on the market today. It’s not just the fact that they are one of the most reliable ovens on sale today. Nor is it the fact that they are one of the most versatile cooking appliances you can buy. It may have something to do with the fact that these whitefficiency® SelfCookingCenters® clean themselves, and monitor their own health and safety programs too. Then there’s the fact that if your kitchen is in the South, Southwest, or South Wales, you can contract your service and maintenance to AC Services (Southern); one of the best service partners on Rational’s books. Continue reading


Published Date: 21st December 2012
Category: News, Ovens, Rational
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