Indus Integrated Bulk Logistics introduces a product improvement for the Indus Neva system in the Springhead versionWritten by Elise
The Springhead version of the Indus Neva System has been designed for better discharge of Big Bags. Until now, the restriction of the Springhead was that, due to the force of the spring, the 4 lifting loops of already filled Big Bags could not easily be fixated to the staking poles. With the Puller XL this potential inconvenience is a thing of the past.
The Puller XL strengthens the Indus Neva System on two fronts:
1. The Indus Neva system with Springhead is now also suitable for handling of already filled Big Bags;
2. The Indus Neva system with Springhead is now also suitable for handling Big Bags with shorter lifting loops than previously possible.
This means that the Indus Neva with Springhead can be used more widely. We are happy to tell you more about this product improvement. To learn more about Indus Neva, click Indus Neva.
Fixation of the lifting loops of a Big Bag with the Puller XL.
In Switzerland, Austria and Southern Germany two "Neva Mobil Teams" are on their way to carry out
"on-site presentations" of the Indus Neva Big Bag Handling and Storage System for interested
customers. This allows the system to be presented and tested in the future work environment.
Are you interested in an "on-site presentation" in Switzerland, Austria or Southern Germany?
If you contact us, we will gladly forward your data to the appropriate team, which will then contact
The French company Neolait has ordered again the Indus system: Neva.
Active in the animal feed industry, Neolait is working successful with the Neva system for quite some time now.
With this order, the customer now has nearly 1000 Neva systems in use.
Neva is being used for the metered unloading of Big Bags with animal feed at the livestock farmers.
We wish Neolait all the best with the new Neva systems!
Rising demand from the (international) food industry
Due to the rising demand for the Indus Neva Big Bag Handling and Storage System from the (international) food industry, Indus Bulk Logistics has recently started production of a Food Grade model of its system.
Although direct contact rarely takes place between the foodstuffs and the load carrier (the Indus Neva System), as a Food Grade Big Bag is always situated between the Indus Neva System and the contents of the Big Bag, Indus has started production of this model at the request of its users.
For the production of the plastic parts, Indus utilises internationally approved raw materials that comply with the legal requirements, European directives and Regulations (EU) No. 1935/2004 and (EU) No. 2023/2006.
The migration values are also below the legal limit as established in Regulation (EU) 10/2011, as amended by Regulation (EU) 2015/174.
For the metal parts of the Indus Neva System, it is possible to select either galvanised steel or stainless steel (AISI 304).
The Food Grade model of the Indus Neva System can be identified by the grey colour of the undercarriage.
Sugar decorations company Alldra solves storage problems with the purchase of big bag handling systems
Only thirty employees yet still the European market leader. This is how a little company can be a big player in sugar toppings and sugar sprinkles for ice cream and confectionery or for decorating baked goods, a market that is all about customisation and expediency of supply. The bottleneck was the limited storage capacity. Alldra recently switched from using stainless steel boxes to big bag handling systems. "This means that we can even stack three high without contamination risks. In this way, we can generate inventories that allow us to offer our clients a guaranteed supply even at peak times such as during a heat wave," says site manager Tony Schoorlemmer.
Without knowing, you and your family probably consume Alldra products dozens of times a year. An ice cream cone with disco dip, ice cream with sugar sprinkles or liquorice allsorts or, during the holidays, chocolate Christmas wreaths with hundreds and thousands. A miniscule product perhaps, but these sugary wares happen to be the finishing touch on many delicacies, both in terms of appearance and taste. Alldra mainly supplies industrial ice cream, confectionery and baked goods companies. Perfetti Van Melle, Dr. Oetker, Nestle, Holiday Ice and Baronie comprise just a small sample of the many brands they are able to call clients. 70 percent of annual production goes abroad to such countries as Great Britain, Spain, Italy and Germany.
Enormous product range
Alldra stands out thanks to its enormous product range, extending from hard and soft nonpareils to sugar sprinkles and all kinds of sugar decorations. Within the niche market in which the company is active, Alldra has competitors in Germany and Scandinavia. The European market share in hard nonpareils is approximately 35 percent, and for sugar sprinkles nearly 25 percent. "Most of our competitors produce only hard or soft nonpareils, for example. When you look at our entire product range, we are the European market leader," explains Managing Director Hank van Hasselt proudly. Although some clients purchase roughly 30,000 kilograms every month, most bulk deliveries are under 2,000 kilograms. What is remarkable is that virtually every consignment is custom-made. Tony Schoorlemmer: "Every brand wants to be emphatically different from their competitors. In taste, granule size and especially in colour, too. A nice, eye-catching product sells better." Alldra's enormous inventory of samples with countless creative colour combinations is a prime example of this kind of customised production. One important aspect is developments in the use of natural raw materials. This has resulted in many bright colours being replaced by pastel-like hues. "Clients do not want E numbers, which have certain negative connotations. We add colour to our products using, among other ingredients, beetroot juice, black carrots, spinach juice and paprika extract," explains the site manager.
Home baking is on the rise
'Heel Holland Bakt' (the Dutch version of the Great British Bake Off) is a television programme familiar to most in the Netherlands, where home baking has become a real trend. The result of such programmes is that supermarket sales of jars of sugar decorations have increased enormously over the past two years. Van Hasselt: "The popularity of home baking has grown abroad, too. This has resulted in the home market representing nearly 30 percent of our overall turnover. We expect this trend to continue in the coming years." Alldra has grown right along with the rising market demand over the past years. While this company from Rijssen produced 75,000 tonnes per week just three years ago, current production has risen to 120,000 tonnes per week. The last expansion in 2011, which added 25% extra production area, made this increase in capacity possible. Schoorlemmer: "In this new space, we have big plans for the production of our base product. Raw materials are added automatically. Sugar panning is then carried out in a purely traditional fashion."
This process of panning, which is Alldra's specialty, is carried out in a total of approximately two hundred copper pans. The heated pans of sugar spin round while staff coat the products in syrup and starch until a nice round white granule is created. It is a traditional trade, carried out by fourteen experienced employees, some of whom have been working for Alldra for dozens of years. Schoorlemmer: "Panning is a subtle art. It's all about choosing the right moment to add the starch and powdered sugar and subsequently allowing it to dry." The process of turning an angular little sugar granule into a larger, round ball takes roughly half a day to achieve. The core is built up by adding layer upon layer. For the production of hard nonpareils, wheat starch is added for the drying process. Overheating is required in order to allow the moisture to evaporate. Soft nonpareils are dried using powdered sugar and syrup, instead. The product hardens further during storage in big bags. After panning, the products are coated in different pans, and flavours and glazing agents are added. The client's desired colouring is also added at this point. In order to prevent contamination with metal particles, the confectionery producer has installed a metal detector. The reason for this is that copper can come free of the copper pans during heating, and it is also possible that metal particles are present in the supplied raw materials. "The metal detectors identify and immediately remove the metal. This is how a completely safe food product is created," says Schoorlemmer, adding that Alldra is also FSSC 22000 certified.
Expansion of storage capacity
With the most recent extension in 2011 and the resulting expansion of production capacity, the company is on track to achieve its ambitions. "We want to grow gradually in the coming years. But we do want to remain realistic, because our site in Rijssen offers no further room for additional expansion." Relocating or outsourcing production is not an option. Panning is also an extremely meticulous, custom-made quality process for which no other faster production methods exist. For that reason, Alldra has focused on improving its existing operational processes, including the enlargement of its base product inventories. Van Hasselt: "The weather in Europe can change in an instant. In the Netherlands, for example, we might suddenly have a week with temperatures of around 30°C. Our clients in the ice cream industry are then operating at full steam and want us to supply rush deliveries of sugar decorations. In our sector, speed means revenue." The limited number of square meters Alldra had available for storage were not being vertically utilised. That was where more storage space could be gained. The company therefore decided to switch from using stainless steel boxes to big bag handling systems.
After purchasing fifty big bag handling systems in 2013, Alldra again invested in another fifty this year. Schoorlemmer: "Our big bag supplier NNZ in Groningen pointed us towards the Indus Neva by Indus Integrated Bulk Logistics, as their big bags are ideally suited to big bag storage and stacking systems." Alldra uses a combined solution for the storage of soft nonpareils. The insides of the big bags are comprised of a strong gauze which allows for ventilation. The moisture is thereby removed from the stored confectioneries, which cannot then form into clumps, resulting in a neat, perfectly hardened product. Alldra also uses this system for the storage of coloured products. "Not only is the quality of the stored product improved, but with the Indus Nevas, we are also able to store vertically thanks to the extremely stable construction at the bottom. We now have forty spaces where we can stack three high. The biggest advantage is the enormous increase in inventory capacity. We can help clients faster when they experience production peaks. What's more, the purchase has resulted in better production distribution and process management within our company," explains Schoorlemmer. According to the site manager, the quality is much higher when compared to the old stainless steel systems which you could not stack. "In a production environment where you work with forklifts, which can be quite rough, the material has to be rugged and durable. The Indus Nevas have shown to be suitable in practice and seem a better fit for us than the alternative big bag handling systems. What's more, this is a system that does not require a whole load of separate parts. So it's really practical, as well. We are very pleased with it." Alldra seems eager to keep it up, and the company is tirelessly continuing to optimise its processes. "We're always looking to further anticipate our clients' needs. Building up more inventory of our white base product brings results. In addition, we are also busy making a frame for unloading at the bottom, which is possible with the Indus Nevas. This will prevent a forklift from having to hold the big bag in the air for a period of time during unloading. For 2015, we are considering doubling our current number of big bag handling systems," says a contented Schoorlemmer.
Alldra at a glance
Alldra was founded fifty years ago and has operated under a number of different companies over the course of the years, including as a subsidiary of CSM and as part of Heinz. After a management buy-out in 2004, six entrepreneurs bought shares in Alldra. In 2008, four of the participants were bought out by the current shareholders. The current Managing Director is Hank van Hasselt. As a former supervisor, he has been responsible for the day-to-day management of the company since 2013. The name of the company is a fusion of the Dutch words 'allemaal drageren' or 'total panning', the specialised sugar processing technique of Alldra that is largely done in the traditional fashion.
Extensive Field Test Indus NEVA System Convinces Jardin
After extensive testing, Jardin has switched to the NEVA system of Indus Integrated Bulk Logistics.
The new bulk packaging has resulted in a calmer and safer work floor. A visit to the garden furniture manufacturer's production plant in Rijen shows that the system has even more benefits.
In the past, the Jardin plant in Rijen used octabins for the storage of raw materials and the supplying of plastic granulate to the various moulding machines. However this octagonal cardboard bulk packaging failed to meet all the wishes and requirements of the garden furniture manufacturer.
"Our greatest concern was safety," explains plant manager Mehmet Turkyilmaz. "Pallets tended to fall over, as the construction was not strong and stable enough. The weight of the plastic granulate, approximately 800 to 900 kilos per bulk packaging, combined with the stacking of the octabins, led to four to seven incidents each year. What's more, it caused 'fear' on the work floor. We are strongly committed to safety. We don't want to run unnecessary risks," Turkyilmaz continues. The plant manager explains that he believes that the bulk packaging had more drawbacks. The cardboard octabins can only be used a limited number of times. "That is not user-friendly," explains Turkyilmaz. "The system also took up a lot of space. Particularly after we decided to no longer stack the octabins to keep them from falling over. At one point, space was so limited that we had to rent additional storage space for our raw materials elsewhere. Something needed to be done."
Jardin hired metal frames in which the octabins could be placed, allowing the stacking of bulk packaging again. But this temporary solution was too expensive, explains the manager, which is why they decided to switch to FIBCs. This was a great improvement, but they were not out the woods yet; for example, the large sacks tended to sag on the pallets. That is why Turkyilmaz continued to search for a solution. He found it when he came across an article on the Conbox, as the Indus NEVA system was then known. The flexible storage system for bulk goods immediately appealed to Turkyilmaz. "I liked the tub-shaped upper layer of the specially designed frame. This allows the big bag to empty fully and easily during unloading. This is not the case when you are working with flat pallets; these always require additional work. Nor is additional work needed when processing the raw materials on the production line. Moreover, this new system removes all the safety issues."
Turkyilmaz contacted Indus Integrated Bulk Logistics in Veenendaal, which was developing a second generation of systems at the time (see also: 'Second generation' article). As soon as development had progressed sufficiently and a few test models were available, Jardin was the first to test the system in practice.
The manufacturer requested four systems in order for the tests to be as realistic as possible. One of the benefits of the new system is that the bulk goods can be stacked three high. "This means you need a sufficient number of systems in order to test them properly," says Turkyilmaz.
But the new system was tested even further. Turkyilmaz: "Again, safety was paramount. We measured the sagging of the products and the stability, robustness and rigidity. But we also looked at user-friendliness. Three forklift truck drivers from each team, 15 drivers total, worked with the system for two weeks. We looked at how easy it was to pick up and move the systems, and analysed the unloading of plastic granulates."
Peace and Safety Restored
The positive feeling Turkyilmaz had when reading the article was confirmed by the test, which meant the manager needed to secure financing. The plant manager continues, "After all, this involved an investment of more than 50,000 Euros, but luckily the board of directors understood the necessity." Jardin purchased 250 systems in total. These have now been operational for over six months, and make full use of all of the system's applications (filling, storage and unloading). "The system suits us perfectly." Turkyilmaz' reaction is brief and to the point. "During the test, the system sometimes sagged slightly too much, which has been resolved by reinforcing the metal frame.
Indus also resolved some other issues [a non-slip material has been added to the bottom of the pallet deck to prevent the load from sliding, Ed.], which, according to Turkyilmaz, means that no more adjustments are required. However, Jardin did need to make some minor adjustments to the production lines to achieve the best possible result with the new system. For example, the system is placed on a frame during unloading for safety reasons. The results say it all. The number of incidents has gone down dramatically and peace has returned to the work floor, in both the storage and in the production areas. "Everyone is extremely happy," enthuses Turkyilmaz.
Over a year after having introduced the Conbox, Indus Integrated Bulk Logistics presented Indus NEVA, a second, more widely useable version of the bulk storage system. The system is not only different in name. The design of the storage system was reassessed on the basis of the experiences in the market. The stability and the rigidity were improved by using differently shaped ribs and a metal-reinforced frame. The changes have greatly increased the load capacity. The second generation offers a storage volume of 2m and a maximum load capacity of 2 tons for FIBCs with a maximum height of 2,000mm. The maximum stacking capacity of the new system is 6,000kg. This means that a maximum weight of 4,000kg can be placed on the lower system. Thus, the maximum storage capacity is 6m, or 6,000kg per 1.4m.
Who, What, Why?
Who? Jardin has been manufacturing plastic garden furniture for more than 40 years. The plant in Rijen manufactures approximately five million garden furniture items annually.
What? Jardin has recently started using the Indus NEVA system for the filling, storage and unloading of plastic granulate, which it uses as raw material.
Why? The bulk packaging previously used did not meet the manufacturer's requirements. Jardin considered safety the greatest drawback of the old system.
Established in 1924 as a family business and now in 2013 a global player in the development and sales of high quality, vegetable varieties and seeds for growers. Rijk Zwaan is getting bigger all the time and belongs to the top five of international companies supplying vegetable seeds. Product inspection and packaging is done centrally in De Lier in the Netherlands. Rijk Zwaan is continually seeking ways to improve efficiency. In the packaging department this has led to the investment in the Indus Neva Big-Bag Handling Systems.
"This has made an enormous impact on our processes. We save time and work more safely and with greater job satisfaction", according to René Heijink, head of the packaging department.
Rijk Zwaan's huge main site is located in De Lier in the heart of the Westland area and employs almost 650 people. In the western part of the province of Brabant near the village of Fijnaart, the company also has a large cultivation improvement centre with various laboratories that together employ around 400 people. In addition, around a thousand employees work in different subsidiaries spread around the globe.
Rijk Zwaan focuses on the development, cultivation, production and sales of high quality seeds for vegetables.
The company's concept of focusing on quality is clearly on the rise. Sales are growing steadily in over 100 countries. In 2007 the vegetable cultivation improvement business drew up plans for a new building. Construction started in 2010 and should be completed by 2014.
What is the secret behind this steady growth? René Heijink: "It's has everything to do with the corporate culture at Rijk Zwaan. The organisation does everything to create a pleasant and stimulating atmosphere. Employees don't just follow courses relevant to our products, they are also encouraged to think about making improvements. All our employees are aware that they are working with a top quality product."
Specific market demand
The development of new vegetable varieties provides an important link in the chain of business processes. Each country has its own culture, regulations, consumer preferences and of course climate. Researchers are constantly coming up with innovative products in our specialised laboratories. Anticipating specific market demands has become a real art at Rijk Zwaan. René Heijink: "You just have to look at all the different types of lettuce and the range of tomatoes that consumers can choose from in the Netherlands." Rijk Zwaan is producing even more varieties thanks to growing demand from Asia. Where the European consumer prefers a crisp lettuce consisting of short lettuce leaves, the Chinese consumer much prefers their lettuce to have long leaves. There's a total of 25 different vegetables that originate from around 900 different varieties. Developing a new variety normally takes between six and twelve years. We hold the absolute top, global position as agricultural scientists involved with improving the strains of lettuce and spinach.
Innovative packaging department
The packaging department represents the final phase for all the company processes, following on from the standard cleaning and seed processing (preparation, pelletizing and coating), but before distribution to the customers. The counting and weighing of seeds is done automatically in this department, and the same for packaging the pellets used to encapsulate the plant seeds, making them easier to sow by machine. The seeds of the more expensive plants such as cucumber, tomato, paprika and aubergine are all counted. Smaller lots of seeds are manually weighed and packaged by employees in a separate area. They also make up portions for the seed treatment department. The exceptionally clean and dust-free department is currently equipped with six counting machines, two canning lines, two weighing machines and a bulk line used mainly for spinach. One canning line packages cans containing 5,000 pellets, the other line packages cans containing 25,000 pellets. Three counting machines each with 4x12 channels are used for counting all the seeds precisely.
René Heijink: "The total capacity is around 30,000 seeds per minute. The same line also has an automatic sealer for the packaging. Apart from setting up the machine, nothing needs to be done manually."
René Heijink became head of the packaging department three years ago. As well as sorting out problems, he is responsible for implementing procedural changes and also supervising the working atmosphere on the shop floor over the long term. How can we make the processes and working methods more efficient? What ideas or suggestions do the employees have? What are the alternatives and what kind of investment would be needed to introduce improvements? "I initially found there was too much work pressure in the department. People had to work right next to each other. Moreover, there appeared to be a lack of teamwork. We've taken important steps to rectify this. In the new building the packaging department is much more spacious and our team is really pleased with it", he confirmed happily.
The packaging department employees carry out an important process inspection function. "We are the last people to see and inspect the seeds. We are able to decide whether a seed meets the standards by way of visual inspection. If for example the seed is not properly cleaned, we correct the process. We also supervise process safety and prevent for example, batches getting mixed up." René Heijink explained. " It would be disastrous if a customer saw tros tomatoes instead of beef tomatoes growing out of the ground. We must always prevent this from happening."
As well as inspecting the product and operating the machines, cleaning is another important task. Minuscule seeds must never be left lying around. After each batch has been completed, the people working in the packaging department totally clean the machine using both high pressure air equipment and a vacuum cleaner. Standard procedure includes one person checking and signing off the cleaning carried out by his colleague. This may seem unnecessary, but it all contributes towards the consciousness raising process of the cleaner. Nothing is left to chance. It goes with the production and delivery of a top quality product.
Where is the possible point for criticism?
René Heijink: "The routing for each batch is programmed by the supply teams beforehand. Each batch of seeds gets a unique bar code. This way the seeds should arrive at the correct machine. If this is not the case because of human error, a message appears on the scanner. In such cases it can only go wrong if the employee forgets to use the scanner. That's why all the processes in the company revolve around fixed procedures.
This is really well organised at Rijk Zwaan. The employee scans every single operation he carries out."
Creating extra capacity
Sales at Rijk Zwaan are growing and therefore also the quantity of seed that has to be processed in the packaging department. This has resulted in the number of people working there increasing from 18 to 25.
"But we're unable to increase the number of employees in the department in line with increasing global sales. That's why we have to create extra capacity. We are now busy with a substantial investment in new counting machines with wider channels that can count more seeds simultaneously which will considerably increase our hourly production capacity. Instead of taking three hours, these new machines can process the same amount in just one hour. The greatest gains are achieved with the large batches of more than 1,000 pouches up to 50 grams, but smaller batches are also interesting with these machines". said René Heijink. It is typical that the entire company is always thinking about the future. Greater efficiency must never be made at the expense of safety or quality. "We are also currently busy here in this department dealing with the question of whether or not we should invest in an extra conditioning room for tomato seeds, for example. This is to prevent the germinal force from dropping off. We want everything to be 100%. Furthermore, we also want the 18 operators in our department to learn how to operate their machines better. This raising awareness regarding the daily processes also increases efficiency within our company."
New Indus Neva Bulk Containers
Several times each week, seeds are sent to Incotec Europe in Enkhuizen via the packaging department. Incotec carries out the coating process on our lettuce seeds for example. According to René Heijink this was not done efficiently last year with the process having too many different treatments and handling.
Rijk Zwaan received the pellets back from Incotec in large boxes or cans. For example the packaging employees had to fill approximately 30 units for the 400 kilogram packages. The cans or boxes had to be opened and put into the top of the machine in the packaging department. Therefore together, Rijk Zwaan and Incotec searched for a method to make the transportation and processing of the seeds easier.
René Heijink: "Mainly we didn't want to enter the pellets at the top of the machines, but preferably from the bottom. That's why we decided for the Indus Neva’s from Indus Integrated Bulk Logistics.
Indus worked closely with us to find a custom solution."
The pellets containing the seeds go into strong big bags of approximately 95 by 95 centimetres. The special pallet structure at the bottom of the Neva makes it possible for the forklift truck to lift the bulk pellets in a single movement to the top of the processing machine. An employee then connects the discharge spout from the big bag through the centre of the lower frame of the Neva - which is opened and closed by way of slide operated at the side - into the machine. Within a short time the machine is filled employing just a single action. How did you go about selecting this new system? René Heijink: "We discussed it all with two separate groups. The Neva’s from Indus made it possible to discharge from the bottom. This was a big advantage.
Moreover, they are easy to transport, durable and acceptable as far as price goes. We've been using the Neva’s for about 18 months now and we're very pleased with them. We're not only working more efficiently, but the Neva’s allow us to work under better conditions and they're safer."
Jacco Klompé, assistant manager of processing at Incotec agreed that the process is now much more efficient:: "Filling and discharge now goes a lot faster. Furthermore, the Neva’s are easy to stack if filled and they take up little storage space if empty or on return transport.
Making an investment in such a system that is in continuous use pays itself back within just a few years." The steady growth at Rijk Zwaan has resulted in the company considering other processes that may step over to using the Indus Neva’s. The system has clearly proved itself in practice.
Source: Solids Processing
No. 5 - November 2013 32
Solids Processing Benelux / www.solidsprocessing.nl