The labelling of all kinds of products, such as crates for instance, can sometimes take a lot of time. Particularly for crates that should have their coding burned into them in advance. German company EBS, however, has come up with a solution, after several regular customers asked for one: the development of a pocket-sized printer. This makes it much easier for the customers themselves to put a text on a crate. De Groot BV, the official distributor of EBS in the Benelux, supplies the machine to their customers.
Bert de Groot from De Groot
De Groot BV is a company in coding and labelling machines from Culemborg, the Netherlands. The family company with ten employees was founded in 1936, and was once started as a commercial enterprise in packing materials. In the following years, De Groot became specialised in machines for automatically applying coding and labels for packaging in all shapes and sizes. De Groot focuses mostly on the food industry with its products and services. Because of the family company’s small size, they can flexibly respond to their customers’ wishes.
Bert recently also started supplying the pocket-sized printers of EBS. “With the pocket printer, a potato grower, for example, can personally apply their own labels to their crates. The advantage is that a customer can then order a large amount of blank crates, to personally provide them with the right coding.”
Additionally, the machine has the advantage that it can print on several bases, and it can withstand the elements. “Because a lot of products in the fresh produce sector are packed in bulk and have a best-before date, I definitely see a market in that. Besides, the pocket printer isn’t difficult to use. The texts can be created on a computer, and these can then be wirelessly sent to the machine. They can also be adjusted.”
The development of the machine followed demand of a few regular customers of EBS, which then started working on developing the printer. “Initially, sales of this pocket-sized printer didn’t go that fast, and some considered the machine’s development as nonsense. But the opposite now appears to be true, and EBS can’t keep up with demand for the product.”
The increase in demand for the pocket printers, however, isn’t from companies that use it to code their products. It’s important to label products in the shipbuilding and concrete industry in particular, because parts have to be installed correctly. Demand, however, is mostly from people who use the machine for fun. “I sometimes see the weirdest videos of the machine on social media. A festival, for example, used it to print texts on T-shirts.”
De Groot is still a fairly new player in the fresh produce sector. Bert de Groot, manager of the company, talks about the ties to the fresh produce sector and the opportunities for the future. “We’ve noticed that a lot of machines for labelling in the fresh produce sector need to be replaced soon, because the machines are practically classic compared to the modern versions available on the market. As a specialised company, we can contribute to modernising these machines.”
In the future, Bert hopes to also provide the fresh produce sector with his recommendations and products. Yet he doesn’t want his company to grow too rapidly. “I want to be able to serve my current customers properly, and help them when necessary. Besides, I want to retain the character of a family company. That’s why quality is more important to me than quantity.”