Bas van Hees, VHM Machinery

“A ton of onions uncrated per minute”

“Big bags - we can fill those,” says Bas van Hees, Sales Manager at VHM Machinery. This machine manufacturer is based in the village of Ens in the Noordoostpolder region of the Netherlands. “Several machine manufacturers supply these machines - which can accurately fill bags to the kg - to the market. These bags’ contents must, however, ultimately reach the client in good order.”

Bas van Hees, Marjolein Kreulen and Bas van Dijke show the Bigbagrunner at Fruit Logistica Berlin

The most common method of emptying the big bag bags is by hanging the bags' loops from the forks of a forklift truck. These bags are then driven and hoisted above a crate. A worker cuts the bag open from below, and the onions fall out. This way of processing the big bags in this way is risky. The bag can slide off the fork, and there is a safety risk to employees. It is also very messy, and onions fall quite far, which does not help their quality. Added to all this, emptying a bag in this way takes quite a lot of time”. 

Big bag runner
To optimize this onion sector process, VHM has developed a big bag runner. That is in addition to their crate placers and fillers, and the big bag filler. This big bag runner quickly and effectively empties a bag. “With these machines, we can, above all, guarantee the continuity of emptying these bags,” explains Bas. “A lever is used to place the big bag of onions on the machine’s buffer. The bag is secured here with several hooks. The bag then automatically moves forward, on rails, and is placed above an evenflow.”

Big bags are emptied

“The bag is then opened, and, with the evenflow, this 1,000 kg bag of onions is gradually and smoothly emptied into a crate. The onions never fall farther than 15cm. This method makes a significant difference in especially speed and the number of employees needed. With two or three people, 60 bags can be placed in just one hour. That is equivalent to two full truckloads.”

One of the companies where this VHM machine has recently been installed is Waterman-Onions in Emmeloord. “The big bag runner is the latest VHM machine in our warehouse,” says Wim Waterman, co-owner of Waterman-Onions. “Besides this machine, we also have VHM crate placers and fillers. These ensure a constant flow in our business operations. For example, the crate fillers can fill 12 crates in a row.” 

The big bag runner is the latest VHM machine at Waterman-Onions 

Waterman’s big bag runners are put into use as soon as there are import onions on the market. “We can adjust the machine to our wishes because its parts are attached in a modular way,” says Wim. There are also very few moving parts, and the machine is simply, but ingeniously, put together. We can quickly make the necessary adjustments. If we cannot manage this, there are always VHM mechanics standing at the ready.” 

More information
Bas van Hees
VHM Machinery
Oogstveld 12
8307 DV Ens   

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