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Peter van Nieuwkerk: “Goal is to pack 60,000 packages in overseas season”

Automatic grape packing line enters new season

The automatic packing line, introduced by InnoFresh Packing for grapes in punnets in 2015, has once again been improved. The grape packing line, which was launched at the end of 2015, was tested during the previous overseas season, and has been completely improved technically in a large number of areas. During the calm European season a number of small technical improvements have been implemented. For example, the number of packages per hour has been increased from 110 to 130. The application of a new weighing system has also increased filling accuracy, with the aim of minimising overfill.

Goal: packing 60,000 packages this season
InnoFresh Packing is a joint venture between Budelpack and IQ Packing, and specifically focused on the automatised packing of grapes in punnets. InnoFresh is entering into its second overseas season with this renewed line, and it will be an important season. “In recent months we have been able to prove to various customers that we are technically capable of carefully packing grapes in punnets, by means of demonstrations,” says Peter Nieuwkerk. “During the overseas season, which has started by now, our goal is to pack 60,000 packages.”

“Packing grapes in the Netherlands ensures the customer-order-uncoupling point is moved from the country of origin to the Netherlands,” Nieuwkerk explains. “Retailers want to decide as late as possible which packaging to use to present the product to the customer. If grapes are imported prepackaged, it will become as it was with the T-Ford: you can choose anything, as long as it is in 500 gramme-punnets. That is going to change definitively from now.”

The automatised line, in combination with an increasingly optimising supply chain, will make it possible to pack the grapes with increasing accuracy in the Netherlands. This will lead to various advantages:
  • Grapes can be imported unpackaged so that reefer transport can be increased by 30 per cent more kilograms;
  • The time-consuming controls for prepackaged product after arrival are now done directly on the packing line. Bad product, therefore, will not be packaged;
  • Customer-specific labeling occurs in-line at the packing line, and therefore does not require additional handling;
  • By packing in the Netherlands, it will also become possible to offer grapes in packing innovations. The first sketches to that end are already on the table. Think of special packaging for sweet or seedless grapes, so that these become more recognisable to consumers.
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