Eqraft (Netherlands) - Quik's Quality Potatoes, based in Hedel, the Netherlands, has been active in the potato sector for almost 90 years. Over the years, the company has added a huge number of products to its range: not just in terms of different varieties but also as far as the choice of packaging is concerned. That’s why the company needs a flexible and reliable production line. Their new Eqraft combination weigher, box filler, and Baxmatic with sewing line help them realize that.
“All types of potatoes have become specialty potatoes,” says Gerrit Oomen, who manages Quik's Quality Potatoes. “That demands far-reaching flexibility in our logistics process.” The company grows every year and has always tried to spread out sales over multiple different markets. Gerrit: “Around 2,500 tons of potatoes pass through our production facilities every week. Every day, we have more than 20 trucks on the road, including 13 of our own. The fact that our clients are active in a variety of industries was a major advantage in the past year: due to the pandemic, sales to the hospitality sector dropped significantly, but that was more than compensated by our sales to supermarkets.” At times, the competition can be really fierce, Gerrit continues. “But fortunately, we’re able to expand our share every year. Not because growth is a goal in itself, but because existing and new customers are attracted to our quality and new concepts.”
Over the past few years, many retailers in the Netherlands have been focusing more on local products. “We work as much as possible with Dutch potatoes, but if these are no longer up to standard for quality reasons, we sometimes have to look further afield. The ban on chlorprophram hasn’t made long-term storage any easier,” says Gerrit. Quik’s mainly focuses on the Dutch market, but the demand for their potatoes is also growing in other European countries. “Thanks to post-packaging techniques that extend the shelf life of the chilled potatoes in particular, the export market is also becoming more attractive.”
A unique line in the Dutch potato sector:
The wide variety of packaging means that the Quik’s machine pool has also grown significantly over the past few years. The latest addition last spring was the Eqraft combination weigher with a box filler and a Baxmatic with a sewing line. Head of Technical Services Henri van Dijk, who has been working at Quik's Quality Potatoes for 32 years, saw the machine on the internet and immediately arranged a meeting with Hans Minderhoud at Eqraft's head office in Emmeloord. “We also went for reference visits at nearby Eqraft clients: Go Products, Wiskerke Onions, and Brest Potato. I thought it was a great idea from the start, and I put our wishes on paper, after which Eqraft started on the design drawings.”
“With the Baxmatic, you can change everything by simply pressing a button. We have many different types of packaging and can also run small batches. Packing packages of 5 and 25 kilos in succession is no problem at all.” — Henri van Dijk, Head Technical Service Quik's Quality Potatoes.
The deal was quickly sealed, and the line was installed at Quik’s at the end of March 2021. Henri is enthusiastic about the machine. “The installation process went well and it has given us a unique line, which is very rare in the Dutch potato sector in this set-up, with the round head weigher.” The new machines allow Quik’s to be more flexible and save a lot of time, Henri continues: “In the past, we had two roll packers that were set to one weight. That means that we lost a lot of time adjusting the machines. With the Baxmatic, you can change everything by simply pressing a button. We have many different types of packaging and can also run small batches. Packing packages of 5 and 25 kilos in succession is no problem at all.”
Meeting high-quality standards:
“We also found it a great advantage with the net packaging that the ribbons could be cut short in this line,” Henri continues. “Due to the requirements set by our customers in the field of track & trace, all the information is displayed on the packaging. The line can be operated and manipulated using a laptop or smartphone.” The combination of the Baxmatic and the crate filler helps Quik’s meet their customers’ quality demands. Every component in the new line takes into account that potatoes are a delicate product that must be handled gently. For example, the product could get unnecessarily damaged due to fall heights. Because the tube drops right into the crate or box and gently lays down the product, this is prevented.
Henri summarizes the outcome of Quik’s’ collaboration with Eqraft as follows: “All in all, we’re delighted with how Eqraft has translated our wishes into a new weighing and packaging line. It all works exactly the way we want. And in case there is a malfunction - which fortunately happens very rarely - Eqraft vans are on-site very quickly.”