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Packaging special products

In summary

Industry: Vegetable seed improvement and production
Project: Packaging

Packaging special products

A new canning line for seed expert Rijk Zwaan


As a country, the Netherlands is doing extremely well in the seed market. Our country has its own research centers and a great deal of knowledge. It is therefore not surprising that the Dutch company Rijk Zwaan is in fourth place worldwide in the field of vegetable seed improvement. NIRAS Nederland is proud to have worked with the family business on a new canning line where cans are filled with the seeds. The pre- and basic engineering have been completed as phases and we can look back on the start of a great collaboration during which an interesting world within the food industry opened up for us.

More demand, more efficiency
The quality of crops is constantly improving worldwide. Obviously, this revolution has several factors that are of influence. Seed is a very important one. The rising demand for Rijk Zwaan’s products fueled, among other things, the developments in the capacity of their packaging lines.

Before the start of this project, two canning lines were in use. These existing lines have been developed within Rijk Zwaan. However, there was no capacity to develop a third line. They also wanted input from outside the organization, from people who are experienced in other, but related, areas (such as the food industry). These factors have resulted in the collaboration with NIRAS.

A thorough approach
To ensure that the new line would run more efficiently and be improved in quality, a lot of thinking was done at the beginning of this project. Not only looking at the current process, but also at possible improvements. NIRAS likes to ask questions and wants to ensure that the entire list of requirements is complete. This before placing the first requests with different suppliers. By doing this, the final offers from different parties can be easily compared.

Another reason to complete the overview of requirements, preconditions, budgets and objectives is that tests can be carried out in various phases, that choices can be made and that they benefit the set objectives. This has proven to be a pleasant way of working for the entire project team.

The challenges
Before the product, the seeds, of Rijk Zwaan even come near the canning line, a whole process has already been completed. The often very small seeds are difficult to process or count. To ensure that the seeds are protected, can germinate healthily, are easier to sow and partly to make them visible and thus countable, a layer is applied to the seeds. This is called piling.

Once at the canning line, weighing and counting is a precise job that is done using sensors. Next to ensuring the correct numbers per package, there must be absolutely no mixing. This may still be the most important thing in the whole process. It cannot be the case that other types of plants will grow between crops. Rijk Zwaan guarantees quality per batch by ensuring that all the elements through which the seeds pass, such as the buffers, pipes and belts, have no seams or cracks in which individual product can get stuck. Everything should be dry cleaned and checked for any remaining seeds.

After the pre- and basic engineering and making well-founded choices, the project team remains to realize the canning line. Commissioning follows. Quality is a precondition for these steps as well, it is one of the reasons that a very high percentage of the seeds germinate into a plant with the customers that Rijk Zwaan serves.



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