Efficient and sustainable all under one roof
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Efficient and sustainable all under one roof

  • 16 November 2020
  • By: Judith Witte

Westfort Vleesproducten in IJsselstein realises one of the most modern meat processing locations worldwide: efficient, innovative, animal-friendly and sustainable. A modern processing and packing facility with an integrated cold store is currently under construction. With Bruchap panels processed by Inoflex and the refrigeration and freezer doors by Metaflex. The cold store section can already be put into use at the end of this year.

"The pork sector will not grow any more," expects Egbert Kruiswijk, commercial director of Westfort Vleesproducten, "but we will not downsize! That's why we will be putting a lot of effort into new concepts in the coming years. We are already offering Keten Duurzaam Varkensvlees, Beter Leven 1 star, Antibiotic Free Life Guarantee, Patron and Organic Pork Chain; everything from Dutch soil. We are going to expand that range further. We are also going to work on improving the valorisation of the pig even further. We process around 1,000 tonnes of pork products a day, more than 250,000 tonnes a year. A number of by-products are not consumed in the Netherlands and Europe, while people in Asia and Africa find them very tasty. With an integrated cold store we can process, freeze more quickly and transport from here directly to the port for export."


Plenty of innovations

A special feature is that all the operations carried out on a slaughtered pig have been brought together under one roof. "With all the knowledge we have available, we jointly come up with a plan: the way to assemble the lines as efficiently as possible in order to produce in the most energy-efficient way", continues Egbert. " Cutting and boning will be done in a single step. Over the years, we have implemented all kinds of health and safety innovations on the various lines, and we will continue to do so. Products that need to be frozen will soon be transported automatically to the freezer. The entire step of packing at a separate location, taking them to the cold store and back again, is completely eliminated. This saves an awful lot of transport time." 

Long-term thinking

The innovative slaughter line was completed in 2015. At that time, Westfort also commissioned a unique fermentation plant and had a debut with the very first Nereda industrial water treatment plant. Westfort is capable of generating 100% of its energy demand thermally and 25% electrically. Rob Stekelenburg of project management and engineering firm PROMAD, who has been involved in all renovations and new buildings from the very beginning, explains: "We are now building the extension entirely under BREEAM Outstanding (the highest level). The objectives of BREEAM-NL focus on health, social aspects and comfort for employees, and of course on energy saving and sustainability. My proposals are not always the cheapest", he admits openly. "But they do contribute to sustainability and cost savings in the longer term, for example by increasing efficiency or generating energy gains".

Polaris sliding door ©Metaflex

Energy saving

"If, for example, we were to build according to the Buildings Decree, the façade panels would have to be 12 cm thick", Rob continues. "Westfort has opted for a thickness of 14 cm here in order to achieve a higher rc value (insulation value, ed.). The panels for the cold store are 22 cm instead of 20 cm thick for the same reason. We also made a deal with Inoflex, the supplier of the panels: they reclaim all the cutting waste for recycling. This used to be taken to the waste processor. This is much more sustainable."

"Another example: to prevent energy loss, good doors are essential. If they don't close 100% hermetically and function optimally, you can't guarantee the temperature conditions in refrigeration and freezer rooms. The doors at Westfort are all made by Metaflex; about 135 in total". We see a wide variety in the buildings, such as the Polaris sliding door (see photo) in cooling and freezing versions, the KDM cooling revolving door, the VDM freezer revolving door and the BDM revolving door. All in circular matt stainless steel for a hygienic and uniform appearance. Egbert is down-to-earth about why this choice was made: "We have been working with Metaflex for many years, with all new buildings and all our renovations. And if something is good, why would you try something new? These doors are durable and of proven quality."



"With a big project like this, there are always unforeseen events," says Rob. "In that case, it is essential that you gather around you construction partners who are flexible and feel involved. The fact that we all feel involved with the work here, and that we can solve problems quickly together, is worth its weight in gold. The aim is to deliver the new building in parts. Everything will be operational by mid-2021. 

And then what? Will building and rebuilding be finished by then? Egbert laughs: "No! Once this phase of the building process is completed, we'll simply move on; back to the building we started in 2005 here in IJsselstein. We will also be concentrating, among other things, on slaughtering the mothers of fattening pigs. We will do this in our second slaughterhouse in Gorinchem. These animals are now exported throughout Europe. We think that we can value that meat better in the Netherlands. Yes, that's how we will continue to do things!"


Source: Vakblad Voedingsindustrie 2020