New location for Hutten en Zonen
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New location for Hutten en Zonen

  • 12 May 2015
  • By: Sophie Baan

Hutten en Zonen intends to become the most modern and most sustainable beef slaughterhouse and meat processing company in Europe. The company opened its new production facility in the Dutch town of Heeten in early March 2015. Co-owner Vincent Hutten entrusted the automation activities to RBK Group. “We felt a strong click with RBK.”

Virtually everything at the company Hutten en Zonen is new: the building, the production line and the production methods. “This was our chance to start from scratch again,” says co-owner Vincent Hutten. “We visited slaughterhouses throughout Europe and talked to many different suppliers. We now have a solid basis for further growth in the years ahead.” The company has been extensively automated, thus minimising employees’ contact with the meat. “We work a lot more efficiently now,” comments Vincent. “We’re still slaughtering the same number of cows, but it now takes less manpower and less time.” Sustainability is also a priority and the company is Breeam certified.

FOBIS modules
Vincent chose RBK Group to handle the automation. “I’ve always taken a keen interest in automation so I already knew what I wanted. I’d heard good things about RBK in the market and we felt a strong click during our first meeting.” Hutten works with the FOBIS ICT system from RBK. The software suite covers a food processing company’s entire automation needs, including the logistics process, the production process and back-office automation. “FOBIS is designed for the food industry,” comments Jan Wilbrink, co-owner of RBK Group. “It contains all the functionalities that are important to a food processing company, such as traceability, the handling different product flows and the safeguarding of quality data. FOBIS is a modular system which is easy to extend. For example, if Hutten decides to supply to retailers in the future, an extra module will connect the company to retailers’ EDI systems quickly and effectively.”

Logical menus
RBK has customised the system specifically for Hutten, and Vincent states that he is happy with how it works: “FOBIS is built around logical menus which are all relevant for us. So it’s easy to find the information you’re looking for, and it’s user-friendly too. It’s quick and easy to understand, even for the operators.” To illustrate his point, he mentions the weighing unit, to which a conveyor transports the various parts of the cow. Based on the weight of the meat, the unit identifies which part of the cow it comes from, such as the loin. The relevant button on the screen then lights up so that the operators can see at a glance which button they should press. “I’ve noticed that the system is very well designed,” says Vincent. “During the production process we often come across things that we’d like to add to the system, such as customer-specific requests, but those kinds of additions are no problem.”


RBK Group not only supplied the FOBIS software, but also took care of coordinating the activities with the various third-party suppliers. “We set up and implemented a complete network infrastructure for Hutten,” comments project leader Bennie Meijer from RBK Group. “All the applications, including those from external suppliers, have been integrated such as camera monitoring, access control, a time registration system and the telephone system. In order to ensure the continuity of all processes, all the applications – both production-related and office-related ones – have been stored on two servers. The two servers are exact replicas of one another, so if one server should fail all the processes will continue uninterrupted on the other one.” Vincent is happy that RBK is taking care of everything. “Earlier this week I spoke to someone about calibrating the water meters. I simply put him in touch with Bennie who will ensure that the data will be sufficiently safeguarded within the system.”

‘Based on the weight of the meat, the weighing unit identifies which part of the cow it comes from’


“RBK Group trained a number of people in our company to be key users,” continues Vincent. “They can explain the system to the other employees and often solve any technical issues themselves. Moreover, we hardly ever have any problems anymore.” He calls FOBIS ‘a complete system’. “With other suppliers we sometimes came up against limitations. They could help us, but it would cost us extra. That doesn’t happen with RBK.” Wilbrink confirms that that is how RBK Group works: “We’re the industry experts in terms of ICT, so we know exactly what a food processing company needs. We haven’t stipulated all of the details in a lengthy contract. Instead, we’re partners, so our system comprises everything you can expect an automation system to have. Our customers can depend on that.”

Source: © Marcel van Engelenburg