Save time with a packaging line
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Save time with a packaging line

  • 08 March 2021
  • By: Marjolein Straatman

The Dutch company Simons Halal Food has seen a continuous growth in turnover. This made a new packaging line necessary. Not only are larger volumes of Halal sausages and meat products leaving the production floor, but the production processes are also becoming faster and faster.

In a very turbulent year due to corona, Simons Halal Food was able to realize a turnover growth of more than 20 percent last year. This is not only due to the pandemic and enthusiastic shoppers; most of it was organic growth. The cause lies in an increase in turnover with existing customers and in the acquisition of new ones. More and more people want a good quality product and the certainty that the piece of meat on their plate is truly Halal, which means that the Islamic laws regarding slaughter and preparation have been complied with. 

Simons has been responding to this demand for years, says operational director Mike Verheijden. Among other things, the company is halal certified according to the Jakim standard, one of the highest standards in the Islamic world. "The weekly DNA testing of raw materials and end products for pig DNA are just two examples of the extremely strict measures in this standard," he points out.

Higher volumes

As a private-label producer, Simons Halal Food supplies meat products such as frankfurters, sandwich sausages and garlic sausage (sucuk) to ethnic wholesalers. They end up in ethnic supermarkets around the world, but the products are also available at national retailers. The main focus is on Europe. The company was founded in 1976 and is based in Roermond. The demand for high-quality halal products is growing so fast that all hands had to be on deck to make sure the larger volumes of halal meat products could be shipped out safely and according to the regulations. Previously, three packaging machines handled the job and occasionally work was done at night and on weekends.

More efficiency was required, Mike points out. Although a new packaging line also had to meet a number of other requirements. "A low cost of ownership is important to us. Also, a wide range of products with various formats and thus packaging in combination with sometimes relatively smaller production runs requires flexibility of a machine. Sustainability is also an important factor. The less plastic that is used in packaging, the better of course."

Thinner film

There is now a new thermoforming packaging machine on the production floor that meets these requirements and has taken over the packaging of the three older machines. The big gain is that the new line does this 20 percent faster. Greater output and cost savings go hand in hand. The new machine, which can form, fill and seal packaging made of film, works according to a Rapid Air Forming technology. High pressure during packaging forming ensures better film distribution.  As a result, the foil is thicker in the corners - often a weak spot - but thinner overall, yielding foil savings of ten to fifteen percent.

Solving the puzzle

The packaging machine is referred to internally as 'the Repak' and thus originates from the machine supplier with this name from Emmen. Repak has been providing packaging solutions for over 35 years, specializing in thermoformed packaging machines that it supplies to the Benelux and North America, among others. These machines are not only used in the meat and meat products sector, but also in the dairy, poultry, fish and bread sectors. 

To find the right solution Repak starts from the customer's product, says director customer relations Bert Broos. Even though this sometimes presents challenges. "When Simons' meat products in all their different sizes and formats were displayed on our shelves, the translation to the right packaging line almost literally became a puzzle. We knew that the machine had to be able to switch quickly from one type of product to another and used quick-change systems. We are very pleased that our solution is leading to greater efficiency on the production floor at Simons. That's how you reinforce each other. We clicked right from the start," says Bert.

The new line also offers opportunities for the future. Mike: "The machine was delivered in a longer version. That also makes it suitable to robotize the insertion, which is still done manually at the moment. In the search for our new packaging line, we were looking for a partner who listens. We have found one, because they really did think along with us." 

Photos © Bert Jansen Fotopersburo

Source: Vakblad Voedingsindustrie 2021