Background: A Family Business
Bart Maertens is like many of the people we work with. A man who’s business and family are deeply entwined. For many years Bart has worked along with his parents and wife on the family farm, together they have shared the workload of manual labour.
Reason for change: Automation
Bart and his family were looking for an easier and less labour-intensive way to automate the process. Having already installed a Newtec weigher, an Upmatic stitching line and various rise and fall hoppers over the years through Kevin Woods Machinery Limited, the next step of the production that needed to be automated was the stacking of the actual bags of potatoes. Finding a solution was easier said than done. There were a few key elements to take into consideration. The Maertens have a market fora variety of different size and weight bags of potatoes. Another factor that also needed to be taken into consideration were the varieties of potatoes that the Maertens Family grow. Some of the Irish varieties that they grow are more prone to bruising especially during the winter months. The Maertens needed a machine that was going to carefully handle the potatoes to prevent damage or bruising.
The answer: A Verbruggen Solution
Verbruggen however were more than willing to think and strategize for the best solution that the Maertens Farm could use. Together with our production staff we developed a unique solution for the Maertens Farm. The palletizer in question would be equipped with special padding to ensure soft landing and handling of the potato bag.
Sidenote: No less important
Of course, as great as a customised solution is, many more factors come into play when deciding on a purchase as important as this one was for the Maertens family. Bart was impressed by the stacking chambers of the Verbruggen Machine, the capability of dealing with smaller bags and its smooth and delicate handling. It was clear that Verbruggen offered a high-quality solution to the Maertens challenge. Not only functionality, but also continued service and support was critical to Bart. As such the Verbruggen commitment to an on-line and continued service support was the final benefit which made Bart Maertens make the decision for the Verbruggen solution.
The Risk: A leap of faith
For Bart this was a leap of faith, only two other Verbruggen machines existed in Ireland. The expense is also immense for a small family farm. In more normal times Verbruggen would have welcomed Bart to visit the factory floor to see our machines in operation, this would have helped the perceived risk to be much lower. However due to COVID-19 and the restrictions associated with it, this was not possible.
No product bruising, a flawless machine, and a praised installation. Bart expressed his admiration particularly for the installation team, who really took the time to set up the machine to his requirements and even popped in an extra day at the end of their Ireland trip to ensure everything was as perfect as it could be.