Kutschruiter is a fruit company in the Netherlands. Besides having some 60 hectares, they cool and package their own and third-party fruits every day. These go to supermarkets. Recently, the company gained access to the new high-speed Burg Tray Infeed (BTI). They use it to packing Pink Lady apples in trays.
“At the end of last year, several things happened at once,” says Jan Kutschruiter. “First, Matthijs Nijhoff from TripleF Fruit called me. Last year, we washed their Pink Lady apples. They had too much lyme on them. That prevents sun damage. He asked if we wanted to repackage his apples into small packs too.”
“I was interested. But I didn’t want to have 15 people on the line, filling trays every day. For Pink Lady apples alone, we already pack two million trays annually. We have a great partnership with TripleF Fruit for this. In that same week, I received a video from Germany via Facebook. It was for an automatic tray filler. I asked Arie Verhoef of Burg Machinery who the supplier was. It turned out to be them.”
Cardboard, traditional, and biodegradable film
“I then went to see the demo machine at work. I, of course, wanted to make some adjustments. We still fill film-wrapped trays. But there’s a strong trend within retail to get rid of this film entirely. That’s why we increasingly work with cardboard wrap trays. The adjustments we made make us extremely flexible. We can now fill cardboard trays as well as trays using traditional and biodegradable film. So, we can meet any customer requirement,” says Jan.
“We bought the machine on December 31 and are delighted with it. De-nesting is quite complicated. Burg made a few changes for us. Now we can de-nest the wrap trays too. The line is running better than expected. Our emptier can feed two different sizes to the tray filling system.”
“We can, therefore, perfectly combine several sizes. Four or six pieces can make up a kg package. The apples then go into the box and are wrapped. The weight checker adheres a sticker to the pack. These trays are then packed in boxes. These are automatically stacked and then loaded. They’re then trucked to European retailers,” Kutschruiter explains.
“Automation is an important strategic pillar for us. I have 12 permanent employees. This is a great group of people. I want to be able to do all the work with them. The rest I want to automate as much as possible. That’s why, in 2019, we also invested in Greefa’s Smartpackr packaging robot. It replaces as many as four people, so it suits us perfectly too. It’s admittedly expensive. But that’s still better than an overpriced machine.”
“We can also easily offset the investment in the BTI. De-nesting and filling are usually still mostly done manually. This line ensures a continuous supply of apples in the trays. It has a capacity of more than 60 trays per minute. On average, the BTI saves manually de-nesting and filling about 25,000 trays per day. With this line, we can fill a truck with Pink Lady apples every day,” Jan concludes.