Production automation, what do you achieve with this?

Production automation involves the application of optimizations, ensuring a simpler, more efficient and faster production process.

This brings you considerable benefits, such as:

  • work is automated
  • production goes faster
  • ergonomic improvements
  • cost reduction
  • machine is 24/7 available
  • production is independent of employability staff

We design and build new machines or optimize existing production processes depending on the customer’s wish. With our knowledge and experience we can estimate in advance the development and construction time pretty accurate and make a quotation.

Sometimes we also face up to surprises; a practical example is the ‘potato gratin packing line’.

A challenge in Proven (Belgium)

You may never have heard of the town Proven, a small rural village in the Belgian province of West-Flanders? We did not either, until about 3 years ago.



Because of a warm recommendation of one of our cooperation partners, we were invited at that time a subsidiary of Aviko, named ‘Eurofreez’, one of the largest potato producers of the world. Our engineers brought a visit to the factory near the French border. From Maastricht about a 3 hours drive away.

A super cold packing line

Our team was asked to develop a machine capable of packing approximately 330 frozen potato gratins per minute in boxes of 4 or 8 pieces.

The gratins with a temperature of -25 °C (!) were packed manually by the ladies of the factory in a room with a temperature around freezing point. Heating devices were used to keep the employees a little bit warm. But that didn’t help much. Even with gloves on fingers were getting numb with cold. Also there was repetitive, monotonous work with considerable time pressure. The production was shut down only for the scheduled breaks.

The situation was clear. In the field of efficiency and ergonomics there was much to gain.


Development and building machine

We have accepted the request of Eurofreez. The requested machine was designed and built by us. As usual after the construction phase this machine was also tested in our workshop in Maastricht. In large rented freezer containers were kept the test products.  Unfortunately, the first tests did not run smoothly. This costed much more time than we had anticipated!


Testing stagnated

We had not realized that the temperature in the packing hall in Proven was around freezing for a reason. It was impossible to test the machine for more than 10 to 15 minutes in our workshop because the products were defrosting and no longer usable. The cream released from these products was sticking to parts of the new machine, such as conveyor belts, grippers etc. And that caused a huge mess!

After every test, it took us quite some time to clean the machine and let it dry.

With great (technical) ingenuity from our multidisciplinary team, the test phase was finally completed successfully.


All’s well that ends well

We have realized a problem-free packing machine according to instructions. The machine has been installed satisfactorily in Proven. We had not estimated in advance that this would be quite later than planned. An extremely costly but instructive project for us. That enriches us and we apply this knowledge and experience again for new projects.

We have captured the operation of the new packing line for the potato gratins on video. This will give you a complete picture of this automated process and the technical specifications.