Careful handling of seeds in bulk with the Neva system from Indus
Processing millions of seeds per day: the Neva system from Indus Integrated Bulk Logistics has played an important role in the transport and packaging of seeds at Enza Zaden for six years now.
Enza Zaden: a well-known name in the world of seed breeding. Every year, the company from Enkhuizen introduces many new vegetable varieties to the world market. These varieties are developed from the Netherlands to Australia: Enza Zaden is active worldwide on almost every continent. The seeds, including many different lettuce varieties, are produced and sold in the higher segment worldwide. The Neva system from Indus Integrated Bulk Logistics has played an important role in the transport and packaging of these lettuce seeds at Enza Zaden for six years now.
Processing team leader Pieter Pereboom explains: "The lettuce that finally ends up in the supermarket or at the greengrocer’s has already come a long way. We grow the seeds in different climate zones, fruit crops such as peppers, cucumbers, pumpkins and tomatoes in greenhouses and other vegetable crops in fields. Some of it is done here in the Netherlands, but we also produce in California, Australia and Malaysia, for example."
Most of the seeds Enza grows and produces are relatively easy to make ready for sale. "These seeds are firm enough to be sown directly by the gardeners who buy from us. The exceptions to this are our lettuce and endive seeds. These are so small and light that they fly away when sown. To prevent this, the lettuce seeds are pelleted. In this process, the seed is covered with a coat of clay. This makes the seed easier and more accurate to sow."
Because the pelleted seed is vulnerable due to this extra coating, it is very important for Enza Zaden that the internal transport runs smoothly. Pereboom: "In the past, we received the pelleted seeds in boxes with a capacity of about twenty kilos each. Our employees had to climb stairs several times a day to empty the seed into the machine. The weighing machine fills tins with the pill seed. This process was our standard for years until Incotec, the company that pellets our lettuce seeds, made us aware of Indus Bulk Logistics’ big bag handling system."
Together with some employees, the team leader Processing visited the company Incotec. The team and also the management were quickly convinced. The time savings and the improvement of safety in the packaging process were decisive. "After purchasing various Neva systems, we built and fixed a special frame above the scales. A 120 x 120 cm Neva system fits exactly into this frame. The Neva system fixes our Big Bag, which can store more than twenty times the amount of lettuce seeds compared to a box. By using the slider, which is located at the bottom of the Neva system, the outlet of the Big Bag can be opened and closed at the bottom of the Neva module. Finally, the pallet design on the underside allows the Neva system to be easily transported with a forklift truck and stacked on top of each other or placed on shelves: Climbing stairs with heavy boxes is thus a thing of the past."
The moment when the Neva systems were incorporated into the processes and the crates thus disappeared, we thought it would be a good time to look for suitable big bags for the pelleted lettuce seeds at the same time. A nearby sailmaker was willing to custom-make special big bags that are one hundred percent waterproof and anti-static. "We took a Neva system with us and said, ’Look, this is where the new big bag has to fit in.’ When choosing the material, special consideration was given to the fact that protecting the pelleted seeds is very important," Pereboom says.
In addition to the advantages for the lettuce seed packaging process, the space saving during transport to and from Incotec was also crucial for the decision to work with the Neva system. "They gave me the golden tip: shorten the four tubes of the Neva system so that two of them can be stacked on top of each other in a truck. Incotec now only has to fill one unit instead of several boxes: This brings a huge advantage for both Incotec and us."
After six years, there are now hundreds of Neva systems at Enza Zaden. "They are used intensively, fifteen times a day in our packaging process alone, almost all year round. Even my employees don’t want to go back after a short familiarisation period. The plus in safety, time savings and convenience in our processing and production process: the Neva system has proven itself very well for us and was more than worth the investment."