GEA and d’Arta have worked together since the frozen vegetable processing company was set up, and CFS Aquarius (as the company was then called) delivered GEA SmartPacker form, fill and seal packaging machines. Because d’Arta works 24 hours a day, five days a week, service is very important. Unplanned stoppages must be quickly resolved, and GEA has always provided excellent customer support.
Focused on solutions
When asked what has contributed to the successful relationship between the two companies, Mr. Pieter De Backere commented, “We work closely together and are both focused on solutions. I particularly like the quality of the support we receive in the creation of new ideas.” He continued, “We place very high quality demands on our products and production environment. For example, the bag seal must be perfect, production needs to be very fast, and of course, we want to use attractive package formats that stand out in the store. The GEA SmartPackers meet all these criteria.” In just 25 years, d'Arta has grown to become a major European player in the frozen vegetable sector. To meet its customers’ demands, d’Arta places strong emphasis on stock management, ensuring even less current products are also ready for quick delivery. With locally sourced natural produce, they have to anticipate possible harvests and potential shortages, and act quickly and efficiently. This places extra pressure on their automated machine park, where technical aspects are continuously tested and fine-tuned. D’Arta has chosen GEA as its supplier of vertical baggers for their frozen vegetable products, and recently expanded the capability to include Doy Style standing bags.
A family business
d'Arta was founded in 1988 by Johan Talpe and Jean-Pierre De Backere, and is currently run together with their four sons. The Group d'Arta has two production sites, d'Arta in Ardooie, Belgium and the other Dardico in Avis, Portugal. The company processes 140 million kilograms of vegetables per year, and exports to Europe, the USA and South America. The range includes private label, their own ‘Greens’ label products, and bulk products for the business-to-business and catering markets
“This is one of the things that distinguish GEA from other machine manufacturers. They consistently come up with solutions of a very high level." Mr P. De Backere (co-owner of d'Arta): “In the summer of 2011, a customer asked for a Doy Style steam bag. GEA looked into this, developed a solution which was subsequently demonstrated at an exhibition. We bought that demo machine at the show, and 14 days after it was delivered, we were getting a perfect package and were running at a higher speed than we initially expected! We and our customer were very satisfied.” Since then, the Doy Style capability from GEA has been further developed, and this demo machine has been field upgraded with the latest technical features." Whenever a customer has come to d’Arta with a new idea for a private label product, d’Arta has been able to respond quickly thanks to the close cooperation with GEA. Mr. P. De Backere added, “This is one of the things that distinguish GEA from other machine manufacturers. They consistently come up with solutions of a very high level. So far, we have never had to say no to a customer’s idea thanks to the support from GEA.” An important packaging trend for d’Arta is extra attention on increasing visual impact of their products. Deep freeze chests in the retail outlets are rapidly being replace by glass fronted showcases, so standing packages are gaining popularity over hanging or simple bags. Steam-in-the-bag packages is another area where d’Arta see many possibilities