As a global player in the development, processing and marketing of fresh frozen products, the Belgian company d’Arta must be able to rely completely on its machinery. For years, the vertical packaging machines by GEA have ensured that d’Arta can work efficiently and quickly. “Our capacity has increased by at least fifty per cent since we started using GEA SmartPackers.”
Jean-Pierre De Backere founded d’Arta in 1988. The Belgian family business has grown considerably over the years and today employs more than nine hundred people. The fresh frozen products such as vegetables, fruit, herbs and ready-to-eat (side) dishes are exported to more than a hundred countries. Together with his brother, Pieter De Backere is now responsible for all of the company’s operational matters, both for Belgium and the branches in Italy and England.
Every generation is evolving, but it is and will always be a GEA-machine: after an update, even better suited to our needs" - Pieter de Backere, CEO, d'Arta
Pieter de Backere, co-CEO at d'Arta, has been utilizing GEA’s vertical packaging machines for years. They are currently working with the fifth generation GEA packaging machines. De Backere likes that every time small technical improvements are made to the machine, the controls remain virtually unchanged, meaning their staff doesn’t require continual retraining. "It is and will always be a GEA-machine, which, after an update, is even better suited to our needs,” he said. Over the years, GEA has ensured that a film change takes place quickly. “At GEA, they understand what our challenges and priorities are: production must be continuous. As one minute of downtime means a capacity loss of no less than a hundred kilos. There’s no coming back from that. Since we have been using GEA packers, our capacity has increased by at least fifty percent.” he said.
Together, GEA and d’Arta think about ways to work more sustainably. In this day and age, there is a lot of focus on the climate. That's why d'Arta is exploring the possibilities of replacing PE film, a widely used packaging material, with a more sustainable alternative. They are currently testing a type of packaging made of paper. Important questions are whether they can package their products with this material just as quickly and without loss of capacity. The robustness of the packaging is also important. According to De Backere; "Having performed various tests, we have ascertained that the vertical packer is certainly not the bottleneck in this innovation process.”
GEA supports us in working more efficiently and sustainably" - Pieter de Backere, CEO, d'Arta
The right perfomance
d’Arta opts for machines with a long service life. “The fewer technical problems there are, the more I can concentrate on new challenges within our company,” says De Backere. “Technology in our industry doesn’t stand still, which is why we are always innovating. GEA shares our innovative character. At the beginning of my career, the engineers at GEA came up with an interesting question: ‘What can we do to make the machine even more effective for you?' Of course, we are always open to improvements. GEA has a strong engineering department. We want to stay one step ahead of the game in terms of integrating technical changes that help us move forward. If all our suppliers acted this way, we would be very happy! GEA is very committed to our company. We can always rely on them.”