Building the Factory of the Future with HOZA

Meet grower Jim Hoogzand during the initial tests and calibration of his Eqraft Optical Grader.


We meet grower Jim Hoogzand on a Saturday morning in his barn in Oudenhoorn. He welcomes us from his forklift as he transports onions for the initial tests and calibration of his recently installed Eqraft Optical Grader. 

As a fifth generation farmer from a pioneering family in the onion trade, Jim has inherited a strong entrepreneurial spirit. There are onions flowing through the veins of the Hoogzand family. Hoogzand has been a household name in the onion trade on the South Holland islands since 1870. Hoza, an abbreviation of the Hoogzand family name, was founded in Oudenhoorn in 1939. Jim’s father later started specialising in refining and propagating onion seed. 

Based on years of experience and development, Jim now cultivates six different varieties of onions of the highest quality. The onion trade is changing fast and Hoza is changing with it. Whereas in the past Jim needed lots of manpower to keep the factory running, now he manages with just a handful of staff. Reasons for investing in the Optical Grader therefore include labour savings, cost control and products of the best possible quality. 

The Optical Grader from Eqraft sorts onions internally and externally at high speed by size, weight and quality. During the process, the onions are first conveyed on a conveyor belt, after which they are separated and placed one by one on cups. The Blower Beam from Modesta removes loose skin and dirt from the onion. The onion is then conveyed through an infrared scan, also called the Sacmi Box, so that the internal quality can be checked. Bad quality onions are immediately conveyed away. Then the external quality of the onion is guaranteed by the double-sided inspection carried out by the Microtec ports. After the first inspection, the onions are turned around so that the other side can be inspected. 

Each cup is individually controlled, so that the machine knows exactly the size, weight and quality of the onion on each cup. At the end of the entire process, this selection is conveyed into crates from six different exits from the machine, with the desired onion types in each crate. 

Jim is therefore confident about the future and his long-term relationship with Eqraft.


The machine fills the crates in a very product-friendly way thanks to the onion’s soft landing in the crate. The Optical Grader filler starts at the bottom of the crate and slowly ascends as the level of the onions rises. This filling pattern ensures a minimal dumping cone and results in a crate that is filled flat without damaging the product. When the crate is full, this specific belt on the machine automatically stops filling. 

During the entire optical sorting process, the Modesta filters ensure that any dust is vacuumed and any residue is processed. The Eqraft machine ensures that all the individual parts of the process are combined in a single conveyor system. The machine is one of the first of its type in the field of optical sorting and will continue to develop through the years.

Jim is therefore confident about the future and his long-term relationship with Eqraft. He realises that he is investing in a new product, but he trusts Eqraft and feels very positive about the progress they will make together in the years to come. Eqraft guarantees not only service and maintenance, but also new updates and developments. He hopes that not just his onion seed but also the machine itself will improve as the years go by. And that this will ensure that optical sorting technology will continue to develop in terms of robust mechanisation, camera technology and data processing. With this investment, Jim hopes to raise his company and the entire sector to a higher level and to ensure a constant supply of top-quality onion seed!

Detailed information about the Eqraft Optical Onion Grader?

See Product Page

Rutger Keurhorst

Director Commerce

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