Automating potato packing with Raisa eG

"For this specific machine, there is no German alternative"

German corporation Raisa eG needed a solution for filling bags with potatoes. Eqraft develops grading, weighing and packaging solutions for agricultural products worldwide. 

In 2016, the two companies found a reliable partner in each other. Wolfgang Hauschild, head of Raisa’s potato department, talks about their collaboration.

A shared history
Raisa is a German agricultural company with a long history: this year it celebrated its 100th anniversary. Recently, it rebranded itself from Stader Saatzucht to Raisa eG due to the company’s expansion outside the city of Stade and into other areas of interest as well, such as energy, retail and logistics. The change also meant a new, broader approach for the future.

Attaching jute bags to the mouths of traditional filling machines is a labor-intensive and unpleasant job. At Raisa, this was still done largely by hand, which resulted in a limited and inconsistent filling capacity. Time for a new, easier, more efficient and less labor-intensive solution.

With that requirement in mind, Raisa started talking to Eqraft. This Dutch company, originally a machine builder for the Dutch onion industry that made a shift to a more integral and international approach over the course of 30 years, had the perfect solution for Raisa: the Baxmatic®.

“This machine fills and sews bags fully automatically. Currently, we’ve completed two seasons with this machine and our capacity has increased significantly. We’re very satisfied,” says Wolfgang Hauschild of Raisa.

For this specific machine, there is no German alternative

The installation of the Baxmatic® at Raisa was Eqraft’s very first step into the German market. Why did Hauschild pick a Dutch machine over a local partner? “For this specific machine, there is no German alternative – at least not one that’s equally innovative and reliable. The lion’s share of expertise in potato processing is still located in the Netherlands.”

Hauschild met Niek de Boer, Sales Executive for the German market at Eqraft, at the Agritechnica trade fair in 2015. After a few subsequent meetings, De Boer invited Hauschild and his colleagues to visit a Dutch factory and see for themselves.

De Boer explains: “We like to invite potential customers for a factory visit and connect them to our current customers. I can talk all I want about the reliability and quality of our products, but seeing the machines at work and being able to get an honest answer from people who already work with them is much more convincing – it’s the best publicity we can have.”

Hauschild agrees: “From the beginning, I had a positive feeling about our relationship with Eqraft; the reference visit only enhanced that. The machines are truly an added value for our production process in terms of reliability.”

Factory of the future
The second Baxmatic® is currently being installed at Europlant, an investment company of Raisa. This machine has been custom-developed, since the customer needed to attach double labels to the bags. As De Boer explains: “The stitching of two labels wasn’t an easy feature to realize technically, so I’m very proud of the fact that this machine is now operating perfectly.”

A palletizer by Symach, a partner of Eqraft, was also installed at the same company. Eqraft is part of the Onion Tech Alliance (OTA), a partnership of four companies with each their own expertise: Eqraft for consulting, engineering and machinery, Deprez for internal transport, Modesta for separation and de-dusting technology, and Symach for palletizing and wrapping.

Thanks to OTA, projects can be approached from a broader perspective. With the factory of the future in mind, this alliance creates an integrated production process in which the different components are perfectly aligned. Hauschild explains: “I’m convinced this partnership is a good development. By combining different types of expertise, a much more functional and innovative end product can be delivered. This certainly makes a potential collaboration with OTA interesting for us.”

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Nico Nieuwenhuize

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