Kiremko is a Dutch engineering company, which designs, manufactures and installs complete processing lines, factory upgrades and capacity expansions, as well as stand-alone equipment.
With an out-of-the box format, Kiremko and its strategic partners aspired to organize a one-day event that create an interactive platform for the guests and experts from different fields to share information, exchange ideas and talk about the future of the potato industry in a broader sense.
Participants from the potato processing industry and affiliated equipment producing companies were invited to join Masterclasses named “Factory of the Future”, “Opportunities Sustainable Energy Systems” and “Coating, the Future?” that approached topics important to the whole industry chain.
For each of the Masterclasses, the attendees were invited to vote on a set of statements through an internet app and to publicly substantiate their answers.
Ellen Van Dijk introduced the Masterclass concept in a video message to the guests. Kiremko is sponsor of Ellen van Dijk, olympic cyclist for the Netherlands, and follows her to the Tokyo Olympic games in 2020.
The event was preceded by a presentation of TED speaker Ruud Veltenaar, about climate change and the way businesses have to deal with tomorrow’s environmental challenges. The chairman of the day was Robert Daverschot. He also was moderator at one of the Masterclasses as well as Ton Hendrickx.
Factory of the Future
The goal of the “Factory of the Future” Masterclass was to inspire the attendees and also to get feedback on what can be done with Industry 4.0 in the potato industry.
Gemma Smolders, managing engineering and innovation at Kiremko, explained that for the company, the factory of the future is actually part of the entire food processing chain. She added that the food processing chain, from the beginning to the end, is already very demanding, as the consumer of the final product wants transparency regarding their food.
“The consumer wants transparency. He or she wants to know whether we produce sustainably. We are able to do so by changing the focus of processes from engineering to product development, which actually uses a multidisciplinary team of industrial automation, food technology and also mechanical engineering,” she said.
However, the Masterclass pointed out that, for the moment, there is insufficient willingness to share data within the industry chain. Most attendees agreed that sharing data within the chain, is one of the most important challenges for further development. “It is very important to understand the complete supply chain – starting at the farm, with the raw material. Understanding the beginning and understanding the end of the chain will be very important in terms of the factory of the future. The best way to look at your shop is to step outside and look through the window. You need to work with your suppliers and clients to see what can be improved. Make a good analysis of what is needed in your part of the chain,” one of the participants said.
André Verkleij, managing director Blue Print Automation (BPA), explained that data has different levels of importance. For example, data collected by sensors, such as temperature measurement, POC (proof of concept), etc. are very basic. “If you want to go higher in the level of information, you also talk about information that is more valuable, but also information that needs more sharing. I think there is also some resistance against sharing all that data among us. We have to get used to it. We do not talk about data or sell data to customers. It is all based on trust,” Verkleij underlined.
Furthermore, Smolders with Kiremko mentioned that sharing data also means for equipment manufacturers that they are able to create the context of how the data is used.
“We can talk about data, but if you don’t know the context, we don’t have any idea what to do with the data. The machine building industry needs to start working on what type of data it requires. You ask your customer to share data. Why do you need it, what are you going to do with it? That is going to be the next step for the machine builders. What do you do with data and why do you need it - it is a normal question from customers,” she said.
For the “Opportunities Sustainable Energy Systems” Masterclass, the attendees were asked to give feedback on whether they consider sustainable energy a main part of their future business success. For this Masterclass, the experts on stage were Robbert Janzen, Project Manager Van den Pol Elektrotechniek, Maarten Gelens, Account Manager Solutions Sales GEA and Arjan Brouwer, Sales Manager Kiremko.
“We are now investing in sustainable technologies and preparing for more competitive factories for the next 20 years. I think if you now invest in that way, it will ensure the success of your business. You can profit in a better way if you invest in sustainable factories,” – said one of the participants.
The expert from GEA also mentioned the issue of recovering the energy from the freezing tunnel, which normally goes to the air, so it is lost. „If you are able to catch this energy and bring it up to a higher level, then you can reuse this energy. The higher the level of temperature, the more level of energy,” Gelens with GEA said.
The attendees in this Masterclass also pointed out that the energy saving is a matter of PR/legislation, but also business. Many participants agreed that legislation helps in achieving this objective of energy saving because it stimulated processing companies to invest in modern equipment coming with this component.
Coating, the Future?
The third Masterclass, moderated and hosted by Alexander Kraaijkamp of Gpi, on the coating process and coating equipment, revealed another approach of the topic and tried to provide answers to questions such as: “What are the trends for the coming years?” and “What are the most important factors when the batter is prepared?” The attendees debated issues such batter viscosity and the types of mixers necessary to prepare the ingredients for coating French fries.
“If you want a consistent end product, it is key that the batter to coat French fries always has the same consistency. To make sure that the batter is of the right consistency, the viscosity and dry matter are very important factors. The composition of the mix should be the same and we have several ways to accomplish that. A coating is made by mixing powder with water. The powder is loaded into a mixing unit from the top. The water is introduced from the side. They make an equal mix, but the mix differs for every coating,” one of the speakers said.
Between each Masterclass, guests had the opportunity to participate in several activities, such as; tour through the factory, drone flying, seeing the latest of potato processing lines by Kiremko, Idaho Steel and other partners trough HoloLenses, and meeting famous cyclist Eric Vanderaerden.
Kiremko will continue the Masterclasses in 2019, with topics and trends that relate to the food processing community and affiliated branches.