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José Ramón Sánchez Gómez, CBDO of El Dulze:

"Futuristic technology for the agri-food sector is already outdated"

"Mechanization is an issue that every company in the horticultural sector should have started to consider and implement years ago, and if they have not yet done so, they should do so in the very near future," said José R. Sánchez Gómez, director of business development of El Dulze, a horticultural sector company that stands out for its high investment in mechanization and the latest generation robotics for its production, handling and packaging processes. 

"We have been testing this kind of technology for over 12 years and it was about 10 years ago that we made the jump and robotized most production lines," says José R. Sánchez. "It is not only about saving costs, which is still very considerable, but improving the quality of work and the product. Some sectors use technologies that for the agrifood sector may seem futuristic but, in fact, are already outdated," he adds. 

The Dulze is based in El Campo de Cartagena, in the heart of Murcia's fertile region, specifically in El Mirador, where they carry out the entire process of production and packaging of their products. They have approximately 2000 hectares of lettuce, baby leaf, cut herbs and onions, among others, which are shipped throughout Europe and the Middle East. 

"Our products are very uniform, so most robots are dedicated to cutting lettuces before being packaged, and that not only increases productivity considerably, but is a work that causes many cases of tendonitis if done by people. The packaging and quality control functions are carried out by the production staff in order to perfectly select the products. The rest of the robots are used for the pallet movement, docking and palletizing. The improvement in costs and production time is considerable, but above all it improves quality. It also significantly improves the employees' work, so they can focus on quality control and more delicate operations," he points out.

According to José R. Sánchez, this productive philosophy change was promoted for two main reasons. "When we began to make this investment there was much difficulty in finding labor for our production plant, since everyone worked in construction, or companies related to the real estate sector. On the other hand, there was the need to update production, as also happened with the industrial sector in general. "

El Dulze has already invested around 15 million euros in this type of technology. "Most of the investment has already been recovered, but when you make an investment like this, a 5 year amortization is estimated. Even so, every year we continue to invest; replacing robots, implementing exclusive technologies such as production control per vision, etc. And improving and automating everything related to processes, quality and traceability. " 

Our goal as a company is to always be at the forefront and take advantage of our know-how to implement it in everything that benefits the company. We have a constant growth rate of 2 digits a year, and we have the energy to keep growing. We have a young and dynamic management team, with many hopes and strength," concludes José R. Sánchez.

For more information:
Noemí Pérez
Frutas El Dulze, S.L.
T: +34 968 174804
[email protected]

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