"Our packaging, weighing, and registration methods were due for replacement. Three years ago, we began packing at our new packing warehouse. Almost all our products leave in small packages, meaning a lot of small batches, packaging material, and handling. Proper weighing, as well are registration, was at the top of our wish list. The RIBA tray scales and the RMS software now fulfill that wish."
Frank de Koning, biodynamic fruit-vegetable grower
Speaking is Frank de Koning, a biodynamic grower in the Netherlands. "We grow biodynamic fruit vegetables, on 11.5 hectares in four locations. These are various kinds of tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, and bell peppers, which are all packed differently. Retail and health food stores purchases vary greatly, so it's important to calculate each variety's cost price correctly. When we built the new packing facility, we wanted to do the weighing and packing in one place, and we also wanted to monitor our workers' performance: how fast they work, but also how much they give away thanks to overweighing," he says.
Frank Schoenmakers (a technical specialist at Royal Brinkman), Frank de Koning and Alwin de Ridder (Riba Weegtechniek) standing at two of the packaging lines that use Riba scale solutions.
Frank Schoenmakers is a technical specialist at Royal Brinkman. He explains that, when it comes to packaging fruit and vegetables, every gram counts. "On the one hand, you want a fast process. On the other, you don't want to give away too much in excess weight. De Koning also wanted a good registration system. We proposed that he use a Riba Weegtechniek system, as it is easy to use and is linked to software that does all the registration in the background. It is a simple, plug & play system with easy settings and no subscription fees."
These two packing lines have 12 Riba tray scales and are linked for registration.
At De Koning, two packing lines with 12 scales run at once. The system is very user-friendly, as the display changes color: it turns orange when underweight, green for the correct weight, and red for overweight. In this way, the standard can be achieved in the best possible way.
The Riba scale's screen changes to green when it reaches the correct weight.
Alwin de Ridder of Riba Weegtechniek advised Frank to get a no-nonsense system. "This ARCI system is easy to operate. The scale gives the employee a work order, including the item name and code, and its low and high weight. The scale relays important information back to the computer, including the employee's name, the date, time, product code, and gross and net weight. It can easily generate reports, which can be per day, per week, per period, per year, per employee, etc. Profit lies in data; this is an important tool for this grower. He can get an overall picture of his entire production and of each of his packers' performance."
A new development is that the RIBA weighing apparatus can also be supplied with a wireless connection from the first quarter of 2022, allowing for remote work in the field with mobile weighing solutions. These can be used in, for example, soft fruit (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries) settings.
The RMS software provides Frank with a database that shows information regarding each batch's allocated costs per client.
This new weighing and registration system means a huge improvement for Frank de Koning. It has speeded up the packaging of the various kinds of fruit-vegetables. "The RIBA system is super efficient. We make daily adjustments for excess weight and employee performance, and the database shows us the allocated costs per batch per customer. That heightens the end-of-season expectations. It's an important management tool for us. We can better control costs and work efficiently to best serve the client," Frank concludes.