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Co Konings, general manager at Taks Handling Systems:

"Reliable logistics is crucial for horticulture"

Those providing logistics for clients active in greenhouse horticulture must deliver reliable solutions. Crops won't simply pause their growth due to a malfunction, sees Co Konings with Taks Handling Systems.

At the company's office in Etten-Leur, Netherlands, he discusses his organization's approach and the challenges it faces. He also talks about choosing Murrelektronik as their supplier for fieldbus systems. Co, who has been the CEO of Taks Handling Systems for two years, brings experience from every sector of the food industry, from seed to plate, as he puts it.

Co Konings

Logistical solutions
Taks Handling Systems develops logistical solutions for the fresh produce sector. Thanks to the acquisition of Berkvens Greenhouse Mobility in 2020, the company now operates from two locations in the Netherlands. This expansion of their portfolio enables them to better support their clients' needs for automation and logistical solutions in greenhouse horticulture.

The cultivation puzzle
"We develop, produce, and assemble innovative modular and custom solutions for internal transport systems worldwide, enabling quick and efficient processing of vegetables and fruits, among other products. Our clients are growers in greenhouse horticulture. It's challenging for them to manage cultivation and reliable food supply, with a lower level of labor available. There's a bright and healthy future in greenhouse horticulture as open-field agriculture is unpredictable due to many factors outside one's control. Cultivating under glass offers many advantages. You can harvest for longer periods, yield per harvest is higher, and you need less water and crop protection agents because you're working in a controlled environment."

Fast and careful
The speed at which products must go from harvest to store shelves requires efficiency in harvesting, sorting, packaging, palletizing, and tracking & tracing. "From picking in the greenhouse to so-called shed automation, growers have to do the same or more work with fewer people. Automation is therefore crucial, but the conditions are challenging. Hence, all solutions we build for the growers need to be very robust and reliable."

The question
At the same time, each situation is unique. "Every question is different, but we still aim to standardize as much as possible. That's why we work with a modular product range that can be customized for specific client needs. To ensure the solution we ultimately deliver fits the client's needs as closely as possible, you have to start by listening well. That's our main starting point. We maintain short lines of communication with our clients and understand their needs."

The systems delivered by Taks Handling Systems are heavily used in practice and must therefore be robust. They must be able to withstand impacts and be simple to operate. This can be a reason to choose the products of Murrelektronik, a German family company in automation technology that has centralized decentralization. "If someone hits a machine with a cart, it shouldn't break." It seems obvious, but the bottom line is: that downtime must be avoided as much as possible. Trucks are quickly ready to transport the products to supermarkets.

"In these processes, it's always about large volumes, and at the same time, we want our lines to be future-proof. We address this by focusing on scalability. We therefore use the same technology in machines that are used for very different products. Standardization not only provides clarity for the client but also shorter lead times."

Communication components
Taks Handling Systems has been working with solutions from Murrelektronik for years. The communication components used in the machines of Taks Handling Systems are from this manufacturer. "We seek partners who share our core values. We often say our own payoff is a 'Blueprint for Efficiency', indicating that we completely unburden our clients in their processes. The vision and products of Murrelektronik fit well with the modular and scalable approach of our program. And the products are of the right quality, allowing us to fulfill our promises to our clients. Together, we ensure the highest possible uptime of the systems and labor savings for the client. We know what we're getting, and that provides peace of mind." The relationship between the two companies is close and that's important.

Practical cooperation
A number of core products from Murrelektronik have been implemented by Taks in the development of their machines. The most important components are the modular fieldbus systems in combination with fieldbus cabling. "These modules provide the perfect interface for connecting sensors such as photocells and limit switches. This has significantly increased the efficiency of the production lines, as seamlessly integrating sensors is crucial for smooth operation."

This development did require an extra step. Taks Handling Systems had been working satisfactorily with PLC systems from Omron for a long time. Getting the solutions from these two suppliers to work together was not initially straightforward. "Both parties really made an effort for us to get this set up. But it succeeded, and we can now configure the different modules via the control platform."

Not only Taks Handling Systems itself but also their clients experience the benefits of using Murrelektronik products, Konings explains. "The scalability and flexibility of the modules mean they can be easily connected, and different configurations can be applied to their machines. The complete bus system can be connected with just one cable that combines power and communication. A minimum of cables and installation effort."

"Thanks to the wide range of module options, we, as well as our clients, can always put together the most suitable configuration for the requirements of the machines. This enables us to optimize production processes and adapt to different applications. So, you could say that these solutions have helped us increase productivity, streamline our installation processes, and enhance our flexibility. Resulting in satisfied customers."

Taks Handling Systems takes responsibility not only for the solutions for clients but also for the growth of future clients and employees. "We work closely with various educational programs in the region. It's important to introduce the future generation to the modern technology used in our food industry. By becoming well integrated into these programs, we aim to ensure students know our name and become familiar with our automation solutions. All to ensure we can continue to fuel the growth of our company with new employees and new clients!"

For more information:
Taks Handling Systems BV
Munnikenheiweg 58
4879 NG Etten-Leur
Tel: +31 (0)88 555 20 00
[email protected]

Tel: 085 22 20 282

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