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GEA Group Invests in Production Capacity for Confectionery Equipment

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GEA Group Invests in Production Capacity for Confectionery Equipment

GEA Group Invests in Production Capacity for Confectionery Equipment
March 13
12:42 2014

The GEA Group is setting the standard – with a multi-million euro investment in a new technology center and the production capacity for vertical packaging and confectionery equipment (in Weert, NL). Goal: To create further growth for the Group and the Segment by expanding the production site and increasing its capacity.

The focus lies on the construction of a new technology and training center, taking the GEA Group one step further towards expanding its leading position as a system provider in the food industry.

“We have experienced strong growth over the last few years,” explains Harrie Neijnens, Vice President of Technology and Site Manager. “We’d reached the limits of our capacity. At the same time, our technologies for the food industry hold a substantial growth potential. To be able to grow further as a company we needed to create more space at our site, too.” The GEA Group has defined the food industry as a strategic area of growth. As these plans are in accordance with this direction, GEA Group enabled the investment of around two million euros for these expansions. It wasn’t long until the project moved from the planning stages in August 2013 to the commencement of building operations at the end of 2013. At the heart of building operations was the construction of a new technology center with modern facilities, all of which can be shown to the customer as part of a live demonstration, incorporating flow packers as well as lollipop production equipment and sugar cube lines that make up the core business of this plant.

“The technology center is an integral part of our work,” says Harrie Neijnens. “It’s important to us that our customers can learn about and profit from our wealth of experience by coming into direct contact with our products. We allow them to get hands on with our machines and see them live in action – not simply on paper – so that they can get to know what equipment suits their needs before ordering. This is embodied by our motto: Test before you invest.” A fantastic way to fuse the GEA values of responsibility and excellence.

The GEA SmartPacker will play a central role in the technology center and is targeting optimal results in the area of Vertical Flow Packaging. “Demand in this area is particularly strong,” explains Carla Verheijen, Product Manager for the GEA SmartPacker. “Initial requests came from the Benelux countries, then from across Europe and now they’re coming in from across the globe. The market has grown considerably, given that the GEA SmartPacker can be used to pack a wide range of products such as fresh and deep-frozen meat, fish, vegetables and potatoes, cheese, salad and even confectionery.”

As well as the GEA SmartPacker, the new technology center will also display machines that mould and package lollipops. “This wasn’t possible in the old technology center due to limited space,” says Carla Verheijen. “Now the range of products we manufacture on-site has become much more diverse, meaning that we can reach a larger client base, whose members can take the opportunity to come and let our products win them over.”

The technology center will be supplemented by a new training center, with enough space for 50 square metres of state-of-the-art training rooms. The training center is affiliated with the GEA Academy, which holds training sessions for employees, customers and service providers of the segment and trains them to use GEA products.

Besides the building of a new technology center, other areas of the plant are also being expanded. “Looking to the future, we’ll be structuring renovation work in such a way that streamlines the production process – meaning we can produce higher quantities at a greater pace,” explains Harrie Neijnens. “What’s more, everything happens under one roof now – from the development of a product right through its assembly – meaning we can make better use of our capacities. We’d like to pass on this efficiency to our customers by delivering products to them faster than ever before.”

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