CUSTOMER STORY

Jonker & Schut maximizes quality and eliminates downtime

As a leading contract blender for the dairy sector, Jonker & Schut needs to be able to guarantee its customers high-quality, homogeneously mixed powders in a wide range of batch sizes, while also ensuring a continuous flow of product into its filling and packaging lines. To serve customers who require high-volume powder mixing, the company found the perfect solution: not one, but two 60,000L Nauta® mixers from Hosokawa Micron. Thanks to this parallel set-up and the reliability of the equipment, the company has maximized the output and eliminated downtime, according to Gert Weijland from Jonker & Schut.

Originally founded as a freight forwarder and customs clearance specialist in 1987, today Jonker & Schut serves as a logistics hub for its customers by offering a complete package of services for powdered dairy products and organic goods. These services are based on four pillars: storage, production, transportation, and customs handling. “We don’t actually buy or sell powders, because trust is very important in our business,” explains Gert Weijland, Production Manager. “Our customers need to feel 100% safe to share their recipes with us. That’s why we want to remain a neutral player in the dairy powder market.”

Weijland is responsible for the production activities, which means the blending and/or repacking and bulking. “By making use of our facilities, including our equipment and our people, our customers have flexible access to capacity and labour,” he continues. “Our company strategy is to focus on long-term stability, and on consistently adding value by providing access to state-of-the-art technology. This enables our customers to benefit from top-class production performance without having to make the upfront investment themselves.”

Strong reputation and rapid growth

This approach is paying off. “Over the years, we’ve built up such a strong reputation that we now work for or with most of the major dairy suppliers and cooperatives. Products from our facilities are used all over Europe and beyond – as far afield as the Middle East and Asia,” states Weijland.

As a result, the company has grown rapidly in recent years: “From some 90 employees when I joined ten years ago, to around 200 nowadays. We currently have nine production sites in and around Barneveld, with a total blending capacity of over 150,000 tonnes per year,” he says.

Jonker & Schut’s success is built on offering the most suitable solution in line with each customer’s specific requirements. “That’s why we have a total of 9 different blending lines featuring various types of mixing equipment, each with their own advantages,” comments Weijland.

Ever-bigger batches

The blending lines include two Nauta mixers with a maximum capacity of 60,000 litres each. Weijland explains: “To keep pace with our customers’ needs for big and increasingly complex batches, we wanted to build a new factory with a large-scale blending line able to cope with batches of 25,000kg or more. In the initial planning stage, the two owners of Jonker & Schut contacted our existing equipment supplier, Hosokawa Micron, for advice on how to approach this.”

Eric Schop, Area Sales Manager Netherlands for Food, Feed & Pharma applications at Hosokawa Micron, summarizes Hosokawa Micron’s reasons for suggesting the Nauta mixer: “It has a proven track record of producing uniform and homogeneous mixing results. Additionally, it provides lots of flexibility in terms of product characteristics and also batch sizes, because it can run at 5% of the maximum capacity. In other words, the 60,000-litre mixer supports batches as small as 3,000litres if necessary.”

Tailored solutions

“At Jonker & Schut, they go the extra mile to help each customer by providing a tailored solution based on personal attention, expertise, flexibility, the use of innovative techniques and suggesting creative possibilities,” continues Schop. “This is very similar to our own approach at Hosokawa, which revolves around listening carefully to the customer’s requirements and viewing each project from a ‘total solution’ perspective.”

The Hosokawa Micron specialists considered the entire production line at Jonker & Schut, including the stages before and after the blending process. “The customer wanted to ensure a continuous flow of the powder processing line. Therefore, based on all our calculations in the pre-engineering phase, we suggested installing not one but two identical Nauta mixers which would be used alternately to prevent downtime during changeovers,” comments Schop. The owners of Jonker & Schut reacted positively to this proposal and gave the green light. “It was a pretty complex project, because the size of the two mixers meant that the new factory had to be built around them,” he adds.

The two 60,000L Nauta mixers at Jonker & Schut

Continuous and homogeneous mixing

“For us and our customers, the quality of the end product is very important. We’re working with recipes that could theoretically be made up of dozens of different components, and we want to be sure that all those components will be mixed uniformly and homogeneously,” states Weijland. “But we also want to work quickly and efficiently, with no downtime, because time is money in the contract business. After all, we get paid based on our output.”

“By operating two mixers in parallel, we can empty and refill the second machine while the first one is still mixing, ensuring it is ready to go as soon as the first one finishes. This minimizes changeover times and enables us to maintain a continuous flow between 6 a.m. and midnight every day, resulting in maximum efficiency,” the production manager adds.

100% uptime

Additionally, Weijland is impressed with the reliability of the Hosokawa equipment. “Both Nauta mixers are crucial in our operations. If one of them isn’t working, it directly affects our revenue model. But they have been in almost constant use for the past 8 years with 100% uptime. The fact that they have never let us down says enough about the quality of the machinery,” he says.

Routine maintenance plays a role in this, of course. “In the past we took care of all the maintenance ourselves, but over the past few years we’ve chosen to outsource the more specialized maintenance for our essential pieces of machinery. Hosokawa now performs that maintenance on its equipment during our annual shutdown weeks and has proven to be a very dependable partner in this respect,” he adds.

Factory tours

Besides their shared focus on quality and customer service, Weijland sees other similarities between Jonker & Schut and Hosokawa Micron. “Our company increasingly serves as a kind of social hub as well as a logistics hub. Our customers like to bring their own clients to our factories to see how and where the powders are produced. At 9.5 metres tall and 6 metres in diameter at the top, the two Nauta mixers are always an eye-catcher,” he comments.

“The roles were reversed when I attended the Open Day at the Hosokawa Micron factory in the Dutch town of Doetinchem recently. I was impressed by the high level of innovation and the fact that everything is designed, developed and built on-site in the Netherlands, plus the accessibility of the engineering team,” reflects Weijland. Schop echoes this, adding: “The in-house production facilities and the strong commitment to quality and R&D were two key factors that attracted me to join Hosokawa Micron two years ago.”

Turning challenges into opportunities

According to Weijland, one further similarity is that both companies are keen to be ‘partners in business’. Therefore, he is looking forward to continuing to work with Hosokawa Micron in the future: “At Jonker & Schut, we place a high value on openness and collaboration with our own customers, because solving problems together produces the best results. That’s why, in the case of a new project, I would involve the Hosokawa engineering team as early on in the development process as possible.”

“Moreover, I like the fact that Hosokawa Micron has been around for so long but continues to keep pace with the changing demands. Like all other industries, the dairy sector is affected by trends such as sustainability and changing consumer preferences. In Hosokawa Micron, we have found a dependable and trustworthy partner who can help us think about how to use technology to turn future challenges into profitable opportunities,” Weijland concludes.

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