Manufacturers, packaging companies, retailers, government authorities and consumers... we all struggle to meet the challenges of sustainability. Things need to improve – that much is clear. But how? We set out to find answers in the ‘jungle of sustainability’. In the first part of this series, we talk to Chris Bruijnes, managing director of the Kennisinstituut Duurzaam Verpakken (Research Institute for Sustainable Packaging), who advocates an integrated approach above all.
What drives... Jan van Diepenbeek
When you think of the word ‘passion’, a job at a packaging company may not be the first thing that springs to mind. That is, until our staff talk about what motivates them. Take Jan van Diepenbeek, Head of our Technical Services in Veghel. He’s very enthusiastic about the robot technologies we use in our production lines.
What exactly do you do at Vetipak?
“Together with a team of six technicians and an engineer, I’m responsible for our machinery in Veghel. We have a number of advanced packaging lines that use a lot of robot technology. Our main specialisation is in counting technology, which is the machine component that ensures the right quantity of products is packaged per unit, such as the number of sweets in a package. We’re also leading the way in cartoning technology, for example with our octagonal Celebrations party packaging.”
What does a typical day look like for your team?
“Our day usually begins with prioritisation and work distribution to ensure that everyone starts on the right task in the right place. We make thorough preparations together so that we have the right parts and tools with us. On occasion, we will need to travel elsewhere to make a repair. We also focus on developing new techniques and improving the existing lines.”
“Technical insight alone is no longer
sufficient for working here”
Jan van Diepenbeek,
Head of Technical Services
What's the best thing about your work?
“The complexity of our technologies, which has increased enormously in recent years. Having technical insight alone is no longer sufficient for working here. We’re frequently dealing with technologies that we’ve developed ourselves, in-house. Younger colleagues sometimes find that a little challenging, and experienced employees have to share their knowledge in the right way. At Vetipak, we prefer to do everything ourselves. Every year we develop a new machine that we build from scratch.”
And what’s your greatest challenge?
“Time and budget are always challenging factors. You also have to think ahead effectively. Most customers don’t want to invest in large orders right away when the packaging is new. They start out small and then expand, depending on the degree of success. We have to be able to anticipate this with our technology.”
Are there less enjoyable aspects to your job?
“Sometimes it takes quite a lot of effort to find the answer to questions we’ve been asked. Or something doesn’t go quite the way we wanted it to. I find that disappointing, because we always aim to excel here. Time pressure can also be troublesome. For example, new lines have to be ready for production within 20 weeks, and those weeks really fly past, I can tell you!”
“We always aim to excel here”
What are you most proud of?
“Last year we replaced the outdated counting technology in a number of lines with a completely updated version that we designed and built ourselves. We had to remove all of the controls for those lines and then rebuild them from scratch. We did it, and with a huge improvement in capacity to boot! We went from 50 deposits per minute to 70.”
“I’m also very proud of our team spirit. Everyone shares the same passion for machines. Most of us started out in production and ended up becoming technicians, purely because we were interested in doing so. That makes us a very close-knit team. And it says a lot about the Vetipak spirit that one of our technicians has recently returned after being away for three years. We have a lot of time for each other, and we’re only satisfied when we achieve the ultimate end result.”
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The latest news.
Navigating the ‘jungle of sustainability’ - Part 1: Chris Bruijnes, KIDV (Dutch Research Institute for Sustainable Packaging)
Strict protocol to prevent corona-contamination
Now the coronavirus has also reached the Netherlands, it’s time for extra awareness. Therefor all Vetipak factories have taken precautionary measures. In this blog we update you on our protocol.