‘We preserve nature’s precious gifts’ has been the slogan adopted by ARDO B.V. for more than forty years. The Zundert-based company is Europe’s largest frozen fruit and vegetable producer. Van Beek has supplied Ardo with a closed system of three trough conveyors, and in doing so has helped ensure that the red cabbage retains its taste, colour and shape while it is processed into a frozen vegetable product. With special facilities – such as CIP lines, flat-body ball valves and bead-blasted finishes – the red cabbage can be hygienically conveyed, while ensuring optimum cleanability of the screw conveyors.
Within just a few hours of picking, Ardo processes the red cabbage into a packet of frozen vegetables ready to eat in a matter of minutes. The process starts by removing the outermost leaves, after which the red cabbage is cut and blanched. Blanching involves bringing the red cabbage quickly to the boil for a few minutes. This deactivates the enzymes naturally present in the red cabbage and prevents discoloration. The blanching process also destroys harmful microorganisms, and stops leafy vegetables from shrinking during the freezing process.
After blanching, three TR400 trough conveyors convey the red cabbage to a mixer further upstream. Juices, herbs and pieces of apple are added to the red cabbage in the mixer, after which the entire mixture is cooled down. A moulding machine then divides it into neat packages that are immediately frozen.
Rode kool schotelPaul Wortel, Manager Investments at Ardo BV in Zundert explains why the company opted for screw conveyors from Van Beek: “The advantage of these trough conveyors is that they have lids, so they form a closed system. This means that moisture and juice is retained, which also helps retain taste and heat. If we used an ordinary conveyor belt, we would lose these important elements of our product. Choosing Van Beek was an easy decision, as we simply opted for the specialist in the field of screw conveyance. What’s more, I’ve had positive experience of working with Van Beek in the past.”
The screw conveyor systems are manufactured in accordance with EHEDG guidelines. The trough conveyors are also equipped with CIP lines, and the drain for draining off the cleaning agent is designed with a flat-body ball valve. There are therefore no ‘dead product zones’. By bead-blasting the conveyors, the conveyors can be optimally cleaned to the level of microorganisms. It goes without saying that the trough conveyors meet machine safety standards and are fitted with the requisite guards and safety switches.
Paul Wortel adds: “Van Beek measured, designed and installed everything on site within a really short space of time. It was great working with them and the 3D engineering made it possible to see in advance how the three conveyors could be integrated into the existing installation. This was done by connecting the three conveyors at different heights. By discussing the 3D drawings in detail, we were able to find out exactly what the system would look like, so there were no surprises when it came to installing the conveyors. The machines now work to our complete satisfaction”.
The Ardo Group (www.ardo.com) is the largest frozen fruit and vegetable producer in Europe, recording sales of around € 650 million and supplying more than 600,000 tons of frozen fruit and vegetables each year. The Group operates 14 production and packing facilities in Europe and has sales offices in most European countries, exporting from Belgium to countries inside and outside Europe.
Ardo’s mission is to preserve the gifts of nature as purely as possible for its customers and consumers. In order to reach this goal, it applies integrated production methods and quality monitoring with great respect for nature and the environment. Ardo controls the entire production chain, from the selection of seed to packing and distribution. It is therefore in a position to offer a broad and high-quality range of products to its clients in retail, food service and industry. At ARDO B.V.’s production facilities in Zundert, fresh (leafy) vegetables are processed into frozen vegetables and various packing operations are performed, all using state-of-the-art automated lines. The Zundert site also accommodates the Dutch sales office.