Bringing fruit and vegetables to the market is a complex business. The harvest is just the first in a long series of steps involving not only transportation but also sorting, weighing and packaging, to ensure top-quality produce reaches the end consumer in perfect condition. This requires very careful, yet high-speed handling. Danish engineering concern Newtec specialises in machinery which automates these processes. The company attributes its success to its ability to look both backwards and forwards in relation to partnership and innovation.
“Newtec has developed into a strong brand around the world, thanks to our ability to build longterm customer and partner relationships, a large number of which date back many years, and our forward-looking approach to development and innovation,” highlights marketing and communications lead Maria Birch Sterregård. “Of course, this would not have been possible without our highly-skilled and efficient workshop team.”
Established in 1976 in the garage of founder Gunnar Petersen, Newtec Machinery quickly developed strong expertise in the area of automation and intelligence, and upgraded its own production facility. Today Newtec comprises of Newtec, Newtec Engineering and Newtec Holding, has subsidiaries in the UK and in China, and focuses on helping its customers to automate their own processes. The company specialises in weighing, sorting and packing machinery for the fruit and vegetable industry and for convenience foods. High-accuracy weighing equipment was Newtec’s first area of specialism and is today still its key focus. Nevertheless, its sorting machinery is increasingly in demand with customers looking for high-quality, reliable systems. The company has also achieved huge success with its new high-speed container filling machine, which was launched in 2018. “What truly differentiates our new filling machine from the competition is its versatility; it can handle many different types of containers and products,” explains Ms Sterregård. “In one day, you can run three different products and containers, and the time required to change tools is minimal.
It can fill up to 100 containers per minute and yet still treats products very gently and is therefore suitable for fragile and delicate produce.” Packaging is currently a very hot topic in relation to its environmental impact, and Newtec’s new packaging machinery is capable of filling not only plastic containers but also sustainable options such as cardboard punnets. “Our equipment is designed to handle different materials,” Ms Sterregård underlines. “We are well prepared and ready to deal with emerging and future sustainability related developments.”
Other innovation over recent years includes new grading machinery, which offers smoother handling of carrots and potatoes. “This has been another major success,” confirms head of research Bjarke Jørgensen. “We introduced our first grader in 1997; it used artificial intelligence, so even back then, we were way ahead of our time. Entering new fields at an early stage is one of our real strengths. We have an in-house laboratory with eight staff who concentrate on developing new technologies. The grading of produce is a real issue for our clients, and hyper-spectral imaging is set to become a key development in this area; we are currently working on a number of different and very innovative solutions.”
Newtec’s products are distributed via a dealer network, which serves end customers – generally pack houses. “Our dealers are our ambassadors,” stresses Ms Sterregård. Headquartered in Odense, and with representation in over 40 countries, Newtec is typically looking ahead and exploring new territories. Africa and Asia are areas for growth; the company has high expectations of the Chinese market and has just appointed dealers in India and Japan. “We are a strong global brand; clients trust our name and reputation,” Mr Jørgensen says. “The quality of our machinery is unparalleled, as is our installation service. Customers can automate their processes at any level they choose, making us a true partner.” Newtec’s long-term strategy in respect of existing long-standing relationships and forward-thinking innovation has clearly paid off. “2018 and 2019 were record years,” Ms Sterregård sums up.
“We have a lot in the pipeline for 2020; we plan to focus more on the convenience market, as well as general product development and innovation. Ultimately, meeting the ever-changing needs of our end customers is our priority.”