Based in Denmark, Newtec develops weighing, packaging and optical sorting machines for fruit and vegetable packers. Packaging-gateway.com interviewed the company’s head of sales and market development, Thomas Heinicke, to find out more about Newtec’s high-quality solutions for fruit and vegetable packhouses.
How would you explain your brand and your product range to someone that doesn’t know Newtec?
Newtec is an almost 44-year-old company that has been developing, manufacturing and selling weighing, packing and optical sorting equipment to the fruit and vegetable industry. We deliver industry leading solutions. Today, we have delivered more than 20,000 machines into the industry, dealing in approximately 50 countries around the world.
We are servicing a broad range of customers from small family packing houses to the largest industrial factories in the world. We offer weighing machines for fresh and processed food, washed and unwashed crops, fragile and less fragile crops, product sizes from grains to grapefruits, and within portion sizes from 50g up to 25kg. It started out with weighing and packaging machines, but in the past 20 years, optical sorting has become a more and more important part of our company too.
One of the things that makes Newtec stand out of the crowd is the willingness to go the extra mile, the willingness to listen to the exact needs specified by the customer and the willingness to customise our solutions accordingly.
What value do Newtec machines add to a packhouse?
When I started with the company about 15 years ago, the founder of the company came to my office the first day and said to me: “Thomas, if somebody trusts us enough to order a machine from us, the least we can do is to make him a good one,” and I think that is a major part of the DNA in the company today.
On every single delivery, we pay the utmost respect to the product which we need to handle, doing it as gently as possible, delivering the required speed to the customer and of course also on having an extremely high accuracy in the weigh mass.
Can you explain the ways that Newtec’s technology optimises and improves your customers’ production?
Over the years, the machines have become more and more advanced, with more features, software and intelligence built into the machines today. For example, we have developed a software system that we call WebServices. It’s a software system that we offer together with the machinery to give our customers in the packhouses the ability to completely monitor everything that goes on around the Newtec machine and to secure best practice in product optimisation. It’s an open system where the customers can put in a lot of data, meaning they can get full traceability on what they do, which is becoming a more and more important issue in the food industry today.
Our weighing machines are known for being extremely accurate, resulting in a minimum giveaway and an improved bottom line. Lately, we have also put great effort into making sure we can comply with all of the requirements of Industry 4.0, meaning that our machines are now fully able to be integrated to all other machines in the production line. This means that our machines can communicate with the rest of the production line and thereby optimise the whole workflow in the packhouse.
How do you successfully integrate single machines into already existing lines?
This is something that we do almost on a daily basis. A lot of the business today is replacement business, where long-lasting Newtec customers have had one of our machines for years and are now ready to replace these with new machines. We see that it’s becoming more important for our customers to increase the number of products that they can handle in the same space as before, so we typically move them from older, existing machines to faster and more advanced models while also incorporating more flexibility into the system.
How do your machines contribute to a sustainable approach to fruit and vegetable processing?
If we look at what we do on the optical sorting machines (we specialise on potatoes and carrots here), the accuracy that we can deliver definitely helps reduce food waste. We can grade the products with such accuracy that the customer can make a decision on where it makes the most sense to use each individual potato or carrot. Even the vegetables that are taken out as waste can be graded to such high accuracy that we can even grade the waste. Therefore, the food that before was thrown out can be used for industrial purposes and not just go to waste.
Also, on the packaging side, we focus a lot on using less material. We are very aware of all the debates around the world today about less plastic. This is, of course, something that is important to us. We work with that together with our partners and we are in the process right now of developing certain packaging machines with a focus on using less material, so we absolutely have to follow in that direction as well.
How do you approach post-sales assistance and/or training?
A very important part of the Newtec brand is that it’s important you are always there. We are in an industry where our customers in many cases work around the clock. We have many customers that must supply big deliveries for, say, the Christmas sale, therefore it is essential for a business like ours that we have a superb service backup. We have designated service technicians that we can send around the world when necessary. With our software system WebServices, we also have the ability today to connect the machines to the internet so that our Newtec After Sales Team can service machines all over the world from Newtec headquarters. We are also hosting seminars for our dealers, service technicians and for customers who wish to come. These are normally two, three or four-day events where we plan the necessary training on the specific machines in question.
We sell spare parts 365 days a year if necessary because we need to respect the working conditions for our customers and be there when they need us. Again, it’s also part of the Newtec DNA that if you have a problem with one of our machines, we fix it and stay on it until it’s fixed.