The Dutch company of Modesta, which provides Modesta Filters smart air technologies to onion companies, recently teamed up with a new factory Dutch company, family-owned MSP Onions, which has proven invaluable.
“MSP Onions boasts the largest fully automatic onion processing line in the world,” a Modesta release said. “Thanks to Modesta Filters’ smart air technologies, dust is reduced to a minimum. Residual flows are disposed of efficiently and completely dust-free. This leads to minimal downtime and wear and tear of machines, a cleaner product, and a pleasant working environment. Modesta was involved in the new factory from the very beginning and could therefore advise extensively on dust handling and fire risks.”
The release continued, “Lindert Moerdijk, sales director at MSP Onions, grew up in the agricultural sector. His father Lijn and uncles Jan and Rinus founded MSP Onions in 1983. They pass the baton to their sons Lennart, Lindert, and Benny.
“This new generation knew that the old way of working no longer sufficed. The increasingly stringent requirements in terms of quality and traceability, but also the tight labor market convinced the Moerdijk family that automation was the future. That’s why they invested in a fully automated onion plant. The new hall features 16 sorting lines that can process 160 onions per second, a fully automated storage shed, a packaging line that can handle 120 tons per hour, and an advanced track-and-trace system.”
Because a production plant like MSP’s onion factory produces a fair amount of dust and residual flows, Lindert knew from the start he would need to pair up with an expert in the field. “We were already using a Modesta filter installation for our existing production facility and liked working with it very much, so the choice was actually quite easy,” Lindert recalled. His technical service colleague, Maurice Nieuwenhuijse, added, “Modesta’s filter systems are robust and suitable for handling lots of dust and onion skins. They’re easy to use and require little maintenance.” Another advantage is the fact that Modesta works exclusively with filter sleeves, which have a longer service life and durability than cartridge filters.
Modesta was present from the very first meeting in the design phase of the new factory building, explained Sjoerd van Diepen, technical sales advisor at Modesta.
“Being involved from such an early stage is a great advantage because dust extraction and handling of residual flows are often underestimated. If we’re included only after important decisions about the processing line have been made, it’s much more complicated to come up with solutions,” van Diepen said.
In this case, Modesta helped make important design decisions, considering factors like the prevailing wind direction and compartmentalization. Those themes are crucial, because, as Sjoerd put it, “You’ll never win from mother nature.”
He referred to situations in which the wind blows directly towards an entrance door. “The airflow inside a factory should always go from clean to dirty,” he said. “That way, you avoid an imbalance between the areas of receiving and packaging.”
Modesta ended up providing a solution at almost every point in the production process, from receiving to packaging. The result is a total of 180 000 m3/h (105 943 cfm) of air technology. The residual dirt from the onion toppers ends up in closed scraper conveyors totaling a length of no less than 160 meters (525 feet), which carry it to one of the two stationary compactors. This closed method prevents the dust and dirt from spreading throughout the factory.
MSP Onions’ plant started running in mid-2020, and the two companies are currently making improvements.
“It’s normal that final touches need to be made. For this project, we had no frame of reference,” said Lindert. “Of our initial plan, 95 percent has been a good estimate; the other 5 percent we still need to tweak a bit.”
Because MSP Onions is the first onion packer to use automatic box transport, the two companies discovered dust extraction is needed there to prevent sensor failures.
In the meantime, MSP Onions has served as a reference for other onion businesses that are considering Modesta’s solutions multiple times. “Our clean factory floor speaks for itself: as soon as you set foot inside our premises, you can see and feel that it’s a dust-free and pleasant here, despite the large volumes we process every day,” says Lindert. “I feel assured the dust extraction is well managed. We, as MSP Onions, don’t have to worry about it. That’s the most important thing to us.”
To read the full article, go to: https://www.modestafilters.com/updates/cleaning-the-worlds-most-high-tech-onion-factory.
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