Bühler Sortex overview of the Belgian processed vegetable market

07/06/2011 Bühler Sortex, the leading supplier of optical sorting solutions to the food industry, has long recognised the importance of Belgium as the largest European exporter of frozen vegetables. Belgium is in the unique position of having more than 12 of its leading processors located within a 15 mile radius of Staden in West Flanders. Bühler Sortex, part of the Swiss engineering group, Bühler AG of Uzwil, Switzerland, has most major Belgian processors as customers. Many of the larger groups are household names who have operations in several European countries including France, Spain, Portugal, Poland and Hungary, where they also operate SORTEX machines. Others are fiercely independent businesses built over several generations by families who began as small farmers.

These companies use SORTEX sorters in their frozen and canning processing lines, in bulk-to-bulk cleaning operations and also in their packing halls, to ensure that foreign material is removed. “Safe Food – Clean Food” is Bühler’s byword, which has enabled it to supply equipment to food plants in more than 140 Countries worldwide. Buhler Sortex Ltd. is based in London and is only four hours from Staden by car. However, in today’s demanding markets, this is often not close enough to serve these important Belgian customers.

Consequently, Bühler Sortex has recently appointed, Seppe Heyde as European Customer Service Manager to operate from the Bühler office in Mechelen. This will allow direct and immediate contact with customers in the Flemish language and also cut response times even further. Parts will be available from Mechelen within a short period. A Bühler Sortex engineer, Geert Laeremans will operate from this facility to augment the service already given by regional Service Engineer, Lionel Telliez, who is based near Lille, just 30 minutes from Staden.

Customers can be provided with Total Care Contracts to ensure that they can effectively budget both the capital and running costs of their sorters. There are different levels available from start up and close down each season, right up to the point where Bühler Sortex virtually run their machines.

Machines can be provided with Anyware software, a tool which enables Bühler to monitor the performance of sorters remotely, via an internet connection, The link can use GSM, IP network or a standard analogue telephone connection. The system has high security to ensure integrity and a safe environment. Many Belgian processors find this invaluable and use it regularly.

Bühler Sortex recognises the importance of Belgium in the vegetable industry and co-operates with companies in the development of new machines, it asks what customers want and works with them in the field to reach these goals. Bühler investment in Belgium is maintained at a high level for the benefit of all its customers. 

The West Flanders vegetable landscape, showing the D'Arta, Ardooie plant in the backgroud. The West Flanders vegetable landscape, showing the D'Arta, Ardooie plant in the backgroud.