Project: HAK, The Netherlands

Fully automated pouch handling system

Project Hak stazakkelijn

The challenge

For years, HAK was known for its vegetables and legumes in jars. But because consumer behavior and preferences change, HAK decided to expand the range with a stand-up pouch: the ‘Zak van HAK’.

After a successful market introduction, HAK decided to produce the stand-up pouches entirely in-house. The challenge was to design an efficient and fully automated handling system for various packaging sizes on a limited floor space (only 350 m2!).

Location The Netherlands, Giessen
Product handling pouches Product Stand-up pouch
Product handling Retort supplier Steritech, ⌀ 1600
USP Robot loader/unloader combination

The solution

Our solution at HAK consist of only 1 robot that fulfills the function of both the loader and the unloader. The robot cycle has been programmed by Lan in such a way that there can never be any contamination between sterilised and non-sterilised products, so food safety is 100% guaranteed.

Dealing with different pouch sizes

We have designed an extremely flexible handling system for the HAK pouch. This is reflected in user-friendly exchange systems for, among other things, the stoppers on the conveyor belt that aligns the pouches before they are placed on the formation belt. And easy-to-handle exchange parts for the robot tool with an adjusted positioning of the suction cups.

Special tray

Due to the diversity of pouches, Lan has developed a special tray in collaboration with the retort supplier, in which a robot can load both large and small stand-up pouches.

Check out our expertise with retort pouches
Zak van Hak productielijn

Ronald van Helfteren, technical project leader at HAK:

“Until a few years ago, HAK’s expertise lay in producing vegetables in glass jars. Producing stand-up pouches ourselves was completely new to us. From the start of the project we therefore had good consultation with the suppliers involved. It was important to bring in the necessary knowledge and skills. Lan Handling Technologies has responded very well to this.

The project leader and engineers from Lan took us step by step into the how and why of certain choices in the field of pouch handling. Important for us, because the actions before and after the retort are crucial in the production process. We also benefited from the good cooperation between Lan and the supplier of the retorts in the design of the trays (the stainless steel plate on which the stand-up pouches are located during sterilization).”

HAK about Lan
"Producing stand-up pouches ourselves was completely new to us. The project leader and engineers from Lan took us step by step into the how and why of certain choices in the field of pouch handling. "
Ronald van Helfteren, technical project leader at HAK

Next steps?

“At HAK we are constantly optimizing and further developing (new) products. We now look, for example, at the material from which the stand-up pouch is made; can this be even more sustainable? And what impact does this have on the production process and handling systems? Small changes can have major consequences. We will also start with the  implementation of preventive maintenance. We are happy to take the data from the Lan pouch handling systems into account.

HAK about Lan
"Producing stand-up pouches ourselves was completely new to us. The project leader and engineers from Lan took us step by step into the how and why of certain choices in the field of pouch handling. "
Ronald van Helfteren, technical project leader at HAK
Zak van Hak productielijn

Ronald van Helfteren, technical project leader at HAK:

“Until a few years ago, HAK’s expertise lay in producing vegetables in glass jars. Producing stand-up pouches ourselves was completely new to us. From the start of the project we therefore had good consultation with the suppliers involved. It was important to bring in the necessary knowledge and skills. Lan Handling Technologies has responded very well to this.

The project leader and engineers from Lan took us step by step into the how and why of certain choices in the field of pouch handling. Important for us, because the actions before and after the retort are crucial in the production process. We also benefited from the good cooperation between Lan and the supplier of the retorts in the design of the trays (the stainless steel plate on which the stand-up pouches are located during sterilization).”

Next steps?

“At HAK we are constantly optimizing and further developing (new) products. We now look, for example, at the material from which the stand-up pouch is made; can this be even more sustainable? And what impact does this have on the production process and handling systems? Small changes can have major consequences. We will also start with the  implementation of preventive maintenance. We are happy to take the data from the Lan pouch handling systems into account.

Thijs van Gerven - Lan Handling

Thijs van Gerven

Technical Sales Manager

Lan Tilburg

Our facility

Nieuwe Atelierstraat 9, Berkel-Enschot, The Netherlands