“We had an undiscovered treasure.” Marc Wohlbold, Production Project Manager at VAN HEES, helped us to unearth the treasure. There was also no need for him to go on a long search for meat production suppliers either. The gold lay, so to speak, in the waste bins; more precisely, in 20-cubic-metre container presses, in which all packaging waste from production was disposed of unsorted and uncompressed. Not once did the recycling service provider pay anything for this material. There was also a process that had also become far too familiar at the VAN HEES head office in Walluf/Hessen: the packaging waste from production and dispatch was transported loose in 1.1- cubic-metre containers from the production facility. The material remained uncompressed, as a container with 15 kilos of waste was then pushed outside – a long-established, well-worn route, as the filling plant and blending plant at VAN HEEF in Walluf are on the 1st floor, meaning that the 30 containers were transported by lift. That’s a total of 12,480 lift journeys every year. 15 minutes to empty the lift, including waiting for it, accumulating to 175 hours per month, which “roughly equates to employing one person for one year just to remove waste,” according to Wohlbold‘s calculations. He discovered this was absurd, shortly after he took up his position with the successful family-owned medium-sized business.
Marc Wohlbold directed the company’s focus towards the issue of waste, “probably not the most fascinating subject,” he says, “but one that has huge savings potential”. Especially when dealing with as much waste as VAN HEES. The company’s 4000 products are manufactured in Walluf according to 1400 recipes, and all are packed either in Big Bags or sacks. Given the raw materials, annual waste volumes are huge: 113 tonnes of Big Bags, 90 tonnes of film, 90 tonnes of cardboard and 60 tonnes of paper. Wohlbold‘s first step in waste management was to get the company to begin separating into different categories. VAN HEES then switched to a different disposal company and immediately received money from its recyclable materials. The third stage of waste evolution was to optimise the internal operating process and to consider installing baling presses in production, so that only compressed 400-kilo bales would be transported by the company. Marc Wohlbold looked at three manufacturers and put one market player’s machine to the test. However, this baling press failed the practical test, so in 2012, VAN HEES opted for an HSM V-Press 860 S. A “sincere and convincing” purchase dialogue with HSM, “very good workmanship”, “obvious good quality” and, not least, the fact of being “Made in Germany”, were the reasons for the choice, according to Wohlbold. “We wanted something that was robust and smart.” HSM customized the vertical baling press to the new customer’s requirements and equipped the machine with a hydraulic oil that is permitted for the food industry. VAN HEES also had a machine with a vertical sliding door for filling, simply because they are quicker to close than a side door, says Wohlbold. Finally, VAN HEES ordered an S version of the HSM V-Press 860 with a reinforced press chamber, as Walluf generates large volumes of plastic (polypropylene).
Five years after the initial introduction of the HSM V-Press 860 S at VAN HEES, “this machine is still running perfectly,” reports Wohlbold. “It has never really given us any problems.” Furthermore it is put to the test since compressing large bags is no easy task. In any case, the material is expansive and the residues are very aggressive: salts, acetate, flavourings, etc. Wohlbold: “Regular maintenance, a deep clean once a year, and on it goes.” VAN HEES started with one baling press; it now has five HSM V-Press 860s in service. Three in the blending plant, one in the filling plant and one in goods-in/goods-issue for cardboard. There are also two manually operated mobile HSM V-Press 60 baling presses that ensure dispatch remains clean, neat and tidy. Wallruf is happy with the manufacturer’s service. If we make a service call, someone from HSM is on site no more than two days later. “That said, we haven’t had any breakdowns yet,” says Wohlbold.
Employees soon made friends with their new powerful machines. People eyed them with suspicion to begin with. However, it only took a few days for employees to appreciate the advantages of the baling presses, reports Wohlbold. The fact that the HSM vertical baling presses also took up such little space in the VAN HEES production facility also boosted their reputation.
The presses at VAN HEES churn out easily marketable bales of 320 to 420 kilograms in weight. Since a bale only needs to be transported every couple of days, Wohlbold has calculated that the company is saving 12,480 lift journeys per year. Added to that is the revenue, which – depending on market conditions – currently averages at 90 euros/tonne for the Big Bag bales. VAN HEES either sells the recycling material itself, or uses a trading company, depending on the quote. With Big Bag recycling material, VAN HEES has calculated a ROI of 9 months for the press and 12 months for less expensive recycling materials, Wohlbold says that these results pertain purely to marketing and take no account of the lift travel time and personnel costs saved.
Marc Wohlbold’s boss at head office is also pleased with the new developments in waste management. Expectations have ultimately been exceeded and when prices are good, VAN HEES even earns money from production waste, says the Project Manager. The Walluf concept could therefore also be of interest to other production facilities within the Group, he says.
And if Walluf upgrades, two more HSM baling presses would be purchased to centralise the collection of recyclables and make savings on other paths. Marc Wohlbold concludes that people are now thinking about the issue of waste, not least because of experiences with processing compressed recycling materials. The treasure has been discovered and unearthed.
„With the use of the baling presses in the plant, we are producing bales of recycling material which are easy to recycle and will recoup our investment quickly. When market prices are good, we earn money from our waste. Optimised processes are an added extra.”
Marc Wohlbold, Production Project Manager VAN HEES GmbH
VAN HEES GmbH operates on three continents, specializing in additives and seasoning blends in meat production. The company employs 400 people.
VAN HEES GmbH‘s main plant in Walluf/Hessen generates large volumes of plastic and cardboard waste. Waste is transported uncompressed in the company; transport costs are considerable. The process is big and the workload substantial.
VAN HEES decided to compress waste on site in production and only to transport bales ready for sale on the premises. Since 2012, the company has purchased a total of five vertical HSM V-Press 860 and two HSM V-Press 60 baling presses. The presses process big bags (polypropylene), film, cardboard and paper.
- The vertical baling presses compress waste on site, thus reducing in-house transportation to a fraction of the previous workload. 12,480 lift journeys and the cost to employee a single person to remove the waste have been saved.
- The baling presses cope well with the difficult material for pressing (big bags) and are not compromised by aggressive residual contents, such as salts and flavourings.
- VAN HEES produces bales of around 400 kilos, which are easy to sell.
- When the raw material prices are good, VAN HEES earns money from its waste.
- Some of the baling presses have been in service for five years without any breakdown.
- With some recyclable materials, a baling press achieves its ROI after just nine months.
- The new waste recycling methods are also giving rise to some rethinking in other areas of the business (e.g. energy).
Sign up for Volume Reduction Technology E-Updates
Recent Volume Reduction Technology e-newsletters
Read our last “Volume Reduction Technology” e-newsletter campaigns here:
HSM develops, produces and sells products and systems for compressing materials as well as for cutting and shredding paper and electronic data media. Hermann Schwelling Maschinenbau GmbH + Co. KG was founded in 1971 in Salem and started a year later with the sale of the first baling press for cardboard. Like many other successful companies in the world, ...