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Interview with Weighpack, the specialist in packaging for fasteners

Published: - 02/05/2017 Author: Di Maggio, EIC
Interview with Weighpack, the specialist in packaging for fasteners

From its headquarters in The Hague (Netherlands), Weighpack exports its packaging lines to customers from the fasteners industry in the whole world.
We interviewed the Commercial Director Edward van der Ploeg, that was able to give us an interesting point of view on the fasteners sector and on his specific field - packaging automation - which is nowadays particularly challenged by innovations brought by Industry 4.0.

Weighpack's packaging lines can be found in several countries. Which are the most receptive markets for you? 
Two months ago we have achieved a new milestone. With the sale of two machines to a nail and steel fibre producer in Egypt, we now have reached 50 countries around the world where we have customers. Because of the neighbouring location and the type of (steel and automotive) industry, Germany has been our most receptive market since the early beginning.

Which country represents the next frontier, in your opinion?
We can see a strong upcoming business in the Poland area.

Is your business particularly competitive? What makes you different?
We are specialists in a very particular part of the packaging industry. Weighpack is the sole specialist in the world who is only focusing on hardware products and fasteners in particular. We do not supply machines for the food, pharmaceutical or diary market, only hardware products are the centre of our universe. Furthermore we design and build packaging lines with an ‘all out of one hand philosophy’. This means that all machines are built in-house. All our lines have the same control units, motors, switches, pneumatics etc. All individual modules are equipped with the same HMI touch screen controls and working by following the same method of operation through the entire line. By connecting all modules in an Ethernet network, we can control the complete line from 1 central PC station. When equipped with servo motors, all mechanical movements are executed by the click of the computer mouse. The 'all out of one hand principle' allows for the shortest start-up time possible. Within 3 weeks after installation the complete line
can be fully operational.

How is the fastener market now, how would you define the current industrial situation?
The fastener market has been stabile for already many years. You will not find too much hardware producing industry but a fair number of distributors. Most of the distributors now would be buying their fasteners outside of the EU, already packed. However the trend is to buy in bulk and to repack locally into small boxes.

Weighpack has more than 40 years of experience in the industry. How did market demands evolve and how did you adapt to these changes?
Weighpack started 43 years ago by selling stand-alone weighing machines for screws and nails. The HMI in the early days was not more than the footswitch of the operator.
By now, Weighpack has adapted machines to the ever increasing demand for higher capacity, accuracy and efficiency by developing complete packaging systems that are PC controlled and can be connected to an ERP – SAP or Warehouse Management System.

Which is your best-selling machine/line?
Although we design and manufacture custom built solutions, our configuration with Multi-Head weigher, box former and closer, labelling system and palletiser is the most sold one.

Did innovations connected to Industry 4.0 affect your production, or will they have an impact in the near future?
Especially the connection to the integrated company software and the exchanging of statistics and production data (for example through cloud services) will force us to invest more in the recruitment and training of IT and other software engineers.

Which trade shows do you usually attend as exhibitors?
The wire show, Fastener Fairs, Fachpack and National Industrial Fastener & Mill Supply Expo.

What do you see in Weighpack's future? Which technologies are you currently working on?

In the future we see more complete fully automated production plants. At the moment we are developing faster and more accurate machines to be controlled by PC and maybe through Internet or cloud services.

In fact your company motto is Thinking Ahead...
The complete version is ‘Thinking ahead in the interest of customer's customer'.