Oerlemans Plastics, with production plants in Genderen and Giessen, Netherlands, is part of OPACKGROUP. Its main business is the manufacture of flexible packaging film and foil for a variety of uses and it has a customer portfolio that stretches around the world in the food, non-food, wholesale, agriculture, and horticulture sectors.
The company, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022, originally began life in 1960s with Sinus Oerlemans supplying foil for agricultural use – but the international oil crisis of the early 1970s gave the company reason to establish the extrusion business for which is it best known, and today the Group boasts seven separate but integrated enterprises: Oerlemans Plastics, which itself has two locations in Genderen and Giessen, Plasthill, Perfon, Oosterwolde Plastic Industrie, Fardem Packaging, Flexpak and Stempher.
The Group employs 760 people, has 88 extruders, 35 flexo presses and more than 100 converting machines that all contribute to a total annual production of 80m kg of customer-specific, high-quality film, foil, and paper packaging – no small operation! Heading up Oerlemans Plastics at the Genderen and Giessen plants is Managing Director Johan Kranenbroek, who explained: “The company philosophy has always been one of top quality both in product and customer service and this is borne out by the variety of work we do for such a cross section of industry. The products we manufacture have, in many cases, very specific requirements that demand tight tolerance in production.”
With surface treatment such an inherent part of the extrusion process, Oerlemans was keen to ensure top specification corona stations were fitted to its two new Alpine lines at Giessen. “Although we have some legacy Vetaphone units within the Group, Oerlemans Plastics’ experience had always been with another brand, and it was only after lengthy discussions with Dirk den Haese of Vetaphone Benelux, that we began to investigate the alternative technology available,” he added.
Part of the problem with the existing corona treaters was the poor access for cleaning and maintenance, which was having a knock-on effect on production efficiency. “The design of the Vetaphone corona unit, with its slide-in slide-out cassette makes inspection and cleaning easy – in fact it can be done offline without stopping the extruder. This ease of use, combined with the consistent quality of treatment and reliability have made a significant difference to our operation.”
Extruding at the Giessen plant only began in 2022, but the size and scope of the site will allow Oerlemans to develop its potential to the maximum, with the new extrusion lines producing innovative barrier films. The Vetaphone corona units play an important role in this process with their unique and efficient features and long working life. “The quick availability of spare parts and good support service were key elements in Oerlemans’ decision to choose Vetaphone as a supplier,” he added.
If high-quality has always been a mantra at Oerlemans, the company also views sustainability as crucial to the future-proofing of the industry, while being aware that development is moving fast in a complex landscape. “Oerlemans Packaging Group is actively involved as a knowledge partner in various management positions both within and outside the industry. With the significant investment in R&D and our production facilities we believe that we take our slogan ‘The sustainable innovator’ very seriously,” he said.
Sustainability and environmental management go hand-in-hand, so while ISO 14001 certified since 2007, Oerlemans goes above and beyond to limit the Group’s impact. “We strive to minimise the use of environmentally unfriendly substances as much as possible, and follow the safety standards for these substances meticulously,” he added. Oerlemans Plastics is also certified by EcoVadis, a cooperation of leading companies that gives sustainability high priority by improving the environmental and social practices of companies.
In a Group that places such a high priority on quality and the environment, it is essential that all elements of production reflect a ‘best possible’ approach. The list of technology manufacturers chosen by Oerlemans is a statement of intent, and Vetaphone is proud to be a partner in this process.