14.02.19

J-Tec Material Handling establishes its (South-East) Asian headquarters in Rayong, Thailand

As a subsidiary of Katoen Natie, a global provider of smarter logistics and engineering solutions, J-Tec Material Handling has become an established partner for the leading players in the chemical and food industries worldwide. In order to be close to our customers and to serve them in the best possible way, we have steadily expanded internationally over the last decades. Today, J-Tec is present in Brazil, Poland, Austria, Germany and has opened a regional office in Texas, USA in 2015.

In light of our continuous goal to offer customers the most optimal service, we recently opened our Asian headquarters in Rayong, Thailand, right in the midst of one of the region’s most dynamic industrial hubs. Operating under the name J-Tec Material Handling, Ltd. and with a team of highly skilled local and international employees, J-Tec shows its commitment to the fast growing (South-East) Asian market.

Benefits for our customers

“Together with Katoen Natie, we have been active in South-East Asia for over 20 years now. The decision to establish our Asian headquarters here will definitely benefit our customers in several ways”, says Arnaud Nelissen, Sales Director J-Tec Material Handling, Ltd. “Our service level and project management performance will improve thanks to proximity to regional customers, increased knowledge of the local market and the ability to manage projects regionally. Furthermore, it will improve our competitiveness by leveraging the power of local manufacturing.”

With this new set-up, J-Tec Material Handling is confident to become an even better partner for its customers.

Contact J-Tec Material Handling, Ltd.

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  • 15.02.22
    Rivland identifies rice grain shaped hole in the US market

    A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY

    J-Tec has a longstanding track record and history with Herba Ingredients, a member of the Ebro Foods Group. Ebro is the global market leader and manufacturer of rice. Herba Ingredients is the allergen-free specialty ingredients division of the Ebro Foods Group. In the US, Ebro has a subsidiary called Riviana Foods: America’s largest processor, marketer and distributor of branded and private label rice products. Riceland provides marketing services for rice and soy beans grown by its 6,000 farmer-members in Arkansas and Missouri.

    Rivland is a successful joint venture between Riviana and Riceland, and has been for more than 30 years. Riceland is responsible for the rice flour operations and Riviana takes care of sales. The Rivland plant is located on the site of the Riceland mill in Jonesboro, AR. Although successful in US rice flours, Rivland did not participate in the market for extruded flours. Meanwhile, Herba Ingredients operates two extrusion lines for rice flour which were installed in Wormer in the Netherlands by J-Tec. While Rivland was able to import extruded flours from Herba Ingredients, the process was costly and caused extended lead times. The Rivland partners agreed that the best way forward was for Rivland to install a similar extrusion line in Jonesboro.

     

    GOAL: A NEW EXTRUSION LINE FOR THE US MARKET

    Rivland identified extruded rice flour as a strategic area for business growth. For many years, Rivland sold a pre-gelatinized rice flour under the trademark Rice-Gel® for specialized applications. Being derived from instant rice, the product had exceptional attributes but was costly to produce. The Rivland partners noticed an ongoing and growing demand for pre-gelatinized rice flours into bakery, pet, and snack applications. The market had clearly switched to extruded rice flour products for budget reasons. Given the cost and lead time to import products from Herba Ingredients and recognizing the market growth, the decision was made by the partners to install an extrusion line in the Rivland facility in Jonesboro, AR in 2019.

    Thanks to Herba Ingredients’ willingness to share their technology, the Rivland partners were able to install an exact copy of the lines used in the Herba Ingredients facility in Wormer, NL. Utilizing the experience and technical expertise gained from years of operation in Wormer, Rivland would therefore move forward cost effectively and with a high level of support.

    Considering multiple options including other locations and Greenfield construction, the partners determined that available facilities in Jonesboro made expansion in the same facility ideal for the new extrusion process. Rivland worked in close coordination with Herba Ingredients in the design and procurement phase to ensure the new US line would be an exact copy of those in use in Wormer. As part of the process, the team called on J-Tec for the integration of the line with the ultimate goal being a “turn-key” installation for immediate use and minimal commissioning time.

    SCOPE & CONCEPT

    As a total solution provider, J-Tec engaged in designing and executing this installation, tailor-made to the needs of Rivland. The J-Tec engineers were responsible for the integration of parts of the installation that were procured directly by Rivland, as well as the engineering of the appropriate bulk and intermediate storage, transport systems, safety systems and automation. The necessary utilities such as water, steam and compressed air were connected as well. The J-Tec construction supervisor was key to guide the construction crew hired by Rivland, to correctly perform the mechanical, pneumatical and electrical installation.

    The commissioning technician’s expert knowledge proved invaluable to go through the testing process and setting the correct parameters. The performance tests confirm the final result: an installation that meets the guarantees J-Tec had given Rivland at the start of the project. The existing Rivland installation delivers the milled rice flour into a J-Tec intake silo. From the intake silo the product has to be brought to the extruder in a calculated manner. This is achieved by a combination of a pneumatic transport to a refill hopper and a feeder. Since the product is a flour that still needs to be extruded, and the distance is fairly short, we were comfortable with a dilute vacuum transport.

    The extruder, preconditioner and dryer were all procured by Rivland. J-Tec integrated the equipment into the overall 3D design. This equipment came with its own control box, so J-Tec implemented the communication between these and the J-Tec control system. Depending on the desired humidity of the finished flour, the product can either pass through the preconditioner or go directly into the extruder, where the additives are integrated into the rice flour. The extruder heats and compresses the flour, pushing it through a die head, resulting in extruded rice pellets. As a result of this process, these pellets are now humid and need to be dried again before milling them back into rice flour. To get the pellets out of the extruder, a combination of a pressure and vacuum transport system is used. Hot air is blown over the extruder head to pick up the pellets. And because of the very low density of the extruded rice pellets (6,3 lbs/ft³), we use a ventilator to have a better extraction in the cyclone.

    Underneath the cyclone, a diverter valve is located, which has two main functions. The first product of a batch coming out of the extruder is not an ideally mixed product, so we can divert the first scrap pellets into a bin and switch instream to the fluid bed dryer. J-Tec also wanted to provide an escape route for the extruded product in case of a problem with the line downstream. This way there is no need of having to go through the whole process of shutting down and restarting the extruder. The dryer is a combination of a fluid bed dryer and a cyclone dryer for the fines. While J-Tec did not supply the dryer setup, we did supervise the installation.

    Now that the pellets are dry, they are ready to be milled. Even before the project start date J-Tec had provided a preliminary 3D layout, where it became clear that the building was not tall enough to fit the mill setup right underneath the dryer setup. Together with Rivland a better location was determined for the mills, with a pneumatic transport bringing the product from the dryer to the mills. This time, a vacuum dilute transport is appropriate, since there are two pickup points and only one receiving hopper. This receiving hopper also acts as a buffer in the process.

    The mill, acquired by Rivland, consists of two parts: a 2-step roller mill and two impact mills. It is of utmost importance to protect your mill against the entering of any metal foreign materials that could damage the rollers resulting in costly repairs. In a worst-case scenario, the metal could cause a spark in the mill resulting in a possible explosion which would be catastrophic for operators and equipment. To avoid all of these scenarios J-Tec used a combination of magnets and metal separators before and in between the milling steps.

    During the milling process the pellets are turned into flour. From the two impact mills we transport the product into two separators. By using two separators instead of one allows the use of smaller vessels that fit into the available space and ensures we can run from both impact mills at the same time. This transport is a dilute vacuum system with spark detection and fast shut-off valves. The screener contains multiple screens with different mesh sizes and multiple exits with diverters. This allows Rivland to select the grade of the finished flour, without having to change screens between batches. Flour particles that are not milled finely enough, are diverted back to the mill. The good flour particles continue through a magnet into a departure hopper, or can be diverted to take a sample and perform a quality check. From the departure hopper the extruded rice flour is transported to two finished product silos, with a final check for contamination with an inline sifter and inline metal separator. A final pneumatical conveying system pushes the flour to either a railcar filling station or a packaging machine.

     

    EXPLOSION PROTECTION

    Within the explanation of the equipment, we already briefly touched on the subject of explosion and fire safety. This is in fact a very important and essential part of this installation. Not only to comply with the local fire safety regulations, the NFPA and the stringent requirements of the insurer, but even more so to ensure the safety of the installation for everyone that works with and around it. Due to the importance of safety, J-Tec already made an explosion risk analysis during the sales phase to determine the different explosion zones. We used the local NFPA guidelines along with the European ATEX directive to design a safe installation. On top of this, Rivland added a couple of explosion protection measurements to safeguard the process installation. Insurance companies look to protect the installation while NFPA/ATEX protects the people.

     

    THE ENGINEERING PROCESS AND ITS CHALLENGES

    As mentioned before, the project is a process copy of an installation at the Herba Ingredients Wormer plant in the Netherlands, with one very important difference: the available height of the building is much lower at the Jonesboro plant. As a result, in Jonesboro the dried pellets are picked up after the dryer with a vacuum conveying system which transports the product towards the milling tower. In the Wormer plant this is done by means of a gravity feed. As Rivland freed up enough space in the existing hall, a good process lay-out could be provided.

    The goal of this project was to use the experiences we have with the first 2 lines in Europe and use as much as possible the same equipment. But the equipment needed to be according the local regulations and should have a local service support. J-Tec used our global presence to make the right selection and give the needed support. For the custom parts of this project, e.g. the stainless steel silos, we relied on our past experience working with local companies. After a thorough project-specific comparison was made, the company CST was selected to fabricate the silos. CST is located in Nashville, TN, which is relatively close to the installation site. As the USA Food standard (FDA) differs from the European standard (EHEDG), we had to make sure that all is well understood and the silos were made according the project specifications.

    From an automation point of view, the original plant in Europe was designed in Siemens, but for this project the Rivland specification prescribes Allen Bradley, more commonly used in the US. Thanks to the versatility of the J-Tec engineers this was no issue. The start-up of the project was very successful and parameters of the copy project in Wormer, The Netherlands could be implemented and fine-tuned on the spot. Because involvement of Buhler and Ventilex was necessary to start-up the equipment and exchange communication signals, the start-up period was divided in two phases. The first period was planned in late November 2019 to check the various equipment I/Os in the PLC and to test the process sequences where possible. The second start-up period in January 2020 was to complete the communication test with Buhler and Ventilex and to start-up the project with the product. The complete installation was tested sequentially starting with rice flour and resulting in the modified extruded rice flour. All the required capacities were tested and a performance test was done.

     

    PROJECT CHALLENGES

    The first project challenge that we came across during the engineering phase relates to the limited space availability for the bulk raw material silo and the two finished product silos. The challenge was to make these silos as large as possible with the limited amount of space available between the concrete building pillars where the vessels had to be installed. Solid engineering cooperation between Rivland and J-Tec resulted in a vessel design that had only about 2” clearance on each side between the pillars. To have actual as-built building dimensions, J-Tec visited the site prior to starting the engineering and 3D modelling of the project. The whole project was modelled by the J-Tec designer in the Inventor software program. As a final check, the lay-out was double checked by the Rivland project engineer. During the first mounting phase, the silos were hoisted in from an opening in the roof and moved into place.

    Another hurdle came up near the end of the engineering of the project when it became clear that the large amount of structural work that needed to be done by Rivland would cause a delay on the project. In the end this delay would take about 4 months, which was the time that Rivland needed to complete the fortifications and to build the necessary maintenance platforms. During that time J-Tec worked closely with the project team and assisted with the project planning to maintain a good timeline.

    From an organizational point of view the project also provided a challenge. Halfway during the project, just before the actual mounting was to take place, the original Rivland project manager retired and was succeeded by a younger project engineer with an automation background. This sudden change called for a large transfer of project information. J-Tec assisted in the support of the new project engineer to get them up to speed with the project. The last project hurdle was to align all different parties (Buhler/Ventilex/J-Tec/Rivland) in order to complete the project start-up. At the request of J-Tec, a meeting was held on site in Jonesboro and the proposal was made to split up the commissioning into two consecutive start-up phases.

     

    RESULT & CONCLUSION

    J-Tec worked with Rivland on a turnkey project that launched in 2019. The team began the commercial qualifications process with imported extruded product HerbaGEL 350LCV from Herba ingredients while under construction to ensure commercial operations in Q1 2020. To ensure a successful project for Rivland, the team established predetermined benchmarks.

    A few of the highlighted benchmarks include: - Rice-Gel® LCV 350 equivalence of performance to HerbaGEL 350 LCV as the reference product - Successful qualifications for key accounts in Q1 2020 - Production rates, online times and operation cost per design - Flexibility in extruded products allowing further extension of the Rice-Gel® line. - Commercial launch in Q2, 2020

    As the project progressed into Q2 of 2020, J-Tec had already turned over the keys to Rivland for benchmarks to be hit and commercial capacities acquired with the installation. Along the way, J-Tec and Rivland have built a strong relationship in Europe as well as North America that will allow Rivland to grow in their industry and have the ability to expand into the US ingredient markets.

      Written by Magaly Wauters, Eric Wilson and Joris Huijskens. Edited by Karen Hendrickx.
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  • 27.01.22
    Katoen Natie: solide et flexible dans le temps
    Du coton aux biens de consommation, Katoen Natie, du néerlandais « nations du coton », née en 1854, continue de grandir et de se transformer. À l’origine coopérative créée pour faciliter l’importation du coton en Europe sur le port d’Anvers, l’entreprise se développe très vite et assure la logistique, le temps passant, d’autres marchandises arrivées depuis la mer : jute, café, fer, acier, fruits… Puis, après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, Katoen Natie continue à grandir. Elle développe ses propres bâtiments et assure le stockage des produits dans ses entrepôts, le transport, la préparation de commandes et l’expédition. Au début des années 90, le logisticien se spécialise dans la pétrochimie, la chimie, l’industrie automobile et la grande distribution. « Nous sommes dans la logistique depuis nos débuts, mais la diversification autour des différents secteurs que nous adressons aujourd’hui s’est faite dans le temps, au fur et à mesure des besoins de l’économie et de nos clients », souligne Nathalie Jean, directrice du développement pour les sites français de Katoen Natie.
    Une aventure internationale et française
    C’est en 1995 que le logisticien belge s’installe en France, à Seingbouse (57), entre Metz et Strasbourg. L’entreprise accompagne un client sur un site pétrochimique de 30 000 m², aujourd’hui dédié aux biens de consommation. Quelques années plus tard, en 2004, alors que Katoen Natie opère pour le compte d’une entreprise française de grande distribution de sport et de loisirs à Anvers, en Belgique, le logisticien accompagne l’enseigne vers le Sud de la France. Katoen Natie ouvre un second site à Saint-Martin-de-Crau (13), qui devient la vitrine de l’entreprise en France et y intègre petit à petit de nouveaux clients. « Nous n’avons pas vocation à nous installer partout sur un territoire. Nous définissons les localisations qui nous intéressent et nous les ouvrons via l’accompagnement d’un client. Puis, nous les développons jusqu’à en faire d’importants sites multiclients. C’est ce qui s’est produit à Saint-Martin-de-Crau en 2004. Nous sommes passés en 16 ans de 30 000 à 350 000 m² », explique Stéphane Galli, directeur général du site. Et pour cause, le site abrite également la logistique de Brico Dépôt, client historique de Katoen Natie en France depuis 2006. « L’enseigne a entendu parler de nous au travers de notre site pétrochimique du Havre. Nous avons construit un premier bâtiment à proximité de ce dernier, à Saint-Jean-de-Folleville pour Brico Dépôt, puis un second à Saint-Martin-de-Crau lorsque l’enseigne a également souhaité opérer sa logistique depuis le Sud », signale Stéphane Galli. Aujourd’hui, le groupe belge adresse depuis ses trois principaux sites français, divers secteurs d’activité allant de l’ameublement au sport, en passant par le bricolage, le discount et le fashion, aussi bien sur de la livraison magasin que e-commerce. « Notre spécialité réside finalement dans la logistique complexe. Comme nous avons l’habitude de le dire avec alinea, l’un de nos clients, nous gérons leurs flux de la bougie au canapé. Le fait d’accompagner de nombreux clients nous permet d’avoir suffisamment d’expérience et de savoir-faire pour résoudre leurs problématiques. Cette logique très orientée solutions, ancrée dans l’amélioration continue des process de nos clients, est partagée entre tous nos sites », précise Nathalie Jean. Flexibilité et confiance comme facteurs de croissance Des sites que l’entreprise veut « multiclients » et flexibles pour assurer une agilité et une adaptabilité constantes à ceux qu’elle accompagne : « Nous sommes convaincus que d’importantes plateformes multiclients, implantées de façon stratégique apportent beaucoup de flexibilité, à la fois au niveau immobilier, opérationnel, mais également RH. Lorsque l’un d’entre eux a besoin de 6 000 m² pendant un certain temps car il doit absorber plus de volume que prévu, le fait d’être propriétaire de grands sites nous permet de répondre plus facilement à sa demande ponctuelle. De la même façon, nous nous appuyons sur des équipes opérationnelles de grande taille (plus de 700 équivalents temps plein à Saint-Martin-de-Crau) capables de renforcer les activités selon leurs besoins. Avoir des sites multiclients nous permet de véritablement pérenniser les emplois », détaille Stéphane Galli. Car chez Katoen Natie, le mot d’ordre réside dans une phrase : « Our people make the difference ». Une baseline que l’entreprise veut réelle et pragmatique, à son image. Ainsi, la direction a choisi de miser sur la décentralisation et d’impliquer ses collaborateurs dans l’organisation : « Chaque client est managé en interne par des interlocuteurs locaux qui travaillent et décident de façon décentralisée. Aujourd’hui, les nouvelles générations recherchent cette autonomie, cette confiance dans leur travail. La direction de Katoen Natie souhaite laisser à ses collaborateurs la capacité à apprendre. Cela les implique davantage et renforce la confiance avec l’entreprise », soutient Stéphane Galli. Une organisation qui porte ses fruits puisque Katoen Natie affiche deux milliards de chiffre d’affaires dont 25 % sont portés par les biens de consommation. Pour y parvenir, l’entreprise s’appuie donc sur ses équipes mais pas seulement. Elle dispose d’un WMS en propre, développé par sa cellule IT en interne et reste en veille sur les innovations du secteur, tout en gardant en ligne de mire son objectif principal : la flexibilité. « Cet enjeu est ancré dans notre business model et notre philosophie. Nous recherchons donc des solutions en cohérence. Nous regardons l’automatisation, la robotisation et la mécanisation sur des process bien précis, dès lors que cela fait sens par rapport à un délai, un volume attendu ou réduit la pénibilité de nos opérateurs… Quoiqu’il arrive, ce qui compte est de rester flexible pour que, dans deux ans, les solutions logistiques mises en place évoluent en fonction des besoins de nos clients et des habitudes de consommation », insiste Nathalie Jean. Poursuivre son développement en Europe Davantage positionné comme un « partenaire stratégique », que comme un prestataire, Katoen Natie affiche en toute logique des ambitions à la hauteur des clients grands comptes qu’il accompagne. Ainsi, le groupe souhaite continuer à développer ses sites existants et notamment à Saint-Martin-de-Crau où 30 000 m² sortent actuellement de terre. Enfin, le logisticien belge, après s’être implanté en Pologne l’an passé avec son client Action, envisage désormais de nouvelles localisations sur le territoire français. Katoen Natie en chiffres : > 2,1 milliards d'euros de chiffre d'affaires monde > 140 millions d'euros de chiffre d'affaires France > Implanté dans 33 pays > 18 000 collaborateurs dans le monde > 1 400 collaborateurs en Frace > 3 sites principaux en France
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  • 19.01.21
    Whitepaper: Efficient cleaning will boost productivity
    Have you ever considered your cleaning strategy and the implications it has on your manufacturing line? Find out what the key points are and how J-Tec goes beyond traditional engineering to improve the performance of your factory. Read the whitepaper: Efficient cleaning will boost productivity
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  • 01.04.19
    Katoen Natie announces major investments in the Netherlands
    Chemelot Covering an area of over 800 hectares, the Chemelot site is one of the major chemical hubs in Europe and has been expanding in recent years. The integrated cluster of companies produces a variety of chemicals and performance plastics for a wide range of markets and applications. Chemelot also hosts a research campus, with over 8,000 people working on-site. Katoen Natie investments Since 2013, Katoen Natie has acquired a number of logistics terminals in Limburg. Its sites in Nuth, Born, Geleen, Elsloo, Tüddern and Maasmechelen currently employ 250 people. With the expansion, Katoen Natie will anchor its strategic presence in the region. Central to the investment is a 12 hectare green field project on the Chemelot site. Here, Katoen Natie will build a brand new multi-customer terminal consisting of 54,500 m² state-of-the-art warehouse and 207 silos. Aside from warehousing operations, Katoen Natie will offer a full range value-added services including repackaging of chemicals, purifying of contaminated products, compounding and compacting services. The Chemelot terminal is expected to be operational in Q2, 2020. In addition to the investments on-site, Katoen Natie will expand its Nuth logistics terminal with 10,000 m² of warehouse space and 60 silos expected to be operational by the end of 2019. Another plot of land was acquired at Mitsubishi Avenue in Born, where Katoen Natie will construct and operate a 35,000m² warehouse to service the automotive industry. Investments in the local transport capacity will continue over the next year. With the purchase of 115 new lorries, 45 dry bulk trailers and 10 liquid bulk trailers the existing fleet will be renewed and expanded. Gateway to Central and Eastern Europe Aside from their proximity to Chemelot, the Katoen Natie terminals in Limburg are located just a few kilometers from the Belgian and German border. This strategic location, close to the ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam and with easy rail and water access, make them an ideal stepping-stone for import flows into the Ruhr area and Eastern Europe. With this expansion, Katoen Natie affirms its position as the leading logistics and industrial services provider for the chemical industry in Europe. The implantation of its logistics platform on the Chemelot site will produce significant transport savings for Katoen Natie’s existing customers and reduce overall CO₂-emissions. In total, the 100,000 m² of added warehouse capacity and value-added logistics operations will create 75 new full time jobs in the region. Katoen Natie Katoen Natie is a private Flemish enterprise and its activities consist of value add logistical services with activities in 30 countries and more than 13.000 employees. For more about Katoen Natie go to https://www.katoennatie.com/who-we-are/
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