Interview Luc Snijders

Luc Snijders

Kreuwel Plastics Almelo B.V. has been a producer of high-quality injection molded products since 1979 and has been a loyal customer of Stork IMM for many years. All Kreuwel products are made from 100% recycled raw material. Luc Snijders, third generation of the family within the company, tells us about this subject.

Hello Luc, where does the name Kreuwel come from?
Kreuwel is my grandfather's name, Louis Kreuwel, who founded Kreuwel Plastics in 1979.

Kreuwel produces flower pots, has that always been the case?
No, previously more thick-walled products were produced such as construction buckets and grout tubs. My father made the switch to more thin-walled products.

So you are the third generation in the family company, what role do you fulfill within Kreuwel Plastics?
Yes, that's right, besides my father who is still in charge of the day-to-day business, I do not fulfill a specific role or function within Kreuwel Plastics. I see my role more in the process-based structuring of the organization. The organization itself is good. We make a great product of good quality with loyal employees, job retention is high, but I do see a future where production processes can and must be more automated. Moreover, nobody has to worry about employment. Kreuwel Plastics is experiencing constant growth and it is about doing more with the same organization. My passion lies in the automation of our business / production processes but I also see it as a necessary condition to be able to continue to compete and therefore also essential for our survival. The world is changing and we will have to change with it. We have to professionalize, Industry 4.0.

Recycling is a “hot topic” at the moment. How does Kreuwel distinguish itself in this?
What has become very topical since last year is the ability to detect the different types of plastics so that they can be separated during waste processing. Infrared sensors are used for this. The classic black flower pot contains a too high carbon black content and therefore has no reflection detection of the infrared light. As a result, the pot is not detected and cannot be separated, with the result that it ends up as landfill or goes into combustion.
Producers of flower pots, among other things, strive to manufacture pots from materials that are “NIR detectable”. All colors within Kreuwel are now 100% recyclable. We can demonstrate this by means of the KIWA Certificate, to which we are subject to regular and strict checks. Every week we carry out a random check with our NIR hand detector and store those products. This allows us to guarantee our customer has a 100% recyclable product, so that they can also guarantee their customers a 100% recyclable product. In comparision to other certifications we test and check the end product and not the raw material from which it is made.
In addition, we distinguish ourselves in the market because all Kreuwel products are made from 100% recycled raw materials. In short, NO prime / new plastics. We are also KIWA certified for this. To ensure this, incoming raw materials are checked both here at the factory and at the manufacturer in order to demonstrate that products are actually made from 100% recycled raw materials. It is important for us as a company not only to say it is true but also to demonstrate it.

How does the new generation see the future?
I think that in the future we will have to extract much more data from our processes on the basis of which we can adjust those processes as much as possible without manual intervention. We have to make work easier for ourselves. Just look at the removal of the products. In the past, some products were still stacked by hand and now they are taken out and stacked with robots. The next step is that we measure more and that we use the data to prevent or correct deviations in the production process, which are now often seen as fact. I think it should be possible for machines to regulate themselves and produce only good products. That is the basis on which you can automate and again, to be able to do more with the same number of people and, above all, to burden employees less physically.

What do you expect from the suppliers?
I expect that they think along with us as a customer and develop as much as possible. So far that has also been going well with our suppliers.