New Agristo Potato Products Coldstore to Open in March

Construction of a new high-bay refrigerated warehouse to store Agristo frozen potato products continues as scheduled in Nazareth, Belgium. The 15-level facility is slated to be cooled down in February and tested continuously until reaching -25°C, when it will ready for operation.

"The first Agristo pallets need to find a temporary place in our new coldstore in early March," said Carmen Wallays, procurement and logistics director for the Harelbeke-Hulste headquartered company. "This €15-million-euro investment is part of the continuing growth of Agristo, and it is the first step in expanding production at the our site in East Flanders."

Agristo VrieshuisEight stacker cranes will maneuver the automated storage of 24,500 euro pallets, or almost 17,500 tons of frozen potato products. The warehouse will be able to handle 360 pallet movements per hour.

"Since Agristo produces seven days a week and has a logistics department that operates 16 hours a day, five days a week, large buffers must be processed quickly," explained Wallays. “Fast dispatch is also important so that trucks can be loaded quickly, and no time will be lost this way.”

The clad rack structure of the cold storage warehouse is specifically designed for durability. All stacker cranes are equipped with an internal energy recovery system and energy released during lowering and braking of the stacking equipment is recovered and used for lifting and driving movements.

Zwijndrecht, Belgium-based Egemin Automation began installing the 23-ton cranes in December. The lifting operations required a great deal of precision because of weather conditions and size of the equipment. Among other partners involved in the project are Synergo, Stow, Alheembouw, Cofely Axima and Isocab Construct.

In business since 1987, Agristo NV employs 350 people and produces more than 400,000 tons of value-added potato products per annum at factories in Belgium and Holland, exports to over 80 countries. Approximately 80% of the output goes to private label customers, with the remaining volume packed under proprietary Agristo, Maesto, International and Mondy brand names.