Food

Vobra uses Buhler Sortex for pet food quality

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Dutch pet food suppliers, Vobra Special Petfoods, has enhanced the safety and quality of their product with the new addition of a SORTEX FB machine to bring the highest quality kibble to the pet food market. 

The rising quality demands for the pet food market require innovative approaches to meet and surpass customer and regulatory standards. One company that has always been ahead of the game when it comes to quality is Dutch pet food supplier Vobra. Operating since 1932, the company supplies quality dog and cat food to Vobra-owned brands and private labels and is active in over 35 countries. Recognizing the need to stay ahead of the market, Vobra invested in a SORTEX FB machine, the leading optical sorter for kibble quality.

The pet food market requires a homogeneous and uniform kibble size and shape, combined with a zero tolerance for foreign materials. Vobra’s kibble is made of natural ingredients and processed to the markets required specifications using a Bühler Extruder and checked by Bühler’s SORTEX FB optical sorter.

SORTEX inspects every kibble for quality, even at 5 tons of kibble per hour

With a throughput of 5 tons per hour, Vobra needed a sorter that could ensure the quality of every kibble, even with the demands of 180,000 kilos of dog and cat kibble daily. With SORTEX they got exactly that. The high-definition cameras inspect every single kibble, removing defects like cross-contamination, oversized/undersized kibble and small pieces of bone as well as any foreign material with pinpoint accuracy. This ensures a final product that flawlessly passes regulations standards. To confirm the reputation of SORTEX as a trusted brand that surpasses these standards, Paul Stoutjesdijk, manager of Operations at Vobra, stated: “Our customers ask for the product that is processed by the SORTEX optical sorter.”

In 2021 Vobra constructed a new factory at Veghel, taking the opportunity to evaluate its process line and recognize where improvements could be made, leading to the decision to incorporate the SORTEX FB alongside a Bühler extruder. Paul Stoutjesdijk continues by saying: “The setup of trials in England made us aware that this was the equipment we needed. Many international pet food markets now require a uniform kibble size and have zero tolerance for foreign material.”

The importance of optical sorting in pet food

By incorporating the SORTEX FB into the process line, Vobra seized an opportunity to stand out within the pet food market. With the stringent market requirements for uniform kibble size and the absence of foreign material, optical sorting has become an essential part of the process for pet food. Alongside improved yield, by removing only the defective kibble from the product stream, SORTEX significantly reduces waste, helping the sustainable efforts of the pet food industry and improving the safety of the kibble for pets.

“We are proud to have worked with Vobra Special Petfoods for this project and have been able to supply an optical sorting machine which can be part of their quality control systems for supplying a high-quality product to the market. Our optical sorters offer the industry the ability to add a quality control step, to check each kibble and eliminate anything that is not at the expected level. We can also offer Buhler’s SORTEX Monitoring System that is able to send alerts if an issue is detected, real time dashboard and a daily statistical report of the production,” says Stephen Jacobs, head of Segment Fruit & Vegetables, Bühler. 

What next for the collaboration?

With the new factory in full operation, Vobra is looking to expand its collaboration with Bühler in the coming years. Optical sorting will become more commonplace in the supply of safe pet food, eventually, the stringent market requirements will make optical sorting a necessity. Good news for dogs, cats and pet owners around the world.

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