Implement further automation

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Saucecompany in Deurne produces sauces, marinades and dressings in all scents, colors and flavors. The products are produced to customer specifications or based on personal recipes developed by Saucecompany.

Saucecompany can fill the product in all kinds of packaging and volumes. With its own development department, professional production process and personal guidance, Saucecompany has been producing food-related products for our customers with great passion for 18 years. The production, installations and location meet the highest requirements in terms of quality and food safety.

Saucecompany is IFS-6.1, BRC, RSPO and Skal certified.

The regional Partner for Iris Fine Foods:

Motivation and challenges

There is a strong growth of more composed, prepared and/or precooked and fresh and healthy food. Consumers want a lot of freedom of choice and variety. This creates many different SKUs, the batch size is small and so is the volume of the components in the meal. This presents Saucecompany with a challenge to efficiently meet this demand from the retail/consumer. Also now that the strong growth that the organization is experiencing is expected to continue, a good balance must be sought between the use of technology and the deployment of employees, the control of jet plans and monitoring of production (data connection across the chain). ) should be better. COTEMACO was asked to look at the recognition of technical production errors during the filling of sachets through sensoring and to enter into discussions with the management of the company to optimize the data management of production progress and to create a starting point for automation and deployment of robots/cobots within introduce the organisation, initially on the packaging and removal of finished products.


Saucecompany, along with a large part of the Dutch companies in the food processing industry, is faced with the challenge of a labor shortage. Many operations in which food is processed, sorted and packaged require manual labor. Costs are rising due to the scarcity of labor.

Working at Saucecompany is often physically demanding. Products are processed under low temperatures (cold-chain 4-7°C) to prevent loss in the chain and to guarantee quality. Employees often stand shoulder to shoulder doing the same work throughout the day, without moving from place to place. Production areas are continuously moist, due to maximum use of machines and high volumes. Due to hygiene requirements, smooth, cleanable surfaces are required. With the proliferation of machines, food processing environments are eminently noisy.


With the increasing labor costs, the general labor shortage and the decreasing availability and quality of seasonal labor, it is financially more interesting for Saucecompany to invest in automation and robotization. The most logical production line to focus at within Saucecompany is on the production of sauce sachets, at Saucecompany this forms a substantial part of the turnover. Mentally working at Saucecompany will become increasingly difficult. This is reinforced by increasing mechanization, which is aimed at automating logistics processes (crates, boxes, packaging), making the process more efficient and improving quality guaranteed. The result is that the remaining work is even more monotonous, short-cycled and repetitive. The work will also become increasingly data-driven and line-driven, so that work will be monitored and used as a payment method. This causes a lot of stress and failure in the sector. Due to the increasing multitude of new taste models, the diversity in factories has increased even more. This further increases the pressure on factories and packaging locations.


Saucecompany has asked COTEMACO to map out which activities are needed to optimize the process within the factory in the field of data, digitization and robotization, and to pay specific attention to the sachet lines because this is one of the top segments that is acted upon. and in detecting leakage on these lines and making the processing hands-free, the biggest challenge is in terms of margin of error combined with finding personnel. In the long run, Saucecompany intends to deploy cobots and/or robots to use the further process, if cost-effectively feasible, to solve the further challenges of an improved working environment for staff and more manageable and increased output.

Technical realization

In the period from June 2021 to October 2021, Saucecompany has chosen to first examine the entire process with Food Tech Brainport partner VHP human performance and to enter a discussion with management about what matters can be tackled internally to get a grip on the work. and get the process data. At the beginning of the process, the COTEMACO Support team arranged an amount of € 15,000 via S3FOOD to enter an intensive process with management, to discuss processes and to arrive at a starting point to be ready for further projects in the future and to facilitate the introduction and integration of mobile cobots in the Saucecompany factory.


Several technically available solutions were evaluated and optimized in iterations to meet the processing requirements in the factory. Special attention was paid to safety requirements for personnel, hygiene and health issues related to food products, ease of operation and flexibility and integration with other digital platforms such as the company’s ERP.


After advice and suggestions about creating a better grip on the flow of goods (ordering, stock and forwarding) were implemented, the focus was on the sachet lines. The technical support for this part has been assessed by Technology Provider Machinefabriek Van de Weert and is now being implemented at Saucecompany. The present blueprint for a furnishing and workplace concept that provides a link between labelling, filling and packaging creates the desired starting point for the future for Saucecompany to reduce the workload by deploying cobots / robots (for processing tasks) and other automation. reduce for employees.

FAQ to the company:

How could COTEMACO support you?

COTEMACO has shown us as management where we can implement further automation in the long term. First, we have now digitally organized the process of labelling, filling and packaging. This has resulted in a starting position that forms the basis for us for an automation approach to be set up and applied in the future, which will lead to maximum hands-free production.

What was implemented and what are the benefits?

In addition to the digital steam lines of the sub-processes, the problem that we have regarding the detection of leakage on the sachet lines has also been addressed. We are convinced that both adjustments will reduce human resources. It remains to be seen what the impact will be if we implement further automation and work even more hands-free. This will initially take place on the packaging and removal of finished product. The expectation is that at least 3-5 Fte less will be needed when we implement things. Subsequently, it will be possible to employ double the number of Fte less in the long term if hands-free working is carried out across the entire line.

Have your expectations been met?

Yes. As a company, we were already convinced that process optimization would open up access to further automation. As a result, we were also open as management to start a fairly intensive process with the COTEMACO team. With the progress we have made, we are now ready for the further steps for the company and the new building that we are planning. In 2022 we will take further steps in this regard.