Zweifel Pomy-Chips AG has been the leading potato chip manufacturer in Switzerland for many years. Every day, tons of raw material from Swiss fields are processed into high-quality, crispy chips for the food retail trade throughout Switzerland. The mostly dirty and earthy tubers are washed immediately upon arrival.
For the water-intensive washing process, Zweifel has been relying on the innovative recirculation system from Dutch based VAM Watertech for about five years.
The water required for washing the raw material is treated and purified accordingly with the help of the system. The water is separated from the sludge by means of additives.
“Finally, the optically clear water comes out and goes back into the cycle,” says Markus Mutter, head of wastewater treatment at Zweifel Pomy-Chips AG and project supervisor from the very beginning.
“Thanks to this new technology, we have clean water for pre-cleaning the potatoes, which is why in the next step, i.e. in chip production, only a clean raw material circulates, which contributes significantly to the optimal peeling process. The advantages therefore extend throughout the entire production process,”
Highly automated and virtually maintenance-free
Thanks in part to intensive support from supplier VAM Watertech, the plant was integrated into the existing work processes without any problems, says Mutter, looking back.
“The only problem was the lack of space. The new process is considerably larger compared to the old system, so we had to distribute the components throughout the building. However, with an additional pipe or two, we were able to accommodate the entire line. Initially, we had to gain some experience with it, but otherwise the installation is largely automated and maintenance-free, which is of course an added value.”
Expansion of the line
Based on the initial positive experience, an expansion of the water management system would be a possibility in the future. Mutter: “It always happens that the soil at the raw material contains a little more sand, depending on the growing region and soil type. I could imagine that at some point the plant will be equipped with an extra component to be able to filter out this sand accordingly and thus increase the quality of the water. For the time being, however, we are well positioned with this plant and also able to respond to production peaks, such as now at Christmas.”
A showcase company
The team at VAM WaterTech also looks back on great cooperation with Zweifel.
“Zweifel approached us at a trade fair and was convinced of the system right from the start. They then inquired about the process from an existing user and provided information. For us, the challenge was to integrate the individual components, especially since some of them also had to be installed underground.
“In the end, all the components found their place and the process works to our complete satisfaction. In the meantime, Zweifel has become the showcase company for the Swiss market and many interested parties and new customers are inquiring on site about the benefits and added values of the process.”