Van Roey ( is one of Belgium’s major processors of high-quality shrimp. With the founder’s son still running the firm, it can be regarded as a true family company. Located on a small street in Boechout, not far from Antwerp, Van Roey has built a production hall behind the house where the family used to live. Around the year 2000, Van Roey started looking for a fully automated packaging line. As there was only limited space in the production area, Van Roey was not fond of the idea of having to store pre-formed trays, so a thermoformer was purchased.

Not long after installing this thermoformer, Van Roey started to field complaints from its customers with regard to the packs of large prawns. Their hollow antennas, in combination with standard packaging technology, led to leaking packs because of incorrect seals. Managing director Dirk van Roey said, “With our prawns coming from a French trading company, we decided to ask this supplier for advice. They recommended a SEALPAC thermoformer with the special Gamba Packaging system, which had been running successfully at a shrimp processor in France. As soon as I hung up the telephone, I called SEALPAC.”

The benefits of Gamba Packaging

Obviously, Van Roey wanted to see the benefits of SEALPAC’s Gamba Packaging solution, originally developed for its traysealers, before ordering any equipment. Therefore, various tests were done at the SEALPAC factory in The Netherlands. Van Roey said, “Owing to the special Gamba Packaging system, as testing clearly showed, antennas and other body parts that lie over the sealing edge are cut off while being sealed. As such, they do not influence the sealing quality. Today, just one or two packs out of every 100 may have an incorrect seal. It used to be double digits with our previous line. Considering that we process around 700,000 prawns annually, it was easy to understand the payback of our investment in the SEALPAC thermoformer.”

Cost savings

The newly installed line at Van Roey starts with a loading and multi-head weighing system. The filled packs are then transported to the sealing station of the SEALPAC RE25 thermoformer, where they are securely sealed by means of the Gamba Packaging system. After being labeled, and subsequently cut both in cross- and longitudinal direction, the sealed packs go through a metal detection unit. Finally, every four packs are loaded into an attractive cardboard box. “After installing this new line, we were able to go from seven operators to just four operators, as we used to have personnel at the line manually cutting off the antennas of the shrimp. They can now concentrate on product supply and end-of line packaging,” Van Roey said.

Every shrimp is unique

These days, Van Roey is running the line four to five days a week, around seven hours each day. Next to large prawns, the company processes smaller gray shrimp from the North Sea and pink brine shrimp on the thermoformer line, hence contributing to its slogan: “Every shrimp is unique.”


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