A new canning line for seed expert Rijk Zwaan in The Netherlands

Rijkzwaan Zaden

There has been a growing demand for Rijk Zwaan's seeds which has fuelled the developments in the capacity of their packaging lines.

One of the world’s leading seed companies Rijk Zwaan in The Netherlands turned to NIRAS’ experts when the company needed packaging engineering for special products. NIRAS has helped install a new canning line for the company.

March 24, 2021
  • SDG: #2, #12
  • SECTORS: Food & Beverage
  • COUNTRIES: The Netherlands
  • CLIENT: Rijk Zwaan

When one of the world’s leading seed companies, Rijk Zwaan, was in need of a new canning line for seed, the company decided to contract NIRAS’ experts in the Netherlands to carry out the work.

The project’s pre- and basic engineering phases have now been completed. But the project has also offered NIRAS the opportunity to improve its knowledge and methodology in the area of seed handling and packaging.

It is no coincidence that Rijk Zwaan is based in The Netherlands. The country has obtained a leading position in the worldwide seed market based on many years of research, plant breeding and varietal selections.

Globally, Rijk Zwaan is one of the leading companies in the field of vegetable seed improvement. The company’s success is based on its own research centres and a great deal of highly specialized knowledge.

Quality seeds are demanded more and more

The quality of crops worldwide is under a constant pressure, and also closely related to securing the quality of the actual seeds used for growing crops.

Consequently, there has been a growing demand for Rijk Zwaan's seeds which has fuelled the developments in the capacity of their packaging lines.

Prior to the current project, Rijk Zwaan used two canning lines that had been developed by a project team at the company. However, the company did not have the sufficient internal capacity to develop a third line.

Next to that, the company also wanted input from outside the organization from people with experience in related areas within the food industry. These factors have resulted in the collaboration between Rijk Zwaan and NIRAS in the Netherlands.

A lot of energy was dedicated at the very start of the project to make sure that the new line would run more efficiently and would also be improved in matter of quality.

The challenges with seeds

Before the seeds of Rijk Zwaan get packed in to the cans at the canning line, a whole process has already been completed. The mostly very small seeds are a challenge when it comes to processing and counting.

To protect the seeds, make them easier to sow, and partly to make them visible and thus countable, a special kind of protective layer is applied to the seeds. This procedure is called piling. The coating of the seeds can serve different purposes, such as making the seed more resilient or making all seeds uniform in size to improve the sowing ability.

Once the seeds arrive at the canning line, weighing and counting is a precision job that is carried out using sensors. Next to ensuring the correct number of seeds per package, there must be absolutely no mixing of different seeds.

This is possibly the most important thing in the whole process, since it not acceptable for different types of plants to grow between the crops that have been purchased by Rijk Zwaan’s costumers.

Guaranteeing quality

In order to guarantee the quality per batch of seeds, Rijk Zwaan ensure that all the elements through which the seeds pass, such as the buffers, pipes and belts, have no seams or cracks in which individual product can get stuck. Everything is also dry cleaned and checked for any remaining seeds per each different batch.

After having carried out pre- and basic engineering and making well-founded choices, the project team remained at the plant to carry out commissioning of the canning line.

Ensuring the quality of the canning line and packaging is a precondition to ensure that Rijk Zwaan’s customers get a quality end product with a very high percentage of the seeds germinating into plants. NIRAS is happy to have contributed to this project and is looking forward to working together with Rijk Zwaan in the future.

Jeroen van Lunsen

Jeroen van Lunsen

Managing Director

Rosmalen, Netherlands


Jeroen van den Boezem

Jeroen van den Boezem

Market Director

Rosmalen, Netherlands


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