We recently had the chance to speak to Rob Geurtz at Aarts Plastics. He let us in on what's been happening at the Dutch firm, and what he thinks is behind Aarts' recent growth.
So Rob, what would you say Aarts is known for?
Well, we operate in three primary sectors, which are beauty, pharma, and food, much like Webpackaging's publications. Within those sectors, we tend to offer bespoke solutions to international brands that require a high level of precision and distinction.
Can you offer some examples? Say, within the beauty space?
Sure. We have an ongoing relationship with Oriflame and have worked with them on fragrances like Lovely Garden, Pretty Swan, or Girodani Gold. We've also developed concepts for Brocard, Rituals, Mäurer & Wirtz (Otto Kern, Betty Barclay), and Avon, among others. These were all custom jobs, each a unique project. Our designers and engineers have many years of experience in brand and packaging development and a vast knowledge of materials. We always work with clients directly to come up with the very best solution for cosmetic products.
And you're also active in the pharma and food spaces?
Yes, we have a clean production facility with overpressure that enables us to create either custom or standard packaging for both these sectors. We offer a number of universal jars, available in sizes from 20ml to 1250 ml. Generally, they're available in stock. We offer all sorts of caps and OTC products to pharma companies, and boxes, trays, and containers to food companies. By using a standard product as a starting point, we can use a lot of advanced techniques to make products totally unique to a brand, such as colouring, in-mould labelling, hot-stamping, and many more.
That sounds like a lot of production, how is Aarts keeping up?
Well, we have a number of dedicated professionals that work in shifts, 24 hours a day. Our production facilities only stop for mould switch-overs and necessary recalibration, or maintenance if required. We have several bi-injection moulding machines that serve customers worldwide. We also have a mould tooling shop, a lacquering array, an assembling/shipping department, and a large warehouse. We maintain a full 5-shift schedule, running 24 hours a day, like I said.
What about space, then? Are you at maximum capacity?
We were, we've been experiencing steady growth. Two years ago the company started to rent a second building next door, covering a total space of 10,500 m2. In January this year, we wound up buying this second building to keep up with growth. We tend to seek customers that can offer certain production volumes, then we invest together with those customers in the development and find an optimum production solution. A high degree of integrated and automated solutions is significant for our company strategy.
It sounds like you service Europe, primarily, have you extended beyond the EU?
We serve customers all over Europe, true, but we've also taken our first steps in the US market with fragrance caps. We're very well known for fragrance caps. In this market, where larger volumes are needed, we are very strong with large tools for Surlyn fragrance caps. Also, we can offer two piece caps that are produced in large volumes with in-line assembly.
Surlyn has become a big thing in recent years, so what other materials or technology are you exploiting?
Our expertise has been clearly demonstrated over the last few years in moulding and over-moulding Surlyn, but we're also working with bi-injection moulding, applying high density materials and over-moulding Zamac. For colour cosmetics, we've moved into producing millions of compacts for face powders and eye shadows. Most recently, we've released a lipgloss that we developed for one of our customers. All the parts are created on large moulds and go directly into the automation process for assembly. We believe in making everything as automated as possible, so we're looking at new techniques to speed up or simplify production, like new quality control measures or packing techniques.