Key Technology, Walla Walla, Wash., opened a new customer visit center called The Innovation and Solutions Center in Hasselt, Belgium. This state-of-the-art facility enables processors to participate in equipment demonstrations, application tests and training, both in-person and remotely via a live video interface. It is designed to create a superior customer experience while showcasing Key’s digital sorting, conveying and processing solutions.
“Our new center of excellence in Belgium demonstrates our dedication to building strong partnerships with our European customers. It is a vital component of our strategy to increase our global presence and bring new, innovative solutions to our customers in this important region,” says Jack Ehren, president and CEO. “Europe has a high concentration of very sophisticated processors in our core markets with unique processing needs that differ from those in other regions. We’re excited that our Innovation and Solutions Center in Hasselt enables us to provide local demonstration and testing, which helps us build very collaborative customer relationships to find the most effective solutions to meet each processor’s unique needs. This new facility also enables us to manufacture our VERYX sorters in Europe as well as the U.S., allowing us to serve our customers more efficiently and responsively.”
The 2,500-square-meter facility features several Key sorters, including VERYX, Optyx, Cayman BioPrint, Python, VitiSort, DateSort and Veo as well as Iso-Flo and Impulse vibratory conveyors. The sorters are equipped with 3-way sorting, multi-sensor Pixel Fusion, Sort-to-Grade and more. The equipment will be configured to simulate continuous processes that imitate the food manufacturer’s production environment more effectively than testing in batch mode, giving customers a more accurate assessment of how the equipment will perform with their products in their plants.
“Europe is increasingly becoming a large part of our business, evidenced by consistent revenue growth over the past several years and many recent, significant orders from major food processors, including strategic wins with our new VERYX platform of sorters,” says Eric Geling, senior director of sales for the EMEIA region. “We’re seeing a positive response to our increased presence in Europe, and we will continue to build that momentum by showcasing field-proven applications and exploring new applications for VERYX and other technologies at our new Innovation and Solutions Center. This facility allows us to better support our customers in Europe, the Middle East, India, Africa and beyond with the technology and expertise to develop superior solutions together with our customers.”
The new Innovation and Solution Center also features a dedicated demonstration laboratory, a separate area for extended application testing and multiple training rooms. A live video feed gives those unable to travel to Hasselt the ability to see the same demo/test/training as those present. This feature enables any team member, present or remote, to make observations, ask questions, and if needed, effect a change in the process in real-time.
Additionally, the new center includes equipment in an area reserved for Key’s research and development use. Offices will house personnel such as sales, applications engineering and service as well as marketing, finance and senior staff. The R&D lab and office move frees up space in Key’s production facility in Hasselt, enabling a greater variety of Key equipment to be manufactured there to speed delivery to food processors in the region.