Refresco Group, Europe’s largest manufacturer of soft drinks and fruit juices, monitors the groundwater and spring water levels at its site in Hoensbroek via Smart Sensoring developed by Eijkelkamp Soil & Water. ‘Every 10 minutes, we receive the groundwater data we need via telemetry,’ says QESH Manager Marcel Suntjens. ‘This is essential for us, because we want to minimise the water factor.’
‘Refresco Group’s position as a leading company in our industry places a huge responsibility on us in terms of our products, employees and environment. We take this responsibility very seriously. That’s one reason why we established a QESH (Quality, Environment, Safety and Health) department consisting of 8 people which I manage.’
‘At our site in Hoensbroek, we have six springs, with depths varying from 100 to 130 metres below ground level, four of which are recognised as spring water, or natural mineral water, wells. We are obviously very protective of these springs. After all, water is the very foundation of our business. Officially recognised springs must be protected from above, below and from the side against extraneous water intrusion. For this reason we constantly monitor the water level in the spring and analyse the water quality. We need to be sure that nothing potentially harmful is occurring, such as a threat from above or below to the integrity of our springs.’
‘In the past, we used to gauge the water level of the springs with a sounding device, actually a tape, and record the readings manually. Now we take a more professional approach by employing telemetry monitoring. Each spring is equipped with its own Diver Water Level Logger and GDT-S Prime modem. One spring even has multiple Divers and a GDT-M for monitoring different layers. These enable us to monitor spring water as well as groundwater.’
‘Ultimately, our goal is to extract as little water as possible from the ground. This makes the so-called water factor, or the volume of water needed to make one litre of lemonade, an important KPI for us. We aim to minimise this water factor. One of the key factors in this regard is the way in which we operate springs. So, ensuring we don’t open a spring too soon or close it too late, and that no tanks overflow. Another important consideration is how best to extract water from the spring with the aid of a pump: frequency controlled or not? We are currently in the process of implementing frequency-controlled pumps, but monitoring with Diver Water Level Loggers will give us a better picture of what is happening underground, which will ultimately enable us to make optimum use of the available water.
‘Why did we choose Eijkelkamp Soil & Water?’ I think there is only one firm with the experience and expertise to do this effectively. In the past, we’ve used equipment supplied by Eijkelkamp. But the introduction of new technologies, such as the GDT-S Prime modem, for example, has made everything a lot easier nowadays. This feeds all the required data on what is happening directly to the desktop.
‘Besides saving several man hours per spring per month, we now have access to far more data and that really is key for us. The data we previously received just once a fortnight is now fed to us every ten minutes. This allows us to see immediately what happens in the spring when a pump is switched on or off and whether there is interaction between different springs. Fortunately, the latter is not the case.’
Refresco Group is Europe’s largest manufacturer of soft drinks and fruit juices. The business unit Refresco Benelux manufactures products for leading retailers in the Netherlands and Belgium and for national and international A-brands. Refresco Benelux additionally produces a diverse range of drinks under its own brand for the export markets of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
The head office of Refresco Benelux is located in Maarheeze, the Netherlands. Refresco Benelux has four manufacturing sites: Maarheeze, Bodegraven, Hoensbroek and Ninove (Belgium). Across these four locations, Refresco Benelux fills more than one billion litres of product per year in 2.2 billion different types of packaging. Refresco Benelux employs more than 650 staff.