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At its production site in Heerlen, ICL produces controlled-release fertilizers. Here, raw materials are converted into high-quality fertilizer products that are trusted by growers, turf managers, and landscape gardeners around the world. 

And for good reason: No single product leaves the premises without a team of experts having carried out thorough quality checks both in the lab and at the production site. Leo Bouwels is the Coordinator for Blending and Packaging and has been working for ICL for 23 years. He and his team are responsible for monitoring the quality of ICL’s fertilizers on a daily basis.

 

The Right Mix 
of Fertilizer Granules

One of the main responsibilities of the Blending & Packaging Coordinator is to make sure that the right materials are used, and to assess the quality of the products. Each day, Leo and his team keep a keen eye on the production process to ensure high-quality products. 


Leo: “The SoftBlend unit mixes the various types of fertilizer granules. As these granules can react to one another, it’s important to use the correct products in each of the blends.”

No Professionals
No Quality

Plant Operator

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“The SoftBlend unit mixes the various types of fertilizer granules.”


The Right People in the Right Place

Living up to the Expectations of the Customer

Always a Keen Eye on Quality

The Daily Routine at the Production Site

When it comes to quality assurance, maintaining products of consistently high quality requires a consistent approach day in, day out. Therefore, ICL invests heavily in its employees and in education. Each position at the production site comes with its own set of instructions. New employees are trained on our operational activities, ISO procedures, and health and safety regulations during in-house training sessions. Leo says, “New employees start immediately, but are always paired with an experienced colleague. Of course, this is an important part of ensuring that everyone is working to the same standard.”

For Leo and the team, there’s more to quality assurance than just the product itself. “Even the sticker on each pallet is carefully stuck straight. It just looks better and visually shows quality. When the pallets leave the production site, everything should be perfect: We all monitor this closely. The bags need to be stacked correctly and all the necessary forms are complete.”

The fertilizer products that the grower or turf manager orders from ICL should always be of a high quality, and should perform exactly as promised. Leo: “When the fertilizer should release nutrients early in the growing cycle, then this is exactly what should be happening. Our customers have high expectations, and it’s our job to deliver. At ICL, that’s exactly what we do.”

The quality assurance starts when the raw materials arrive. Leo performs a visual check for any anomalies. If there is any doubt, he contacts the laboratory straightaway. The approved raw materials are then used to manufacture the end products. The fertilizer products are divided into batches, and the operator performs checks on these continuously throughout the day. A sample is taken from each batch of 350 bags for the lab, where Paul Broeksmit and his team conduct tests to ensure the quality of the fertilizer product. Once approval has been granted, the fertilizer is released and distributed to the customer.  

Additionally, Leo’s production department brings samples of the end product to the lab twice a day. Leo says, “In between, I’m also in frequent contact with my colleagues working at the lab in case of any questions about the raw materials or the end product. We’re on it all day long.”

A typical working day at the production site starts early. At 7:00 AM, Leo is reviewing the production process from that night and the previous day. “If there was a hitch, we have a look at that first. I’ll get in touch with the technical department, planners, and consult the production personnel. That continues throughout the day. My work is very diverse: from meetings, evaluating and solving technical issues to consulting with planning to ensure all shifts are covered, and hiring new personnel.”

Production Process:

The fertilizer products that the grower or turf manager orders from ICL should always be of a high quality, and should perform exactly as promised. Leo: “When the fertilizer should release nutrients early in the growing cycle, then this is exactly what should be happening. Our customers have high expectations, and it’s our job to deliver. At ICL, that’s exactly what we do.”

Living up to the Expectations of the Customer

When it comes to quality assurance, maintaining products of consistently high quality requires a consistent approach day in, day out. Therefore, ICL invests heavily in its employees and in education. Each position at the production site comes with its own set of instructions. New employees are trained on our operational activities, ISO procedures, and health and safety regulations during in-house training sessions. Leo says, “New employees start immediately, but are always paired with an experienced colleague. Of course, this is an important part of ensuring that everyone is working to the same standard.”

For Leo and the team, there’s more to quality assurance than just the product itself. “Even the sticker on each pallet is carefully stuck straight. It just looks better and visually shows quality. When the pallets leave the production site, everything should be perfect: We all monitor this closely. The bags need to be stacked correctly and all the necessary forms are complete.”

The Right People in the Right Place

The quality assurance starts when the raw materials arrive. Leo performs a visual check for any anomalies. If there is any doubt, he contacts the laboratory straightaway. The approved raw materials are then used to manufacture the end products. The fertilizer products are divided into batches, and the operator performs checks on these continuously throughout the day. A sample is taken from each batch of 350 bags for the lab, where Paul Broeksmit and his team conduct tests to ensure the quality of the fertilizer product. Once approval has been granted, the fertilizer is released and distributed to the customer.  

Additionally, Leo’s production department brings samples of the end product to the lab twice a day. Leo says, “In between, I’m also in frequent contact with my colleagues working at the lab in case of any questions about the raw materials or the end product. We’re on it all day long.”

Always a Keen Eye on Quality

One of the main responsibilities of the Blending & Packaging Coordinator is to make sure that the right materials are used, and to assess the quality of the products. Each day, Leo and his team keep a keen eye on the production process to ensure high-quality products. 


Leo: “The SoftBlend unit mixes the various types of fertilizer granules. As these granules can react to one another, it’s important to use the correct products in each of the blends.”

The Right Mix 
of Fertilizer Granules

A typical working day at the production site starts early. At 7:00 AM, Leo is reviewing the production process from that night and the previous day. “If there was a hitch, we have a look at that first. I’ll get in touch with the technical department, planners, and consult the production personnel. That continues throughout the day. My work is very diverse: from meetings, evaluating and solving technical issues to consulting with planning to ensure all shifts are covered, and hiring new personnel.”

The Daily Routine at the Production Site

At its production site in Heerlen, ICL produces controlled-release fertilizers. Here, raw materials are converted into high-quality fertilizer products that are trusted by growers, turf managers, and landscape gardeners around the world. 

And for good reason: No single product leaves the premises without a team of experts having carried out thorough quality checks both in the lab and at the production site. Leo Bouwels is the Coordinator for Blending and Packaging and has been working for ICL for 23 years. He and his team are responsible for monitoring the quality of ICL’s fertilizers on a daily basis.

 

No Professionals
No Quality

Production Process:

Plant Operator