International baking expo highlights automation

Every three years, anyone who is anyone in the baking industry converges on Munich for the iba, the international bakery exhibition/conference. This year there were more than 1700 exhibitors, 76,000 visitors and about $3.4 billion in trade completed at the event.

One person hitting the stands and looking over the event was Total Construction’s general manager for its food and beverage division, Tony Tate. It’s an industry he’s been involved with for more than 30 years and is deft at spotting upcoming trends and where the industry is heading. He thinks the next big thing to hit the baking industry will be “Indulgence Individual Creation”. The Universal Bread production is focusing on sourdough long fermentation and process Quality.

Walking around the show clearly is showing Automation of artisan breads, is happing now which will mean they take the step from being a specialty product to becoming a commodity.

He believes that there will be an uptake in both national and multi-national bread bakers opening up new premises, or converting current ones into those that will meet the demands of consumers who no longer go after traditional white and brown breads – in other words, traditional tin-baked breads.

“In the 60s bakers were trying to get the baking of white loaves automated because white bread was part of the staple diet of Australians,” said Tate. “You look at it now, it is in decline. It is only added value breads like grain breads or low GI breaks that is keeping the tin bread market open. You look at the large bread companies who are shutting down bakeries and consolidating manufacturing to survive the large supermarkets low price strategy.

With artisan and sourdough loaves now becoming popular, bakers have to shift gear and start producing facilities that will cope with influx of demand.

“In the 1970s and 1980s they developed mechanisation and made white bread more competitive. The Chorleywood bread mixing process was invented and started bringing in 3000-loaves-an-hour lines, then 8000-loaves-an-hour lines. In the late 2000s they brought in 10,000-loaves-an-hour lines. Now everybody is going for the sourdough. If you go around the show it is all about artisan, sourdough and French baguettes, Vienna’s etc.”

And the building of plants based around these breads has already begun. French-based artisan bread specialist, Laurent, has just invested huge amounts of money on building an Artisan plant in Victoria. Their first plant in 2009 they could bake 3000 baguettes an hour now over 8000 baguettes an hour.

Early demand of Sourdough bread sold for premium $8.49 per loaf now they selling them in the supermarkets at $4.99.” per loaf.

Tate believes that baking will go through an interesting transition over the next 10 years due to the expectations of not only consumers, but what bakers will be capable of doing – the hard part is to gauge is what that will entail.

“White bread rose and then declined, sourdough will follow because of the automation of mechanised plant cable of mass producing Artisan bread available now but couldn’t do artisan 10 years ago.

Tate see an opportunity for individualised, indulgent artisan creations made to order same day. Order in morning pick up or get delivered the afternoon.

The process equipment automation will struggle to try and automate these kinds of products. But you have to start somewhere and start chipping away.

When it comes to automation, Tate said there was a demonstration at the event that could be a precursor to what the future holds for some fast-food outlets and how their food is served.

“There was a booth with a robot in it,” said Tate. “It grabbed a bun. The robot put a knife through it and sliced the bun. The robot turned the bun over, put butter on it, it then changed its arm to pick up a piece of salami, then put on some lettuce and then some cheese. It then put the bun into a wrapper station, folded it over, then put a stamp on it that said ‘freshly made for you’ or something like that. But it took 15 minutes. So somebody who works at McDonalds has still got a job at the moment, but the technology will eventually come through.”

One of the main drivers for attending the event was about building relationships, and taking those associations a step further.

“It was more than just about building relationships, it was about understanding the relationship all the way through,” said Tate. “It’s that relationship building and being consistent to the industry that means if anybody has a referral then people’s first port of call will be Total Construction. We have the knowledge. We know the industry. We know about bakeries and we can build it.”

One more key take out from the iba for Tate, was some of the oven technology coming through whereby several types of products can be baked at once.

“Mecatherm has designed an oven to encompass flexibility. The oven itself can cost up into the thousands depending on specification and flexabliity” said Tate. “This allows the entrepreneur baker to have the flexibility to take several format such as sourdough breads, tin breads, batch soft rolls or cakes. For this investment bakeries can get into the market and say, ‘by the way I have the flexibility to do my tin bread in the morning, I can do my artisan in the afternoon and do my cakes whenever.’”

With his final thoughts on the exhibition, Tate has some definitive ideas on where the baking industry is heading, but is a little unsure when it will get there.

“Is automation here? Yes, it is,” he said. “Artisan and sourdough are the main drivers going forward, and it is the level of automation as to whether it will become a commodity. The next phase I believe will be indulgent products that are being created whether it is chocolate, whether it is bread, whether it is a work of art and those processes will eventually become automated robots, but it’s a long time away.”

With another three years before the next iba comes around, it will be interesting to see if Tate’s predictions come true.

Meet ifm expert: Darryl Blackeby

Meet product sales manager Darryl Blackeby – an expert in the vision and identification product range of ifm (such as sensor cameras). Darryl is inspired by how customers use ifm sensors and is always interested in finding new applications for sensors that can help businesses improve and increase their efficiency.

Gates provides cost-saving solutions for food manufacturers

There’s no doubt that the food manufacturing industry can present a number of challenges for food manufacturers.

From food contamination to belt stretch, manufacturers need to be constantly on the ball with regards to maintaining a clean, efficient and functioning system. And that starts with equipment.

Downtime can be costly. Then there’s the potential reputational damage you could also incur. A cause of downtime is maintenance and efficiency losses due to roller chain drives. Roller chain drives present a contamination risk.

They require constant lubrication with oil or grease which can contaminate your products and, beyond that, carry an environmental risk and ongoing cost to your business through unnecessary maintenance downtime.

READ: Gates Poly Chain GT Carbon designed to replace roller chain drives

Food processing environments are subject to frequent washdowns to remove bacteria, germs and other contaminants, using aggressive cleaners and chemicals.

These liquids can damage roller chains – meaning you need to fix them, or replace them over and over again. High moisture environments can also cause rust problems, which you definitely don’t need.

The ravages of time also impact roller chains; in service, chain joints will wear, causing the drive to ‘loosen’, resulting in timing and synchronisation problems in food processing operations.

Finally, there’s the location of your drives to think about; drives in areas with difficult access are more time consuming to maintain. And, since metal and chain components wear quickly, they have to be replaced more frequently.

One immediate change that could be implemented is a switch from roller chain drives to belts, which offer numerous benefits and solutions to many of the common problems facing food production operations – helping you to meet production goals and save money.

Gates belt drive systems are virtually maintenance free – no lubrication, no messy and expensive oil baths.

Being maintenance free, they are designed for difficult-to-access spaces that would usually require disassembly, costly health and safety procedures, or the use of ladders or crawlspaces to get to for that maintenance ritual.

Gates can provide belt drive components that don’t need to be covered prior to washdown; that’s because the polymeric belts such as Gates Poly Chain and stainless components are resistant to water and caustic chemicals.

Equipment can be washed down in place, again reducing the time needed to maintain your system. Polyurethane belts combined with stainless-steel or nickel-plated sprockets and bushings are unaffected by most common disinfectants, bactericides, and cleaners used for washdowns.

The aggressive caustic solutions used in food processing plants have no effect on Poly Chain belts or stainless-steel sprockets and bushings. Gates belts rarely need re-tensioning and do not stretch over time. Gates offers a variety of belts and components suited to food manufacturing environments.

Poly chain GT carbon belts

• Clean-running, high-powered polyurethane belt drive alternative to roller chain.

• No slipping, 3X longer life than standard roller chain, virtually maintenance free.

• Ideal for low-speed, high-torque drive applications. Conveyor applications.

Stainless-steel and nickel-plated metals

• Sprockets, sheaves and bushings available in stainless steel.

• Nickel-plated sprockets also available.

• Non-corrosive, chemical resistant.

• Ideal for aggressive washdown environments.

Power curve belts

• Engineered to handle transverse bending and twisting.

• Unique under cord construction for optimal flexibility.

• Gates patented Flex-Weave cover.

• Power turn conveyor beds.

PowerGrip GT2 twin power belts

• Designed with teeth on both sides of the belt to provide synchronisation from each driving surface.

• Equal load capacity on both sides of the belt.

• Suitable for serpentine applications requiring rotation reversal in some driven shafts. Conveyor applications.

Round endless belts

• Designed for 1/4 turn or twisted drives where more than an O-ring is required.

• Power turn and line shaft conveyors.

Specialty synchronous belts

• Line includes long-length belting, Twin Power belts and spliced belts.

• Wide variety of belt materials, constructions, and backings available.

• For food conveying, washdown applications, and antibacterial conveyors.

• Micro-V profiles can be provided as backing for synchronous belts for applications that require synchronization on one shaft and have the ability to run an alternative shaft off the back of the belt as in flour mill applications.

• FDA construction option

• Low durometer option with higher friction coefficient for applications that must convey packaged materials up inclines or transfer fragile food products (e.g. packaged potato chips).

Gates Mectrol food-grade belting

• High strength, low stretch polyurethane belts designed specifically for the food processing industry.

• Clean-in-place convenience for washdown environments.

• Reductions in downtime, wastewater, and maintenance costs.

• Conveyor applications.

Futureproofing can help businesses sustain growth

The future of manufacturing – indeed the future of most industries – is becoming increasingly automated.

The director of process automation and software at Schneider Electric, Brad Yager, talks about futureproofing and how it helps a business sustain growth.

Many rote tasks are now being performed by machines and artificial intelligence (AI) with human oversight, and many of the applications that will be needed to manage production in the future have not yet been developed or even imagined.

Operations and plant managers, when thinking about making efficiencies and chasing profitability, would do well to consider the bigger picture and make strategic decisions that could futureproof the entire organisation instead of fixing short-term problems.

READ: Schneider Electric and Foss and Nutrition Innovation collaborate to produce low GI sugar cane

Ultimately, this will lead to a streamlined, more profitable business.

This holistic approach can take many forms — it goes far beyond merely upgrading existing technology and instead identifies and implements new sources of automation enabled, sustainable business value.

It is essentially cost effective modernisation — in addition to boosting revenue through improved execution of business strategy, it can reduce overall modernisation costs by up to 10 per cent over haphazard piecemeal approaches.

Some examples of the types of applications that can make the process plant of the future available – and affordable – today are the following:

• Server virtualisation, which allows the user to consolidate many PCs and servers into a high availability virtual host server, reducing heat load, weight, and power consumption, as well as improving maintenance efficiency and hence reducing total cost of ownership associated with maintaining many computers.

• Workflow automation software, which, for example, might store and enforce a sequence of proven procedures by which a plant worker might respond to an alarmed incident or event, notifying all affected parties of status and progress in real time.

• Real time energy management systems, in which profitability based on consumption in energy intensive operations is monitored in real time, in the context of dynamic energy markets.

• Real time online modelling, in which, for example, every bit of raw material that comes into a process is tracked, measured, and compared to output with analysis of variance pointing to process variances.

• 3D virtual reality simulation systems, in which, for example, workers can train on handling hazardous situations in a realistic virtual situation much like a pilot trains with a flight simulator.

• Controlled combustion, where advanced process control software monitors the firing of boilers and other equipment, and adjusts in real time to minimize excess O2, CO, and NOx emissions.

It’s not always possible to predict the challenges or the demands of the workplaces of the future, but change and development is a certainty.

By taking that extra step and thinking ahead and planning for more automation, plant managers can make the most of technological upgrades and improvements to make their organisation more profitable.

Creating FDA-approved plastic components for the food industry

E-Plas is an Australian company that specialises in industrial and high-performance plastics, especially within the food and beverage industries.

One of its distributorships is for Quadrant EPP’s Tivar series of specialty FDA-compliant UHMWPE products.

The Tivar HPV range of products can be used in food and beverage production for direct food contact applications and many products that enhance productivity and operator safety.

Tivar HPV is predominately used in conveyor applications where companies are looking to achieve dry running chain, therefore reducing the amount of water used to lubricate contact points between the conveyor chain and track/bed.

READ: Top of the line industrial plastics

Tivar MD, which is a metal-detectable grade of UHMWPE, can be used wherever low coefficient of friction is required prior to passing through metal detectors.

One example of its use is for name plates for batch numbers, which are placed onto batches of meat prior to food processing to identify them then removed before processing/mixing.

Any shards that may have broken off the labels during handling are then easily found and removed through metal detection before packaging.

Tivar HOT, as its name suggests, is used wherever low coefficient of friction is required with a high operating temperature such as entry or exit points of ovens for baked goods.

Another polyethylene product by Quadrant EPP is PE 500, which E-Plas supplies to be made into change parts, such as star wheels and scrolls for food conveyors. It is also FDA approved.

Sustarin C Acetal, which is available in natural or black, is FDA approved for direct contact with food. Sustarin MDT Acetal, metal detectable, is used for chopping blades or mixing blades for food processing and cutting and can pass through a metal detector prior to packaging. Also available is HDPE in natural and black.

It is FDA approved and is well known for its use as commercial cutting boards both small and large scale, worktops, knife holders and rollers.

Polycarbonate is known for its use in machine guarding and safety screening and is selected for its clarity combined with extreme break strength and durability. A safety favourite for many years, it offers the visibility of glass or acrylic with a high impact resistance.

E-Plas Manufacturing provides fabrication services, such as CNC, standard machining and cut-to-size. It can produce roller-chain guide profiles, conveyor tracks and corners, sprockets, filter cones, test trays, star wheels, machine guarding and other associated components to specifications. E-Plas is ISO 9001 accredited.

A barcoded apple is more important than you may realise

What is the significance of barcoding every single apple in a mountain of fruit at the supermarket? It seems a tedious process when an apple is surely just an apple. But, an apple is much more than what is seen at face value.

It comes with a history – a place of origin, a past in which it was grown in specific soil and shipped in a certain container.

This is valuable information, even for the humble apple, as a food recall could affect any product at any time.

Many products go through a number of processes before landing on a consumer’s plate.

READ: GS1 Australia and Drinks Association join forces to drive industry standards

Unfortunately, there have been many instances where products are recalled for a number of reasons.

Products are often recalled due to potential presence of glass or metal, or e.coli contamination.

Items can also be nixed in cases where cross contamination occurs, such as wheat being present in a gluten-free product.

In August alone, Food Standards Australia New Zealand warned of nine products that had been recalled due to undeclared allergens or the presence of foreign matter.

Keeping track of products

To help keep track of products, GS1 Australia offers barcode numbers based on current global standards as well as services to help its clients trace items and action recalls with ease.

GS1 Australia recall services sales manager, Andrew Brown, said the traceability of products was important, including for fresh produce such as apples.

In early 2018, rock melons from one Australian producer needed to be recalled. It became a difficult task as it was hard to distinguish the good rock melons from the contaminated ones, Brown said.

This resulted in many rock melons being taken off Australian shelves that were not necessarily in the recalled batch, or from that particular company. “Because the rock melons weren’t labelled, it had a big impact.

Most retailers and all consumers didn’t know which rock melons were affected and which ones weren’t. So the impact wasn’t just on the company that had the product issue, it also flowed on to the rest of the industry,” he said.

“That instance showed it is important to identify which products had been affected to facilitate the quarantine of only the affected ones.”

In instances where products aren’t labelled properly, retailers often take all similar products off the shelf to be on the safe side, he said.

GS1 Australia works with the fresh product market to get products labelled correctly. Barcoding fresh produce is becoming more popular as people understand the importance of it, he said.

Labels help from an environmental impact as well. Having labels on fresh produce and other products saves food from ending up as rubbish if it is actually ok to sell, he said.

“Our role at GS1 is to help industry in these situations. The more that get on board, the greater the benefit for other companies.”

Working for a common goal

GS1 is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to help food industries by minimising waste and harm. “The recall portal was designed by industry for industry,” said Brown.

GS1 Australia helps companies beyond the barcode. GS1 gives companies the power to figure out how much of a product may be affected.

For example, this could be based on where a particular product was packaged rather than where it was grown. “They need to be able to know what products have gone where and why,” said Brown. The same cereal may have been made in different factories and may not all need a recall, for instance.

GS1 Australia could help companies find out how, where and when products were moved to a new location, he said. “GS1 facilitates not just traceability, we help conduct the recall,” said Brown.

Getting prepared before a crisis hits

A company needs to be able to ask its trading partners, such as supermarkets, to action a recall as soon as possible. “Companies need to prepared to act in a crisis,” said Brown.

“In lots of situations, in most organisations within the food industry, they will have a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points programme or another food safety programme designed to stop these situations occurring. But in most instances, we would expect that a product recall comes from an unforeseen situation,” he said.

“What we help organisations do as part of a mock programme, is create a template recall notice. That template enables them to go into a product recall meeting prepared to get the right information, rather than having that meeting, going away and filling out forms, and then having more meetings.” Communicating well in the first instance is key, said Brown.

Having worked with numerous companies, Brown realises that many companies aren’t prepared for recalls.

This means that when a product is recalled, it can take days to action as phone calls and email communication go back and forth, he said.

“There’s a time factor that’s very important. You want to get that notice up as quickly as possible. Getting prepared and having a structure is very important.

“A company has to identify what part of production is affected, and then find out all the locations the product went to.

“If they’ve got all the information together, they can probably get a notice done in 20 minutes for a recall, but the limiting factor is having all of the information at hand,” said Brown.

Recalling products quickly, also helps keep a brand’s reputation intact, he said. “Consumers want to feel like they can buy your products again.”

 

 

Flexibility achieved with MODU System conveyors

MODU System was established more than two decades ago in Singapore based on the concept of modular and flexible products to meet the ever-increasing demand for conveyors and automation systems.

MODU straight beams, support structures and bend sections are made of various re-assembled components enabling these conveyors to be easily installed, reconfigured and realigned.

They are flexible and can be extended or shortened within a small time-frame by using standard hand-held tools.

All MODU conveyor standard parts are made of lightweight materials, such as aluminium alloy and engineered plastics designed to precision tolerances for a good fit.

MODU Conveyors are available in both aluminium and stainless-steel options.

MODU System provides a range of plastic chain conveyor systems with chain width sizes of 63mm, 83mm, 140mm and 220mm and belt width sizes of 315mm, 438mm and 585mm. Standard chain and belt material is PolyOxyMethylene (POM). Other available materials include Kevlar, Anti-static POM and Polypropylene (PP).

MODU’s spiral conveyors are manufactured and designed to be reliable, flexible and easy to operate. The MODU Automatic Lubrication System (ALS) and Chain Tension Adjustment System makes the spiral conveyor easy to maintain.

MODU Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) is a modern and modular mobile robot that can automatically navigate and transport materials from one location to another. It is suitable for manufacturing, textile, automotive, food and beverage, warehousing, hospital and many more industries.

MODU, together with its robotic supplier, is able to design and roll out customised robotic and palletising system solutions across all industries in Australia.

Twin-track pallets assembly solutions are designed to convey pallets/slave board from one process or assembly station to another. Based on MODU’s modular system, the twin track design offers customers plug-and-play solutions with flexible configure options.

The MODU Gripper system is flexible and lightweight, easy to install and compact, saving precious factory space. It comes in many gripping options suitable for all products. Quick change over time by incorporating adjustable crank system and digital adjustment readout.

Finally, the MODU elevator system features quick access maintenance touch panel, comprehensive guiding, universal mounts for any type of infeed and outfeed conveyor, continuous flow elevating with no reciprocating action, available in multiple heights, capacities and payload sizes as well as space saving.

Meet ifm expert: Syed Ahmad

One of the key reasons Syed Ahmad is passionate about working with ifm is that the company is always generating innovative, technologically-advanced products.

As an Internal Product Specialist, Syed sees the difference that ifm solutions can make to businesses, helping them with preventative maintenance of machinery and automation.

Hear what Syed has to say about ifm’s unique product and service offerings in the Australian market.

Total Construction explains complexity of building a food processing plant

Hidden away on the top storey of an old brick building at the heart of North Strathfield, Sydney are the offices of Total Construction.

If a company ever wanted to show off its wares, then its own offices are a great advertisement.

Old cracked bricks surround the open-plan working space with modern furnishings, polished floors and designer furniture making it an inviting place to do business for potential clients.

Started almost 25 years ago by Steven Taylor (the number’s guy) and Bill Franks (the practical man), it has grown into a business that services many industries including food and beverage.

READ: Total Construction explains pros and cons of buying and leasing

Heading that department is the affable Tony Tate, a Carlisle man from Cumbria in England’s north who had the distinction of playing against the likes of Alan Shearer, Chris Waddle and Peter Beardsley – not in the English Premier League, but at the more modest school boy level.

It is a memory that is bound to last a life  time. However, Tate then went on to a career in the food industry. Starting out as an electrical engineer, you could almost call Tate the accidental tourist when he arrived on Australian shores.

He never intended to stay for long in Australia, but 20 years later, he is still here.

“I got headhunted from the UK to come to Australia to head up Top Notch, which was the first ready-meal, high-care facility in Australia, which was owned by Goodman Fielder,” said Tate.

“In the UK, the ready-meals industry was booming. Meals had a five- to seven-day shelf life. In Australia, we were trying to break into the market but the downside was that you could go to Darling Harbour and have a good meal for $20 instead of paying $9 for a butter chicken or lasagne from the supermarket shelf. Australia wasn’t ready, so it was probably 20 years too soon.”

When he left Top Notch, Tate started touring Australia with the intention of heading back to the UK, but then stayed when he got a job offer from Goodman Fielder.

After a couple of other roles, Tate started working for Total Construction in 2008, where his expertise in stringent hygiene standards needed for food processing factories came to the fore.

“The key was my food background – especially cutting my teeth on hygienic standards when supplying Marks and Spencers, which were world leaders in hygiene,” said Tate. “In England, 35 years ago, we were already building high-care facilities. They’ve only started putting high-care facilities in Australia over the past five years. In the last 20 years in Australia they only started doing HACCP (hazard analysis critical control point) systems. You get a lot of businesses coming to me who say, ‘we’ve got HACCP approval, aren’t we wonderful’. But to me, that is the minimum you need for food safety.”

Tate cannot reiterate enough how important food hygiene is when companies are looking at building a new food processing facility.

People can become complacent when it comes to instances of food poisoning and think that it is the purview of third-world countries.

Nothing could be further from the truth. As recently as April 2018, six people died from an outbreak of listeria that was traced back to a rock melon farm in New South Wales.

“Hygiene in Australia has been pretty low,” said Tate.

“It’s not being disrespectful. In England, people still die due to food poisoning. About 250,000 Americans die of food poisoning every year. So food safety is pretty critical. I always say people safety is synonymous with food safety.”

Tate knows Total Construction’s main job is to manage the build but believes his knowledge gives the company’s clients a head’s up on what is needed to build a facility to a certain standard.

“When I talk to the clients, they know nothing about building,” he said. “The key from our point of view is to support the client. The client has to put a roof over their head because they have to keep the rain out to protect the product. They’re interested in the process equipment, which can cost them $15 million from Europe. However, they don’t understand standards. We do. They don’t need to know the building codes of Australia. They don’t need to know the FM standards for insurances. That’s what we bring to the table. There are not many food literate builders or process engineers. We have that expertise here.”

Another key to Total Construction is that it offers an all-inclusive service – from design stage to project managing the build. And it is the extra things that it brings to the table that gives clients added value.

This can be anything from advising them whether to build up or out, through to how strong a roof needs to be on a food processing plant.

“You can’t hang your air conditioning, your pipes or other gear from the roof and its trusses if it has been designed to hold up just the tin roof,” said Tate. “I tell the story a couple of years ago when the roof on a retail warehouse collapsed. There was a huge hail storm and the hail blocked the gutters on the roof. It banked up the ice and water, which caused the roof to collapse because it was too heavy.

“Most developers build a warehouse at the cheapest and most economical cost. They don’t build a warehouse with the mind of, ‘Well, we better strengthen it just in case somebody wants to put a food facility inside of it’. With a lot of food processing plant, you could have up to 80 kilograms in various items hanging off the ceiling. This is the kind of thing we tell our clients at the scope stage.”

Another angle that is a little unusual in the building trade is that Total Construction has an open book policy whereby they will show clients how much something is going to cost. They have had issues in the past where some clients have taken a hard look at costings and not been too happy. However, Tate feels that the way they do things takes the sting out of the tail – people know what to expect.

“I have great coverage on the three major trades – hydraulic, mechanical and refrigeration,” he said. “We had one project where the price seemed a little steep for the client, but that was the market cost. All the subcontractors gave me a price based on the drawings. It was an open book to the client and we brought it under 20 per cent on what the price was. He was still a little cranky but deep down he was pleasantly pleased with the service he was getting.”

Another sticky situation arose when a client wanted to be in their facility by a certain month. However, in order to do so, Tate pointed out that the lead time was too short if they wanted to pour a concrete slab that was going to be affected by changes in temperature from 36°C to -18°C.

The temperature needed to come down gradually over a few weeks in order for the slab to retain its integrity. The client wanted it to happen over a period of days. Tate informed the client that the date had to be moved to a later time. The client was not happy and demanded that the facility be ready by the date he wanted to move in.

“I said to him that we could do what he wanted but we were not warranting the slab,” said Tate. “No cement can withstand that about of temperature range over a short space of time. I told him to hire freezer containers for $250 a week, put them in his yard and put the stock in them until we could bring the temperature down gradually. That is all he wanted. A solution. And we gave him one.”

And Tate says the payoff is tangible and can be measured by repeat business. “We get 80 percent repeat business with clients,” said Tate. “I have clients phoning me up that I haven’t spoken to for two years. They go, ‘Mate, I’ve got a problem, can you come down and give us advice?’ I go and help them and I don’t charge. But I know if they are going to build a facility – whether it be Melbourne or Sydney, or up in Queensland – their first port of call is going to be Total Construction.”

IoT-enabled inkjet printer can save on downtime

Traceability codes and best before dates are a vital part of the production process in the food and beverage industry.

Industrial ink jet coders print the vital information such as best before dates and traceability codes on to products, and their performance can be a major contributor to manufacturing Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) statistics.

With that being said, it is critical they are being monitored effectively so they can be working at optimum efficiency. Through the emergence of IIoT and cloud technology, this has become more achievable for manufacturers.

Industry 4.0, smart factories and IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) are all terms that illustrate the future for manufacturing. They describe a world where each component of a factory is connected through a cyber system that monitors factory processes to achieve optimum OEE.

READ: Insignia discusses challenges impacting the beverage industry

With this in mind, insignia, the sole Australian distributor of Domino marking and coding hardware, have embraced IIoT technology to provide a cloud offering that delivers better visibility and improved performance of their coding solutions. But how exactly does it work?

“A Domino Cloud interface plugs into the inkjet coder and uses a 3G network to send data to the cloud,” said Blair Kietzmann, insignia’s head of sales for Domino.

“From there, the data is used to analyse performance and areas that require particular attention, so we are able to provide proactive maintenance.

“The customer’s uptime is paramount,” said Kietzmann.

“With the cloud we can remotely monitor our customer’s fleet of inkjet printers around the country from our technical help desk, and if necessary assist in live issue resolution – before it impacts the production line.

“The other benefit of this kind of predictive maintenance is that if the machine does fail, both the customer and our HelpDesk team are instantly notified of the issue and its cause. The biggest cost in any production line is downtime. If we can help reduce that downtime in our small way, then we are doing our job.”

The main benefit highlighted by Kietzmann is that Domino Cloud has allowed insignia to move their support services from a reactive to proactive approach. With cloud technology the company is able to provide more value to their customers through remote diagnostics and predictive maintenance. Having full visibility allows insignia’s experienced technicians to call the customer, find the right person and navigate them to remedy the issue over the phone. That can turn a potentially lengthy period of downtime into a 10-minute resolution over the phone, or aid in a first-time, field-support fix.

In addition to the support from insignia, Domino Cloud also allows users to monitor their plant remotely via a smartphone or tablet, as well as a desktop or laptop computer, giving real -time visibility of the production line.

“Cloud solutions can be challenging and at times expensive to implement,” he said.

“Having an IoT device ready to go on your printer gives you a window into your production line through the eyes of the printer. It gives a taste of what Industry 4.0 can deliver without the big costs and complicated set up.

“You can log into that printer through a smart device anywhere in the world, any time you like, and you can see in real time what your production line is doing. You can see that it is running and the production output. It gives you immediate feedback on your production line.

“Being an Australian family-owned business ourselves, we understand the impact unplanned downtime can have.

“In a country as large as Australia, being able to support both our metro and regional customers remotely in a more predictive and proactive way, means we can ensure our equipment is running more reliably, maximising their production uptime and driving down their costs,” said Kietzmann.

AIP president explains biodegradable and compostable packaging

Biodegradable and compostable packaging are not interchangeable. Dr Carol Kilcullen-Lawrence, the national president of the Australia Institute of Packaging (AIP) explains why.

Compostable and biodegradable – two terms that are often used interchangeably, but in reality actually mean very different things.

In light of the recent Australian Environment Ministers announcement that 100 per cent of packaging in Australia will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 we need to better understand how we can really achieve this and how different this target is compared to the packaging waste streams that are in place today.

The first step is to understand the difference between compostable and biodegradable packaging.

READ: AIP will run food waste and packaging seminars at FoodTech PackTech

Everything will degrade over time but true biodegradation occurs through a biochemical process, with the aid of enzymes produced by naturally occurring microorganisms, both in the presence and absence of oxygen i.e. aerobic or anaerobic, without leaving behind any toxins, yielding only carbon dioxide, water and humus or biomass.

Biodegradable packaging is either completely or partially derived from a renewable source – like paper or starch – or, if it is petroleum based, is specifically engineered with the aid of additives, to decompose in the natural environment. Such additives change the chemical composition of the plastic.

While this does not affect its manufacturing, use or shelf life, such that it differs functionally from other plastics, it is significant at the end of life.

A biodegradable plastic will be considered a contaminant in the plastics recycling stream, as on being exposed to moisture and appropriate microorganisms, the biodegradation process will commence.

Compostable packaging has an organic origin, like sugar cane, bamboo or paper, and can broadly be classified into two types:

1. one that which will compost in a home compost; and

2. one that requires an industrial compost facility.

Industrial composting can cope with a wider range of compostable products as it involves pre-processing – where materials are ground and chipped down into smaller pieces, and in addition, industrial composting provides the higher temperatures needed for more efficient break down.

Home composting takes place at much lower temperatures and over an extended time frame, which can typically go up to a year, compared to a matter of weeks for industrial composting. And what people and organisations need to realise is that there is a different set of standards for materials suitable for home composting, which is governed by Vincotte a Belgium-based certification organisation.

While not currently available in all regions of Australia, industrial composting facilities are becoming increasingly widespread with many more councils and private companies providing bins where food scraps and compostable packaging can be disposed of within existing green waste collection services.

Known as FOGO, participating councils are considering potentially reducing landfill collections to fortnightly, allowing FOGO collections to become weekly. However, most councils also know that there will need to be significant consumer education to ensure the right types of compostable and biodegradable packaging are disposed of in such services.

One of the ideal situations to utilise compostable and biodegradable packaging is at public events where the inputs to the waste stream can be controlled by those at the arenas.

In such situations if all food packaging is manufactured from compostable organic sources and biodegradable plastics, then disposal facilities that capture this with the food waste will allow the packaging to be industrially composted together.

This is an ideal solution as many types of biodegradable and compostable packaging cannot be recycled, hence cannot be placed in kerbside recycling. It would be impossible for a consumer to identify the difference between a biodegradable PLA plastic container with a visually identical petroleum-based polymer one.

The move to biodegradable or compostable packaging is real, and with a 2025 target, now is the time to identify not only the most suitable sustainable solutions to suit each product, but to also ensure that the packaging waste streams have the capabilities to manage this change.   

Insights from the Food and Beverage Industry Awards winners

It was a balmy night in August that brought together innovators, entrepreneurs, risk takers and industry stalwarts for the 15th annual Food and Beverage Industry News Awards.

MC’ed by the ABC’s War on Waste host Craig Reucassel, the gala event was a sell out and showcased all that was good about the food and beverage industry in 2017 and 2018.

READ: Food and Beverage Industry awards to be held in Sydney in 2019

Below are the champions in each category.

Best of the Best, sponsored by Flavour Makers, and Beverage of the Year, sponsored by VEGA Australia, were awarded to Utonic

Young South Australian drinks company Utonic Beverages was awarded Beverage of the Year, sponsored by VEGA Australia and the top award – Best of the Best, sponsored by Flavour Makers.

Utonic is a functional beverage manufacturer that aims to create and promote a healthier body and mind through naturally great tasting drinks. Each drink is backed by science and designed to serve a purpose, whether it’s providing an afternoon boost, recovery from a big night out or stress relief after a hard day at work.

Utonic co-founder, Michael Brinkley, said the company was stoked to be awarded Beverage of the Year. “Industry recognition means a lot to a young company like us and it’s encouraging to know we bumped out some major drink brands to win this award.”

The awards were won by the Utonic Repair natural tonic. The drink aims to restore the body with powerful antioxidants from blueberry, pomegranate and sour cherry, as well as containing turmeric and ginger, which have been shown to provide anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea functions.

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Founded in 2016, the company was created by founders Brinkley, Tyson Goldsack, Leigh Morgan and Toby Yap, who shared a belief that it should be possible to lead a healthy life while also achieving daily goals in today’s high-pressure, fast-paced, work, sporting and social environments.

The team created a range of scientifically blended drinks produced from concentrated real foods and targeted nutrients. The drinks have no added sugar, preservatives, chemical highs or negative side effects.

“We wanted to produce a functional drink range, free from artificial flavours and preservatives,” said Brinkley. “Sports drinks are typically loaded with artificial ingredients and sugar and we knew there was a better solution.”

The drinks include ingredients such as passionflower, sour cherry, chamomile, kale and spirulina. “It’s a very new category,” said Brinkley. “We chose ingredients that had functionality but also tasted good.” It was about getting a balance of good flavours and creating a product that was truly healthy, he said.

Utonic released to the market in April 2017, focusing on South Australia first. “Our sales strategy was to focus on our home state first and fine tune our marketing and communication before going national,” said Brinkley.

The award came just weeks before Utonic started national distribution with Manassen Foods. The full Utonic beverage collection is avaliable Australia wide from October.

Hemp

Paddock to Plate, sponsored by Manark Printing, was awarded to Australian Primary Hemp

Supporting the Australian agriculture industry while developing a sustainable food source, is paramount to the makers of Australian Primary Hemp.

The company’s journey began in August 2016, with four friends and a vision of growing and manufacturing a sustainable, high-protein product in Australia. Co-founder and sales director, Skye Patterson said that research highlighting hemp’s nutritional content, sustainability, success in similar western countries and the opportunities to easily integrate into current farming made their decision obvious.

At the time, national food standards didn’t allow for the sale and consumption of hemp food products in Australia. But, this did not deter the team. “We were pretty confident it was going to come to fruition,” said Patterson. “On a global sense it was popular, so it was just a matter of time until it took off in Australia.” Laws to legalise the consumption of hemp foods in Australia were passed in late 2017. Now after just two years of business, the company is one of the country’s largest producers of Australian-grown hemp.

Australian Primary Hemp handles every step of the hemp process – from farming and production, to packaging and selling. This allows the company to ensure the quality and freshness of all products including de-hulled hemp seeds, cold-pressed hemp seed oil and hemp protein powders.

The company’s headquarters are based in Newtown, Geelong, where day-to-day business operations and processing facilities are kept. The hemp is grown across Tasmania, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia with the company’s partnered farmers.

“We started growing hemp ourselves and then with the legal changes, the demand for hemp food products grew astronomically,” said Patterson. “We needed to expand our growing capacities, which led to building relationships with partnered growers to increase our hemp supply.”

The company continues to grow its four core products – hemp oil, hemp seeds, hemp balance and hemp boost. It also launched hemp milk kits in September, so people can make hemp milk from home. Patterson said the hemp milk is best when sweetened with a few dates.

The company also has hemp-based recipes online, including hemp granola bars and hemp tabbouleh. Hemp food is still a relatively new concept in Australia, but Patterson said it is a growing industry. With a focus on health and sustainability, Australian Primary Hemp hasn’t looked back, she said.

Apple Cider Vinegar Powder 2

Ingredient Innovation was awarded to Botanical Innovations

Botanical Innovations is an Australian manufacturer of phenolic rich flavours, fragrances and ingredients for functional foods and beverages, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical applications. The company invests heavily in research and development, which has led to innovations and the development of a unique range of products.

Botanical Innovations won the ingredient innovation section for its apple cider vinegar powder. The company’s managing director, Kerry Ferguson, said a number of people had asked if Botanical Innovations offered natural preservatives that didn’t have a strong flavour. “We look at what the needs are in the market. There’s a demand out there,” she said.

The apple cider vinegar powder is naturally fermented. “It has two functions. It can be used as a flavouring and it can also be used as a natural preservative,” said Ferguson. The benefit of Botanical Innovation’s apple cider vinegar powder is that it’s got a neutral taste. “It hasn’t got a terribly strong flavour,” she said.

Botanical Innovations is a business-to-business company that supplies to bakeries and other food manufacturers. The apple cider vinegar powder increases the shelf life of products. A bread could last two or three days longer with the powder, said Ferguson.

People wanted natural, cleaner products that were not laden with chemicals, she said. Ferguson is passionate about health and providing alternative products to consumers.

“I never used to read labels, but now I do,” she said. “I believe very strongly in the use of natural products.”

Vinegar has historically been used to treat diseases and wounds. More recently it’s been used in food and beverages as a health supplement. Botanical Innovations highlights that potential health benefits of apple cider vinegar, and fermented vinegars and extracts, include weight loss, lowering cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. It can also help in preventing and treating diabetes and alleviating asthma symptoms.

Other products the company develops include fermented grape seed extract, fermented papaya extract, cherry seed oil, quandong seed oil and sweet pea flower powder.

D

Meat, Poultry and Smallgoods was awarded to Sunshine Meats

Sunshine Meats started as a small butchery in Redfern, Sydney, in 1988. Founder Jose Pereira took the opportunity to buy the small butcher shop, despite having little financial backing. Thirty years later, his investment is still paying off.

Sunshine Meats has now moved away from being a traditional butchery, but business developer Nalita Ferraz said the company’s values remain the same. “We still get phone calls from people wanting traditional meat cuts. We’ve definitely evolved into a totally different business, but it’s always about quality,” said Ferraz.

Sunshine Meats won the award for its smoked duck breast. Smoking is what the company focuses on. The company has a range of duck products including chorizo, duck thigh and duck breast.

Sunshine Meats’ director, and Jose’s daughter, Celina Pereira, said consumers are becoming more interested in duck. “There is a need for these kinds of products,” said Pereira. “With almost two year’s development to fine tune the recipe, it has really made the product what it is.”

The company sells its products at independent and specialty stores. Creating duck products was a great opportunity for Sunshine Meats, as restaurants were using duck due to it gaining popularity with consumers, said Pereira. “Chefs need to rely on a product that’s always going to be consistent. Sunshine Meats is mostly retail based, but we would like to explore the idea of food services. The possibilities are endless,” she said.

Ferraz said providing quality smoked products cuts back the time people spend in the kitchen without compromising on food quality. “You can achieve a meal that would take two hours, that can now be prepared in half an hour,” she said. For an industry perspective, chefs can use Sunshine Meats’ products and save time by not smoking meats themselves, but still having a great product to use, said Ferraz. “When we are talking about our products we try to talk about the convenience aspect.”

Pereira and Ferraz agree there are plenty of meals that can be made with the smoked duck breast and other duck products made by Sunshine Meats. But their favourite is a risotto with smoked duck breast or chorizo.

COYO KIDS COCONUT YOGHURT POUCH -3

Health Foods, sponsored by JCurve Solutions, was awarded to COYO

COYO is a brand dedicated to making delicious and healthy coconut yoghurt and ice cream. The company won the Health Foods award for its coconut yoghurt kids’ pouches.

COYO started with a natural, unflavoured coconut yoghurt and the range has since expanded into offering other flavours such as blueberry, and plum and guava. COYO co-founder Sandra Gosling said the idea was born in 2009 by her husband Henry Gosling. Henry was born in Fiji and grew up with coconut as part of his diet. Sandra said with her background in bacteriology and gut health, and her husband’s life experiences, the company was able to flourish. “It puts us in a unique position,” Sandra said.

“We come very much from that health platform and remaining true to our values. We have a philosophy that all our foods and all the we produce has to be delicious. It has to be good for us and it has to be functional,” she said.

Despite becoming a successful business, Sandra wasn’t sure at first that coconut yoghurt would work. “It was all about Henry’s idea. He woke up on a Sunday morning with this ridiculous idea saying, ‘I’m going to make yoghurt out of coconut’. I just said, ‘Don’t be stupid, go back to bed’,” she said.

“After a lot of research we found that no-one was doing it. At first, I wasn’t sure about it, but then with my interest in gut health and the benefits of coconut, I thought, ‘Hang on, this could be good’.”

There was a lot of soy yoghurt at the time, but no coconut yoghurt, Sandra said. “It’s been a long, very satisfying journey.” More people are becoming interested in plant-based yoghurts. “The tidal wave is coming so it’s very exciting. From an environmental point of view, we have to make some changes, but they have to be changes that are very palatable. It has to be a win-win for everybody, including farmers,” said Sandra.

The kids’ pouches were introduced after extensive research, she said. “Our yoghurt doesn’t contain any sweeteners. In the children’s market they screw their noses up a bit so we use an unrefined brown rice syrup so we’ve actually now created a new range,” said Sandra. “The pouches have been incredibly well-received. The kids are loving it.” The Goslings then found out that some adults were wanting slightly sweeter yoghurts as well.

COYO has now adapted to cater to the sweeter tooth by creating two bases – one without sweetener and one with unrefined brown rice syrup. “In our ice-creams again, we are very low sugar but no less delicious than other ice creams. We use chicory root – it’s only about a tenth as sweet as sugar,” said Sandra.

The COYO kids pouches come in vanilla, strawberry, and banana and mango flavours.

Grape N Go - lunch box

Packaging Innovation, sponsored by Jet Technologies, was awarded to Result Group

When it came to creating packaging for Grape N’Go, Result Group was there to deliver the next innovation in packaging for table grapes, working alongside Fruit Master and Navi Co Global. Result Group was challenged to deliver packaging that was user friendly, improved shelf life, protected the product from damage and spoilage, improved overall sustainability and reduced product waste.

Result Group general manager, Michael Dossor, said Grape N’Go was developed using good design principles based on addressing the product life cycle to achieve a more environmentally sound packaging alternative to what already existed on the market.

With Fresh Lid re-closable film, the company managed to meet the brief. “By delivering a fully recyclable pack, as well as addressing the food waste challenges, we were able to address key issues faced by today’s packaging and consumer brand owners,” said Dossor.

Result Group is involved in the development of a new range of label applicators developed specifically for the fruit and vegetable sector.  “These will be equipped with multifunction labelling capability and offered via a cost-effective platform. We are also using laser coding and marking technology. The great part about laser coding is it gives you the ability to print human readable text as well as symbols and logos, but all without using printing inks,” said Dossor.

“Remove the ink and the environmental footprint is unsurpassed. All we are doing is using the laser coder to etch the surface of the product. That also helps when it comes to authenticity projects for companies exporting,” he said.

Result Group staff enjoyed working on the Grape N’Go project as it had numerous environmental benefits, said Dossor. These include a longer shelf life and consumption window due to the printable Fresh Lid film. With Fresh Lid, less material is used and the need for additional self-adhesive labels is eliminated, which results in a plastic footprint reduction. “The packaging is also 100 per cent recyclable and easily facilitates household kerbside recycling,” said Dossor.

“Customers have an appetite for wanting to know that brands are doing their best in the area of sustainability. Packaging is an area that is closely aligned with Result Group’s own sustainability goals and corporate social responsibility,” he said.

Result Group aims to keep embarking on projects that aim to deliver a sustainable packaging solution while reducing the environmental impact through the use of equipment in innovative ways.

OJI Yatala March 2018

Best in Design, sponsored by Wiley, was awarded to Oji Fibre Solutions

Oji Fibre Solutions produces market pulp, paper and fibre-based packaging products throughout Australia and New Zealand. The company aims to deliver environmentally sustainable products and to work with customers to develop solutions that enhance their business operations.

The company successfully opened its state-of-the-art corrugated packaging facility in Yatala in March 2018 and received the award for this plant. The new facility enables Oji Fibre Solutions to meet anticipated growth in demand for packaging solutions. Corrugated packaging products are one of the fastest growing segments of Oji Fibre Solutions, with its paper and product specifications being well-suited for the fruit, vegetables and meat sectors.

National sales and marketing manager, Philip Nuttall, said winning the award was a great step to creating more brand awareness. “We’ve invested $70 million in the new plant. It’s great to be recognised for the work,” said Nuttall. “Our biggest strength is our papers.” The company wanted to continue growing in the food sector, he said.

The majority of Oji Fibre Solutions’ operations are based in New Zealand, where kraft pulps, packaging papers and a range of packaging products are manufactured from locally-grown softwood plantations, producing materials that are suitable for primary sector packaging systems and are in demand across the globe.

Nuttall said Oji Fibre Solutions targeted horticulture and meat companies, but it could help other businesses in the industry as well. “We’ve got the potential to be a corrugated supplier to anybody in the food and beverage industry,” said Nuttall. “It’s giving people choice.”

The Brisbane-based Yatala Packaging Plant created 300 jobs during the construction phase and now has about 70 employees. The plant has a five-star Green Star environmental rating. It is designed to consume reduced amounts of water and electricity as part of the company’s focus on sustainability. Some of the sustainable features include a rainwater harvesting system, which will reduce potable water consumption by 80 per cent. A 100kW solar PV system, daylight sensors and an efficient lighting control system in the warehouse are also part of the facility.

The new plant aims to provide customers with innovative and environmentally sustainable products that enhance their competitiveness, while attracting new customers.

It will enable the company to expand its operations in Australia and provide customers with innovative products.

HMPSEquipment

Innovative Technology of the Year, sponsored by NHP, was awarded to HMPS

HMPS won the award for its HMPS8000 robotic flat-bread packer. The company shows there is an intricate process to packing, stacking and sorting flatbreads. While most people simply enjoy the end product, HMPS was behind the development and build of a system that created the best packaging solution for a flatbread producer.

HMPS CEO, Shaun Westcott, said the company needed to meet its clients’ needs to create a product that would allow the flatbreads to be packed in a variety of formats, while increasing productivity. “The project is designed to improve the throughput, productivity and efficiency of our client” he said.

HMPS was tasked with packing four different-sized flatbreads, in five different-sized stacks. This needed to be done to fit the customer’s existing carton range and the application required a cycle rate of up to 110 packs per minute. It also needed to adhere to food safety requirements and remain flexible with little operator involvement. “We were successfully able to achieve that for them,” said Westcott. But, the task came with challenges. The HMPS team realised the biggest challenge would be catering to the variety of product sizes, packing formations and varying weights, while still maintaining a good production speed.

By taking this into consideration, the team opted for the HMPS8000 robotic flat-bread packer as the ideal solution. “We value the opportunity our customers give us to develop new and innovative solutions and recognise our staff for working tirelessly to make it happen. Developing innovative and cutting-edge solutions for our clients, remains an ongoing focus for our team,” said Westcott.

HMPS was grateful for the recognition the award gave the company as it continued to offer automated and customised solutions to clients, he said. The company works on projects worldwide, including current jobs such as a specialised packaging solution for packing of pet food pouches in Thailand.

HMPS is an Australian-owned company specialising in the design, development and manufacturing of high-quality machinery for packaging processes. The company started off designing and developing bag-in-box machinery in the 1980s. It has since grown to offer case packers, RSC, palletisers, carton erectors and sealers, pick-and-place applications and specialised robotic solutions. HMPS machinery is exported to Asia, South Africa, New Zealand, Europe, USA and other markets across the globe.

CCPtechnologies2edit

Food Safety Equipment and Materials, sponsored by COG Advertising, was awarded to CCP Technologies

CCP Technologies is an Australian company that specialises in product development and product management within the realm of the Internet of Things (IoT). The company builds business-to-business hardware and software solutions, which provide customers with a critical control point monitoring platform. For companies such as Earth Walker and Co, this means the Wollongong-based café and general store can save money on refrigeration.

CCP Technologies executive director, Anthony Rowley, said monitoring was important considering that refrigeration made up 80 per cent of some companies’ energy consumption.

“We tuned an eight-foot by eight-foot cool room and saved the owner $120 a-month,” said Rowley.

Earth Walker uses CCP’s wireless temperature monitoring system in its fridges to ensure all perishable foods are kept in optimal condition. Earth Walker co-owner Bianca Poscoliero said she started using CCP’s monitoring system in early 2017, when the café opened. “We’ve got a general store and a café, so we use them in all of our fridges,” she said.

“We’ve had a few incidents – including fridges failing.” Poscoliero knows immediately when something is wrong with a fridge as she receives an email and an SMS. “We’ve also got the app on our phone so at any time we can log on to the app,” said Poscoliero.

Earth Walker saved time and money by not having staff members manually check on fridges daily, she said. “It’s made our lives much easier. It’s a weight lifted off our shoulders. We are saving thousands a-year,” said Poscoliero.

CCP chief executive officer, Michael White, said based on data captured by CCP, 4.9 per cent of refrigerated coolers and freezers in businesses would suffer a complete failure each year. “In the food industry, if something goes wrong with a fridge, it causes enormous business disruption and can jeopardise food safety,” he said.

“While strengthening regulatory compliance remains a key driver for adoption, customers are using our solution to yield energy savings, reduce waste and support preventive maintenance programs,” said White.

CCP is harnessing the convergence of cloud computing, IoT, blockchain and big data analytics to deliver solutions to food and beverages businesses that help save them money and time.

Differential pressure transmitter can make a huge difference

In processing facilities in the chemical, pharmaceutical and energy industries, the main focus today, more than ever, is on “safety”.

That is why Safety Integrity Level (SIL) is becoming more important, providing modern process instrumentation with a coherent concept that can minimise potentially high risks to people and the environment.

Reliable measurement, easy integration

VEGADIF 85, a differential pressure transmitter developed especially with safety in mind, is Vega’s new component for reliable, continuous control and monitoring of industrial processes.

Its strengths lie not only in functional safety, but also in the option of measuring differential and static pressure simultaneously with just one instrument. Housed in a compact single-chamber case, the transmitter is designed for economic efficiency and installation with low space requirements.

These features are flanked by particularly simple, intelligent operation – a real plus in terms of error avoidance.

VEGADIF 85 is qualified and approved according to SIL-2 (SIL-3) for manufacturing processes that depend on certified components, simple, user-friendly operation and permanently transparent processes.

It can be parameterised via cable connection, as well as wirelessly via Bluetooth. Its measured values can be integrated into the existing processes quickly – always in a form suitable to the respective conditions and requirements.

Unaffected by steam

Differential pressure, a robust and universal measuring principle, is used in many processes, especially for gases or steam.

The pressure difference is determined by means of an orifice disc that narrows the flow in a pipe at a predetermined point. Flowing steam, or gas, builds up a higher pressure in front of the constriction point than behind it.

The difference between the two values – before and after the restriction – can be used to deduce the absolute quantity of gas that flows through.

Differential pressure transmitters are characterised by their high accuracy in measuring flow rates, even at pressures of only a few mbar.

They also handle extreme temperatures with no problem. Vega rounds out these advantages with a large number of available measuring ranges.

Many different process fittings are available in conjunction with single- or double-sided chemical seals: denoted as CSS or CSB respectively. With this high-performance line of products, highly accurate, fail-safe measurements can be realised even under challenging conditions.

Differential and static pressure with one instrument

VEGADIF 85 sensors are equipped with a second, piezoresistive detector.

They are thus the first transmitters of their kind that can measure both differential pressure and static pressure. And they can easily handle these two different measuring tasks in parallel.

For example, they ensure a high degree of fail-safety in pipelines by determining the dynamic pressure and the superimposed static pressure at the same time – a measuring task that used to require two separate pressure transmitters.

Where Bluetooth makes sense

There are many ways to simplify processes. However, it is important to strike the right balance between safety and convenience.

Wireless data transmission can offer real added value in cases where access to data is difficult.

With intuitive, simplicity, Bluetooth makes operation more flexible via smartphone, tablet or PC and provides transparency in wide-ranging applications.

Bluetooth is now available as an option for the new generation of differential pressure transmitters.

Since it is part of the tried-and-trusted modular Vega instrument platform plics, it implements safety precautions at various levels already proven in the field.

These include current encryption modes at the interface level, such as via PC or smartphone, as well as the necessary access codes that protect the sensor from unauthorised access.

Bluetooth is also something for older systems: the current display and adjustment module PLICSCOM is downward compatible for the majority of Vega measuring instruments manufactured since
2002 and now operating in the field.

Flameproof housing

In process engineering applications, pressure transmitters have to withstand environments where flammable gases, vapours or mists can escape from closed systems. Under certain conditions, with oxygen from the air mixed in the right proportion, there is a great risk of explosion.

The electronics used in VEGADIF 85 are 100 per cent intrinsically safe and flameproof according to ATEX, IECEx and CSA.

This means that the instruments can be safely adjusted at any time, even during operation in hazardous areas, which is ideal for the food processing industry.

MHE-Demag dock levellers focus on safety and efficiency

Getting from point A to point B needs to be done quickly, but safely to ensure workers are not harmed and products are not damaged.

One large international soft drink manufacturing company ensured its new distribution site near Brisbane had a safety focus with the help of loading bay solutions from MHE-Demag.

MHE-Demag’s loading bays provide a bridge to load trucks in logistic hubs, food and beverage manufacturing outlets, hotels, hospitals and many other outlets.

READ: Bridging the gap – dock levellers in food & beverage manufacturing

Using dock levellers promotes the safety of the goods and operators, facilitating loading and unloading operations efficiently.

Bridge to safety

MHE-Demag’s managing director Vince DiCostanzo said the GATOR dock leveller range rises and lowers to the height requirement of the user for maximum safety and smooth transition during loading and unloading processes.

“On top of the GATOR’s standard features and functions we offer a range of ancillary products to customise loading bay requirements,” said DiCostanzo.

Optional upgrades can include independent lip control, automatic return to dock feature and standard full-range telescopic toe guards ensure that feet and equipment are not accidentally jammed under the decks.

Fall-safe rupture valves also ensure the dock is maintained at level if a truck accidentally departs while the GATOR dock leveller is engaged.

The dock levellers also have available a remote control system, which is customised to all needs, said DiCostanzo.

“There can be up to 100 dock workers working on one control.” Solutions range from standalone control boxes to interlocking systems of docking equipment. “Users then have more control over the dock,” said DiCostanzo.

The features help make it a more convenient and safe product than others on the market, he said.

MHE-Demag’s signals, signs and traffic lights can further help safe loading processes within the dock.

A solution for all

MHE-Demag GATOR dock levellers are installed in pits, on frame or on ramps, depending on the layout of a loading bay.

Pit style dock levellers are mounted inside a purpose built concrete pit and flushed to the floor level of the loading bay when parked. This allows smooth cross-traffic of forklifts.

Frame supported dock levellers work when a concrete pit is not possible. Supported with a sturdy steel frame, the dock levellers are projected out from the loading bay.

Dock levellers on concrete or steel ramps are an option when a facility does not have a loading bay or when there is insufficient space available in the loading bay.

“The GATOR dock leveller is making its way through Australia and while a number of installations are still happening at the moment, we are happy and proud to say that we have completed a major project with an international beverage manufacturer due to the distinct product features,” said DiCostanzo.

Along with options for dock levellers that suit any company’s needs, MHE-Demag also offers easy installation and maintenance services and training to ensure the equipment is used correctly.

MHE-Demag solely supplied docks to the large beverage manufacturer, but it also offers full loading bay solutions.

The company has supplied overhead cranes and material handling equipment to many Australian companies.

With the dock leveller extending MHE-Demag’s product portfolio, customers can expect the same quality and level of service as with the cranes.

Roxset makes factory floors that won’t crack

Food processing floors take a particular hammering on a daily, sometimes 24/7, basis.

These floors face frequent contact with heat, chemicals, and spills as well as heavy equipment and machinery.

Avoiding the need to regularly replace floors, saves money, time and unnecessary headaches. A concrete floor for example, will not last long in a factory setting without cracking under a heavy load and chemical exposure. 

They are almost impossible to maintain and they risk high exposure to failure of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) compliance.

READ: Roxset helps with specialised flooring for Vasse Felix winery

Luckily, there are better options than opting for a concrete floor that may crack under pressure.

Roxset SE’s industrial factory floor is specifically designed and tailored for food, beverage and meat processing facilities. It offers a seamless, clean and safe floor that supports a productive environment while withstanding heavy use for many years.

The Roxset SE solution for food factories is both HACCP and Slip Resistant (R13) to meet the high safety grade. Additionally, the aggregate can be varied to suit the various traffic areas of the factory whether it be foot, forklift or trolley.

Industrial grade coatings offer a seamless surface free of joints, cracks and crevices. Roxset uses epoxy – a thermosetting polymer, which is available in three formulations for a seamless floor. 

The available formulations are water based, solvent based and 100 per cent solid based.

They allow for varying thicknesses, from 3ml to 10ml, depending on a factory’s needs. Epoxy bonds well to concrete and is ideal for use as a resurfacing agent for old or worn concrete. 

The best epoxy formulation is 100 per cent solid for an extremely hard, thick and impact resistant coating.

Cleanliness is a top priority that Roxset has captured in its floors. Limiting the spread of diseases such as listeria is critical.

The Roxset SE industrial floor reduces the risk of contamination in areas around drains so they do not harbour bacteria.

This is done with an epoxy coating, which will dramatically limit these dangerous harbourage points.

Australian woman shares success as a health food manufacturer

More than a decade ago, an Australian naturopath started hand-mixing cereals for clients who wanted healthy options that weren’t readily available in the market.    

Without knowing it, Narelle Plapp had started her path to creating a muesli manufacturing business that would bring clients aboard from as far afield as China.

In the past 12 years, Plapp has owned two health food stores, founded the muesli brand Food for Health, and just 12 months ago she started a manufacturing business called Grain and Bake Co Australia.

Her businesses continue to flourish, but the getting there required a lot of determination and risk.

READ: Congratulations to the winners of Women in Industry Awards 2018

“I was living off the smell of an oily rag at the ripe old age of 24,” said Plapp. 

“I started as a naturopath and had created some recipes for patients.”

The cereals Plapp made for clients had essential botanicals that are said to help aid in liver cleansing, as well as having other health benefits.

Twelve years ago, there were few options for people wanting a truly healthy cereal, she said. Plapp saw a gap in the market for muesli that was low in sugar and high in nutritional value.

“I took a leap of faith to do it on my own.”

That leap of faith has not only allowed her to succeed as a businesswoman, but it’s also given her the opportunity to mentor other women in the food industry.

Muesli manufacturing doesnt stop at the bowl

Plapp’s success was recognised when she was nominated as a finalist in the 2018 Women in Industry awards, for the Excellence in Manufacturing and Mentor of the Year categories. 

She is currently mentoring three people, with regular catch-ups every second month.

“Some are university students who want inspiration and one is someone that just started a business. I’m particularly passionate about women in business.”

She sees the importance in giving people support as she too has experienced working on her own to achieve business goals that can be daunting at times.

“It can be intimidating,” said Plapp.

She enjoys helping people succeed, while also learning from the people she is mentoring.

“When you’re talking to younger people it certainly gives you a different perspective. I like the challenge they put back on me,” said Plapp.

While mentoring is important to Plapp, she also supports people in other ways. 

Wellbeing is more than eating nutritious foods

Coming back to work after having a child can be difficult, so she offers flexible working hours to staff, but this isn’t limited to women. Plapp, who has two children, believes all parents should also have the chance to spend as much time as possible with their families. 

“If your child is in a school play you might as well get out and watch it and make it up another day. What I can do is support people through a journey through how you juggle that,” she said.

Within hours of having her children, Plapp was back on her laptop because work never stopped for her. But she understands the difficulty some parents face when trying to get back into a work routine. Accommodating employee’s needs is a must in her company.

With a focus on employee wellbeing, as well as the health of consumers, Plapp is making a name for herself in the health foods sector.

Grain and Bake, based in Melbourne, is a contractor manufacturing brand that has eight brands on board after just 12 months.

“We’ve certainly got a huge plan. We are already selling our Grain and Bake brand in China. We currently support our partner there,” said Plapp.

“It is certainly a long way from when I used to hand mix the muesli, however I am more passionate, driven and determined than ever before.”

Plapp works hard and encourages others to do so too by supporting them during their entrepreneurial journeys.

While it was hard work, she said it was still a labour of love.

Newly Weds Foods helps spice up products with well-researched seasonings

Bbq sauce used to be simple – sweet, a touch smoky and the perfect accompaniment with chicken, beef or even lamb. But consumers are increasingly wanting more choice. And with more choice comes a need to expand the range of flavours with a new twist.

Newly Weds Foods marketing services manager, Vivienne Stein, said people still want those traditional flavours, but they like having a more refined version.

“American BBQ flavours are trending. We’ve seen a lot of products with different types of BBQ flavours,” she said.

“In the past it’s been very general with the sweet or smoky BBQ. Now it’s becoming more specific with flavours such as Memphis BBQ and Texas BBQ,” said Stein.

Newly Weds Foods makes customised ingredient creations for food manufacturers.

The food ingredient supplier develops new seasonings, coatings and crumbs to help companies expand their product range. “We look in the market place and show customers what is becoming popular,” she said.

There are two main ways to start the development process, Stein said.

The first is having the customer come to Newly Weds with an idea for a new flavour.

The second is Newly Weds suggesting flavours to customers, which suit their needs and help grow their business.

“We are offering flavour advice in terms of research. We have a lot of research available to us because we are part of an international company. We have access to a couple of databases, including Mintel,” said Stein.

These databases help Newly Weds determine what is trending in the food market, which the company can then use to make the best flavour range for its customers.

“They look to us for what they can be doing differently. They are being more inventive,” she said.

Sharing ideas globally

Because of its international footprint, Newly Weds’ different teams can help out with different products.

“In terms of the Asian flavours, our American counterparts are looking to us,” said Stein.

For BBQ flavours, the Australian-based manufacturer can bounce ideas off the US-based branches to make the perfect American BBQ seasonings.

The company has 26 manufacturing facilities worldwide, with its head office based in Chicago.

Newly Weds Foods flavour developer Thidawan Sa-Uram said the Sydney-based team gets samples sent from America.

“We look at what the unique profile is from each BBQ. We have done lots of testing and evaluation,” she said.

Consumers are wanting variety.

“Now, we can’t just call something a chilli sauce. It has to be chipotle chilli or another combination,” said Sa-Uram.

Creating seasonings for customers was more than just presenting the customer with a new flavour, she said.

“It’s not only presenting the products that taste good. We need to communicate with the customer to make sure it runs successfully in the company.”

Sa-Uram and her team make sure the seasonings run smoothly on customers’ production lines. If it doesn’t work for them, Newly Weds will adapt the recipes and modify the flavours to suit the customer.

Adapting to customers’ needs

Newly Weds also changes flavours in its seasoning to best suit the product it will be matched with. Stein said some flavours didn’t work with some proteins.

“We present slightly different flavours to our red meat producers than to our chicken producers,” she said.

Products can also be customised to ensure they fit with the customers’ vegetarian and vegan products, as these are becoming more popular, said Stein.

“We really have to build that into our flavours to make sure it’s not going to cause any problems to the claims they are making. Consumers are much more knowledgeable. People are becoming interested in trying meat-alternatives,” she said.

“It might not just be a specific flavour to give them the market advantage. It’s the functional factor too – such as not adding artificial flavours,” said Stein. “If our customers have got something they are requiring, we will help.”

With meat alternatives and more distinct flavours trending in Australia and internationally, food manufacturers are looking for new ideas.

Thermo Fisher helps manufacturers steer clear of adulterated products

Consumers want to know they are getting the quality product that is promised to them when they are picking an item off a shelf.

This year alone more than 50 food and beverage products have been recalled in Australia, putting the country on track to for its worst year since 2003, where 70 recalls were issued.

Currently, 58 per cent of all food product recalls are due to labelling violations, with no improvement year to year, while there has been an improvement in recalls due to microbial contamination over the same period.

Labelling is essential in consumer confidence, with food allergy estimated to affect 1-2 per cent of adults and 4-8 per cent of children under five years old in Australia, according to a SA Department of Health and Food report from 2010.

READ: A practical guide to checkweighing and Checkweighers

Twenty-three people died from food allergies between 1997 and 2013, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with seafood being the leading cause.

This is despite Australia having some of the strictest laws in regards to integrity and labelling of food. Historically, these laws were focused almost entirely on consumer safety. In 2018, advancing technologies are allowing regulators to monitor all aspects more closely.

Companies such as Thermo Fisher Scientific are able to offer end-to-end solutions that provide coverage across all aspects of composition, safety and authenticity of foods.

Food labelling isn’t a new trend, it is a long-established legal requirement within Australia and particularly for food exports.

So what notable changes have occurred in this consumer driven marketplace? Medical consequence, public awareness, new technologies, legal requirements, ethical sentiments, religious beliefs, significance for consumers and much more.

Now more than ever, not understanding or misrepresenting a product can have legal and economic impacts. Recurring food contamination scandals show there is always room for error, and there is limited differentiation between accidental and intentional adulteration and mislabelling.

Giving consumers the right information

It is important manufacturers, can provide information to allow consumers to make an informed choice while providing reassurance of accuracy.

For example, when a company makes a product using olive oil, it should be able to prove the oil is in fact made from 100 per cent olive oil and not blended with cheaper substitutes.

Addition, depletion, substitution, reformulation and changes in processing of food that affects the products composition, nutrition or visual representation requires clear labelling, otherwise it may be deemed an illegal adulteration, whether deliberate or intentional.

Adulteration could include adding dyes to spices to enhance the colour, or blending a premium product, such as virgin olive oil, with a low-value vegetable oil at levels that consumers don’t detect.

Adulteration and mislabelling is not limited to food with beverage equally under the microscope, with reports of tea containing dried beech leaves and coffee being bulked up with maize and other cereal grains.

Thermo Fisher Scientific highlights that milk is one of the most common targets for adulteration with additions including water, whey, sodium hydroxide, urea or melamine.

The products are skewed to increase volume, mask inferior quality, and replace the authentic substances.

Getting the real deal

Food labelling and authenticity testing can range from basic dipstick analysis for presence and absence of antibiotic residues, through to advance molecular techniques performed at certified laboratories to trace the origin of raw materials.

Thermo Fisher Scientific offers a range of videos and tutorials to educate food processors, packers and manufacturers about how they can protect their consumers and brands.

Understanding the right tools for the job

To enforce regulations, there are targeted and untargeted methods of analysis. Targeted methods are used to detect and quantify a known substance used for adulteration.

Untargeted methods can be used initially to screen for possible adulteration, leading to identification of the substance responsible and then subsequent target analysis.

For authenticity, untargeted methods are primarily used to fingerprint foods, by measuring a number of different variables and looking for characteristic patterns.

For target analysis, the approach is the same as that used for the analysis of residues or contaminants in foods.

However, often what starts out as target analysis for a single chemical, progressively expands to cover a wider range of possible adulterants, as it becomes evident that other substances might be implicated.

In some cases it may be that the adulterant itself cannot be readily detected, but the adulterant may contain marker compounds not found naturally in the commodity being adulterated, and these marker compounds can be targeted.

Once there is a known adulteration problem, target analysis using molecular spectroscopy can be developed with a view to rapid screening.

By its very nature, adulteration is inevitably difficult to detect, so increasingly profiling or fingerprinting of foods is being used as a means of highlighting any unusual features. Once the unusual peak has been pin-pointed, it then requires classical identification techniques to be applied to identify and establish whether adulteration has occurred.

Thermo Fisher Scientific knows this is a challenging approach, as it relies on establishing a normal profile for a foodstuff in the form of a database and getting a good understanding of the natural variations that can occur.

The drawback of this approach is that analytical techniques inevitably are selective as the whole food cannot be analysed directly.

Ecowize promotes food safety practices with its colour-coded products

If you are in the food processing industry, there’s no situation where a company wants to run the risk of cross contamination of different food stuffs.

Getting food poisoning from contaminated food can be avoided if the right precautions are implemented.

While consumers can minimise cross contamination in their homes, it is reassuring when they know factories also have quality safety precautions in place.

Simple steps, such as buying colour-coded cleaning equipment, can help a company avoid mishaps that could put them out of pocket when items are recalled, have to be thrown away before they hit the shelves, or they cannot go to partners who need that valuable ingredient to bring their product to the market.

It is also an easy solution for employees who gain from having an uncomplicated cleaning system.

Ecowize makes the cleaning process easier by offering colour-coded cleaning equipment. Red can be used for one room and blue in the next – helping to minimise health and safety risks and the aforementioned cross-contamination.

While this seems like a logical solution, it can be difficult to find good-quality equipment that will last when used daily, or even hourly.

Equipment that lasts

Ecowize business development general manager, David Clarke, said the products had a one-year warranty, but they often lasted longer.

“The benefit of having colour-coded products include minimising cross contamination, which can occur between departments in a food factory, raw and cooked, or between surfaces, food contact and floors,” he said. “Floors are difficult to keep clean as waste products from processing may fall onto the area, and traffic, people and trolleys move through this area.”

Ecowize’s range of colour-coded products include buckets, floor brushes, hand and specialty brushes, squeegees, scrapers, mixing paddles and more.

Colour improves cleaning processes

The strong colours help differentiate equipment easily. With nine colours to choose from, the range not only helps companies use different products for different rooms, it also allows workers to separate colours used for flooring, benchtops and other areas that need to remain clean without the risk of cross contamination.

Vikan is the manufacturer behind the colour-coded products Ecowize sells to businesses across Australia.

Vikan knows the primary purpose of colour coding is to help prevent cross contamination, which can occur as a result of physical factors, chemical, microbes and allergens, among many others.

“The colours help businesses avoid confusion in its cleaning processes,” said Clarke. “They are also made from EU and FDA-approved compliant materials.”

Buying the company’s colour-coded products is easy. All a customer has to do is add their colour preference number to the product code to confirm the product required.

Packaging that stops the cracker from crumbling

Consumers have hundreds of products to choose from when they are walking down supermarket aisles. There is no shortage of choice and that makes it a challenge for companies to create packaging that stands out from the rest.

Carman’s was faced with this challenge when making the perfect packaging for its Super Seed and Grain cracker range.

The exterior needed to look appealing in its shape and design, and the interior packaging needed to offer something that kept the crackers whole. Many of us have experienced carrying crackers home or to a dinner party and being left with broken pieces crumbled in the bottom of a bag.

It’s disappointing, especially when the dip is waiting to be scooped up with a delicious cracker. What’s also disappointing is when crackers become stale within days of opening the packet.

READ: Glass bottle redesigned with confidence using clear SLA 3D printing

Carman’s had a goal for its packaging – it needed to be easy to open, functional as a serving vessel, and enable Carman’s customers to reclose the container for storage. For ease of access, it was determined that the crackers should be stacked in three columns with room to encase the top crackers without crushing them.

The packaging also needed to meet the retailer requirement for vertical packaging to maximise differentiation on the shelves. There was also a question of on-shelf instability due to the light weight of the product and the properties of the tray material.

With a brief on what the packaging needed to achieve, Birdstone was brought onboard to design the best packaging with the help of 3D Systems On Demand Manufacturing (ODM), which then created it using SLA 3D printing technology. 3D Systems ODM brings ideas to reality through 3D printing, additive manufacturing, and injection moulding manufacturing services.

The company provides professional-grade 3D printing and manufacturing services that help designers and engineers with the tools and expertise to move from an idea to final production.

The company’s sales and marketing manager Peter Canfield said it was great to have an ongoing relationship with companies such as Birdstone. “Each collaboration between 3D Systems and Birdstone provides a unique opportunity to draw upon decades of combined experience in our respective industries to find new and interesting applications of our technology. We continually learn from each other and push the envelope with each project we collaborate on,” he said.

Birdstone uses 3D Systems ODM as the company creates prototypes with a quick turnaround. The collaboration between Birdstone and 3D Systems ODM helped produce the ideal packaging for Carman’s quickly and efficiently. Birdstone design and strategy director, Grant Davies, said 3D Systems ODM had a range of materials to choose from and the staff worked with speed and quality.

“Customers don’t necessarily understand the way the equipment works and there’s actually a queue of designs to run in the machine. Sometimes the turnaround times that come back from a supplier can be challenging to communicate. 3D Systems helps reduce those timeframes,” said Davies. “Any time they can get back to us quickly on the prototype, we buy time.”

The company helped meet Birdstone’s requirements by producing multiple prototypes to demonstrate options with different aesthetics and functions. Four designs were created using varying features and materials. Birdstone was then able to decide which prototype best fit the brief. Working within a tight timeframe to achieve this, allowed Birdstone to then focus on the consumer research phase.

3D Systems ODM also shared Birdstone’s values, said Davies. “They fit in nicely with our strategy, which is to combine creatable and makeable products. That’s what makes a difference,” he said.

“The appeal for us is also familiarity. We’ve built a good relationship.” Birdstone regularly goes to 3D Systems ODM when it needs prototypes for its clients. Birdstone and 3D Systems ODM also worked together to provide new packaging for Schweppes, and the companies continue to collaborate when they have new packaging projects.

By designing a product and having a prototype created by 3D Systems ODM within days, Birdstone was able to offer Carman’s the best result. 3D Systems ODM was able to help keep project costs within budget – the SLA prototype was ready in four days and the functional and aesthetic prototype features enabled effective manufacturing tests and consumer research.

Ultimately the client, in this case Carman’s, needed a product that met its requirements. That’s what they got – an attractive one-piece clamshell case, uniquely contoured to the shape of the stacked biscuits.