High-speed data acquisition system

Davidson Measurement has released LDS Test and Measurement’s Dimension 4i, a data acquisition system combining high speed, gap-free data recording with real time FFT analysis.

The 16 channel Dimension 4i is capable of streaming all channels to its removable hard drive at 200kS/s per channel and can simultaneously process frequency domain measurements at more than 80kHz real time bandwidth.

According to the company, the Dimension 4i’s 15”, high resolution touch screen display allows the user to navigate through test setup, display customisation, measurement, analysis, data export, and on-board report generation in a simple, logical sequence.

Davidson Measurement

+61 3 8586 7908


Cupcakes go pink

Ingredient: sugar, wheat flour, beverage whitener (glucose syrup solids, coconut oil, sodium caseinate, emulsifiers, anti-caking agent, soy lecithin), vegetable fats and oils (emulsifiers), antioxidant, raising agents, thickener, wheat starch, non-fat milk solids, natural flavours (contains milk), salt, colours (annatto, beet juice), vegetable gum (xanthan)

Shelf life: 12 months

Brand owner: Green’s

Brand manager: Kylie Sullivan

Graphics package designer: The Grain

Looking for a conveyor belt?

Q. What types of conveyor belts do Intralox supply?

A. Intralox supplies all types of modular belting to the food industry, including flat belts, radius belts, spirals, inclines and declines.

In addition we have a large range of surface finishes, flights, side guards and co-injection moulded rubber surfaces to ensure the belt is optimised for your application.

From hygienic, easy to clean products designed for raw product handling to those for case and package handling, such as the Series 400 Angled Roller, Intralox has belts to meet the differing needs of food processors and packers.

Q. How do the belts benefit food processors handling raw product?

A. Intralox’s EZ Clean Family of products, including SeamFree — the widest seamless plastic module range available on the market — cater to the ever-increasing hygiene and sanitation requirements in food industries.

All belts in the EZ Clean family are moulded from non-porous, non-absorbent plastics, which contain no pockets or recessed areas in the underside that can harbour debris.

Combined with the EZ Clean in Place system and Angled Sprockets, the belts can be cleaned using significantly less water compared with manual cleaning.

Q. How do the conveyors address challenges faced by food processors?

A. With sanitation and hygiene being extremely important in the food industry, Intralox strives to provide the most innovative solutions to meet these needs and, in many cases, regulatory standards.

Intralox also recognises there are other concerns in the food industry that must be met and has developed belts to reduce product adhesion, marking and contamination.

In addition to these challenges, Intralox aims to provide its customers with a product that will have a long life and provide little or no downtime.

Intralox’s customer service team is divided into industry specialists who are trained to serve a particular industry and are available 24/7 for customer’s needing assistance.

Q. What advice can you offer food processors in the market for conveyor belts?

A. Food processors should choose a belt that has a long life, will provide the least amount of downtime and is backed by a knowledgeable customer service team to assist with all their needs.

Based on 30 years experience and feedback from customers, Intralox has learned that without comprehensive service, most modular plastic belt users would lose more profit in downtime, maintenance and replacement costs, and production delays than they currently pay for belting purchases.

Intralox is more than a belt supplier, it provides the best possible advice and guidance to assist customers in their conveyance application.

When purchasing a conveyor, the total cost of ownership is important to consider.

It is easy to look and settle for the cheapest belt, but the most important thing is to find one that will cost the least over time.


Coloured waste bins

Actisafe has developed colour-specific waste handling bins that can be colour customised to identify specific contents while meeting corporate colour objectives

The quadrants on the base of the bins enable safer handling, eliminate risk of operator injury, and ease forklift mounting, facilitated by robust fork guides and a self-locking return mechanism, ensuring general safety and efficiency during production.

According to the company, the ActiWaste bins can be tailored to specific requirements such as the inclusion of heavy-duty castors for maximum manoeuvrability, oil drain taps, specialised fork guides, lifting eye bolts and fork locking systems.


1300 852 397

Packaging reflects product shape

Ingredients: wholegrain cereals (oats, wheat), salt

Shelf life: 9 months

Brand owner: Uncle Tobys

Brand manager: Jane Truong

Packaging supplier: Amcor Cartons

Graphics package design: Cowan Design

Mouthful of chicken

Ingredients: chicken, flour (wheat, rice), milk solids, salt, gluten (wheat), vegetable oil, water, starch (wheat), vegetable powders (onion and garlic), mineral salts, soy protein concentrate, flavour (milk), thickeners, ground and extracted spice, yeast, flavour enhancer, raising agent, emulsifiers, antioxidants, vitamin (thiamin)

Brand owner: Inghams Enterprises

Brand manager: Kayvin Li

Packaging supplier: Carter Holt Harvey

Graphics package designer: Morton Branding Consultants

Vacuum packaging machinery

As food manufacturers’ turn to packaging formats that increase product shelf life, reduce storage space and are cost effective, the vacuum pack is in greater demand across various industries, including the food and beverage sector.

Vacuum packing allows products to be kept fresher for longer and opens up packaging design opportunities including high-quality printed graphics and innovative pack shapes.

According to machine suppliers Perfect Packaging, vacuum packing is ideal for retail packaging and is also a useful way to provide food service items.

“More cost effective than large cans, the pouches can be supplied with resealable zippers for convenience, are easier and safer to handle than cans and flexible packs reduce the enormous storage and disposal space that is required for cans,” Perfect Packaging business development manager Gary Anderson said.

Finding the right machine

When it comes to choosing between the multitude of vacuum packing machines available to food manufacturers, machinery supplier Perfect Packaging suggests three things: plan for tomorrow, not for today; keep flexibility as the key factor in any machine purchase; and avoid expensive agreements that force you to purchase the vacuum bags from the machine supplier.

As the food industry becomes a place of increasing competition and consolidation, packaging design, portion sizes and product composition are factors that must be considered when procuring new equipment.

Ranging from simple, manually operated hood machines to sophisticated, high-speed machines, vacuum packing machines are suited to small or large scale operations and now have the technological capabilities to meet a host of applications — be that packing peanuts, prepared meals or olives in brine.

High-speed automatic machinery

Perfect Packaging’s range of continuous motion rotary vacuum carousels from LeePack in Korea is suitable for numerous pack sizes and shapes, as well as a range of processed food products including vegetables in oil, meat, pasta and prepared meals.

The carousels work in a rotary motion, picking up pre-made pouches that are stored in a magazine or in-feed conveyor, transferring them by grippers to the filling stations and then moving them into one of the rotary vacuum chambers where a vacuum is created and the pouch sealed.

“As the LeePack carousels work with pre-made packs, manufacturers can be flexible in their pack design,” Anderson said.

“We have a lot of clients in the can filling industry that are limited to putting all their products into the same round can.

“With a flexible pouch machine, stand-up pouches, flat four-sided pouches, traditional vacuum bags and shaped pouches can all be handled on the same machine, allowing for flexibility and fast change-over times,” he continued.

Using pre-made packs, as opposed to forming the pouch in line, reduces the time required for changing from one pouch size to another or from one pouch design to another.

“All you do is take the old stock off the in-feed magazine, introduce a new design or different sized pouch and it’s ready to go again,” Anderson said.

The LeePack carousels offer a variety of different filling methods, enabling food items traditionally stored in cans, such as fruit pieces in syrup or soups, to be vacuum packed in a flexible pouch.

With the rapid growth in prepared meals, the requirement for double shot dosing, adding two different items at the point of packaging, has increased.

The LeePack machines have up to three filling stations, allowing for combinations of solids, liquids and powders to be filled into each individual pack.

“We recently installed a machine at a company that produces semi-dried vegetables in oil,” Anderson said.

“There seems to be more and more interest in the prepared meal sector and technological advances in vacuum packing machinery, like the high speed range, is at once meeting this need and driving the trend.”

Vertical pouch packaging

Cryovac, a specialist in perishable food packaging technologies, uses a process called vertical pouch packaging (VPP) to pack products such as fruits and vegetables in brine into hygienic and highly resistant flexible pouches, extending product shelf life.

According to Cryovac, the extreme external pressure created in a vacuum packing machine can cause bubbles to form in the pack and can cause the liquid to be sucked out or evaporated.

As such, VPP does not create a vacuum but an airless pack.

The process involves vertically loading hot or cold products such as a metre-long tube of fruit and syrup into Cryovac’s VPP Onpack 2070 packaging system.

This is instead of loading horizontally, as is necessary with a rotary chamber vacuum machine.

Rollers then squeeze the excess product out of the seal area and seal the pack immediately to create a hermetic seal.

Manually operated machinery

Depending on the size and production specifications of a company, manually operated vacuum packing machinery may be a better option than high-speed automatic machinery.

Vacutec, an Australian supplier of complete vacuum packing systems, offers a range of Euro-Pak equipment, including small bench-top units for delis and large double chambered machines for high quantity outlet applications.

Fitted with Busch vacuum pumps and equipped with specifically designed computer programs that offer nine different settings for nine different products, the Euro-Pak range is ideal for small- to medium-sized food companies and is suitable for different pouch sizes.

The nine-setting program function allows for simple and precise operation by multiple users and ensures that different products are vacuum packed appropriately.

“Tailoring the settings ensures the vacuum pack performs at an optimum level, achieving maximum shelf life and preventing surface spoilage during transport or storage,” Vacutec managing director Peter Steinmann said.

The ability to individually program packing requirements for various items means a number of people can use the same machine with ease, saving time and making production more efficient.

Reliable pumps

Vacutec highlights the importance of considering the quality of the vacuum pump when determining the best vacuum packing machine for a particular operation.

Described by the company as the heart of the machine, they recommend a high-quality pump, such as those used in the Euro-Pak range, be chosen over cheaper alternatives.

A reliable pump will last the lifetime of the machine and reduce maintenance costs.

“Despite being highly sophisticated, Busch pumps operate on a simple principle,” Steinmann said.

“As there are less moving parts inside these pumps compared with others, there is less chance of them breaking down.

“If the pump dies, you might as well throw away the entire machine, particularly if it is a bench-top model,” he said.

With cheaper pumps it is not uncommon for them to break down within the first two years of use.

However, the Busch pumps are said to last the lifetime of the machine, approximately 10 to 15 years for a small bench-top model and longer for the double chambered machines.

With food prices increasing in Australia and as the food sector continues to consolidate, vacuum packing can reduce costs along the supply chain and provide products with a point of difference.

As a result, competition in vacuum packing machinery has significantly increased during the last five years in line with demand.




Vacuum system for cleaning beverage tanks

KHS has launched its vacuum clean-in-place (CIP) system for the efficient, flexible and environmentally friendly cleaning of beverage tanks at temperatures of up to 50°C.

The new system eliminates the mixing of cleaning media during media changeover, and the subsequent loss of cleaning agents, by using a vacuum system that is installed on the CIP frame, offering considerable savings and a reduction in fresh water consumption.

According to the company, the volume of the tanks can be reduced by up to 50% compared with its previous CIP solution, resulting in reduced tank costs, lower power consumption and reduced space requirements.




New flowmeter

Endress+Hauser has launched the Promass 831 Coriolis flowmeter, a multivariable meter that independently measures mass flow, temperature, density and viscosity.

Suited to a range of applications requiring minimal shear stress to fluid and low pressure loss, the flowmeter continuously measures inline viscosity to ensure the desired level is achieved, resulting in minimum product waste.

According to the Endress+Hauser, the Promass 831 Coriolis flowmeter’s real time measurement capability enhances production speed by eliminating delays caused by processing lab results and is ideal for use in food manufacturing plants.



Food safety training

Advancing Food Safety (AFS), a registered training organisation, is offering regular training sessions on a host of food safety and HACCP-related issues for food companies throughout Australia during November and December.

Training accommodates all levels of knowledge and experience and course topics range from introductory HACCP and microbiology through to food safety auditing and quality assurance management training.

Held in all captial cities, the courses are practical and give participants the skills required to implement systems in their workplace.

For course and registration details, or a training course schedule email AFS.

Perishable goods in transit

Producers and processors are being asked to ship goods longer distances, retailers are putting more demands on producers to meet unique shipping and receiving standards, and there are greater requirements surrounding distances, multiple carriers and exporting conditions.

Shipment spoilage has become a very expensive exercise that can cost industry hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Data loggers are now vital to companies that require temperature monitoring of perishable goods.

3M has recognised this important trend and customer need, and has developed the TL20 Temperature Logger.

It is a small, cost effective, feature-rich electronic temperature monitor.

This device is ideal for customers that want to gain acceptance of monitoring devices and that require a temperature monitoring system for the shipment and storage of temperature sensitive and perishable goods.


Key things to consider when purchasing a temperature logger:

  • Software flexibility: Software needs to be easy to set-up and use.
  • HACCP: If the temperature logger will be used in direct contact with food, customers should check for HACCP approval.
  • Temperature range: Customers need to be aware of the data range needed and product requirements.
  • Data point storage capability.Security/password to access and protect the loaded data.
  • Graphing and reporting capabilities.
  • 3M offers full sales and technical support within Australia.

For further information, contact Chris Le Blanc.

New component to EZ Clean

Intralox has released its Series 850 4-inch Streamline Flight module, the latest addition to the EZ Clean family of components, ideal for use in sanitation-critical applications in the meat, poultry and seafood industries.

Designed for use with the Series 850 SeamFree Minimum Hinge Flat Top belt, the 4-inch flights enhance the functionality of the plastic modular belting, enabling them to be a non-porous, non-absorbent solution for inclines, achieving superior conveyor sanitation.

According to the company, when used in conjunction with the EZ Clean In Place system and Angled Sprockets, the Flat Top belt with 4-inch flights reduces cleaning time and water usage by as much as 65% compared with manual cleaning.




Automatic L sealer

Perfect Packaging has introduced Clear Pack’s EFK HS/260A Automatic L Sealer for wrapping products in centre-folded film.

After the product travelling on the conveyor is detected by electronic photo eyes, it is moved into the sealing area together with the film and is automatically sealed inside the film by the L sealer.

According to the company, once the product is sealed it can be transported to a shrink tunnel where the film is heat shrunk around the product to achieve a high-clarity presentation pack.

Perfect Packaging

+61 2 9688 3200



Food safety training

Advancing Food Safety (AFS), a registered training organisation, is offering regular training sessions on a host of food safety and HACCP-related issues for food companies throughout Australia during November and December.

Training accommodates all levels of knowledge and experience and course topics range from introductory HACCP and microbiology through to food safety auditing and quality assurance management training.

Courses are practical and give participants the skills required to implement systems in

their workplace.

Training sessions are held in all capital cities.

For course and registration details, or a training course schedule email AFS.

Detectable products enhance food safety

W R & D Wells has expanded its range of food safety equipment in recent months, to include a range of metal detectable products.

The company now offers a range of detectable products that increase food safety and reduce the risk of foreign bodies finding the way into product in the production area.

W R & D Wells offers a Stapleless Stapler that binds several pages together without the use of staples or clips, which is ideal for use in a food production area.

A range of cable ties that are metal detectable can be used around production machines.

Novel and useful, a range of metal detectable plastic pens are shatterproof, fully detectable and some models have a patented retractable nib system for increased safety.



FSANZ online seminars

FSANZ is making educational seminars available to food manufacturers and food processors via its website, for the convenience of those unable to attend the live seminar.

The series so far consists of:

  • Food additives
  • Intense sweeteners
  • A consumer guide to food labels
  • 2007 Amendments to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991
  • How FSANZ develops food labelling and how consumers use food labelling

The online seminars are known as WEBinars – on-line seminars delivered over the Internet with audio, video and slideshow presentations.

A link to the conference provider’s website is supplied so the participants are able to view the slides from the conference, listen to the oral presentation and ask questions during the conference in real time, without having to be at the seminar location.

Seminars are also recorded and can be viewed at a convenient time online at the FSANZ website.

Busy food manufacturers can gather information without leaving their chairs.

House brands: the future

IBISWorld expects the major players in the Australian food industry will seriously ramp up their house brand strategy over the coming couple of years in a bid to catch up with our European counterparts which have taken to the concept with vigour.

House brands have a 31% share of the British market and more than 20% across most European markets.

“The strategy will be to continue with major investment in developing relevant and new private label products to the market,” said IBISWorld (Australia) general manager Jason Baker.

“Since the first generic brands focused on providing low quality at low prices, which is no longer what consumers want.”

“The last five years has seen a noticeable shift in house brand development, with stores aiming to differentiate their private label products from similar offerings on the shelf, and to improve their quality and image.”

Currently cotton wool has the biggest slice of the private label pie but other big generic brand sellers for supermarkets include basic goods such as: sugar (54%); eggs (56%); flour; milk (55%); nuts; dried fruits and small goods; all of which have more than a 20% share of their markets.

House brands in segments that are dominated by very strong and loyal brand awareness, such as soft drinks, do not sell well IBISWorld has reported.

IBISWorld expects the next stage of private labelling in the food sector will target coffee.

Analysis suggests that while all households purchase private label goods, those with more than five members are the biggest buyers of the range.

According to the Australian Food and Grocery Council, the private label targets set by Coles and Woolworths might not have a massive impact on leading labels, but will do a lot of damage to branded manufacturers ranked third and fourth in their category.

Big retailers — where next?

Coles announced plans to boost its private label market share to between 30% and 40% by this year by replacing its existing Savings, Farmland, Coles, Reliance and Persona brands with up to 3000 lines in either the Coles Smart Buy, You’ll Love Coles and George J Coles categories.

And while Woolworths is hanging onto its budget Home Brand label, along with Woolworths Fresh, Organics and Naytura brands, it also plans to bring in an additional 200 lines as part of its premium brand Woolworths Select, which intends to compete with the market leader in each of its product categories.

At the same time, the supermarket will phase out previous private label brands Ark, Bowman’s and Marketta, which were launched in response to ALDI, a European private label supermarket, arriving in Australia.

The growing popularity of ALDI supermarkets, and its push for private label products, can be viewed as both a threat and an opportunity for Australian manufacturers, with as many as 6000 new private label brands likely to hit our shelves within the next five years.

Threat or opportunity?

“While 80% of ALDI’s suppliers are local manufacturers, some segments of the industry fear the ALDI model threatens suppliers as its high demand for private label merchandise means that if a supplier won’t provide their own brand to a retailer’s specifications, then someone else will,” explains Baker.

“On the other hand, suppliers who are willing to be contract manufacturers to ALDI view its market entry as healthy competition,” he added.

China opens doors

There is growing opportunity for Australian food manufacturers to export their products to China, which is quickly becoming an economic giant eager to buy Australian-made.

With China’s food and beverage sector being worth approximately $125 billion in 2006, a growth of more than 25% from the previous year, Austrade is urging Australian manufacturers to take advantage of increased consumer spending in China.


Of particular interest is the growth in the volume and value of Australian wines exports to China over the past year.

Austrade’s Shanghai-based senior trade commissioner Christopher Wright said during September this year $53 million of Australian wine was exported to China, a total volume of 21 million litres.

Red wine constituted 95% of the total volume exported.

“In June 2007, China became the number one destination in Asia for Australian bottled wine exports,” Wright said.

“The range of Australian bottled wine available for sale in China and the number and diversity of Australian suppliers seeking Chinese partners and buyers is growing every day,” he said.

Trade shows

Austrade says it is wise for Australian businesses to take part in industry events in China, such as Food Hospitality China 2007 (FHC) that runs from November 14th to 17th in Shanghai.

Nineteen Australian organisations will showcase their Australian wine portfolios at Austrade’s Australian National Pavilion at FHC.

Austrade has been involved in many initiatives throughout 2007 in an effort to increase Australia’s exports of food and beverages to China.

It brought a record number of Chinese buyers to Fine Food Australia held in Sydney in September, commenting that export orders are starting to flow as a result of negotiations at the exhibition.

Austrade has expanded its presence in China and now has 13 offices.

Click here for more information on FHC.

Vortex tubes for high temperatures

Compressed Air Australia is supplying EXAIR’s new High Temperature Vortex Tubes, ideal for spot cooling applications located in hot environments of up to 200°C, including cooling electronic control panels and reducing tool wear in machinery operations.

The High Temperature Vortex Tubes con­vert compressed air into hot and cold streams, eliminating the need for chemicals or refrig­erants as a power source, and is able to produce cold air temperatures as low as


According to the company, the stainless steel construction resists wear and corro­sion and the vortex tubes have no moving parts to wear out leading to maintenance-free operation.



NZ functional ingredient

A New Zealand functional food ingredient has captured the attention of European and Australian consumers, with its inclusion in unique, high-end products.

The functional ingredient, Glucagel, is manufactured by GraceLinc, a New Zealand food ingredient company and subsidiary of the New Zealand government-owned research company, Crop & Food Research.

Glucagel is a high-purity barley beta-glucan ingredient.

Barley beta-glucan is a soluble fibre which is widely recognised for its heart and digestive health benefits.

Glucagel’s appeal lies in its ability to be added to foods to provide health benefits without changing the sensory appeal of foods or the production process.

“This, combined with its high purity, is attracting multi-national food companies to our ingredient,” GraceLinc chief executive John Morgan said.

Italian food company Barilla evaluated a wide range of competitive offerings before selecting Glucagel and are including a heart health claim on the packaging of their new bread and brioche, which is part of their new Alixir healthy food range.

Glucagel is distributed in Australia by CSR Ethanol.

For further information, contact John Morgan.