Archive | Engineering

Food Industry and BREXIT – Doom & Gloom? Far from it…

Whilst industries are still pondering their next move, the food industry in both Ireland and the UK is busy addressing the challenges posed by BREXIT and other factors such as overall lifecycle costs.

The emerging trend in food engineering is towards brownfield expansions and upgrades. Brownfields can be hugely beneficial as manufacturers look to get more from their existing locations saving significant costs on new development and relocation.

According to Oisin O’Sullivan of food engineering specialists, PM Group: “What we are seeing across the Industry is a renewed energy with clients asking us to look at innovative ways to maximise existing facilities to cater to expansion as well as new product manufacturing.”

“Brownfield projects have their own specific challenges: business continuity, product quality and safety. Essentially, they require a lean and cost effective engineering approach. This is essential at a time when the industry is responding to the ever present pressure of better quality at lower cost,” he says.

All clients target value for money, quality and want to optimise costs, from initial projects investment through to overall lifecycle costs. To support this, the Industry is increasingly adopting solutions such as Business Information Modelling (BIM). BIM provides an efficient way of delivering accurate, co-ordinated and clash resolved information throughout the project lifecycle.  Whole Lifecycle BIM requires all project stakeholders from the client, the design team and contractors to the facilities management team to collaborate and share information throughout the process.

BIM is now able to extend benefits beyond the project as the central repository/digital library of project data and technical information is immediately available for the ongoing management of the facility throughout its whole lifecycle.

Oisin O’Sullivan is PM Group’s Food Sector Business Development Manager for the UK and Ireland.

For further information visit

Posted in Engineering, Industry, Project ManagementComments Off on Food Industry and BREXIT – Doom & Gloom? Far from it…

Mercury Engineering Combines Traditional Methods and Latest Technologies at Kerry Global Technology & Innovation Centre

Mercury were delighted to secure the MEP and Fire Protection packages on such a prestigious, landmark project as the Kerry Global Technology & Innovation Centre (GTIC), Millennium Business Park, Naas, Co Kildare. Mercury’s works ran from September 2013 with a handover date in January 2015.

As well as securing the major services installation packages on the project, Mercury were also the lead BIM coordinator. From the early stages of the project the client and the design consulting team, HGA | GIRE | RKD | ARUP| BSP embraced Mercury’s innovation concepts for pre-fabrication and modular installation methods. Mercury combined the installation with traditional methods whilst utilising the latest technologies available to the market, the likes of which have never been implemented on an Irish construction site before.

  • Modularisation and prefabrication riser
  • Wago prewired trunking
  • Pre wired AHU’s, plug and play BMS
  • BIM 360 Glue & Field
  • Prefabricated spools for Fire Protection.

This method of first class engineering solution formulated in the installation of vertical risers and horizontal distribution arriving to site in prefabricated modules ready for immediate installation. The modules consists of all mechanical, electrical services distribution from the Energy Centre in “Block D” to the risers in “Block C”, “B” and “A”.

Mercury further demonstrated the value of this efficient construction approach by installing prefabricated ductwork and pipework modules, (complete with insulation, controls, valves, etc) into “Block A”, building “Offices”. The modules arrived to site ready to be lifted directly into place. Mercury’s methodology also included pre-wired modular containment, this was delivered to site in 3m lengths complete with brackets, containment, wiring and basket to cater for our ICT/FA cabling.

The project was awarded the following awards:

* Irish Construction Industry Awards 2015 – Winner; Commercial Project of the Year

* Irish Construction Industry Awards 2015 – Winner; Industrial Project of the Year

* Irish Construction Industry Awards 2015 – Finalist; Overall Excellence in Construction Award

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Mercury Engineering Combines Traditional Methods and Latest Technologies at Kerry Global Technology & Innovation Centre

MSL Engineering Continues to Grow into New Markets

Operating from its base in Watergrasshill, Cork, Ireland, MSL Engineering Ltd (MSL) has close to four decades of industry experience as a trusted partner engaging in specialist design, fabrication, installation, testing and commissioning of process pipework, utilities and high-purity pipework, as well as installation of process and heavy equipment. MSL also manages multi-discipline sub-contractors as part of many of it projects including heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), scaffold, cranes, insulation, painting, structural steel, sprinklers and non-destructive testing (NDT).

Having previously installed the three original Pot Stills along with the Distillation Columns and all other associated equipment and pipework during the Irish Distillers plant capacity expansion project in 2012, MSL was again awarded the contract for all mechanical works involved in the current project in Midleton.

During the intervening period MSL has continued to enjoy strong growth across its traditional markets within Ireland, while its presence in the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden has equally expanded.

There is a lot of development going on in Dublin at present and MSL are also being contracted for increasing amounts of work throughout Europe. This has been the biggest change for the company in recent times, but they have also increasingly focused on working with high-purity applications in mechanical engineering in line with the Biopharma industry demand.

High-purity Workshop

They built a high-purity workshop at their premises in Cork and have since won some good contracts in the fabrication and installation of high-purity pipework, which is a part of the business that continues to grow positively. The new workshop was installed in early 2016 and this allowed the company to complete the high purity elements of existing contracts. However MSL has since won a number of larger jobs for high-purity pipework for projects overseas and this enabled the h-p workshop to become fully operational during the final quarter of 2016. This high-purity facility continues to be busy and with current commitments will remain so throughout 2017.

Another aspect of the business that has helped win work in the UK and Europe is a proven track record in successfully completing modular built pre-assembled process units and pre-assembled racks in the workshop in Cork for subsequent shipping and installation. On-site installation of these modules is normally carried out by MSL as part of the overall package, however installation on site by others is also an option.

Successful Year

While 2016 proved to be a highly successful year for MSL, the company is showing no signs of slowing down. By offering a personal service and guaranteeing the highest levels of quality, MSL is set to continue to grow into new markets throughout the coming years. They have now risen to the ‘next level’ in terms of the quantity of work that they can take on and the amount of turnover that they are capable of generating. Turnover increased substantially throughout 2016 and they have expanded their presence across Ireland and overseas.

As mentioned previously, Dublin has been particularly active and MSL’s aim is to maintain their presence there over the coming months and years. They have invested in the additional resources to handle increased levels of work and their aim will be to keep those resources working and active. They really are able to offer a first-class service based on very varied projects and a lot of experience.

Although undertaking sizable jobs, the company is still managed by the owners of the business, which is something that some clients find reassuring. If issues arise requiring urgent attention it is possible to pick up the phone to speak to the owners of the business to get the matter resolved quickly. When markets are busy clients like to know when they award work that their particular contract is among the top on the contractor’s priority list, which is more likely to be the case when the business is managed by its owners with a personal commitment to successful delivery.

For further information contact MSL Engineering Ltd on Tel +353 21 4513550; E-mail or visit

Posted in Engineering, ProcessingComments Off on MSL Engineering Continues to Grow into New Markets

Bakkavor Master Porridge Production with OAL Steam Infusion

OAL Steam Infusion Retrofit LanceBakkavor is using OAL’s Steam Infusion technology to manufacture porridge following the successful installation of the advanced heating and mixing process.

Research under a £1million Innovate UK project identified grain hydration as a hot spot for Steam Infusion due to the unique homogenising effect and elimination of burn-on contamination. Following successful trials, Steam Infusion was retrofitted to existing kettles; Janet Prescott, Manufacturing Manager at Bakkavor Meals, Spalding explains the benefits of Steam Infusion for manufacturing porridge:

“We are very happy with the retrofit of OAL’s Steam Infusion technology to manufacture porridge. We have been able to quickly master how to maximise the benefits of the Steam Infusion system and we’re confident that the technology offers the flexibility to cook a wide variety of products to delight our customers.”

“The system is very fast and has reduced our cooking energy consumption by 15%. It’s a quality piece of equipment that’s definitely “cook proof”. Since the installation, our engineering team haven’t had to touch the system.”

Steam Infusion is a form of direct steam injection whereby culinary grade steam is directly introduced into a liquid product, with or without particulates. A Vaction™ unit, mounted on a lance located within the vessel introduces steam into the product. Lances can be retrofitted to existing vessels dependant on the type of agitation in the vessel.

Steam is accelerated within the Vaction unit using a unique nozzle design that accelerates the steam to Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound). As this steam comes into contact with the product, it creates a large dispersion zone and partial vacuum due to the Venturi effect. The steam then condenses and flows out as a uniform product. The partial vacuum means the unit acts like a pump, so product is pushed out of the unit and replaced with product to be heated.

The technology’s ability to heat product quickly is demonstrated in a whitepaper comparing traditional technologies ability to heat water against Steam Infusion. The study found that Steam Infusion can be up to 3 times faster at heating 1,000kg of water from 20C to 70C, taking just under 4 minutes.

The partial vacuum and short residence time within the Vaction™ unit prevent the exposure of ingredients to excess temperatures in turn preventing product in contact with the kettle surface being burnt and affecting finished product flavour and visual quality. Traditionally easy to burn dairy based products taste fresher and are visually clearer.

Grain hydration and porridge manufacture is just one area that the technology has been scientifically proven to offer advantages to traditional processing. Other areas of interest include soups, sauces and ready meals. Trials can be conducted at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing, Holbeach UK. At the site OAL are also conducting research into cryogenic cooling and robotic chefs.

Posted in Engineering, Processing EquipmentComments Off on Bakkavor Master Porridge Production with OAL Steam Infusion

Prevent Burn-on Contamination with Steam Infusion

Image 1Burn-On is a term used in the food industry when a product sticks and subsequently starts to burn onto the side of the vessel. This is a constant issue for food manufacturers as it can affect the product taste, quality and appearance.

Steam Infusion from OAL can make burn-on a thing of the past, as it is designed to sit inside the vessel and cook by injecting high pressure food grade steam into the product. The solution has no moving parts or direct heat therefore burn-on is eliminated from the process.

Unlike most cooking vessels, which have large heated surface areas, Steam Infusion can ensure that the product is not tainted or contaminated. With the conventional method, surfaces that are usually scraped with an agitator can blend in the burnt area, producing contamination of brown specs. This can affecting the product taste and quality causing costly production wastage.

The OAL Steam Infusion unit produces high turbulence within the product which also acts as an agitator, homogeniser, heater, hydrator and pump. Heating speeds up the cooking process without the need to increase the heat.

Image 2The images shown represent the same cheese sauce, one made with Steam Infusion and the other without and it is clear to see the difference. The image to the left was made using a convention steam jacketed vessel and a scrape surface agitator which took 60 minutes to cook. The image on the right was made using Steam Infusion from OAL and took 20 minutes to cook with the agitator turned off. Both sauces were emptied from the vessel and an image immediately captured to show the variations between the methods.

It is not only the cooking that is positively affected by Steam Infusion but also the clean down after the product has left the vessel. The conventional steam jacketed vessel took 2 hours to clean with harsh chemicals whereas the Steam Infusion method was washed down with water in 15 minutes.

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Prevent Burn-on Contamination with Steam Infusion

JBT Corporation to showcase Stork additions at Gulfood Manufacturing 2015

JBT@Gulfood_ManufacturingJBT, the global specialist in innovative technologies for food and beverage manufacturers will bring its most complete range yet of solutions for fruit, juice and dairy processors to this year’s Gulfood Manufacturing show, including new additions to its range.

As well as showcasing all its business units active in food processing – including in-container filling, closing, sterilization, and fruit and juice processing – JBT will be using the event, which takes place in Dubai’s World Trade Centre from 27-29 October, to feature its latest acquisitions.

Prominent among these is Netherlands-based Stork Food & Dairy Systems, which officially became
part of JBT on August 3 this year.

A major European filling and sterilization solutions specialist, Stork Food & Dairy Systems designs,
manufactures and supplies market-leading integrated aseptic processing and sterilization technologies, and filling systems, to beverage and food processing companies worldwide.

Stork specializes in extending the shelf life of packaged foods found in supermarkets and restaurants
around the world, including standard and flavored milk, coffee drinks, cream, yogurt, desserts, fruit
juices, soups and sauces.

Complete processing solution

Already having a considerable installed base in the Middle East region, JBT will be using its presence
at Gulfood Manufacturing to both meet existing clients to hear about ongoing developments and meet
potential new contacts, said JBT’s MarCom Coordinator for the EMEA region, Patrick Schoenaers.
He said: “JBT is offering an ever more complete processing solution for a broad range of applications.
“JBT equipment is perfectly geared to specific products, production facilities and regional market
requirements, allowing food processors to stay ahead of their competition.

“With the Stork Food & Dairy acquisition, JBT has broadened its offer to a complete aseptic line for
dairy and juices from primary processing, in flow sterilization over aseptic bottle blow molder to
aseptic filling.”

About JBT Corporation

JBT Corporation is a leading global technology solutions provider to the food processing and air
transportation industries. The company designs, manufactures, tests and services technologically sophisticated systems and products for regional and multi-national industrial food processing customers through its JBT FoodTech segment and for domestic and international air transportation customers through its JBT AeroTech segment.

JBT Corporation employs approximately 3,600 people worldwide and operates sales, service,
manufacturing and sourcing operations located in over 25 countries.

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on JBT Corporation to showcase Stork additions at Gulfood Manufacturing 2015

Making baked products manufacturing fit for the future: Productivity and efficiency through data transparency

Pressure on prices is rising in the bakery market. Of particular concern is the increasing pressure from the discounters who are competing with cheap products baked freshly in store. At the same time, productivity and profit margins are low in the food processing industry in comparison to other producing industries. Above all small and medium-sized operations are facing the challenge of competing in price terms with the discounter and supermarket offers manufactured largely on automated monolines. To stay competitive in the long term, operations are increasingly looking for opportunities to increase efficiency in production while at the same time reducing energy consumption. Reliable characteristics and the collection and accurate analysis of process and production-related data provide the necessary transparency.

Status quo with potential
Small-scale operations or franchise bakeries which supply up to 200 outlets in their vicinity produce several products on one line. The automation potential of such bakeries is high, but is frequently underestimated or considered too expensive. However to increase productivity and minimise manufacturing costs, it is necessary to exploit precisely this potential. Those wishing to hold onto market access must act to modernise production. Sticking conservatively to old methods and ignoring automation technology is a mistake if an operation intends to remain viable in the long term. The intelligent use of automation components can make a decisive contribution to securing the competitiveness of a company. Automation suppliers and machine builders therefore need to appeal to end customers for technical understanding and an open attitude toward technological innovations. 
Historically, small- and medium-sized operations perform the different process steps of bread making, such as kneading, proving and baking, independently. However, Overall Equipment Effectiveness can be significantly increased simply by networking various isolated solutions with the help of effective and cost-effective standard automation technologies. Bottlenecks, weaknesses, cost drivers, waiting times or item costs can be precisely defined and energy consumptions precisely assigned. The data from a networked, integrated system can be used to optimise processes such as oven-loading schedules or determine varieties and quantities per unit of time. This information can then be used to process and define processes and procedures.

Transparent production
Bakeries frequently suffer from significant discrepancies between financial planning and reality. Transparency is contributed to by collecting actual production data including changeover times and other manual processes and producing realistic form factors. Transparency is also a prerequisite for continuous improvement in terms of the Kaizen philosophy. One aspect of this is Total Productive Maintenance, i.e. carefully interlocking production and maintenance through constant monitoring of the production line. With the help of data transparency, processes can be constantly optimised to reduce costs, increase quality assurance and, something which is limited in scope in the food and drinks industry, achieve greater time efficiencies. Data transparency is easy to create even in existing systems using specialist technologies.

Two initial scenarios
In a very few cases systems are ordered for a Greenfield project, i.e. a brand-new system in a brand-new environment. In a new-build project, the latest technological structures can be established from the outset. Components can be networked with the help of the latest communications standards or using automation platforms such as the iQ Platform from Mitsubishi Electric. These provide seamless communication within the system with a high degree of transparency.

Generally, however, existing plants are modernised (Brownfield projects). Within structures which have grown organically over time, companies need to retrospectively link isolated solutions from different manufacturers and of different ages in order to collect all relevant data for the higher-level management system, such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management), ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or SCM (Supply Chain Management) at field level. With the help of standard automation components such as the MES-IT interface module from Mitsubishi Electric the necessary transparency can be achieved quickly and cost efficiently here as well. Wholly in terms of Industry 4.0, the module detects production data and test results from every manufacturing step and transfers them in real-time to higher-level systems. These then produce transparent and reliable analyses of processes and procedures using Excel, SAP or pre-produced reports. Such equipment is quick to connect to existing systems with no interruption to machinery processes.

Preventative maintenance
The optimising of machine running times by preventative maintenance is a major issue in the food processing industry. If a machine suddenly fails, an entire batch is usually lost. This is expensive and damaging to productivity. Modern control platforms, touchscreen operating devices and sensors with comprehensive, integrated functionalities as well as flexible maintenance and repair concepts such as the FAG SmartCheck from Schaeffler FAG or the MAPS Life-Cycle-Software tool from Mitsubishi Electric provide the necessary data transparency for simple implementation of preventative maintenance concepts.

The FAG SmartCheck for example recognises and reports the first vibrations of a system long before any noise is generated. The reaction time before machine failure is therefore substantially longer. The maintenance cycle can be adjusted to production at an equally early stage. Machines can be easily retrofitted with the FAG SmartCheck. In bakery systems, for instance, it could be retrofitted to the loading system, mixer or conveyor belts.

Robots in the production area
The installation of robots may also be worthwhile to increase system flexibility and availability. If several products are manufactured, packed or manipulated on one line, production cycles can be designed to be substantially faster and more cost efficient with space-saving robotic and camera systems. At the same time the high hygiene requirements of the food and drinks industry are met.

Robots can be ideal, for instance, in Pick-and-Place applications. In one biscuit production line in the USA, daily production was increased from 12 tons to 20 tonnes of biscuits with the help of robotic technology. Gentle handling by the robots reduced waste and increased quality by 20%.

A pioneering example of robotic technology in bakeries was the interactive application presented by Mitsubishi Electric in 2012 at iba in Munich. Stand visitors were able to apply personalised messages to a virtual cake via an iPad. The script data recorded via the tablet is transferred to a PC. A laser scans the contour via the PC monitor and this information is then sent to the robot controller. With this kind of solution it would be possible to transmit a greeting in one’s own handwriting online and to collect the respectively decorated cake from one’s own local baker.

Interface standards
Developed in close cooperation with automation companies, systems engineers and users, the University of Weihenstephan is currently developing a universal standard for the bakery industry. The Weihenstephan standards define an interface for the connection between machinery and software. It will enable the full connectivity of all systems via a universal IT interface, which will bring significant commercial benefits. This is because the connection of machinery to an MES is the basis for the efficiency calculation of individual lines and their accurate cost calculation. The interface is already established in the brewery and beverage industry and is being introduced into the meat processing industry. Under the name “WS Bake” it is now being refined for the bakery industry to enable the capture of the relevant information for this industry for quality assurance, weakness analysis, efficiency evaluation and energy consumption.

Industry 4.0 in the bakery
Industry 4.0 is also being introduced into the food and drinks industry. The focus is on new automation technologies, intelligent production processes and not least the assurance of Germany as a production centre. Smaller and medium-sized operations need to set themselves apart from the competition. New sales concepts, greater flexibility in production and greater responsiveness to customer requirements up to and including personalisation of products are all essential. With the help of automating concepts in terms of Industry 4.0 – the Internet of Things – these targets are in sight.

So-called Cyber-physical Systems together with state-of-the-art technologies deliver faster, more flexible and more complex production processes, permit personalisation from one unit to a whole batch and increase the transparency of all processes by storing data in the cloud. For this, production processes must be robust, stable and reliably equipped with artificial intelligence. Information must be exchanged and made available on secure networks in real-time. Research and development, including with the aid of model and simulation methods for risk assessment are required in all relevant areas. Any companies which ignore this technological revolution place their futures at risk.

Here is a simple example of Industry 4.0 in the production process: At the batch kneading stage the system calculates which compartment of the deck oven will be free for the next batch and at what temperature. Local I/Os, RFID- and fieldbus systems may be considered for better tracking of products at the individual process stages.

Stay future-proof
The baked products manufacturer faces major challenges. These are increasing product diversity, increasingly rapid new developments and product change-overs on the line, increasingly fluctuating order quantities, shorter product life cycles, stricter statutory regulations particularly with respect to hygiene directives and increasing cost pressure. The technological requirements in the baking industry are particularly high due to the range of possible variations in manufacturing processes and product specifications. Continuous improvement of production processes and efficiency increases cost savings, optimises profit margins and above all guarantee competitiveness in the long term. The basis of this is data transparency within networked production, which is easily achieved with standard automation technology. Automation can substantially contribute to the long-term sustainability of new systems, as well as systems which have been expanded over the years.

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Making baked products manufacturing fit for the future: Productivity and efficiency through data transparency

Ice age – small inverter, big impact

Ratingen, Germany 24th April 2014

Mitsubishi Electric frequency inverter with stall prevention ensures improved efficiency and performance in traditional ice cream production.


Whatever the flavour – a classic such as vanilla, strawberry or chocolate or an experimental flavour such as orange-basil, lime blossom-caramel or sour cream-cress – the important thing is that the ice cream parlour will always be able to serve creamy, firm ice cream. It should melt delicately on the tongue without being watery and it should have an intense yet natural flavour. The traditional method of production used by ice cream manufacturers demonstrates true craftsmanship. Special machines are used to ensure the automated production of ice cream of correspondingly high quality. Under no circumstances should an unscheduled stop of the ice cream production process be allowed. If the paddle motor were to stop working and disrupt the kneading and freezing process, the dairy product would no longer be fit for use. Additives such as milk and flavourings as well as water and electricity would then be wasted. In order to eliminate this risk, Kälte-Rudi – the market leader in the manufacture of ice cream machines – installed the compact Mitsubishi Electric FR-E700 series frequency inverter in its Diagonal-Freezer®, first of all on a trial basis. The powerful reliable inverter was a great success and not just on account of its integrated stall protection. Following this experience, the company decided to use the Mitsubishi Electric components in its ice cream machine as standard. In addition, the company plans to use the inverter in other machines as well. 

High-end drive power


Founded half a century ago, Kälte-Rudi’s wide range extends from ice cream machines up to pasteurisers and cream pasteurisers. Its mobile machines are mainly used by ice cream parlours, bakeries, confectioners and commercial kitchens. The medium-sized company from Baden-Württemberg markets its “Quality made in Germany” all over the world.

The Diagonal-Freezer® – an ice cream machine from Kälte-Rudi – is characterised by its patented design featuring a diagonally installed production cylinder and agitator with kneading function. The machine produces creamy ice cream with optimum volume, storage stability and shelf life as well as minimal residual water and no recrystallisation. The Diagonal Freezer® can process between four and 16 litres of liquid ice cream mixture per production process, depending on the model. Markus Moosmann, Technical Director Electrical Engineering at Kälte-Rudi, describes the process: “The first step as part of thetraditional method of producing ice cream involves pasteurising the additives. It would, of course, also be possible to use an already pasteurised finished mixture as a base for adding flavouring. However, for most of our customers it is important to produce their own ice cream mix, as it is an essential part of their craftsmanship. Afterwards the liquid is poured into the ice cream machine. During the process, air is bound into the liquid in order to give the ice cream its creamy consistency as well as more volume. Larger machines with a four-cylinder compressor can process up to 16 litres of mix, producing 20 to 25 litres of ready-to-eat ice cream.”

The drive can often be pushed to the limit as ice cream is difficult to handle. Compared with supermarket ice cream, traditionally produced ice cream is considerably firmer and ideally contains a lot less water. When the machine is mixing several litres of ice cream, it is only the movement of the ice cream that keeps it “liquid”. If the paddle should stop working, the viscous mass would turn into a solid block of ice that would have to be defrosted in order to remove it from the machine. Like any dairy product, you can’t refreeze ice cream that has melted as otherwise there would be a risk of salmonella forming, for example. So if the motor has stopped unexpectedly during the mixing process, the product would be rendered useless. Besides this the ice cream maker would also have wasted all the additives used, as well as the power for the drive and water for cleaning.

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Ice age – small inverter, big impact

Buhler Ltd is a nominated finalist by the Institute of Customer Service in the category ‘Best Customer Satisfaction Strategy Award’

I am pleased to announce that Buhler Ltd has been nominated as a finalist in the UK Customer Satisfaction Awards for the category ‘Best Customer Satisfaction Strategy Award’

Other finalists in the category are: Sainsbury’s Supermarket, Direct Line Insurance, Barclays Corporate Banking, Webhelp UK and Essilor Ltd. 

The award recognises organisations that deliver excellent and innovative customer service in order to meet their customers’ needs and deliver business success.  The awards are judged by an independent panel of business leaders, industry experts and academics.  Not only does entering the awards demonstrate internally and externally a huge commitment to Customer Service; it is also useful to benchmark against some of the UK’s leading companies in customer service. 

Not only does entering the awards demonstrate internally and externally a huge commitment to Customer Service; it’s also useful to benchmark against some of the UK’s leading companies in customer service.   

The winners will be announced during the awards ceremony (part of the Institute of Customer Service annual conference) on 25th February 2014. 

Buhler has worked hard to be nominated and is devoted to promoting excellent customer service.



Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Buhler Ltd is a nominated finalist by the Institute of Customer Service in the category ‘Best Customer Satisfaction Strategy Award’

Mitsubishi Electric robot emulates intuitive human cake icing movements

Solving a long-standing automation problem in cake decoration has also produced a groundbreaking development that could be taken up across a whole range of other industries.

Quasar Automation wanted to create a system that can neatly apply icing or other embellishments to cakes regardless of irregularities and imperfections in the cakes’ surface.

To achieve this they have integrated a ceiling-mounted food safe robot from Mitsubishi Electric with a vision system and data processing software from Scorpion Vision.
Bob Hinchcliffe, Managing Director of Quasar in Ripon, North Yorkshire, explains that the project fulfils an existing need: “Cake decoration is mainly undertaken manually and is very skilful. It can be time-consuming and the final result is, of course, variable.”

The top of any cake is far from smooth; in fact each one is uniquely uneven.  When applying writing, such as Happy Birthday, or an image, the decorator intuitively adjusts to allow for the irregularities. Early attempts at automated icing effectively used 2D images, which distorted on the rough surface and rarely looked perfect.

Hinchcliffe goes on to say that Quasar specialises in automation for the food industry and in recent years has developed a growing interest in the potential of robots for food applications. He was recently invited to Mitsubishi’s UK headquarters where he was given a demonstration of a new robot range designed for the hygienic industries such as food manufacture.

The F-series robots are based on a revolutionary new mechanical design and can be floor, wall or ceiling mounted. They incorporate a powerful new controller and other high performance components, so can maintain high positioning accuracy and high speed movements.

All cabling is fully enclosed for total hygiene, including pneumatic tubing and an Ethernet connection for specialist functions.

Jeremy Shinton of Mitsubishi Electric comments: “Food and Beverage producers are increasingly looking at robotic automation. To meet this emerging need the F-Series robots are designed to meet IP67, allowing easy cleaning of the arm, while food safe HG1 food grade grease is used for lubrication. For the ultra-hygienic pharmaceutical and medical sectors a cleanroom version meeting ISO 5 is available.”

Quasar decided to use the F-series robot, ceiling-mounted in a dedicated cell. Utilising the Ethernet cable, a machine vision camera is mounted on the robot and the first step of the operation is to scan the cake’s surface so that a 3D mapped image of all the irregularities is produced.

The vision system was developed with Scorpion Vision, whose Window-based software can be combined with Gigabit Ethernet digital industrial cameras and bespoke lighting. The Windows format is familiar to almost everyone, so the system is far easier to use than those based on proprietary software.

With the 3D mapping compiled, the 2D image or decoration is compared to it and adjusted for any surface irregularities. Although this represents a substantial amount of data process, it typically takes only about one second. From this data, the tracking path for the robot to apply the icing is calculated.

Hinchcliffe: “To ensure even application, the robot keeps the icing gun – or other tool – a precise height above the surface of the cake. It follows the major contours and also smaller local bumps, dips and discontinuities, so it is a very detailed profile of vertical movements.”
The automated system not only produces a consistent quality of product, it does it in a predictable time, so that production runs can be properly planned and scheduled.

While Quasar is largely focussed on applications in the food industry, Mitsubishi is taking a wider view, as Shinton explains. “What we have effectively done is replicate humans’ intuitive hand-eye coordination and ability to automatically compensate for variations, defects and discontinuities in real-time.

“This technology will transfer to a great many other applications, such as 3D glue-laying, coating of unusually shaped objects, and accurate working with organic objects.
“In fact, it is really only manufactured objects that are of regular size and shape, nearly everything else has a variable topography. So this new system could be useful in automating a great many currently manual processes.”

Posted in Engineering, Laboratory EquipmentComments Off on Mitsubishi Electric robot emulates intuitive human cake icing movements

DecaWave creates 25 jobs in Dublin

25 new jobs are being announced at an Irish semiconductor chip company.Dublin-based firm DecaWave plans to fill the engineering, product management and sales and marketing positions over the next 18 months.The new jobs come as the company launches a new semiconductor chip, which promises to make indoor location and communication more effective.

The technology has particular applications for high-value goods, for example in a warehouse, as it promises to make tracking and locating them much easier than existing technologies such as radio frequency identification or wi-fi.

Decawave is based in Dublin with offices in France, South Korea and China, and is privately held.

Posted in Engineering, RecruitmentComments Off on DecaWave creates 25 jobs in Dublin

Meyn is national champion at the European Business Awards 2013/14

Meyn has been selected as National Champion in the prestigious 2013/14 European Business Awards competition. Meyn will be one of the 14 National Champions representing the Netherlands in the category ‘Import/Export Award’.

The European Business Awards has identified some of Europe’s brightest businesses based on their ability to demonstrate the three core principles at the heart of the awards programme. The panel of judges were looking for organisations to represent The Netherlands who exhibited the highest level of innovation, business excellence and sustainability.
Han Defauwes, Managing Director Meyn: “We are delighted to represent the Netherlands. We have been operating for over 50 years in the poultry processing industry and it’s really an honour to be recognized for our successful global partnerships, efforts and achievements in this competitive marketplace.”
Adrian Tripp, CEO of the European Business Awards says: “Over the past seven years we’ve received an incredibly high standard of entries from organisations that are passionate about their business. However, very few get the chance to fly the flag for their country and compete across Europe to be recognised as one of Europe’s finest. It really is an exceptional accolade to be picked as a National Champion and together with our sponsors and supporters we’re looking forward to seeing Meyn in the next round.”
To advance in the competition this year, all National Champions will submit a video entry for viewing and assessment by a judging panel. In addition, the public will also be able to vote online for their favourite National Champion from each country. These companies will become ‘National Public Champions’ and one will go on to become the ‘European Public Champion’. Voting begins in November 2013.

Posted in Appointments, EngineeringComments Off on Meyn is national champion at the European Business Awards 2013/14

Marel GB to provide sales, servicing and spares for Carnitech mixers & grinders

Following Marel’s recent acquisition of the mixing and grinding activities of Carnitech A/S, Marel GB will now provide, in the UK & Ireland, full sales, service and spares for the range of mixers & grinders for the meat, fish and poultry industries. 

 By adding Carnitech mixing and grinding products to its comprehensive product Marel has re-employed some 35 staff at the former Carnitech factory in Stovring, Denmark to ensure this continuity. The factory will re-open as a ‘fully fledged’ Marel product centre specialising in mixing and grinding technology, machines and systems.portfolio, Marel will further strengthen its offering as a provider of complete processing systems to the meat, fish and poultry industries. The Carnitech range ofmixers and grinders is well known and respected by the world’s processors and it is surely reassuring for them to know that production of the machines will continue, along with excellent service and spares availability.

Carnitech was formerly owned by the American Industrial Acquisition Corporation (AIAC) – a privately held industrial group who acquired it from Marel in 2010. The return of Carnitech’s range of mixers and grinders to Marel has plugged a gap by adding mixing and grinding to a huge range of forming and portioning machines in the company’s offering of complete processing systems. Marel is now the world’s foremost provider of machines and systems for burgers, sausages, minced meat and nuggets.

The UK boasts a substantial number of these machines in action, so continuity of service for them is vital if processors are to maintain their production. The acquisition of Carnitech mixers and grinders means that Marel will take on the responsibility for spare parts and a high standard of service for UK processors – many of whom are well known to us – and I can assure them of our 100% commitment to doing just that,’ said Graeme Rolinson, General Manager of Marel GB.

About Marel

 Marel is the leading global provider of advanced equipment, systems and services to the fish, meat and poultry industries. With offices and subsidiaries in more than 30 countries and a global network of more than 100 agents and distributors, we work side-by-side with our customers to extend the boundaries of food processing performance.

Advance with Marel for all your processing needs

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Marel GB to provide sales, servicing and spares for Carnitech mixers & grinders

High-Performance, Continuous Baking Ovens Provide Diverse Opportunities for Processors of All Sizes

Continuous cooking with advanced equipment offers smaller and medium-size bakers consistency of quality plus increased efficiency all in a small footprint.

A number of diverse factors, ranging from continued consolidation of large players to the introduction of advanced processing technologies are creating new opportunities for growth among the smaller and intermediate manufacturers of bakery products today.

One of the most significant opportunities could be for those processors to convert their operations from the more traditional batch baking of formed, pan, grilled, and en croûte products, to more efficient, high-performance continuous baking processes.

Whether producing items such as pies, pizza bases, artisan breads, pastries, desserts or appetizers, smaller baking operations today have unprecedented access to advanced, flexible cooking equipment that can make their businesses more productive in energy- and labor-efficiency, with improved consistency of quality and reduced product waste.

This includes a variety of continuous cooking equipment that can incorporate an assortment of technologies and parameters that can be tailored to suit processors’ needs: high-temperature cooking, impingement, double impingement, convection, super-heated vapor, integrated cooling, and linear or spiral cooking. This equipment can provide faster bake times, more uniform color, quicker product throughput and even a smaller equipment footprint – all with a relatively quick investment payback.


Batch vs. continuous

“The major advantage of the continuous process over the batch process is consistency in your operation,” says Jim Kline, president of The EnSol Group (Erwinna, PA). EnSol provides the baking and snack food industries with process and facility design and engineering as well as manufacturing support services and a variety of consulting services.

Kline, formerly Director of Engineering for Best Foods and George Weston, says that within each of the basic baking steps – in dough makeup, proofing, and then baking – whenever the process is started or stopped, a yield variance occurs.

“When you first get the dough started, and then as the dough tails off, it is simply the nature of the equipment that gives you inconsistency,” he explains. “So, the more continuously you run the process, the more consistent your food products will be. Also, the more consistent your process the more efficient your operation is in terms yield from the process and also labor utilization.”

Kline adds that the baking industry has seen consolidation of large players in the industry in recent years, and that their market segment is being well served. Yet there is some strong growth among the smaller and intermediate-size bakeries.

“For them to have the right equipment, including that which enables continuous processing, can be highly beneficial,” Kline says.

Additional performance improvements in continuous baking include energy savings of up to 15 percent when equipment is updated from outdated linear convection ovens.

“With batch ovens you are opening and closing the oven doors all the time, and then have to wait for the temperature to regain the required level,” says Adam Cowherd, vice president of sales with Unitherm Food Systems (Bristow, OK). “With the continuous-baking ovens, once the oven reaches the desired temperature, they will continue to hold that temperature for as long as you like.”

Although his company makes a wide variety of cooking equipment, Cowherd notes that members of the bakery industry are becoming increasingly interested in the benefits of continuous baking with newer oven designs such as Unitherm’s various sizes of spiral ovens.

“The design of these high-performance ovens are giving medium-size and small processors access to flexible, efficient, continuous baking equipment,” he explains. “For the larger processors, who may have been baking continuously all along, spiral ovens are helping them to recover footprint by replacing their traditional linear ovens.”

J. Roy Escoubas, Ph.D., is director at Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center in Stillwater, OK. This research laboratory has the food science capability to perform third-party tests on various food recipes and cooking equipment. His staff has performed a variety of preliminary tests using a spiral oven (manufactured by Unitherm) to determine the suitability of this type of continuous oven for baking a variety of products.

“We have not had the opportunity to make direct comparisons with the traditional batch ovens to see how they would compare with the spiral style for continuous baking,” Escoubas explains. “However, once we were able to establish the various parameters that are involved in controlling the cooking system (e.g. the belt speed, humidity, temperature profiles) we found that the spiral oven delivers consistent products such as very nice, traditional-looking, browned biscuits and cookies with a really wonderful texture that would compare well with anything you’re likely to find on the market. We found that we were able to produce those baked goods with the same quality characteristics time and time again. That’s the beauty of a continuous oven. Plus, the small footprint on a spiral oven adds additional value for end users.”

Eliminating the speed bumps

“Compared with a continuous process, a batch baking process seems like a speed bump that slows down the processing line,” Cowherd says. That is because many processors have automated the front ends of their systems, and have certainly automated back-end processes like packaging. That makes batch baking a restriction in the process flow.”

In addition to automating the cooking process, advanced continuous baking equipment is helping to improve on the efficiencies of steps in the process before and after cooking. For example, Unitherm is introducing a solution for integrating baking in molds in its spiral ovens. This allows our customers to obtain a reduced footprint by baking vertically through “captive trays”  with continuous equipment.

As another example, using Unitherm’s double impinging spiral oven, processors can reduce the bake time on a fruit filled pie from 60 minutes to 35 minutes. In addition, using an inline spiral chiller, the cooling time of baked pies or other items can also be significantly reduced.

Cowherd points out that his firm has considerable experience with processors in the UK, where the baking industry is large and highly developed. He says that some of these companies are visiting Unitherm’s 25,000 sq. ft. test kitchen to learn how they might incorporate equipment such as the impinging spiral oven into their processes.

“These guests seem to be highly impressed with the technology behind continuous baking, and how it offers new efficiencies in the cooking of very popular British items such as shepherd’s pie, sausage rolls and pasties.”

He adds that many processors are also impressed with the ROI on such high-quality systems that are built of stainless steel to USDA/FSIS standards and incorporate CIP (clean-in-place) systems. According to Cowherd, many smaller and medium-size processors can expect to have their continuous baking equipment pay for itself within 24 months.








Posted in EngineeringComments Off on High-Performance, Continuous Baking Ovens Provide Diverse Opportunities for Processors of All Sizes


Marel, pioneers of intelligent portion loading, have produced an all new high performance IPL Robot that can be configured to virtually any application in the protein sector.

Single, fresh or frozen portions or sliced groups – like bacon, cooked deli meats, fish and cheese – can be picked from the infeed conveyor and placed straight into trays or a thermoformer.

Easy to understand and operate

The system has straightforward, easy to use controls, thanks to a universal graphical user interface developed

by Marel. This enables operators to switch between products with a minimum of disruption – so essential in today’s ‘fast response to order’ environment.

IPL Robot’s control systems are designed by Marel to provide a high level of versatility and satisfy most customer requirements and applications. Remote access to customer’s installations is possible, enabling fault diagnosis and performance monitoring.

Performance and reach

The new IPL Robot can pick and place at speeds of up to 80 picks per minute per head (depending on product). Its long reach measuring 1250mm enables the machine to load even the widest thermoformer at high payloads.

Payloads of up to 4.2kg can be handled albeit at reduced speeds.


IPL Robot, including the head and control panel, is 100% washdown to IP69, thanks to stainless steel and titanium construction. All product contact parts are manufactured

from stainless steel and other food grade materials and can be quickly and easily removed for cleaning.

The head pairs lightness with strength in a hygienic design for high product safety and no risk of contamination through splintering of composite materials.

Wide range of grippers

Marel has made huge advances in gripper technology, which contributes greatly to accuracy, product presentation and overall efficiency of the IPL Robot.  Virtually any product – however delicate – can be lifted and placed, at speed, into a tray or thermoformer in a wide variety of configurations.

Marel grippers are patented and manufactured to the very highest standards and easy regular servicing delivers a long operating life.


The size, position and orientation of the incoming products are determined by the robot’s vision system. At the appropriate point, the portion is transferred to the tray or thermoformer to give the required pack style or presentation. Any out of specification portions pass to a makeweight operator or diverted to a dedicated bulk or food service pack.

The IPL Robot vision system can recognise product characteristics such as size or shape and can be programmed to place or divert products according to requirements.

For high volume applications, IPL Robot’s vision control system can operate up to 6 loading heads and, if required, each head can be programmed to produce a different pack format.

Richard Sawford, Robotics Product Manager at Marel Norwich, UK, said: “Our research and, to a great extent, our long experience in high speed slicing, portioning and portion loading machines and systems indicated the  importance of delivering a high performing, competitively priced robot that was simple to operate and maintain.”

About Marel

Marel is the leading global provider of advanced equipment, systems and services to the fish, meat and poultry industries. With offices and subsidiaries in more than 30 countries and a global network of more than 100 agents and distributors, we work side-by-side with our customers to extend the boundaries of food processing performance.

Advance with Marel for all your processing needs.

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on NEW IPL ROBOT FROM MAREL

Busch (UK) Limited works with young entrepreneurs in manufacturing challenge

Leading vacuum pump manufacturer Busch (UK) Limited has been ‘doing its bit’ to promote careers in manufacturing and engineering by working with students from the West Midlands and North West on the ‘Busch Make It Engineering Challenge’.

The event was a collaboration between Busch (UK) Limited and The Manufacturing Institute as part of a series of themed challenges delivered by the Institute’s ‘Make It’ campaign, which aims to promote manufacturing as an exciting and rewarding career option for young people.

On the day 13 and 14 year-old boys and girls from 12 schools in Shropshire, Staffordshire  and South Cheshire were tasked with all aspects of the day-to-day running of a ‘factory’.  This included designing an efficient layout, ‘flowing’ their products through a range of industry processes – including vacuum packaging and labelling – and shipping out products for delivery to their customer.

Teams were given a choice of parts and components to enable them to create their factories and pooled their skills to complete their factory on time and on budget – taking on job roles from managing director to operations managers – through to finance, sales and marketing managers. They then developed a brand for their company and pitched their fully costed ideas in a Dragons’ Den-style presentation to a panel of industry experts from Busch (UK) Limited.

The Malbank School from Nantwich, Cheshire, claimed the coveted winner’s trophy on the day, impressing the Dragons with their aim to improve the image of ready-meals by ensuring they were produced to high standards, with strict hygiene guidelines and using only the freshest produce.

Meanwhile, the runner-up team from Thomas Telford School in Telford impressed the judges with their factory design, which used Busch’s vacuum pump technology to extract dust and waste out of the production process.

Ian Graves, managing director of Busch (UK) Limited, said: “As a company we are dedicated to encouraging young people to consider a career in manufacturing and engineering, including operating our own apprentice scheme, which is why we were so pleased to support the Make It campaign.

“The current economic climate is proving to be particularly challenging for young people who may be seeking their first job and planning their careers.  Initiatives such as this that are designed to inform and inspire the next generation of engineers are massively important if we are to start filling the skills gap we currently have in the UK.

“A career in manufacturing is extremely rewarding and we hope that our involvement with the Make It campaign will go some way to inspiring young men and women into taking up engineering as a career.”

Stephen Melia, Make It programme coordinator, said: “Manufacturing is important to everyone. Whether it’s an iPod, mobile phone or the latest pair of trainers, there are a huge number of job roles involved in making these products, from research and development to design, production and marketing. Through hands-on, practical challenges, the Make It campaign aims to demonstrate to young people the many exciting career opportunities that exist within the sector.”

Busch is the global market leader for vacuum and low pressure pumps for a wide range of applications, including food and packaging, and offers a comprehensive product portfolio. As a pioneer in vacuum packaging, this year (2013) Busch is marking its 50 year anniversary by celebrating half a century of continuous quality, innovation and service to become the premier supplier of vacuum and over pressure equipment.

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Busch (UK) Limited works with young entrepreneurs in manufacturing challenge

HRS Heat Exchangers expands footprint in South-East Asia

HRS Heat Exchangers S.L.U, has supplied thermal processing solutions to a German engineering company for two pasteuriser systems to be installed in a plant in South-East Asia.

One of the pasteuriser modules is designed for fruit juices containing dices, so HRS DTA-series double tube heat exchangers with corrugated inner tubes have been used. The module consists of five sections of heat exchangers and a holding section, and is capable of processing 1.5 – 4.5 m3/h of product, with heating up to 98 °C, and subsequent cooling, with indirect heat recovery to reduce the overall energy requirements of the plant. The heat exchanger selection and holding section configuration permit processing of different products, each with its specific temperature curve and holding time. In the design of the module, great attention has been paid to the pressure profiles on tube and shell side, in order to guarantee that cross-contamination can never occur.

The second module is designed to process 5 – 15 m3/h of fruit juice and milk based products, with heating up to 140 °C, maintaining small temperature difference between the heating media and product. For this purpose customised HRS MI–series tube bundle heat exchangers have been applied. The turbulence enhancing corrugation of the inner tubes not only reduces the area requirement, but also reduces fouling, allowing for longer running times. The holding section is divided into subsections, to allow for different flow rates and holding times, depending on the product to be processed. A system of indirect heat recovery confers the module a limited external heating and cooling demand.

Successful, cost-effective production of fruit juices and dairy products is based on a fragile balance of parameters. On the one hand, it is critical to maintain the quality, flavour and colour associated with the source crop. On the other hand, it is vital to meet health and safety requirements, while keeping energy consumption and production costs to a minimum.

“We have a long standing relationship with the customer, and the chosen solution has been tailor made by HRS in close conjunction with the client’s engineers, in order to meet process requirements, compactness and economical feasibility”, said Tomas Stiebe, Process Engineer, HRS Heat Exchangers, S.L.U.
About HRS Heat Exchangers Limited
HRS Heat Exchangers Limited (part of the HRS Group) is a leading international heat transfer specialist offering innovative solutions to the processing industry.

Headquartered in the UK, HRS Heat Exchangers operates at the forefront of processing technology and for over 30 years has designed, manufactured and sold heat exchangers and heat transfer technology to many different industries.

HRS products and system solutions have been used in such sectors as HVAC, Food, Chemical, Pharmaceutical, Water supply, Energy Recovery, Waste to energy and Environmental protection. All HRS products are manufactured to ISO 9001 and comply with the European PED, and are also certified to the ASME “U” stamp standard.

HRS Heat Exchangers Ltd offers a wide range of heat exchangers and associated products including corrugated tube shell and tube, scraped surface and plate heat exchangers, together with a hygienic piston pump and packages such as Pasteurisers, CIP and Food processing systems. HRS also manufactures a patented self-cleaning scraped surface evaporator system for solids concentration.

HRS has offices in Spain, Germany, USA, Peru, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and India as well as manufacturing and assembly plants in the UK, India, Dubai and Spain.

To learn more about HRS Heat Exchangers, please visit

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on HRS Heat Exchangers expands footprint in South-East Asia

Make it with Marel

The outstanding ability and versatility of Marel’s highly successful PolySlicer 1000 have been boosted with the addition of an all new interleaver that enables the machine to slice and interleave up to 700 slices per minute depending on product.

Stacks or shingles of cheese, cooked and cured meats can all be successfully sliced and interleaved on the PolySlicer 1000, demonstrating its remarkable versatility and widening its appeal to meat and cheese processors of all sizes.

The new interleaver can interleave each slice within a group or underleave a complete group in single, twin or triple lane operation. The interleaver will operate with both the orbital and the involute slicing blade options.

The independent cutting of paper and of product provides excellent control of paper positioning and therefore product presentation, which, combined with an all new involute high speed blade that requires infrequent sharpening, makes for high productivity with very low maintenance. Most other slicers of this type use the product blade to cut the paper thus reducing blade life and increasing maintenance costs – and potentially compromising ideal slicing conditions.

Marel’s new interleaver is also designed to be easily accessible for fast reel changes and easy cleaning and, in common with all its options, can be retrofitted to existing PolySlicer 1000 machines, thereby maximising and safeguarding the processor’s investment.

Other options include a stacker for tall stacks or a variety conveyor, which produces a wide range of presentation patterns and formats.

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Make it with Marel

Frip Finishing invests in new Bobst foiler

Frip Finishing, a decorative print finisher, has announced that it has installed a second Bobst BMA 126 foiler at its Leicestershire plant

The £500,000 purchase is part of the company’s long- term investment strategy and follows on from the recent £250,000 investment of a Sakurai spot UV line into Frip’s Redditch facility in October.

According to the firm, its new Bobst kit enables  the firm to double its existing large format (1260mm x 920mm) capacity in Hinckley to over 750,000 sheets per week running 6 days a week on a 24 hour basis.  The machine will compliment an existing Bobst 126 BMA and Bobst 102 BMA foilmaster.

Frip group managing director Leslie Gibson said: “Over the past year we have seen significant new demand for our largest sheet size and this investment will provide us with greater flexibility in meeting the need of our customers.

“During the past year we have created three new jobs through the introduction of a third foiling shift and with the arrival of this new Bobst we plan for a further five new staff. The additional staff will enable us to extend our Lamination and Varnishing services in Hinckley into a similar three shift operation.

“In total Frip now operate seven Bobst foilers across the Group giving Frip an unrivalled capacity and ability to respond to high volume immediate delivery requirements of the print, publishing and packaging sectors.”

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Frip Finishing invests in new Bobst foiler

Ahlbrandt System develops new removable electrode cartridge

Industrial electronics specialist Ahlbrandt System has developed an electrode cartridge, designed to be used with its Corona Narrow Web system, primarily for narrow foil web processing and label printing

The Germany-based firm said that Corona treatment is a process that not only enables the production of coloured chips bags and fruit labels but is also used in the labelling of cosmetics tubes and jars, and is of extreme importance in foil processing and finishing.

However, according to the firm dust and dirt tends to collect inside the treatment system, which, over time, represents a hazard to the functionality of the entire plant, making regular servicing a necessity. When conducting maintenance, many corona plants only allow the removal of the internal electrode cartridge, while any dirt and dust that has collected in the machine remains there.

Ahlbrandt said that the cartridge is normally removed by a complex combination of vacuum suction and cleaning, during which time the plant is unproductive.

The firm said it has developed a new electrode cartridge to solve this problem.

“The Corona Narrow Web is equipped with the ‘Easy Change’ system, in which the electrode cartridge, that safely encapsulates any dirt and dust, can be removed together with the suction pipe. All the dirt can simply be emptied out and the cartridge replaced,” said Ahlbrandt System product manager Alexander Rau.

In a statement, the firm added: “The electrodes in the cartridge can be replaced just as quickly, and require only a few turns to remove. This means that the system can be serviced in less than three minutes, and there are no extended stoppage times. “

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Ahlbrandt System develops new removable electrode cartridge

Multivac to exhibit marking and inspection kit at IFFA

Multivac will be highlighting its raft of marketing and inspection equipment at the IFFA exhibition

The show takes place from 4-9 May in Frankfurt and Multivac will show a cutainless x-ray system, which is integrated in a tray sealer line. Light products can be checked for checked for contamination without them being held back by lead curtains or shifted on the transport conveyor.

The company will also be showcasing its MVS seal seam scanner, which scans the seal seams while they are still in the thermoforming packaging machine

Multivac will also highlight the MR820 series of checkweighers. A version with an integrated multi-frequency metal detector is also available as a combined solution.

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Multivac to exhibit marking and inspection kit at IFFA

Sato launches new range of printers

Sato has launched the GZ series of printers targeting the transport and logistics industry

According to the barcode and labelling kit manufacturer, the range offers high speed data transmission and prints at speeds of 254 and 203mm per second. The product is available in three models: combo, LAN and wireless LAN model.

Ikuo Dobashi, Chairman of SATO Corporation and SATO International Europe saidL “We have developed the GZ series printer in response to customer demand for a printer that is easier to use and control, faster, has greater availability of communication interfaces, emulation language and more memory.

“I’m delighted we can now offer this printer, which is based on our popular CL series industrial printer, to help our customers to save time, improve productivity, and increase visibility.”

The GZ series printers are suitable for a range of shipping and receiving applications, where barcodes are applied at the source to ensure end-to-end traceability, as well as cross docking.

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Sato launches new range of printers

Ilapak and IMA announce strategic investment

Italian kit manufacturer Industria Macchine Automatiche (IMA) has announced that it has made a strategic investment in the Ilapak Group

Both firms did not disclose the amount of the investment.

Swiss kit firm Ilapak has a current turnover of €90m.  Ilapak founder and chairman Roger Levy said: “Ilapak has been looking for a leading strategic partner with strong packaging credentials for a number of years to support an important step change in our growth.

“We are proud to be working with IMA: we recognise they are the best industrial partner in the market to underpin an important new phase in Ilapak’s incredible growth story as we continue to develop new packaging technologies, solutions and the after-sales support our customers are asking for, and in doing so, continue to extend our leading position around the world.”

IMA said it had revenues worth €800m and is well-known in the design and manufacture of processing and packaging lines for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, tea, coffee and food.

‘Supply side experience’

IMA president and chief executive Alberto Vacchi said: “We are pleased to finalise our agreement reached today with the Levy family, given our presence in the food sector and our interest in Ilapak.

“We are confident that with our supply side experience in particular we can further extend Ilapak’s leadership position in markets around the world.

“Furthermore it is also a great pleasure to launch a co-operation with the Levy family which has been present for over 40 years in the market of primary packaging in the food sector. It is certainly in our interests, concluded the president of IMA, to capitalise on the experience of our new partners.”

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Ilapak and IMA announce strategic investment

Carton Edge kicks off five-year plan with triple install

Carton Edge has commissioned three new investments at its Coventry factory as the first stage in a five-year plan to make the trade converter more responsive to ever-shorter lead times

The business has commissioned a Brausse TA110 gluer, a 1050E cut/crease press and an Esatec MT/6B pick and place patcher in the first stage of a programme that will, it said, “create a resource that can quickly respond to urgent demands for carton finishing brought about by retailing pressure” on lead times.

Carton Edge welcomed Mark Pawsey, the Rugby MP who is chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on packaging, to witness the commissioning of the machines.

The new installations, which have been supported by funds from the Regional Growth Fund and the European Regional Development Fund, which have been arranged through RBS Lombard and Coventry City Council, will allow Carton Edge to extend its services into cut/crease for plastic cartons.

Carton Edge chairman Eddie Owen said: “This is a very exciting time for the business with implementation of the new equipment increasing capacity to enabling us to better serve our customers with a faster turnaround, while the die cutter will take us into new markets.

“A broader one-stop shop for carton finishing is what we are striving to achieve and these investments are a major step towards that goal.”

The investment follows a recent move to a new factory and investment in tray forming machinery to serve the growing number of ready-meal, bakery and sandwich products.

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Carton Edge kicks off five-year plan with triple install

Ipex looks to multi-channel marketing as Roland pulls out

The UK’s biggest print show Ipex has revealed plans to reposition itself as a ‘cross-media’ marketing technology event as, separately, another big-name exhibitor has pulled out

Wide-format printer manufacturer Roland DG has joined the likes of HP and Heidelberg in pulling out of the four-yearly Ipex 2014 show, saying it is planning to focus its marketing activities on “personalised, localised and immediate” needs of customers in markets that include pack prototyping.

News of the decision comes after Ipex organiser Informa Exhibitions revealed plans to refocus the show, which has traditionally led on printing equipment, to concentrate on what it calls ‘cross-media’ – essentially, the range of both print and digital technologies for publishing and marketing.

The show’s new focus is designed to reflect a number of trends in the print market, including the growth of printed packaging as a marketing channel.

Many exhibitors have enthusiastically supported the March 2014 show’s new positioning, which will now include a summit featuring high-level speakers on the role of print.

The show’s dates have also changed to shorten the show, at London’s Excel, to six days, from Monday 24 March to Saturday 29 March 2014.

Keith Dalton, managing director of Fujifilm Graphic Systems UK, said: “It is great to see an organiser committed to delivering a print-centric event, but with a strong multi-channel focus, as it is exactly what I believe Ipex’s exhibitors and visitors will respond to and what the industry needs.”

Trevor Crawford, Event Director, Ipex 2014, said: “Ipex is moving from being a general print event to a highly focussed multimedia experience promoting the essential role of print.

“Now that Ipex has a clear digital and print communications direction, the logical conclusion would be to change the dates so that the multi-layered content programme can run throughout the event.”

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Ipex looks to multi-channel marketing as Roland pulls out

Bühler Continues Growth as Net Profit Remain Constant

Despite a challenging fiscal 2012, Bühler Technology Group increased both its order intake (+5%) and its turnover (+13%), with acquisitions accounting for the rise in order intake. As a result of the substantial investments made by the group in securing its long-term future, the EBIT margin declined to 7.3% from the previous year. Its net profit of SFr161 million (Eur130 million) was unchanged from 2011. For the current fiscal year, Bühler expects sales revenues at the same level as 2012 and a return to a double-digit EBIT margin.

In 2012, Bühler’s order intake increased by 5% to SFr2345 million. Of the three divisions, Grain Processing as well as Food Processing booked somewhat higher orders, whereas the orders received by the Advanced Materials division were consolidated at the record level of the previous years.

Geographically speaking, developments varied widely. With 12% less orders received, Europe was especially disappointing. On the other hand, North America grew sharply (+44%). The plus side also includes markets in China(+13%) and the Middle East/Africa (+7%). In all, the orders received from emerging countries exceeded 50% of the group’s total volume for the first time.

Turnover (sales revenue) rose by 13% to SFr2,409 million; adjusted for acquisitions, it exceeded the value of the previous year by 5%. The sharpest rise in sales was achieved by the Advanced Materials division (+47%) and was mainly driven by acquisitions. Grain Processing boosted its sales on a purely organic basis by 7%, whereas the revenue of Food Processing was 3% below the value of a year ago.

Future Investments

In order to secure its long-term future, Bühler invested heavily in markets, its global service network, innovations, and new fields of application. As Bühler is convinced that innovation is and will remain its core growth engine, research and development spending rose substantially and for the first time exceeded SFr100 million or more than four percent of turnover. In conjunction with higher restructuring costs for integrating new acquisitions, this resulted in a lower EBIT margin of 7.3% in the year under review compared to 2011. Bühler expects these investments to pay off in the coming years in the form of double-digit margins. The net profit remained at an encouragingly constant level of SFr161 million in comparison to a year ago.

Bühler’s group-wide payroll at the end of 2012 rose above the 10,000 employees mark (previous year: 8,830) for this first time. This sharp increase was primarily due to the strengthening of the Customer Service organization especially in Asia, as well as to new acquisitions.

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Bühler Continues Growth as Net Profit Remain Constant

Watson Marlow MasoSine sinusoidal pumps

MasoSine sinusoidal pumps have a strong reputation when it comes to food and beverage applications

The sine wave shaped rotor creates four moving chambers which gently convey the duty ?uid from the inlet port to the higher pressure discharge port.

Thanks to the large pumping chambers, product integrity can be preserved and maintained, avoiding problems such aeration or damage to ingredients such as chocolate, soft fruit, cheese curd, meat and deli salads.

What’s more, MasoSine pumps are both energy efficient and extremely quiet in operation. Economical in-line maintenance is another benefit: with a single shaft and rotor, there is no need for the complex timing gears and multiple seals associated with conventional rotary lobe pumps.

The best-selling SPS range of pumps now come with stainless steel power frames to suit the 2”, 2.5” and 4” models, which offer flow rates from 250 litres to 41,760 litres per hour at pressures up to 15 bar.

For use where hygiene is of paramount importance this latest development from the world leaders in positive displacement pump technology, upgrades the range to 3A certification. The stainless steel power frame is easy to retrofit as an exchangeable spare part and offers customers significant additional value without additional cost.

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Watson Marlow MasoSine sinusoidal pumps

Baking a better biscuit with variable-speed drives

A project carried out at the Fox’s Biscuits plant in Batley involved the installation of ABB variable-speed drives. These helped improve the quality of the company’s products and reduced the amount of waste, while also improving its ability to develop products.

Although variable-speed drives are most frequently associated with energy saving, they also continue to play a major role in improving the operation of a process or production line. In fact, improving energy efficiency and increasing productivity are two of the main factors in the profitability equation and the two goals are often closely linked. Motor applications that have been improved to use less energy may also show productivity benefits such as a lower maintenance, a higher quality end-product or producing the same or higher output using less energy.

An example of what can be achieved is a project carried out at the Fox’s Biscuits plant in Batley, West Yorkshire. The installation of ABB variable-speed drives helped to improve the quality of the company’sproducts and reduced the amount of wastage,while also improving its ability to develop new products. As the company says, it is committed to using the very best raw materials and processing them using the best machinery.

Initially, the company was interested in investigating the potential for saving energy on its ten Baker Perkins dough mixers, each of which is driven by an 18.5 kW slip-ring motor. ABB Drives Alliance member Halcyon Drives was asked to investigate the benefits to the application and any energy savings through using an ABB induction motor driven by an ABB standard drive and comparing this against one of the slip-ring motor driven mixers.

Paul Mayman, Area Engineering Manager for Fox’s Biscuits, says: “Although the initial reason for the project was energy saving, it soon became clear that the drive gives us a lot of other advantages that were more important to us. One of the major ones is the flexibility to run at different speeds than previously. We have a lot of other ingredients in our biscuits, such as fruit. Previously, the mixers might overmix, leading to staining where the fruit becomes a mush rather than remaining whole. This helps us maintain a high quality product and avoids the situation where a whole 400 kg batch of dough could be wasted.”

The company prides itself on its ability to innovate, developing new products to meet new markets while also producing products for some of the UK’s leading retailers under their own brands. The ability of the drive to change the speed of the mixer allows the company to be more innovative. “With the drive controlled mixer, we can experiment by using different speeds throughout the mix, from as low as two rpm to 50 or 60 rpm, depending on the recipe,” says Mayman

The greater torque of the ABB motor has also lead to themixer achieving a higher reliability. Previously, if the company was trying a dough that was harder than that used in their usual products, the old slip-ring motors would not have the torque to turn the mixing paddles and the motor would trip out. Using the new motor means that the maintenance engineers need to spend less time on them and the production department has a lot more confidence that the mixer will perform correctly as required and less production time will be lost.

Says Mayman: “The drive also gives us a lot of other facilities, such as the load analyser, which saves process data such as current and torque values that we could use to assess production issues. Although we are not using these facilities as yet, they are another example of the flexibility of the ABB drive and could become more important in the future.”

Following the installation of this drive and motor on one of the mixers, Halcyon discovered that the power requirements on both mixers were significantly less than rated power, indicating that the slip-ring motors were greatly oversized.This is a common problem in motor driven applications, with many operators buying motors that are too large for the task in hand to cope with anticipated expansion of their operations.

The mixers typically run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a duty of around 10 minutes operating time every 30 minutes. In addition to the process quality improvements, the ABB standard drive gave a cut in energy use of 30 percent, producing further savings on the already low running costs. As well as the drive on the existing mixer, Fox’s intends to convert the remaining nine mixers to drive control.

Posted in EngineeringComments Off on Baking a better biscuit with variable-speed drives

Record: Steinecker builds one of the world’s biggest lauter tuns

Krones’ Steinecker plant is currently manufacturing the biggest brewing vessel in its history: a stainless steel lauter tun called “Pegasus C”, measuring 14 metres in diameter and weighing around 70 tons.
The “Pegasus C”, in which during the brewing process after mashing the liquid wort is separated from the solid spent grains, holds 144,000 litres of liquid with a fill level of one metre. It belongs to a huge order placed by one of the world’s premier beverage producers, as part of a modernisation project for a prestigious, long-established brewery in Dublin, and covering three complete brewing lines. Together with two more lauter tuns, each 11.5 metres in diameter, the “Pegasus C” will in future constitute the heart of the brewery. On-site commissioning will be completed towards the end of 2013, after which the client will possess Europe’s largest brewing facility.

In order to meet the tight deadline, the staff at Krones’ Steinecker plant worked three shifts for about six weeks on the “Pegasus C”. This lauter tun is basically a standard model; what’s unusual about it, though, is its massive size and the polished insulating hood stipulated by the client. It’s only been possible to produce such large brewing vessels at Krones’ Steinecker plant in Freising since the beginning of 2012, when the new pickling shop was completed. The two parts of the 14-metre lauter tun were riveted and polished, and after that separated again for pickling and transport. Together with the transport frame, each part will measure 7.50 x 14.30 metres.

The complete order covers a total of around 60 extra-wide/extra-high packing units, which will have to be moved with heavy-haulage trucks. They will be loaded onto inland waterway barges in Deggendorf and transferred to ships in Rotterdam. Other parts will go via Munich by train to Rotterdam. And more than 1,000 packing units are being delivered by truck. A massive logistical challenge, particularly since the brewery is located right in the heart of Dublin. This means the heavy goods transports have to be routed from the harbour right through the mediaeval city centre.

The advance logistical planning had been ongoing since February 2012; a road survey was carried out, revealing that there are three different routes for delivering the tun, where road signs and traffic lights will have to be removed, and entire streets and crossroads will have to be closed for other traffic and the trams.

Among this project’s special features is the off-site logistical concept, with components being placed in interim storage at a warehouse in Dublin. This solution guarantees just-in-time delivery on site.

Posted in Capital Projects, Engineering, ProcessingComments Off on Record: Steinecker builds one of the world’s biggest lauter tuns

Food & Drink Business Conference & Exhibition 2015

Food & Drink Event Videos

Upcoming Events

  • March 26, 2017Food & Beverage Environmental Conference
  • April 1, 2017SnackXpo
  • April 2, 2017The Natural Food Show
  • April 4, 2017ProFood Tech
AEC v1.0.4

The Magazine

F&D Business Preferred Suppliers