Archive | Automation

Graduate Trainees Taste the Future of Food Manufacturing

Rising stars of the food industry saw and tasted the future when they visited the University of Lincoln’s National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) as part of their graduate development programmes. The graduates, who are currently part of schemes at Marks & Spencer and Bakkavor, visited NCFM for dedicated training days to experience the technologies that will shape the future of food production.

As a national centre of excellence for food manufacturing, the facility in Holbeach, Lincolnshire, is home to a range of pioneering robotics and automation systems that are set to play a key role in driving productivity and innovation in the sector.

Sharon Green, Deputy Head of NCFM, said: “We are dedicated to supporting the next generation of food manufacturing talent so it is a pleasure to welcome the M&S and Bakkavor graduates to our campus. In the coming years, the projects and technologies we are developing here will transform the sector. By demonstrating the APRIL robotics system and a new steam infusion cooking method at NCFM, we are able to provide a valuable insight into how the future of the industry will look.”

With M&S serving more than 32 million customers online and in-store every year, the company runs a number of different graduate schemes to support retail management, head office, and food manufacturing careers. Colleagues on the organisation’s Graduate Food Technology Scheme visited NCFM to learn how technological advancements could enhance their industry.

Bakkavor is a leading international manufacturer of fresh prepared foods. It currently produces more than 5,000 products and supplies these to global grocery retailers such as M&S, Waitrose, Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, as well as international organisations including McDonald’s, KFC, Starbucks and Pizza Express. NCFM welcomed graduates currently enrolled onto Bakkavor’s Graduate Scheme, which is designed to equip individuals with the skills they need for higher level management.

On their separate development days at NCFM, the graduate trainees were introduced to APRIL (Automated Processing Robotic Ingredient Loading) – a ‘robotic chef’ that combines cutting-edge food processing technologies with proven robotic systems to produce high-quality food on an industrial scale.

Developed by OAL, APRIL is a fully automated robotic system that can mix, load and cook ingredients in a manner similar to professional chefs but in high volume. By using modern cooking and material handling technologies, APRIL is designed to boost production and efficiency while also improving the quality of food produced. APRIL is the first robotic system of its kind and is tipped to transform the food manufacturing industry.

The graduates also learned about advanced steam infusion cooking techniques being developed at NCFM, comparing this to other preparation methods.

Jake Norman, Innovation & Marketing Manager at OAL, said: “These sessions represent a great opportunity for us to learn what future sector leaders expect from food manufacturing, and allow us to demonstrate how robotics and automation will play a key role. We will soon see digital natives driving the move to paperless systems across the food factory, simply because it’s what they are used to.”

Jane Phillips, Graduate Agronomist at M&S, said: “The graduate away day at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing was a fantastic opportunity to explore the future developments within our industry alongside the experts that are at the forefront of these projects.”

To know more about what OAL and the NCFM do, please visit: www.oalgroup.comwww.lincoln.ac.uk/home/holbeach.

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Largest UK Sushi Manufacturer Uses Automation For Retailer Compliance

Ichiban UK has invested in automation to ensure compliance with retailers’ codes of practice. The OAL system has prevented label and packaging errors that can result in substantial fines and help identify areas for improvement during production. Ichiban UK is the leading supplier of both own label and branded authentic sushi for major retailers. Ichiban recognised that to maintain their excellent relationships with the retailers, the site needed to secure their factory by proactively investing in automation.

Working with OAL, a leading automation and food processing technology provider, Ichiban UK ensured the correct packaging and labelling are applied to their products by using a single automated system to control their packaging lines and integrate existing packaging devices. Julie Rice, Technical Manager, explains why Ichiban UK chose the OAL Autocoding system: “We chose the OAL system because it’s a tried and tested solution that provides the compliance we need. It’s easy to use and has helped us focus by accurately recording line stoppages and identifying areas for improvement.”

ichiban1november2016The system Ichiban UK had installed works by scanning a 2D barcode printed on every product to check and verify the date code, and packaging is correct. If a mismatch error occurs, the line stops, and the problem is investigated.

Payback has been shortened through the use of OAL’s Factory Performance software module that provides the team production information on improvement areas. When a line stop occurs operators must record a reason code on the touchscreen terminal. The recorded data is both highly accurate and can be used in real-time so actions can be taken if any issues occur. The automatic system replaces existing manual production logs, providing more accurate and reliable data, helping Ichiban UK identify areas for improvement.

By investing in automation, Ichiban UK has secured compliance with retailer codes of practice for label and date code verification whilst producing actionable data to improve production performance.

For more information on how automation can help with compliance, contact OAL on +44 1733 394 700 or visit www.oalgroup.com/connected/

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GT2e Brings Speed and Flexibility to New Lines

Heat sealing specialists Proseal has played a key supporting role in the development of the new production facilities at 2 Sisters’ Scunthorpe factory. The ambitious cutting and retail packing project is able to deliver 1.2 million birds per week, and it is therefore vital that every part of the line can deal with this high throughput.

Proseal’s involvement has seen the company supply 12 of its latest automatic, large capacity, high-speed GT2e inline tray sealers with free flow gas flushing for MAP (Modified Atmosphere Packaging) packs. Designed to accept randomly spaced trays from any conveyor and able to be fully integrated with other line equipment, the GT2e features Proseal’s pioneering and innovative E-seal® technology.

proseal1october2016High Performance

This high performance, high precision electric seal system delivers an increased seal force of 600% while reducing compressed air usage by 92%. This enables manufacturers to achieve the high quality seal reliability demanded of the retail sector while at the same time achieving valuable cost savings and sustainability benefits.

Another unique feature is the machine’s Pro-Motion high accuracy tray infeed system, which uses following motion and intelligent buffering technology to enable trays to feed continuously into the sealer without stopping. An auto-detect product flow monitoring system regulates the speed of the infeed conveyor according the amount of trays being supplied. This typically increases speeds by up to 30%.

Rugged Construction

proseal2october2016Like all Proseal equipment, the GT2e offers a rugged construction to food industry approved hygiene standards with full wash-down protection. The company’s established ‘Auto Tool’ connection system enables tool changes to be carried out in around five minutes, while downtime is further minimised by the use of quick-change conveyor belts, and an auto-lock film reel holder. A user-friendly menu-driven control panel provides step-by-step prompts for easy operation.

Equally important, the GT2e has the flexibility to perform any style of heat seal to a pre-formed tray, including atmospheric, MAP, VMAP, Skin, Skin Plus and Skin Deep. Customers can simply select the format types they require and these can be added to or taken off at any time. This allows food manufacturers to change their pack formats in line with customer demands without having to invest in new equipment.

Capable of up to 14 cycles per minute for gas flushing, the GT2e has the speed, flexibility and reliability to meet the requirements of 2 Sisters’ new world-class facility.

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Pacepacker Services Leads the Way With Automation Awareness Workshops

Pacepacker Services is teaming up with renowned equipment manufacturer and training provider Festo, to offer Automation Awareness Workshops for its customers, involving all those with a stake in the automation process in smoothing the journey, while maximising the benefits and, ultimately, ROI. The workshops will focus on how customers can integrate systems and extract full benefit from them quickly and efficiently. The half-day events will be free to a given number of attendees from each company.

Increasing numbers of manufacturers in sectors such as food and drink are recognising the benefits of automation, whether in terms of output, yield, reliability, product quality or traceability. However fewer are aware of the less obvious factors influencing how readily that desired result can be fully achieved.

“From upstream machines, which affect the efficiency of the rest of the line, to missed opportunities in enlisting the positive support of the workforce, it is important that we educate our customers and increase overall awareness as part of the process of integrating automation,” explains Pacepacker’s Business Development Manager, Paul Wilkinson.

Each workshop is specifically crafted to be extremely useful and relevant to the specifics of each company’s operations, with full engagement from key company stakeholders, from operators and line supervisors, to engineering team members and directors.

Other opportunities the workshops will highlight include practical preparations for installation and how to manage training or recruitment to ensure customers have the correct in-house expertise to meet the needs of automation.

“This is about smoothing the process of automation inside the factory, it’s about you and your team being ready, and it is about external factors which may affect how the overall system performs,” says Paul. “The end result may be all to do with speed, product quality, reduced wastage and rejects or a combination of all of these and more. Ultimately, this is about maximising return on investment (ROI), in the shortest possible time.”

pacepacker2october2016In practical terms, this new approach to automation awareness could well reduce the period when the line is either not running at all, or running below its optimal performance.

Paul adds: “From Pacepacker’s point of view, we want satisfied customers. This is yet another way we can demonstrate the high levels of support we consistently provide our customers with.”

Festo, though known principally as a manufacturer of automation systems and components, has a strong track record in training and consultancy rooted in its real-world experience. In fact, the company runs 2,900 courses worldwide every year, training no fewer than 42,000 individuals.

The Festo-designed workshops will bring together attendees from different companies at Pacepacker’s head office in Essex. For larger customers, there will be the opportunity for cross-site events where representatives of different operations will be able to pool their experiences and observations.

“Pacepacker is in alignment with our objective to look beyond the supply of components and solutions and to help our customers not just succeed, but to excel in their markets,” explains Neil Lewin, Senior Consultant for Festo Training & Consultancy. “The course will raise awareness of the complete approach required when engaging in automation projects, and provide customers with a strategic plan for implementation of automation in to their plant. The end result being a solution that meets its promises on ROI and sustainability.”

A white paper and ‘automation checklist’ will perform a similar function for businesses installing smaller systems. For further information contact Pacepacker Services on +44 (0)1371 811544, or visit www.pacepacker.com.

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Gemak Equips New Village Dairy Yogurt Plant

Earlier this year, Gemak was awarded a contract to manufacture and commission a state-of-the-art continuous yogurt processing plant at Llaeth y Llan, Village Dairy where Gareth Roberts and his family have been producing superb, award winning yogurts since the ‘80s. Plenty of hard work and perseverance has helped create a beautiful Welsh yogurt that people throughout Great Britain love eating!

The new plant is in operation, capable of a fully automated continuous blending and processing of 3000 l/h yogurt. The plans for the new plant come on the back of a successful growth in Village dairies fruit yogurt market.

Village Dairy General Manager, Owain Roberts says: “We are very excited about our new plant and opportunities it brings to our business. With the new plant we have been able to achieve consistent and repeatable quality, exacting recipes, better controls and advanced data accumulation, improved efficiency and better yields with a much faster output rate. Gemak has delivered on every promise. We have visited Gemak at their new production plant and were very impressed with their quality, manufacturing, level of engineering and their experience in dairy processing. They also offered the quickest lead time and most competitive prices in the market.”

General view of mixing and pasteurisation.

General view of mixing and pasteurisation.

Fully Automated

The fully automated processing plant incorporates a continuous inline yogurt mix preparation and pasteurisation system for different recipes. A number of recipes can be entered consecutively at the start of the shift into the Scada system with the desired quantity and destination vessels for a non-stop processing shift with continuous recipe change-overs. With the touch of a button the system weighs and accurately feeds the necessary ingredients into a mix vessel, blends, dehydrates, homogenises, pasteurises, holds and cools before sending the recipes with desired quantities into pre-selected vessels for fermentation.

The yogurt is than cooled to the desired temperature and fed to bespoke design ribbon blenders for fruit addition followed by very gentle, accurate and effective blending without impacting on the viscosity of yogurt. From here the yogurt is packed into tubs. Gemak also supplied 2 CIP units for raw and finished, raw milk reception unit and water chiller.

Benefits

Fermentation room.

Fermentation room.

The new application removes a timely process of pre-mixing and preparing of the blends for the base prior to pasteurisation with a new in-line automated liquid and powder recipe blend process in-line with the continuous pasteurisation. The benefits of the new system to Village Dairy are reduced labour with 60% reduction in energy use, 70% increase in processing speed, 60% improvement in process controls, monitoring and recording.

Kursat Uysal from Gemak UK says: “Village dairy is very well known and admired for their superb yogurt quality that they developed and perfected over the last 30 years with a loyal customer base. I am also one of those customers – so you can imagine the pressure.

“We were given the task not only to design and commission a fully automated turnkey yogurt processing plant with improvements in all areas which we have a lot of experience and know how in but also to match/improve on the current product quality, taste and viscosity. We are very pleased to have lived up to our customer’s expectation and delivering on our promise. Gemak specialise in process solutions for the dairy industry and has manufactured and installed over 300 turnkey dairy plants around the world since 1986.”

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Conveyor Systems Ltd – IMHX 2016 – Exhibitor Profile

Conveyor Systems Ltd offer an array of engineering expertise and a wealth of experience in materials handling solutions however complex, tailored to suit customer’s individual requirements in a wide range of industries.

At CSL we have a comprehensive range of conveyor equipment to provide complete automated turnkey materials handling systems, including design, installation and commissioning conveyors with integrated controls and software. We also incorporate full project management to co-ordinate our mechanical and electrical conveyor installation teams in-line with the customers overall project program.

CSL offer simple, high quality modular conveyors to integrate and interface with other OEM machinery such as packaging and label application machines, wrappers, palletisers and other associated equipment. This is often coupled with state of the art PLC/Computer based systems to integrate the operation whilst providing management data for traceability/logistics etc.

IMHX is the largest meeting place for the UK’s logistics industry. Next month over 20,000 logistics and supply chain professionals will gather to evaluate cutting edge technologies, explore the latest industry solutions and discuss how to increase efficiencies within supply chain operations.

IMHX 2016 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham from 13th-16th September. Demand for stand space has been exceptional and IMHX 2016 will be the biggest and most comprehensive in the show’s history with over 400 exhibitors!

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Gideon Hillman Consulting – IMHX 2016 – Exhibitor Profile

Gideon Hillman Consulting, established in 2004, is one of the UKs leading Supply Chain and Logistics Consultancies servicing it’s clients throughout the UK and Europe. It is an ISO 9001:2008 registered company, a recognised member practice of the Institute of Consulting and a corporate member of UKWA (United Kingdom Warehousing Association).

IMHX is the largest meeting place for the UK’s logistics industry. Next month over 20,000 logistics and supply chain professionals will gather to evaluate cutting edge technologies, explore the latest industry solutions and discuss how to increase efficiencies within supply chain operations.

IMHX 2016 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham from 13th-16th September. Demand for stand space has been exceptional and IMHX 2016 will be the biggest and most comprehensive in the show’s history with over 400 exhibitors!

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Smart Solutions From AutoCoding Systems

AutoCoding Systems has recognised that there is a growing requirement to communicate with and collect data from a wide range of devices, as well as interface to various business information systems to enable factories to work smarter.

As a global provider of automation solutions to factory production and packaging areas, AutoCoding Systems has developed a suite of modular software products to facilitate processes such as device integration, data collection and integrity, code deployment and packaging verification.

AutoCodingJune2016The entry level web-based AutoCoding product can be used to set-up and control packaging line devices, such as coders, barcode scanners and inspection equipment, irrespective of brand. The centralised application automatically deploys secure set-up and message data to one or more packaging line devices, thereby reducing downtime, as well as eliminating the risk of coding and packaging errors. The resulting business benefits include increased speed and reliability of line set-up, reduced job changeover time, reduced risk of human error and the ability to manage complex packaging formats.

The AutoCoding suite of modules gives additional functionality and greater scope for the collection of data. For example, the Paperless Quality module automates both in-line and off-line routine quality checks. The AutoCoding line terminal can be configured to individual requirements creating various methods for capturing data which can then be used for reporting purposes. Details of all QA checks are consolidated into the AutoCoding audit log resulting in a reduction in the amount of physical paper records that have to be retained and subsequently stored.

The latest concept developed using the latest software engineering technologies is the AutoCoding IIoT Gateway. IIoT technology provides consistent mechanisms for cross-application and cross-device communication. This enables the collection of rich data and statistics from production line devices which previously could not easily participate in the movement towards a connected factory floor. The AutoCoding IIoT Gateway aims to reduce the cost and increase the effectiveness of integrating users, data and applications with data and equipment on the plant floor.

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APRIL Robotic Chef to launch at University of Lincoln

APRIL robot with food basketRobotics and automation has prospered in many manufacturing industries but there has been limited progress in food production because of a lack of enabling technologies leading to islands of automation. When focusing on ready meal manufacturing, the finished product can often be over-processed and costly due to the inefficiencies of traditional cooking and processing methods.

OAL and the University of Lincoln and are delighted to announce the launch event for APRIL, a robotics and automation development set to change the way we manufacture food. The patented APRIL robotic chef developed by OAL, uses state of the art cooking and material handling technologies to process ingredients with real care on an industrial scale.

The event will be held on Thursday 28th April 2016 at the University of Lincoln’s Holbeach campus, the National Centre for Food Manufacturing.  Speakers include OAL, University of Lincoln and Kuka on the use of robotics in food manufacturing. The day will also include a full scale demonstration of the APRIL system, which includes a 5 tonne industrial robot recently installed at the test centre.

APRIL allows users to scale up how chefs prepare restaurant food using flexible robotic cells. Analysis of existing chilled food plants indicates a 7-14% bottom line improvement following adoption of the technology. The flexibility of the systems is critical in allowing soft reconfiguration to accommodate evolving consumer tastes. Previous attempts at achieving automation have often missed this key component resulting in costly white elephants.

For a real £19million turnover chilled food production business, in-depth modelling demonstrates annual savings of 8% savings (£1.5million) achieved (by order of importance) through labour, product losses, asset return, footprint reduction and energy. Upscaling the technology to the UK £10 Billion turnover convenience market would realise huge savings with further upsides of varying markets/ global opportunities.

Manufacturers will be able to improve product quality based on the ability to better emulate a chef. The APRIL robot chef doesn’t pump or pass product through pipework enhancing taste, flavour and particulate integrity.

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How to Scale a Food & Drink Business – Conference & Exhibition, Aviva Stadium, 16th September 2015

The second annual Food & Drink Business Conference & Exhibition will be held at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on Wednesday, 16th September 2015. The theme of this year’s conference and exhibition is ‘How to Scale a Food & Drink Business’.

Food Wise 2025, which will build on the Irish Government’s successful Harvest 2020 development strategy, has set out significant growth targets in all of the key sectors of the Irish food and beverage processing industries. The new 10 year plan targets an 85% jump in the value of exports to €19 billion by 2025. The growth is expected to deliver an additional 23,000 jobs based on the projected expansions in dairy, beef and seafood, as well as a doubling of consumer food and drinks exports.

The plan identifies a surge in global food demand driven by emerging middle class populations across Africa and Asia as significant opportunities for Ireland. In beverages the plan envisages doubling whiskey output by 2025 and an increase in the number of micro breweries from 21 to 100. To achieve these targets indigenous companies must be able to scale up to increase sales to local retailers but more importantly to develop sustainable export markets.

Key Note Speakers

Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive of Bord Bia.

Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive of Bord Bia.

The conference will hear from key note speakers who have a proven track record in creating growth through investment, innovation and automation. Key note speakers include:

* Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive of Bord Bia (Irish Food Board);

* Michael Carey, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of ‘The Company of Food’, and Chairman of Bord Bia;

* Raymond Coyle, Founder and Chairman of Largo Foods;

* Cathal Fizgerald, Head of Food and Agriculture Investments – ISIF National Treasury Management Agency;

* Paul Kelly, Director of Food and Drink Industry Ireland;

* Michael Cantwell, Director of the Food Division of Enterprise Ireland;

* Richard Cullen, Managing Director of The Jelly Bean Factory;

* Jason Whooley, Chief executive of Bio-Marine Ingredients Ireland;

* Louise Ryan, Head of Strategic Planning at Irish Distillers/Pernod Ricard.

Food and beverage manufacturers on the Island of Ireland are perfectly placed to capitalise on the country’s reputation for producing high quality, safe and sustainable products which are respected and sought after in retail and food service sectors.

Major Workshop

Food&DrinkConference2014This year’s conference will include a major workshop on the future growth opportunities for the craft beer, whiskey, spirits and cider sectors. The workshop will include presentations from some of Ireland’s leading craft beer and whiskey companies with an emphasis on Brand Development, Distribution, Investment in Capacity and New Product Development.

The event will bring together key stakeholders responsible for Ireland’s largest manufacturing sector, which has a turnover of over €25 billion. Exports reached over €10 billion for the first time in 2015. The sector employs over 230,000 people and the Government has committed to increase this number substantially over the next six years.

Admission to the event is FREE for Food & Drink Manufacturers. All other attendees pay €295.00 for Day Pass. For further information or to register visit http://www.fooddrinkevent.com/.

Exhibitor & Sponsorship options also available (Limited spaces). To be included contact Ronan Meagher at ronan@prempub.com.

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Potato Processor Kadi lowers energy use with TOMRA Eco steam peeler

Manufacturer of potato products and other frozen foods for the Swiss foodservice

Enthusiastic chefs create from day to day the favorite dishes of the Swiss people. It goes without saying that in Kadi’s strive for consistent quality management they use the latest technologies and that’s where TOMRA comes in the picture.
kadi-tomra-eco-peeler-550

 

 

Due to excessive maintenance costs Kadi looked for a new steam peeler. They offered multiple companies the opportunity to present their range of steam peeling solutions. TOMRA’s Eco steam peeler was the only one that met the specific expectations of Kadi. The company works with one production line upon which they process most of their food products: from express fries, French fries, rösti and frozen potatoes. Therefore it was a must have for Kadi to be able to continue processing like this.

“For us, quality means the optimal combination of long tried and tested recipes, carefully grown and selected raw materials and the use of the latest technologies”, says Peter Büeler

High quality

“TOMRA inspected our processing line to see where it could be improved. Although it was already delivering a very high quality TOMRA recommended the Eco steam peeler, a steam accumulator, the dry peel separator (DPS) and a new barrel washer. The objective was to provide us with the technology and tools to enable us to optimize the performance of the line even further for each size of potato and each end product”, clarifies Büeler.

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Anuga FoodTec 2015: Robots have become indispensable in food and beverage production

anugaRobots ensure efficiency and reliability

Food processing places special demands on robot technology

The world of robotics is currently facing another breakthrough: small, lightweight, comfortable and above all, flexible – that’s how engineers envisage the industrial lightweight robots of the future. The greatest revolution, however, will be the direct cooperation between man and machine
– without a separating safety fence. The advances in automation cannot be overlooked at the Anuga FoodTec show held 24-27 March 2015 in Cologne, Germany. In the future, these “steel colleagues” of the food industry will be able to do more complex tasks than is the case today.

The TV series Real Humans shows what happens when people and robots live together. So-called Hubots (human robots) are capable of learning and used as domestic servants or factory workers. Real Humans looks into the future, but mirrors reality: because the robots have left their safety cage. A symbol of this is “Frida,” a concept study by ABB. Equipped with two arms that each have seven degrees of freedom respectively, the robot can be implemented in workplaces that are actually reserved for people.

The “third hand” in production
Human-robot collaboration is currently the trend par excellence. It stands for the smooth transition from industrial robotics towards service robotics.
Thanks to their torque sensors in all axes, the robots have the necessary flexibility not to hurt people. These should now allow processes to be automated that have not been automatable at all so far. One example is the TX2 series six-axis robots from Stäubli Robotics. They have managed to “integrate safety features that let us realize new possibilities in man-machine collaboration,” emphasizes Stäubli’s Chief Financial Officer Manfred Hübschmann. The closed structure of the robot series and its design with IP65 protection – the wrist is held in IP67 and thus waterproof – predestine the TX2 series for use designed to meet cleanroom and hygiene requirements.

By expanding their small robotics series, the key players of the industry underline their ambition to grow in markets beyond the automotive industry.
179,000 robots were sold worldwide in 2013. “A new record,” as Arturo Baronecelli, President of the International Federation of Robotics, points out. After South Korea and Japan, Germany has the highest robot density: with an average of 261 robots for every 10,000 workers. At present, the global market for robotics is 22 billion Euros. By 2020 this could grow to more than 60 billion Euros. Experts like Henrik Ryegard, who heads the Robotics Division at ABB, regard the food industry as one of the largest markets – robot density here is still well below the average.

Hurdles in food production
The main driving force behind the use of robots is economical: the machines replace expensive human labour. This is not without problems per se because the food industry is a challenging environment. So far robots have particularly dominated in non-critical areas, such as palletising and packing stations. Five or six-axis industrial robots are ideal tools to do these kinds of monotonous and often demanding tasks in a reliable manner.
Special protective covers provide protection under arctic conditions which prevail in warehouses for frozen foods.

Other requirements apply for any contact with open foodstuffs. In this case, not only must hygienic safety satisfy higher expectations but the mechatronic equipment of the robots as well. “Pastries, meats, vegetables and sweets vary in quality and size,” is how Dr. Knut Franke from the German Institute of Food Technologies in Quakenbrück describes the problem in a nutshell. He cites an example: “Automatic fine-cutting of pork requires very sophisticated sensor technology.” The algorithms that Franke and his team are currently developing for the robot movements should enable automatic cutting of pieces of meat and contribute to a more efficient production of safer meat products in the future.

Through the interaction of software, controller and mechanical systems, robots can pack almost any food today. Thus, Unilever, for example, uses the FlexPicker to package its popular Bifi snack. The system inserts up to 600 mini sausages per minute into the film of the thermoforming machine. In cases such as these, more than just “tactile dexterity” is required from the robots when gripping: hygiene aspects are high on the agenda. The robots and their tools may not provide entry points for dirt and bacteria. They also need to be washable and resistant to disinfectants. This explains the popularity of robots made of stainless steel in protection class IP67 or higher.

It will take some time for human-like “Hubots” from Real Humans. But, in the near future, robots will be performing increasingly complex mechanised tasks. This will create new opportunities for the food industry, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. This is not always a matter of automating the entire production – semi-autonomous systems, as can be seen at the Anuga FoodTec show, often provide the greater benefit.

Future-oriented topics are also addressed in Anuga FoodTec’s professional program. The DLG will thus address topical issues in 27 short specialist forums. Among other things, technical topics will be the focus of attention like hygienic design, freezing technology, the use of robots in the food industry or the detection of foreign material in foodstuffs. Event information: 25 March 2015, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Forum 8 – Robots in food production (Congress Centre North).

Anuga FoodTec is jointly organised by Koelnmesse GmbH and the German Agricultural Society (DLG).

Additional information, the list of exhibitors, and information on the supporting programme: www.anugafoodtec.com

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Marel Introduces Next Generation of Whitefish Processing Lines

Whitefish processing is about to take a giant leap forward, with the launch of Marel’s FleXicut, a trimming robot for high precision bone detection and removal.

The bones in whitefish are notoriously difficult to locate and remove, and the process traditionally requires a lot of skilled labour. The automation of this process with FleXicut is therefore set to reshape the whitefish industry, as it not only reduces the need for skilled labour, but also greatly improves product handling and yields.

FleXicut incorporates two critical processing steps in one machine; locating the pinbones precisely, and cutting/trimming to remove the bones. The equipment consists of high resolution X-ray detection, image control, and a water-jet cutting mechanism for removing pinbones.

“Determining the orientation of the bones is critical to improving the yield,” explains Marel’s director of product development Kristjan Hallvardsson. Cutting out less flesh on the V-cut will leave more on the loin. He adds: “At present, 6-10% of the fillet is removed manually by the V-cut to take out the pinbones. The goal is to achieve as much as 2-4% improvement in yield, which represents significant added value for our customers.”

Marel has more than 30 years’ experience in the fish processing industry and has built on its extensive expertise in portioning, X-ray, and robot technology to develop the FleXicut. This innovative trimming robot uses the latest X-ray technology to locate the pinbones with high accuracy, and then remove them.

By using water-jets for the bone removal process, which is more flexible than blade cutting, the FleXicut can perform a variety of cutting patterns, and the angle cutting option allows it to follow the curved lines of the bone frame very closely, thereby further reducing pinbone material. This means significant yield gains in the loin – the most valuable part of the fish.

The automation of the process enables processors to produce bone-free products with virtually no manual handling and introduce new products such as skin-on loins and baby fillets.

An important feature of Marel’s FleXicut is that the X-ray scanning and water-jet cutting is performed on the same belt. This unique feature means that there is no risk of movement between the bone-detection and cutting processes, which ensures a superb level of cutting accuracy based on the bone location. An additional feature is the built-in blade cutter, to optionally cut the tail piece.

The FleXicut is the first tangible output of an ongoing project called APRICOT (Automatic Pinbone Removal In COd and whiTefish) – a collaboration between Marel, Sintef, Norway Seafoods, and Faroe Origin. It is based on detailed research on the raw material and processing techniques, using the very latest of Marel’s technological solutions.

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Lamb Weston Meijer Invests in New State-of-the-Art Potato Grading Area in Kruiningen

Lamb Weston / Meijer, manufacturer of deep-frozen potato products and dried potato flakes, is investing 20 million euros in its biggest plant in Kruiningen, Zeeland (NL). A fully-automated potato sorting process is being implemented in a new, state-of-the-art potato grading area.

To realize the plans, various former production buildings are being replaced with a single potato reception and sorting area built entirely with the future in mind. The installation of a number of fully-automated potato sorting lines will make the complex potato sorting process considerably simpler and more efficient after delivery in mid-2015. The system in Kruiningen will soon be reduced to a single flowing line, from arrival and sorting of the potatoes to processing in the plant.

Tasty, trendsetting company

The highly-contemporary new building emphasizes Lamb Weston / Meijer’s ambition to set high standards in the market in terms of both products and production facilities. The new process will also enable the company to meet the growing demand for high-quality potato products and concepts.

Investing in the future

This new venture is an example of Lamb Weston / Meijer’s continuous investment in the optimisation of processes and activities and is aimed at strengthening the company’s leading position in the international market for potato products, improving customer service and enhancing the quality of the working environment.

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New Generation Robotic Palletiser is Top of the Class

FANUC Robotics UK has launched a new universal palletising robot that boasts best-in-class speed, payload, energy-efficiency and reach. The M410-iC/185 is the first of a new generation of palletising robots that combines FANUC’s proven 99.99% reliability with tangible improvements in performance, allowing food and beverage manufacturers to palletise heavier loads faster and stack pallets higher.

Thanks to advancements in servo drive and motor technology, the M410-iC/185 delivers a 16% higher wrist load and 13% greater throughput than its predecessor, the M410-iB/160, which serves over 300 customers Europe-wide. A 185kg payload coupled with an average speed of 1700 cycles per hour results in heightened productivity and more efficient palletising of heavier loads. The four-axis robot also has highest in class wrist load inertia, which renders it equally suitable for handling bulky items like sacks of flour using very large grippers, and compact, heavy items, like bottle crates.

“This robot is equally at home palletising bags of sugar as it is shifting crates of soft drink bottles,” says Darren Whittall, technical manager at FANUC Robotics. “It can handle anything from bags, sacks, cartons, shrink-wrapped bottles and cans to crates, tins and trays.”

In designing the new generation robot, FANUC engineers have built a four-axis arm that can stack pallets as high as 2.4m – higher than any other robot in the same class. At the same time, they have reduced the robot’s footprint to an ultra compact 610 x 806mm and energy consumption to 3kW/hr maximum. The robot’s extended reach and stack height capability create a large work envelope, which, in conjunction with high-speed operation, allows a single M410-iC/185 to service multiple lines in high volume environments. The balancer has been eliminated from the design, improving uptime by increasing the M410-iC/185’s reliability. The life of the gripper services is lengthened by a 56mm diameter hollow wrist for running cables and hoses.

According to Darren Whittall, these features combine to make the robot particularly appealing to high volume beverage producers and packers. “We anticipate strong demand from the beverage industry owing to the robot’s high payload, inherent reliability and ability to stack pallets high.”

FANUC’s new M410-iC/185 universal palletising robot that boasts best-in-class speed, payload, energy-efficiency and reach.

The M410-iC/185 is more than just a palletising robot; the in-built PMC (Programmable Machine Controller) enables it to act as a complete cell controller, thereby reducing system controls costs and simplifying integration of stand-alone palletising systems.

“The PMC eliminates the requirement for another PLC to control peripheral equipment like the conveyors transporting products to and from the cell, guard panels and light curtains,” explains Darren Whittall.

The intelligent robot’s touchscreen pendant has been enhanced to display 4D graphics, giving operators a user-friendly tool for viewing process information including cell layout and status, as well as providing the capability to act as the system HMI.

“This new palletiser offers our customers so much more for their money,” enthuses Paul Wilkinson of Pacepacker Services, FANUC’s palletising integrator specialist. “Working as FANUC’s palletising integrator for 15 years, we’ve seen Japanese advances in design, servo drive and motor technology set the pace for a totally new generation of palletisers. The M410iC/185 has been well received by food and beverage manufacturers as it comes with 15+ gripper options and is quick and easy to install.”

“Pacepacker’s ability to accurately match application with the appropriate technological solution along with unparalleled support before, during and after the installation has seen them become a multiple award winning equipment manufacturer and highly sought after integrator of FANUC robots,” says Chris Sumner, managing director of FANUC  UK.

As with all FANUC robots, the M410iC/185 is enabled to take full advantage of FANUC integrated iRVision cameras for product location, recognition and inspection, in addition to barcode reading and line tracking.

Two versions are available: a pedestal base with integral controller or a compact base with remote controller, providing design options where ceiling height and footprint are key considerations.

The M410-iC/185 is the lightest duty model in the new M410-iC generation of robots. FANUC is expanding the range to replace all four models in its previous M410-iB family and will release further details in late 2013/early 2014.

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Autotech Scoops Award From Siemens

At its recent 2013 Solution Partner Conference, Siemens awarded the accolade of ‘Best Factory Automation Partner’ to Autotech Controls. Autotech beat off tough competition from fellow nominees for the award. The criteria for the accolade were wide-ranging, encompassing not only technical competence but also the ability to deliver complex projects, customer interaction, working in partnership with Siemens, client satisfaction and commercial factors.

Nigel Brookes, Group Sales Director for Autotech’s parent company, Automated Technology Group, comments: “We are absolutely delighted to win this award from Siemens. It reflects our continued success in broadening our Siemens portfolio and our hard work in seeking out projects and requirements within them for which we can utilise the Siemens offering. The fact that our technicians are highly trained and certified means that they are able to identify potential problems and resolve any issues quickly.”

“In addition,” concludesNigel Brookes, “delivery on time and within budget are factors of paramount importance for us, a fact highly valued by our clients. We look forward to continued co-operation with Siemens on a variety of projects.”

Established in 1996, Autotech Controls is a leading global supplier of automation and robotic control solutions. Headquartered in Silsoe, Bedfordshire, the company is part of Automated Technology Group (ATG).

CAPTION:

Nigel Brookes (left) of Autotech receives the ‘Best Factory Automation Partner’ award from Jim Harris, General Manager UK Sales (middle) and Stephen Hughes, Channel Manager UK (right) of Siemens Industry, Automation & Drive Technologies.

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New Meyn Demo and training centre now open

On October 2nd 2013 Meyn officially opened its expanded Demo and training centre, when Scott Russell (Global Sales Director of Meyn) and Willem Wals (owner of Vleeshandel Topkip B.V. and the premises in which the Meyn Demo and training centre is located) unveiled a nameplate.

The new Meyn Demo and training centre gives us the possibility to extend our training portfolio and will allow us to set up demonstrations for our customers with our complete range of state-of-the-art cut up and deboning solutions.
The expanded Meyn Demo and training centre features all solutions with which a huge variety in cut up and deboned end products can be made. The first demonstration sessions are already planned for the week of October 7-11, when Meyn will organise a BoneScan 440 ADX demonstration week which will be attended by customers from different countries.

For further information please contact:
Judith Marques dos Reis-Koops
Manager Communication
+31 20 2045 485
jkoops@meyn.com

About Meyn Food Processing Technology B.V.

Meyn Food Processing Technology B.V. is the reliable and committed partner of renowned poultry processing companies in over 100 countries worldwide. Meyn is widely recognized for its ability to support its customers in their ambition for higher capacity and increased yield and efficiency. Meyn’s solutions have proven to maintain its high-level performance under a wide variety of line speeds and bird sizes, allowing its customers to achieve top level productivity with an absolute minimum of labor.
For more information, please visit www.meyn.com.

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Pacepacker Services Makes Snack Stacking Simple

Pacepacker Services has assisted a leading snacks manufacturer in increasing their output of packed crisp boxes with the installation of six Fanuc M-410 robotic palletising systems.  Palletising over 5,000 boxes of crisps per hour the robots have been integrated into ALL of the six packing lines within the company’s factory and enabled them to bring a previously outsourced packing operation in-house.

When it was no longer possible for manual stackers to accurately and safely palletise crisp boxes at speed, Pacepacker integrated a four-axis FANUC M-410 into one packaging line to receive an in-feed from two separate production lines – with a combined output of 1,000 boxes per hour.  A key factor to the success of this original installation was the robots ability to handle multiple box sizes – up to 30 per production line – with the incorporation of vacuum technology.  Subsequently a further four FANUC M-410 robots were ordered. 

The final installation was made on a line packing the company’s boxes of multi-pack crisps. With only enough space within the factory for one additional production line this product was previously being packed by a third party co-packer – a cost prohibitive task.  To overcome this issue Pacepacker offered a solution by incorporating a double vacuum gripper on to a Fanuc M-410 which has the capability of lifting an entire pallet layer of boxes from a single feed.  Each robot is pre-programmed with a menu of different variations and recipes suited to the company’s needs which requires very little manual interfacing.

For further information on Pacepacker Services on Tel +44 (0)1371 811544 or visit www.pacepacker-services.com.

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PR318 Long standing relationship leads to more tray sealer orders for PA

Flavourfresh Solfresh group is one of the leading salads producers in theUKwhose business focuses entirely on the growing, packaging and distribution of tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries.

Packaging Automation has been a supplier to Flavourfresh for nearly a decade ever since the retailers started to demand that fresh produce which was previously presented in a flow wrapped pack was switched to sealed punnets. In 2004 after speaking to a number of companies in the packaging machinery market they purchased two automatic tray sealers from PA 

A good relationship developed and when Flavourfresh needed to increase both productivity and efficiency in the packing of tomatoes and strawberries they had no hesitation in returning to PA for new machinery. The decision was taken to purchase a high speed eclipse SL6 tray sealer which was soon followed by an order for a second identical machine.

The SL6 is a high throughput machine capable of sealing up to 100 packs per minute and has provided Flavourfresh with cost and environmental benefits combined with greater efficiency, minimum downtime and a consistent seal on all packs.  For flexibility and long term value the eclipse SL6 can be easily converted to a twin lane machine to give speeds of up to 200 packs per minute.  To save on critical downtime, tool changeovers on the eclipse tray sealers can be done manually in two minutes as a result of an inbuilt tool loading system. The ingenious top tool comprises single impression removable cartridges to enable continued operation during repairs and routine maintenance. Quick release cutting blades on these allow for replacement in seconds and spare cartridges are supplied to enable full capacity operation at all times.

Brendan Gillow Flavourfresh’s Operations Manager said, “We have used PA for a number of years and have always been happy with their performance, efficiency and aftersalescare. I would recommend them to anyone looking for a high speed quality top seal with an aftersalesservicesecond to none.”

Background

Packaging Automation Ltd was established in 1963 and is a leadingUKmanufacturer of tray sealing and pot filling and sealing machinery.

PA can offer customers a tray sealer or pot filler for a wide range of applications in the food industry including fresh produce packing such as salad, tomato, strawberry and soft fruitpacking, fish, seafood, meat and chicken packing (including vacuum packing and skin packing), ready meal sealing and packing, and pot or tub denesting, filling and sealing for puddings and sauces.

Full packing lines can be specified and installed to include tray denesting, conveyoring, tray filling, film sealing including modified atmosphere packing (MAP) facilities. Foil tray sealing as well as plastic tray sealing can be accommodated on all machines as standard.

PA also has experience in the medical and consumer goods sectors offering machinery for blister packing a wide range of products.

 

For further information please contact:

Packaging Automation Ltd:

Claire Carless

Marketing Assistant

Claire.c@pal.co.uk

or

Samantha Ashton

Commercial Director

sam.a@pal.co.uk

 

Packaging Automation Ltd

ParkgateIndustrial Park

Knutsford

Cheshire

WA16 8XW

01565 755000

www.pal.co.uk

 

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Food-grade conveyors stand up to processing projects

Dynamic Conveyor has released a new line of DynaClean conveyors, suitable for food processing operations.

Manufactured using high density polyethylene (HDPE), UHMW and a minimal amount 304 stainless-steel, the conveyor systems in the DynaClean line are suitable for food processing and packaging applications.

HPDE (a plastic material approved by various US agencies) is used to construct the sidewalls; it is corrosion resistant, non-toxic, non-absorbent, temperature resistant and less costly than stainless steel.

Mainenance made simple

According to the company, the conveyor design enables the units to be cleaned and sanitized quickly and easily. Maintenance staff reportedly can remove components in minutes, without using tools, to get at the inner workings.

Scott Thibault, president of processor J&M Foods in Little Rock, AR, says his staff finds the conveyors to be user friendly.

“The DynaClean is a very open design with no place for anything to hide and is much easier to clean,” he said. “We can do that with one person much faster than how we used to do that. It is easy to break down, lift off the retaining walls, lift out the rollers, clean underneath it, pressure wash it or dry wipe it and put it back together. It takes half the time it did with the old system.”

Frequent changeovers

The conveyors are designed for operations requiring frequent changeovers. The systems permit angle changes and the length to grow or shorten reportedly without compromising system integrity. Plant personnel can opt for single, continuous conveyors to run straight, incline and/or decline with one motor. With the DynaClean Premium, lateral turns are an option.

Users can choose from either ThermoDrive solid belting or modular plastic link style belting, as well as an array of drive flights.

Belts are specified to meet the needs of wet, dry or sticky foods; two different types of washdown motors also are available, with specifications based on the customer’s desired cleaning level.

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Automated Solution Puts the Fizz Back into Production

Within any business, finding a like-minded supplier can be a recipe for success and in the case of Ridgeview Wines, the UK-based family-run wine producers, investing in an Endoline system solution has achieved exactly this. By automating a previously labour intensive operation Endoline has increased the efficiency and productivity on a production line which has an annual volume output of a quarter of a million bottles, while reducing the need for manual labour.

Stockists to several leading British and international retailers, including Waitrose and M&S, Ridgeview Wines produce their award winning English Sparkling Wine at their 100 acre Sussex vineyard. However, manually forming packing and sealing cases was an inefficient process.

“We needed to increase our production and utilising skilled winemaking staff to perform this task is not only a waste of resource but it adds no value to the product so we decided to automate this process,” explains Tamara Roberts, General Manager of Ridgeview Wines.

Endoline’s Solution

Previously operators would form the wine case manually, staple the bottom, and load the wine bottles into it – a laborious task which required numerous members of staff being drafted in if a large order needed to be packed. Endoline’s solution to this challenge was to install a bespoke case former, engineered on an incline specifically to enable efficient packing of bottles.

The case former folds the lower flaps and securely holds the open case to allow packing to take place with both hands. The filled boxes are then pushed by the operator onto an Endoline conveyor system which has been integrated with a labeller and sealed by an Endoline case sealer which simultaneously tapes both the bottom and the top of the box before being pushed through to a second feed table ready for palletising.

More Efficient Production

“Endoline’s machinery has simplified a previously complex and labour intensive task. Our team have found the line extremely easy to use and fewer people are needed to operate the line resulting in a more efficient production,” comments Tamara Roberts. “We have made significant savings in productivity, giving us more time to focus on the areas which add value and ensure the quality of our products.”

Line output has increased enabling Ridgeview to prepare orders more effectively and be more responsive to customer requirements. However it was not only Endoline’s ability to create an automated system which attracted Ridgeview to their solution – but also for the like-minded nature of Endoline’s family business.

Family Businesses

“There are six members of our family running Ridgeview and Endoline has a similar set up with five members of the Yates’ family working in the company. We also share a similar ethos in the fact that we pride ourselves on manufacturing UK produce – from within the UK. Couple this with the solution they provided to automate our line and Endoline were the clear favourite,” she says.

For further information on any of Endoline’s extensive range of machines, contact Endoline on Tel + 44 (0) 1767 316422, Fax 01767 318033, email sales@endoline.co.uk or visit www.endoline.co.uk.

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ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS TRAINING IS PROVEN TO INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY, AND SAVE TIME AND MONEY

Companies in the food processing and production industry thatstruggle with tough and re-occurring problems can increase productivity, and save time and money, by utilising root cause analysis (RCA) techniques taught by training company Sologic in collaboration with The Red Cat Partnership.

RCA is a modern method of problem solving which enables users to methodically and systematically identify root causes of faults and problems, rather than justhow to fix them.   By learning the proven technique, productivity can be increased, and time and money saved.

Jonathan Batchelor from Sologic comments, “The Sologic state-of-the-art RCA method has been delivered to thousands of delegates and is proven to achieve real results.  We are delighted to have teamed up with the premier health and safety consultancy, The Red Cat Partnership, to help spread the word that course is now available to the food processing and production industry throughout theUK.

“Managers who have been trained to use RCA go on to save their organisation an average of £25,000.  While this is very impressive, learning how to report problems and obtain solutions is justas important.”

Sarah Daniels from The Red Cat Partnership based inNorwichsaid, “I am very passionate about the programme and am pleased that all companies now have the chance to be educated in this advanced problem-solving technique.

“By looking at how an incident occurred, and investigating root causes, you canstop it happening again.  Once learned, your mind will look at things differently.”

RCA has been used in a multitude of industries including oil and gas; food processing and production; manufacturing, road haulage and aviation.

Sologic are offering bespoke courses for individual companies’ own personnel delivered in their offices, as well as two day RCA AnalystLevel 1 courses throughout theUK.

For more details, go to: www.rootcauseanalysistraining.co.uk email europe@sologic.com or call 01252 723816.

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Tekpak’s Flexible High Speed Case Packer Automates Off-line (WIP) Production

Robotic packaging line manufacturer, TekPak, has recently launched an innovative pick and place case packer which is described as a flexible high speed system for vertical case packing quad bags, pouches and doy packs.

The all stainless steel robot, which uses a Elau/Schneider control system, represents the latest development from the company and has widespread applications, particularly for manufacturers of snack packs and bags, confectionery and coffee.

Key features of the system include a unique product transfer system that collates the products beneath the gripper, so that the pick and place can handle a complete case formation, i.e. groups of 10 products at a time, increasing throughput on the line. The gripper head and unique case opening system has been specially designed for vertical case packing in to display cases and other shelf ready formats.

The robot can pack bags straight from the bagger to maintain a continuous packing process.

Tekpak’s Business Development Director, Imelda Kehoe says: “Automating the off-line/WIP (work in progress) operation is a major benefit for our customers because it reduces product lead time and can have a big impact on line efficiency.”

See Tekpak’s case packing system in action at http://bit.ly/XJ3Yup.

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Logistics Group Benefits From Endoline Automated Packing Line

An automated packing line, installed by Endoline Machinery, which erects and seals cases containing up to 26,000 bottles of wine per day, has enabled Europa Worldwide Logistics to meet its growing next-day delivery targets for its customer, a leading dot.com wine supplier. Plus it has improved pack presentation, significantly increased the throughput of boxes and enhanced the overall efficiency of the production line.

For one of the fastest growing online wine retailers, Europa Worldwide Logistics (based in Northampton) packs and delivers cases of wine within a tight 24 hour delivery timeframe to consumers across the UK. The original packing operation was a labour intensive process with manual workers erecting, filling and sealing the boxes themselves as Graham Dezelsky, Logistics Manager at Europa House, explains: “With the increase in demand coming from our customer’s website for wine deliveries, we required a packing operation which would be efficient in both speed to meet the increase in growth and also consistency to achieve quality pack presentation. Our original manual packing operation was labour intensive which often resulted in inconsistent pack quality due to human error.”

As a leading provider of end of line equipment Endoline was contacted by Europa to explore automation options. Endoline’s solution was to install a 221 case erector, which had the ability to erect up to 16 cases per minute – a conveyor system was installed to feed the formed boxes through to the manual picking line – at the end of the conveyor system Endoline has integrated an FPT case sealer which automatically closes the top case flaps and seals the filled wine boxes ready for delivery.

The new semi-automated production line installed by Endoline has the added capability of erecting a range of case sizes, from 6 bottles to 12 and 15 bottle cases, dependant on the customer demand. A simple changeover process allows Europa to easily change the size setting, enabling them to run a different line of boxes through the production line.

“Endoline’s solution has enabled us to achieve all of our original objectives. We have made considerable savings in labour costs during our peak seasons as the process of erecting the boxes has been automated. Presentation to the end user has been greatly improved now that cases are consistently sealed with standard lengths of tape and finally the increase in output has enabled us to keep up with the demand from our customer,” concludes Graham Dezelsky.

For further information contact Endoline on Tel + 44 (0)1767 316422 or visit www.endoline.co.uk.

CAPTION:

The FPT case sealer which automatically closes the top case flaps and seals the filled wine boxes ready for delivery.

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Birtwistle Catering Butchers switches from hand cutting to automatic portioning using Marel’s I-Cut 36

Continuing increases in demand, along with the obvious need to remain competitive, led Birtwistle Catering Butchers, a fourth generation family business that was purchased 12 months ago by Steve Woollands, to make the monumental decision in early 2012 to switch from cutting by hand to automatic portioning of their quality meat products. 

An extensive search for the right machine led Operations Director, Glenn Eastwood to Marel UK, whose I-Cut 36 Portioner seemed to comprehensively fulfill Birtwistle’s requirements and specification. 

Extensive trials took place prior to purchase. These soon revealed the machine’s impressive ability to operate with minimal supervision and at a rate that greatly increased production output. The machine has more than met expectations. It operates day and night and has substantially increased production and, of course, better deployed and greatly reduced the cost of labour.

“Before the I-Cut arrived on the scene we had seven employees cutting the meat by hand, but now just two operate the machine. And not only has the installation of the machine meant a release of manpower to be used elsewhere, we have also been able to increase the volume of processed products”, Glenn Eastwood explains.

“The machine’s ability and flexibility makes it perfect for our operation. Our orders can quickly change and the I-Cut makes it is easy for us to quickly modify production plans thanks to its easy programming. Furthermore the I-Cut is capable of cutting not just beef steaks, but most of our products like pork belly, pork neck or gammon”, Glenn Eastwood continues.

“A true portion cutter”

The I-Cut 36 is a true portion cutter, with a capacity that enables high throughput for virtually any size of business especially those who may believe that automation is too large an investment.

But as Glenn Eastwood points out, “This is not just a “steak machine” and you don’t need a large pub contract to have the volume to run with this portion cutter. We benefit greatly from the machine’s flexibility, which is a great advantage when responding to changes in orders as often as we do. It significantly enhances our ability to fulfill the company strategy of being completely flexible and capable of reacting immediately to customer’s daily needs as part of our total service vision. Operating it is not something that requires weeks and weeks of training. Our first operator was quickly trained by Marel to handle the machine, and even when we had to switch operators we were up and running after just one day of training. This is thanks to both the easy handling of the machine and the great service we have received from Marel. The overall experience we have had with Marel has been phenomenal”.

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IDHAMMAR SYSTEMS LAUNCH BLOG TO PROVIDE KEY UPDATES AND INSIGHTS INTO LEAN MANUFACTURING AND MAINTENANCE

Idhammar Systems, leading provider of lean manufacturing and maintenance software including CMMS and OEE systems announced the launch of their lean manufacturing and maintenance blog today [5h November 2012, UK] which aims to  provide relevant and engaging content that explores the benefits of adopting lean practices and software to uncover areas of waste and inefficiency.

Drawn from their vast industry experience and expertise in manufacturing effectiveness software, the blog will use real–life examples of how their software has helped manufacturers to harness complete control and visibility of their operations as well as highlighting the many uses and benefits of lean tools that drive continuous improvement.

The blog will also serve as a useful communication tool to continually update and inform existing and potential customers of the benefits of lean manufacturing and maintenance operations, and as a means to address and discuss developments and news within the industry as they occur.

Idhammars’ Managing Director of Operations, John Roberts comments:

 “We want the blog to be a place where those in the manufacturing and lean environment can share their opinions, ideas and experience as well as a complete resource for those looking to buy manufacturing efficiency software. We welcome and encourage outside bloggers to contribute to the conversation”

 

If you would like to write a guest blog post for us please email us at: info@idhammarsystems.com

Be sure to include the following information: Your first and last name, a link to your work or attach some samples, a link to your website or blog (if you have one) and your contact information. After reviewing your work you will be notified as to whether or not we will be using you as a guest blogger.

 

Idhammar stands at the forefront of efficiency systems, enhancing productivity with fewer resources and less waste through its OEE and CMMS software, delivering operational excellence in all manufacturing processes.

 

Visit the Idhammar blog:

http://blog.idhammarsystems.com/

 

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Gerald and Ralf Schubert Named Chief Executive Officers at Schubert

When Gerhard Schubert presented his first hot-melt box erecting and gluing machine to the public 46 years ago, his sons Gerald and Ralf were only two and five years old, respectively. It was the beginning of a success story in many ways.

That box erecting and gluing machine was followed by a series of technical highlights including the world’s first packaging robot, Schubert’s own packaging machine control unit, the first F44 picker line and the TLM – the world’s first top-loading packaging machine installed on an assembly line. This trend has continued up to the TLM transmodule, the world’s first transport robot.

Even today, Gerhard Schubert remains a tireless and imperturbably independent pioneer. These characteristics of its founder have made Gerhard Schubert GmbH the recognised global market leader in its field. Those humble beginnings have resulted in a group of companies with more than 900 employees worldwide.

But Gerhard Schubert can be particularly proud of another achievement. His sons have been active within the company for more than 20 years. Gerhard Schubert has now appointed them Chief Executive Officers.

Gerald Schubert (48) is a father of two children with a degree in mechanical engineering. He headed up the Schubert subsidiary IPS (International Packaging Systems) before assuming the role of Schubert Sales Division Manager. Ralf Schubert (51), a father of three children, graduated in computer sciences and leads the Technical Office and Assembly Division.

This proven management team is completed by Peter Gabriel (Dipl. oec. univ.) as Commercial Director and Peter Schneider (Dipl.-Ing./FH) as the head of the Materials Management Division. Gerhard Schubert will retain his overall management role and continue to devote himself to the Marketing Department.

CAPTION:

Gerhard Schubert with his two sons, Ralf Schubert (left) and Gerald Schubert (right).

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ADAMS FOODS: AUTOMATION AT THE END OF THE LINE

16 Marel OCM9500 Box Labellers deliver consistent weighing accuracy at higher speeds than manual labelling and reduce manning levels on the line.

Adams Foods, founded in 1922, is the UK’s leading supplier of retail pre-packed cheese and butter famously branded as Kerrygold, Pilgrims Choice, Horlicks Farms and MU. Their two highly efficient processing plants stock the shelves of every major UK food retailer and keep the wholesale, convenience and food service sector supplied with first class product.

The company also produces custom made and ready for market products in branded and private label sectors and exports its British speciality cheeses to more than 50 countries.

In 2008 Adams Foods invested £30 million in state-of-the-art processing plant at their Leek, Staffordshire, cheese packing facility. In 2010 Kerrygold and N. Downs Dairy merged to form Adams Foods who, as a subsidiary of the Irish Dairy Board, employ more than 730 people.

 David Shepherd, Engineering Projects Manager of some 21 years at Adams, has seen many changes in production, the most notable being increases in line speeds combined with ever higher efficiencies and the switch from random to fixed weight packaging.

Obviously, automation plays a vital role in achieving and maintaining all that – all the way to the end of the line – where product has to be accurately and reliably boxed, weighed and labelled ready for despatch.

Consistent weighing accuracy – higher speeds

David was well aware of Delford’s sound reputation in end of line labelling and, as a result of extensive research Adams decided to invest in Marel’s OCM9500 fully automatic box/crate labeller. The OCM9500 delivers consistent weighing accuracy at higher speeds than manual labelling and reduces manning levels on the line.

In 2011 and early 2012 Adams Foods installed no fewer than 16 Marel OCM9500s, all of which run on multiple shifts and, according to David, operate reliably while achieving the paybacks he expected.

The OCM9500s are linked to Marel’s Innova production software which produces a variety of operational reports such as throughputs and giveaway. Another major benefit is that labels are configured remotely in the offices and then downloaded to the OCM9500s on the factory floor.

Thanks to an ergonomically designed touch screen and drag and drop facility, the operators find the OCM9500 a very easy machine to work with.

OCM9500 Box/Crate Labeller

Marel’s OCM9500 automatic box/crate labeller will handle 600mm x 400mm eurocrates and boxes at speeds up to 35 pieces per minute.

It is also capable of weighing and labelling heavy and irregularly shaped retail products.

OIML approval for up to 40kg for accuracy classes X III (1) and Y (a) means that OCM9500 can be used as a weigh price labeller and/or as a checkweigher.

 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.

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Ishida Solution Helps Open Up New Snack Opportunity

Ishida Europe has developed a versatile mix-weighing solution for Benelux frozen snacks market leader Ad van Geloven for the introduction of a new product range in the important savoury snacks market.

In many European countries, frozen snacks that can be heated in minutes in an oven, frying pan or air-fryer are very popular as appetisers and for meeting unexpected demand from family or guests. Ad van Geloven has now introduced ‘Funmix’ under its well-known Mora brand, a range of mixed snacks that offer consumers the added value of variety within a single pack.

The product is packed in an attractive stand-up bag to create maximum impact in glass-fronted freezer cabinets. For consumer convenience, the bag is also resealable. In order to ensure that every pack contains the same number of each variety – the 426g bag, for example, features six pieces of four different products – the company selected an Ishida multihead weigher in a four mix version.

At the same time, as well as delivering the new Mora mixture range into two different types of bag, the weigher also needed to be able to handle single products at high speed and have the facility to weigh mixtures of the company’s other brands into windowed boxes.

The Ishida solution adopted at Ad van Geloven’s Tilburg factory is based around the company’s 20-head advanced R Series weigher. In addition to the weigher, the work carried out or supervised by Ishida included gantry construction, conveyors and a feed system to deliver product from the existing flow freezer.

“Ishida collaborated closely with the bagmaker manufacturer and other suppliers in order to ensure that the entire line was up and running within two weeks.”

In its mix-weighing set up, each section of the machine acts as an individual weigher, allowing the different items in the mix to be given a specific target weight to ensure that the final product contains exactly the right proportion.

The new line also meets every demand in terms of versatility. In order to change pack formats, for example, operators roll the bagmaker forward about a metre, enabling the weigher to fill the windowed boxes instead of bags.

Fast cleaning of the feeding and weighing equipment requires washdown with water. The installation was therefore designed so that the junctions between the upper levels and the bagmaker can be sealed off with watertight covers.

Ishida collaborated closely with the bagmaker manufacturer and other suppliers in order to ensure that the entire line was up and running within two weeks.

“All parties worked during the summer holiday period in order to ensure that our production was not disrupted,” explains Albert van der Vliet, head of technical services.

“We saw a market opportunity and both the equipment and the service from Ishida helped us to exploit it,” he concludes.

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SICK technology days come to a venue near you

Sensing solutions specialist SICK UK is hitting the road with a series of its popular Technology Days to bring expert advice in Machine Vision, Auto Ident and Measurement to the production doorstep

The free ‘drop-in’ workshops are specially-designed to enable quality and production engineers to take a short time out of a busy day to gain valuable insights that could help them optimise their processes, improve quality and save costs.

Delegates are invited to bring along sample parts and discuss their specific applications with Sick UK’s product specialists at any time between 7am and 3pm and enjoy a breakfast or light lunch.

Centrally located at venues in Gateshead, Wrexham and Slough during September, the workshops will also showcase the latest technologies for vision inspection, barcode readers and scanners and non-contact distance measurement devices.

Sick UK’s machine vision specialists will focus on when to use 2D and 3D Vision Sensors and when it is advisable to source an integrated vision solution. The team will also give regular demonstrations of Sick vision sensors and solutions.

Sick’s Auto Ident specialists will be on hand to demonstrate 1D and 2D Code Readers and to help delegates optimise their read rates. Advice will be given on when Code Readers or Machine Vision are the most appropriate solution.

Meanwhile, the Sick measurement team will advise on using non-contact devices for quality control applications in a range of production applications. They will demonstrate the latest Sick sensing solutions for reliable object detection regardless of colour and advise on when to use lasers or barcodes for anti-collision or position applications.

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Cheshire firm wins gold with Investors in People

The UK’s leading people management standard, Investors in People specialises in transforming business performance through people. The Gold standard is awarded to truly cutting-edge organisations, operating at the highest level of people management practice.

A rigorous four day assessment was undertaken which included interviews with many of SolutionsPT’s employees. Performance was reviewed against 196 evidence requirements and SolutionsPT met all of them, achieving, the best possible outcome.

SolutionsPT joins an elite group of 156 organisations who have been awarded the Gold standard in the North West of England and less than 600 nationally. Within the report, Joanne Hamilton, Investor in People Assessor noted, “People at all levels are effectively engaged in decision making and identifying ways in which the organisation can continuously improve what it does in order to meet customer needs, deliver excellent levels of customer service and therefore continue to grow the business”.

“We are absolutely delighted to have achieved this,” said Louise Potts, People and Culture Manager at SolutionsPT “Our people are at the heart of our business and we strive to create an environment where everyone feels integral to the success of the organisation and encouraged to reach their full potential.  This acknowledgement of our hard work is a real achievement and one we will endeavour to maintain.”

“The fact that the Gold standard is awarded to less than three per cent of Investors in People’s member organisations nationally shows it isn’t given out lightly,” explained Phil Gillard, SolutionsPT’s General Manager. “We will continue to uphold and improve our standards and our commitment to our 70 staff,” he noted.

The report also noted that, “The senior team as well as a number of other managers are considered by other employees to be inspiring in terms of their approach to leading, managing and developing the workforce. High levels of respect and trust are in place”. The Investor in People accolade adds to the company’s other prestigious award received this year; a listing in the Sunday Times “Best 100 Small Companies to Work”.

SolutionsPT has over 27 years’ experience in providing the UK and Irish manufacturing and industrial sectors with software, hardware and project delivery services working with customers including PepsiCo, BP and Thames Water.

 

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Egemin Sets Foot on Mexican Soil With AGVs

Egemin has signed a contract with La Costena, a Mexican producer of canned foods. Egemin is to install a new AGV system in the La Costena warehouse close to Mexico City. Seven laser-guided AGVs will transport pallets of chillies between the packing lines and the distribution area.

The new system will be installed without interrupting production on the existing system and will increase supply and dispatch capacity by up to 15%. The contract is valued at approximately Eur1 million. The installation is scheduled to start in March 2013 and will take approximately two weeks.

“It was our guarantee that the move from the old to the new system would not disrupt normal operation that won us the contract,” says Yves Gazin, global strategic solutions manager at Egemin. “Our plans ensure that everything can be done at once while production continues on the old system.”

The new system consists of seven laser-guided Load Transfer Vehicles (LTVs), each equipped with two roller conveyors at top and bottom. The top roller conveyors transport full pallets containing packed cans to the distribution area. The bottom roller conveyors carry empty pallets from the distribution area to the packing lines. This gives La Costena up to 15% more transport capacity using the same equipment. The existing routes can be optimised at any time and La Costena can also add new routes, allowing the AGVs to be used more flexibly.

One of Egemin’s specialisms is supplying the food sector. La Costena is the biggest producer of red peppers and tomato puree in Mexico. For further information visit www.egemin.com.

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FAST, EFFICIENT LOW VOLUME LABELLING

New to the Marel range, the WPL9010 Manual Weigh Price Labeller is ideal for low volume labelling of individual packs, product development or products unsuited to automatic labelling.

With automatic stability sensing, overload protection, easy label editing and choice of operational modes, the WPL9010  brings the technical benefits of an automatic system to manual labelling. It uses the same operator friendly HMI as automatic WPL9000 Series models and requires no additional training for existing users.

Short production runs can be handled with ease, thanks to quick label changeover and various operational modes enable catchweight or average weight labelling.

In the inclusive/exclusive mode, maximum and minimum weight limits are set to give the user the choice of either labelling only packs that fall within these limits or labelling only packs that fall outside the limits.

In tte combined catchweight/average weight mode, packs falling within the preset limit can be labelled as average weight with those outside the limits being labelled as catchweight.

The WPL9010 machine is available in three platform sizes and weighing ranges up to 30kg in increments as small as 1g.

 Key Features and Benefits

• User friendly on-screen programming (WYSIWYG) for fast set-up

• Various operational modes for increased flexibility

• Easy to use label design programme (Comformat editor)

• Automatic zeroing when the weigh platform is empty gives increased accuracy

• Automatic stability sensing for accurate weighing

• Ethernet networking capability and compatibility with Innova

• Also available without a printer for use as a Checkweigher

• Throughput speeds up to 20/min (operator dependant)

• Robust stainless steel construction

 About Marel
Marel is the leading global provider of advanced standalone equipment, integrated processing systems and software solutions to the fish, meat and poultry industries.

With a heritage stretching back over eight decades to the early 1930s, our brands – Marel, Stork Poultry Processing and Townsend Further Processing – are among the most respected in the industry, and together we offer the convenience of a single source to meet our customers’ every need.

With offices and subsidiaries in over 30 countries on six continents, manufacturing facilities in 17 locations worldwide, a global network of over 100 agents and distributors, and an annual investment of 5-7% of income in research and development – a figure far above the industry average – Marel works side-by-side with its customers to continually challenge, extend and re-define the boundaries of food processing performance.

 

From the outset, Marel has aimed to enable processors to maximise product yields, quality and throughput, while cutting processing time significantly, and has achieved this by bringing increased automation and efficiency to global food processing through the application of cutting-edge electronic, engineering and software technology.

Marel is headquartered in Iceland, and has a total workforce of some 3,500 employees worldwide. Drawn from a wide range of professions and disciplines, the company’s employees include over 400 highly qualified scientists and technicians in the fields of engineering and technology. Marel currently holds a portfolio of some 200 granted patents, a figure that continues to grow each year.

For more information about Marel WPL9010, please contact:

Tony Ambrose or Terry Starkey

Marel UK

Pinetrees Road

Norwich,

Norfolk NR7 9BB

Tel:  01603 700755, Fax: 01603 700844

e-mails:

tony.ambrose@marel.com

terry.starkey@marel.com

Posted in Automation, PackagingComments Off on FAST, EFFICIENT LOW VOLUME LABELLING

Robots protect jobs at Premier Foods

London – That automation can protect, rather than destroy, jobs by improving the productivity, competitiveness and skills base of UK manufacturing, was the recurring theme of Gambica’s recent Automated Britain conference in London.

The point was well illustrated by Bob Spooner of Premier Foods, who described how the company had taken a strategic decision about three years ago to invest in its UK operations, rather than import food from eastern Europe and Asia.

Around 95% of what Premier Foods sells is made in the UK, from where it also sources 75% of its raw materials. Instead of switching to imports, the company spent over £100-million refurbishing its UK manufacturing base to make it fit-for-purpose and to reduce labour costs, which were as high as 35% on some brands.

The most labour-intensive items included its ‘Mr Kipling’ cakes, which had required a lot of hand finishing and manual interventions. This led to a £9-million investment to install robotics from Schubert at three plants, with the lion’s share going to its facility in Stoke.

Spooner went on to highlight the training effort in advance of the robotics installation, including sending a team of about 18 people from Stoke out to Schubert’s factory in Germany to prepare for the commissioning of the plant.

“We did that weeks and weeks before that automation equipment came anywhere near our factory,” he said. “By doing that when it did arrive they had relationships with the engineers and understood the plant and what was expected of them.”

Since start-up, the automation has helped Premier to grow the market-share of Mr Kipling, particularly by enabling it to move from large individual cakes to single-portion products.

The higher sales, alongside a 30% drop in labour cost and a significant rise in OEE – up to 87% within six weeks of start-up – had clearly justified the investment, concluded Spooner.

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World’s first robotic milking rotary introduced in Australia

The world’s first commercial robotic milking rotary has been unveiled by Swedish dairy equipment company DeLaval at a pilot farm at Quamby Brook, Tasmania, Australia.

DeLaval manufactured the robotic rotary dairy, called the Automatic Milking Rotary (AMR), and has installed the system at the farm, owned and operated by the Dornauf family.

The technology has been developed by the FutureDairy project in Australia, a collaboration between DeLaval, Dairy Australia, NSW Department of Primary Industries and the University of Sydney.

Featuring five robots, the rotary has a capacity to milk up to 90 cows per hour, and is based on 24-unit internal, herringbone rotary that enables the robots to reach the cow from the side.

With the use of laser technology, the robots focus red light to determine the location of the cow’s teats, clean them and attach the cups.

The first two robots clean and prepare the teats for milking, the second two attach the cups to the teats, and the last robot sprays the teats to disinfect them before the cows leave the platform.

Design of the dairy yard plays an important role in the AMR’s operation – the yards have a series of smaller yards, divided by automatic gates known as smart selection gates (SSGs), which can guide cows in two or three different paths after the milking.

The cows wear automatic identification collars or transponders, and when the cows approach the SSG, the system reads the transponder and guides the cow in the direction set in the DELPRO herd management software.

The AMR’s integration with the DELPRO software enables users to manage the cows individually and record the milk production data.

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Acquisition creates the UK’s largest automation control supplier

Autotech Controls Ltd has purchased Igranic Control Systems Ltd and PSJ Fabrications Ltd to form Automated Technology Group (ATG) Ltd, the largest automation control company in the country.

The acquisition brings together expertise and experience in diverse market sectors to form a group with a combined turnover of around £30 million. Commented Andy Robinson, Managing Director of Autotech and CEO of the new group, “This deal opens new markets for each of the three group companies, offering the potential for greater success through co-operation to increase market share and secure economies of scale.”

Serving major brands
The client base of the newly formed ATG is impressive. Designing and implementing controls for automated production and logistics systems, Autotech’s customers include major brands such as ABB, BAE Systems, BAA, Bentley, Cadbury, Coca-Cola, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Kimberly-Clark, Pirelli, Procter & Gamble, Toyota and Walkers Snack Foods. The market profiles and product ranges of Igranic and PSJ form a neat fit with Autotech. Synonymous for many years with medium- and high-voltage control systems, Igranic also serves many blue-chip brands including British Sugar, Corus, Hanson Cement, Scottish Power, Tata Steel and Thames Water. PSJ, meanwhile, specialises in the manufacture of high-quality cabinets and other fabrications in sheet metal, listing the USAF, the Ministry of Defence and the Science Museum among its clients.

Growth target
Said Andy Robinson, “Although ATG’s solutions are largely invisible to the general public, they are key to the operational success of many of the world’s best-known brands. Using our combined strength, we are determined to grow our market share across the wide range of industries in which we are now active – including automotive, logistics, airports, food & beverage, metals, utilities, oil & gas, mining & aggregates and power generation.” Automated Technology Group employs over 200 people across its four sites in Silsoe, Bedford and Birmingham but will need to recruit more engineers in order to achieve its objective of growing turnover to £50 million within five years. “We need many more personnel,” admitted Andy Robinson, “so we are keen to hear from highly skilled and motivated people and we’re also planning to launch our own apprenticeship scheme – the Autotech Academy – with the aim of taking on some 20 apprentices before the end of the year.”

Virtual manufacturing
A key area of growth for ATG will be virtual manufacturing services, whereby clients planning new or modified automated production systems can have their proposals comprehensively proven before the new systems are built and installed. Having invested over £1 million in dedicated software, hardware and simulation expertise, ATG is the UK’s leading supplier of virtual manufacturing services.

“The ability to prove, say, a robotic work-cell before it is delivered to the factory floor of a leading car maker,” explained Andy Robinson, “is absolutely invaluable because it reduces risk, improves production quality, eradicates costly design errors and accelerates time-to-market for new models. Using our experience in the automotive industry, we will be looking to apply our virtual manufacturing expertise across our diverse client base.”

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New Marel IPL Robot system installed at the Blini factory.

32,000 blinis! That’s how many of those delicious little pancakes are packed every hour by the Marel IPL Robot system at the Blini factory which is located just outside the historic city of Caen, Normandy, France.

With demand growing steadily at around 3% p.a., the successful Blini company – a member of the Labeyrie Fine Foods co-operative – recognised some time ago that increased automation was essential for continuing sales growth and market share.

Julien Heillaut is the Industrial manager responsible for the plant and its performance and, having known Marel from the fish industry, was confident that the IPL Robot he’d seen at the 2010 CFIA exhibition would provide the much needed boost to the increased production volumes and packing efficiencies he was seeking.

Julien’s objective was to load cocktail sized blinis, each weighing 9g, into a thermoformer with each pack containing 12, 16 or 20 pieces, arranged as 4 stacks in each pack.

After cooking and cooling, the blinis are conveyed to the 3 head IPL Robot. The position of each one is detected by the vision system at the infeed, then each robot head individually picks 4 blinis and loads them into the thermoformer. When each pack contains the required number of blinis, the thermoformer is automatically given the signal to index.

Caption: Marel IPL Robot system at the Blini factory.

Julien says, “the IPL Robot was delivered on time and was in production by day two of the installation.” The IPL has met his expectations, packing 32,000blinis/ hour and saving 5 operators per shift. In peak periods this represents a saving of 15 operators/day. The company employs 135 people which increases to 300 during peak periods such as Christmas.

This outstanding performance contributes in no small part to the success of the parent Labeyrie organisation whose 11 factories based in France, Italy and the UK manufacture fine foods including caviar, foie gras, salmon, shrimp, cod, herring, frozen cakes and, of course, our little friends, the blinis.

Payback for the line will, to quote Julien, ‘be as budgeted’ and it should come as no surprise to learn that Marel now has a developing relationship with the company with potential for further applications.

About Marel
Marel is the leading global provider of advanced standalone equipment, integrated processing systems and software solutions to the fish, meat and poultry industries.

With a heritage stretching back over eight decades to the early 1930s, our brands – Marel, Stork Poultry Processing and Townsend Further Processing – are among the most respected in the industry, and together we offer the convenience of a single source to meet our customers’ every need.

With offices and subsidiaries in over 30 countries on six continents, manufacturing facilities in 17 locations worldwide, a global network of over 100 agents and distributors, and an annual investment of 5-7% of income in research and development – a figure far above the industry average – Marel works side-by-side with its customers to continually challenge, extend and re-define the boundaries of food processing performance.

 

From the outset, Marel has aimed to enable processors to maximise product yields, quality and throughput, while cutting processing time significantly, and has achieved this by bringing increased automation and efficiency to global food processing through the application of cutting-edge electronic, engineering and software technology.

Marel is headquartered in Iceland, and has a total workforce of some 3,500 employees worldwide. Drawn from a wide range of professions and disciplines, the company’s employees include over 400 highly qualified scientists and technicians in the fields of engineering and technology. Marel currently holds a portfolio of some 200 granted patents, a figure that continues to grow each year.

For more information about Marel’s IPL Robot system, please contact:

Tony Ambrose or Terry Starkey

Marel UK

Pinetrees Road

Norwich,

Norfolk NR7 9BB

Tel:  01603 700755, Fax: 01603 700844

e-mails:

tony.ambrose@marel.com

terry.starkey@marel.com

 

 

Posted in AutomationComments Off on New Marel IPL Robot system installed at the Blini factory.

POSITIVE ATTITUDE FOLLOWS AT NEW MEATUP EXHIBITION

June 2, 2013 10:00 amtoJune 3, 2013 5:00 pm

The new MEATUP exhibition at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire has been a resounding success, as the £24 billion UK meat industry showcased and networked together, obtaining new business and fresh ideas.

Over 2,000 visitors were greeted by top names throughout the meat trade, in addition to specialist workshops and competitions. With a move to the NEC Birmingham, announced at the show, planned for July 2013, a number of exhibitors and sponsors have already confirmed their attendance in two years’ time.

Exhibitors already signed up for MEATUP 2013 include VC999, Autoflo Handwash Systems, Blythburgh Free Range Pork Products, Innovative Food Ingredients, Tasty Trotter and Shareteq.

Feedback from the exhibition floor was positive. Mary Irving of Creative Retail Solutions said: “The response from the visitors has been excellent, really warm and the butchers are a lovely crowd, and so easy to talk to.”

Likewise, Ian Mackway from RAPS UK was enthusiastic with how things had gone: “The show has been a tremendous success for RAPS and on the first day there was not one minute of the day when we weren’t entertaining customers on our stand and doing business. Our congratulations go to the organisers for a superb event.”

Visitor John Howard of the Danish Agriculture & Food Council was glad he made the trip to Stoneleigh: “The quality and organisation of this event is superb, and it is a tribute to the organisers that they are prepared to make a sizeable investment into the meat industry with this dedicated show. I have certainly enjoyed my visit and found it extremely worthwhile, including the pigmeat workshop.”

Day two of the MEATUP show followed a very successful networking barbecue on the previous evening, where prizes were given to the participants of the International Young Butchers Competition, which took place on the first day. Overall winner, Dutch contestant Sjouke Jan Bouma, was delighted with his win: “I feel outstanding that The Netherlands have won so much in the competition. It was very tough, but things went well. I’ve enjoyed every day of being here.” The Q Guild Meat Display Competition, which took place on the second day of the exhibition also created a great deal of interest. MEATUP will be moving to the NEC in 2013, taking place in Hall 11
on 2nd & 3rd July.

If you are interested in exhibiting at the 2013 show at the NEC Birmingham, now’s the time to get the position you want. Call Angela Coffil on 01908-613323 or e-mail angela.c@yandellmedia.com
To receive your free sample copy of  Food & Drink Business Europe please complete Form on our Subscription Page.

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Welcome to Vitafoods Europe!

May 22, 2012 10:00 amtoMay 24, 2012 5:00 pm

The meeting place for everyone interested in nutraceuticals, functional foods and the functional drinks industries.

Vitafoods Europe 2011 was a record breaking success! With over 10,350 attendees meeting 500 of the industry’s leading suppliers, updating their industry knowledge through the many attractions and making serious business deals.

Geneva, Switzerland

To receive your free sample copy of  Food & Drink Business Europe please complete Form on our Subscription Page.

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IPS automates convenience food line Dynamic regulation maximizes output

Crailsheim. The Kepak Group from Ireland now benefits from a new assembly and packaging line for hamburgers in which every individual unit responds flexibly to the product flow in the upstream and downstream sections of the line. Compared to a conventional
rigid system, this concept makes a huge difference to the average output performance. Temporary delays in one section of the line are automatically compensated without the need to use buffering systems. Instead of assembling and packaging the stipulated 80 meals per minute, on average the new line achieves an impressive 84 cycles.

In the past, six employees were busy every shift placing burgers in the buns and inserting them together with a sachet of sauce and a slice of prepacked cheese each into the blister packs of the running Multivac thermoforming machine.

These processes were automated from the turnkey supplier IPS International Packaging System. The product brief stipulated 80 products per minute. To achieve this output, it is not enough for the individual line components to be working at the specified speed. The whole concept hinges on perfect inter-coordination of the different processes.

There were two particular hurdles to be overcome. The manufacturing of the thermoformed blisters in the Multivac is done using an intermittent operating mode, while in the rest of the line product transport is continuous. Both motion principals had to be synchronised.

The provision of the three ingredients meat, cheese and sauce in loose form presents a further challenge. The customary standard procedure used for separation entails a high degree of mechanical component. The inevitable fluctuations in product flow which result from this type of machine-based solution tend to suppress overall output, making the stipulated 80 meals per minute impossible to achieve.

The main components of the solution: the TLM technology from Schubert and, to ensure a continuously high loose product separation output, feeding systems from Intellifeed (USA). Intellifeed precisely regulates product spacing using step motors in the roller transport system.

The line is supplied by three single-track feed systems: One for the frozen burgers in the first section of the line, and one each for the sauce sachets and cheese slices. The ingredients are tipped manually into the hopper, after which separation takes place: The path leading to the transfer point into the line is divided into sections, each with its own addressable drive unit. There are 30 stepper motors in operation at Kepak. The distance between the products is gradually stabilized. How the individual belt speeds have to be regulated is signalled by the optical sensor system (photocells).

This procedure guarantees separation on a continuously high output level without the need for buffering. The speed is important in two ways: Firstly to provide a high output, and secondly to ensure that the burgers are processed quickly enough to prevent thawing. The cheese slices are also easier to process when cold. An increase in temperature can cause the slices to begin sticking to each other. Incident light scanners integrated upstream from the transfer point to the assembly and packaging line provide the necessary quality assurance. These scanners are able to precisely identify buns, burgers, sauce sachets and cheese slices.

The first line section comprises two TLM machine sections with four TLM-F4 robot units. The buns enter the line on a wide product conveyor after being cut open by an upstream bun saw. The four-axis robots each take responsibility for a different task in sequence: One lifts the lid of the bun and places it alongside its base on the conveyor, the next picks up the burgers and places them on the bases, the lid is then replaced on the base and the assembled hamburger is transferred to the formation conveyor.

The assembled hamburgers then pass by the line section in which the blister packs are thermoformed. The next two machine sections are placed above the film web. Robots first insert the sauce sachets and then the cheese slices and finally position the hamburgers into the film cavities. The thermoforming machine closes the packs with the upper film, punches them out of the web and places them ready for the downstream processes.

All the units involved in the process, from the bun saw through to the thermoforming machine, are linked to the TLM line by means of signal exchange and a speed target value. Data exchange is organized on the level of the VMS control system supplied by Schubert.

The units react through the VMS control system to any product flow disruptions taking place in other parts of the line. If, for instance, the supply of burgers stops due to rejection of several products by the vision system, then the VMS control system slows down the dependent processes briefly until the quality target values are restored. The overall sequence is maintained and no rejects are produced. Compared to a conventional rigid system without regulation capability, the inability to react would result first in quality problems (hamburgers with no burger) and finally in a machine stop.

This optimized process management concept has permitted the thermoforming machine cycle to be increased to 88 products per minute. A change of format between the five different types processed takes in no more than five minutes: Three minutes to exchange the five tools at the TLM F4 robot arms and select the program at the TLM display, and depending on the packaging, another two minutes to change the film in the thermosetting machine. The overall line is configured in a wash down design, permitting high water pressure cleaning using detergents.

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Pace Mechanical Handling Steps Up in Robotic Palletising With Yaskawa

Pace Mechanical Handling, the family owned Lincolnshire business that specialises in robotic palletising, packing and handling systems in the food and aggregates industry, has selected MOTOMAN robots from Yaskawa as the preferred robot for its robotic automation projects. “The main reasons for a move towards MOTOMAN robots were ease of programming, speed performance and the choices of communication protocol that are available for the series of MOTOMAN robots,” according to Nick Cesare, managing director of Pace Mechanical Handling. In addition, a key consideration for robotic palletising is the combination of available working envelope and stacking height and here the dedicated series of MOTOMAN MPL palletising robots meets the exact needs for Pace Mechanical Handling.

Yaskawa UK and Pace Mechanical Handling have developed a standard programming structure for robotic palletising that can be used across different cell configurations and palletising patterns, which means that programming time and installation times can be dramatically reduced thereby reducing the investment level for the end user.

Pace Mechanical Handling will be exhibiting at The British Potato Show 2011, Hall 2, Stand 403, held at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate on 24 and 25 November 2011. This is an important event for the potato industry in the UK and concentrates on many aspects of potato handling and automation. On display will be a demonstration of Pace’s specific market offer for the potato handling industry, which includes a MOTOMAN MPL100 palletising robot. For further information visit www.yaskawamotoman.co.uk.

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Automation firm appoints new product manager to champion the concept of availability

HardwarePT, the hardware and availability business unit of Cheadle based SolutionsPT, has appointed Rob Dinsmore as product manager.

 Dinsmore will be championing the company’s availability portfolio, including products from Stratus Technologies and ACP ThinManager as well as SolutionsPT’s own managed care support services.

Availability of a system over its life-cycle is typically measured as a factor of its reliability. As a result, it should be amongst the most important goals of any industrial computing system manager. Good hardware choices, reliability engineering and specialist maintenance techniques provide the means to ensure that availability performance requirements are achieved.

Put simply, it is essential for industries such as oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, waste and petrochemicals to invest in robust industrial computing technology, to reduce costly downtime.

In a previous role as internal account manager for Wonderware UK, Dinsmore gained valuable insight into the needs of industrial computing customers. As a result, he understands that tailoring products and services to suit the needs of each industrial sector is one of the cornerstones of availability. His responsibilities at Wonderware UK included new business development in the North East and Yorkshire regions. Before joining Wonderware, Dinsmore worked for IRIS Business Software as well as GE Commercial. He graduated from Sheffield University with a BSc in Computer Science in 2003.

“I believe that HardwarePT has launched some great products and my job is to grow the business even further,” explained Dinsmore. “My ambition is to position the company as an expert in the field of availability solutions”, he concluded.

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Autotech invests further in robotic simulation

Control systems specialist, Autotech Controls Ltd, has expanded its robotic simulation and virtual manufacturing services with an investment of approximately £375,000 in new software and hardware.

With a total of seven Tecnomatix Robcad packages and one Process Simulate seat, Autotech now has greater production simulation capacity than any other Siemens Solution Partner in the UK.

Commented Andrew Robinson, Autotech’s Managing Director, “Since we first invested in Robcad, we have used this software intensively in projects for four of Jaguar Land Rover’s Tier 1 suppliers – FFT EDAG Produktionssysteme , ABB, Laepple and VDL Steelweld – involving the development and implementation of automated production lines at both Halewood and Castle Bromwich. The success of all these projects and the level of new business we are currently experiencing mean that we are convinced that this investment will pay off.”

The software has been purchased from Majenta PLM Ltd, one of Europe’s leading product development and manufacturing IT providers. Part of the Siemens PLM Software family, Robcad and Process Simulate are advanced software packages that enable the design, simulation, optimisation, analysis and off-line programming of multi-device robotic and automated production systems. Explained Simon Ordish, Sales Manager for Majenta, “ Whether clients require brand-new manufacturing systems or mid-cycle changes to existing production lines, these software tools ensure a seamless link between CAD design and the production environment, allowing automation concepts to be proven fully before investment. The result is lower manufacturing costs, improved production quality, the eradication of costly design errors and accelerated time-to-market.”

Added Andrew Robinson, Autotech MD, “We are delighted that, due to our expertise and experience, Autotech have been commended by Majenta PLM as experts in Robcad. ”

 

About Autotech
Established in 1996, Autotech Controls Ltd is a leading global supplier of automation control solutions. Headquartered in Luton, the company achieved turnover above £10 million in 2010 and employs over 100 highly skilled staff. Autotech designs, installs, maintains and upgrades control systems for companies in a diverse range of industries including the automotive, logistics, airports and food & beverage sectors. Blue-chip clients worldwide include BAE Systems, Bentley, Cadbury, Ford, Gate Gourmet, Jaguar Land Rover, Kellogg’s and Procter & Gamble. As an approved system integrator for Group Schneider, Rockwell and Siemens, many clients have specified Autotech as their preferred controls supplier.

About Majenta PLM Ltd
As a certified business partner of Siemens Industry Software, Majenta PLM Ltd is a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software and services. Majenta PLM specialises in the provision, implementation and on-going support of CAD/CAM/CAE and PLM software solutions for small-to-medium design engineering and manufacturing companies. Its solutions are based on Siemens software products, including Solid Edge, NX, Femap®, Tecnomatix and Teamcenter. The company returned to the top position in Siemens’ UK reseller community with the award of UK Business Partner of the Year in 2010 and has also become the first Siemens Industry Software Platinum Partner in the UK.

Picture captions – the images shown below are available in high resolution on request to heidi@bridgeland-copyright.co.uk

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Andrew Robinson.jpg
Andrew Robinson, Managing Director of Autotech Controls Ltd

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Robcad.jpg
Tecnomatix Robcad is used to simulate multi-device robotic and automated manufacturing systems

Company contact:
Mr Andrew Robinson, Managing Director
Autotech Controls Ltd
The Airport Executive Park, President Way
Luton, Bedfordshire LU2 9NL
Tel:  +44 (0)1582 400690

Media contact:
Heidi Scott
Bridgeland Copyright
Tel: +44 (0)1622 832598
E-mail: heidi@bridgeland-copyright.co.uk

Posted in AutomationComments Off on Autotech invests further in robotic simulation

Almarai invests in integrated poultry processing and packing with Meyn-Ishida

Almarai, the largest dairy producer in the Gulf region has recently decided to invest a substantial amount

of 4 billion SAR (800 million Euro) in their poultry activities. This investment is part of Almarai’s long term

vision to take full advantage of the opportunities the poultry market will bring. One of the steps in this

investment plan is an order for Meyn-Ishida of a complete Wall to Wall processing facility in Hail, Saudi

Arabia. The output capacity of the facility will be 2 x 12,000 birds per hour and consists of 16 weighing

and packing lines.

Howard Davis, Almarai’s General Manager Poultry: ”Our new factory will manufacture under our poultry

brand name ‘Alyoum’. Alyoum means “today”, and the focus of our business is to offer our consumers

fresh poultry products of consistently superior quality. “Quality you can trust” is the foundation of all the

products in the Almarai range, whether poultry, dairy, bakery, or other categories. With Meyn-Ishida we

have selected a dedicated business partner who will deliver a fully integrated processing, packing, and

packaging solution. This will enable the product quality we, and our consumers, require, as well as

provide an attractive operating environment from both management and financial perspectives.”

Meyn-Ishida combines the poultry processing expertise of Meyn with the weighing, packing and end-ofline

knowhow of Ishida to offer a full range of integrated systems and equipment. Since January 2011, the

alliance has been awarded several high value international contracts, including fully integrated plants in

Russia (Valujki and Tambov), Wipasz (Poland) and Chile.

Meyn-Ishida offers competitive wall-to-wall solutions in the poultry processing marketplace, delivering the

highest yields, cutting giveaway to the absolute minimum, and realising optimal total cost of ownership for

its business partners.

For further information contact:

info@meyn-ishida.com.

Posted in Automation, Capital ProjectsComments Off on Almarai invests in integrated poultry processing and packing with Meyn-Ishida

Seven Generations of Excellence

Managed by seven generations of the same family, Norwegian meat processor Grilstad is investing in the latest Robotic Slicing technology from Marel.

Based in Trondheim, Grilstad is a private company managed by the seventh generation of the Jenssen family with the same pride and dedication to quality established by their ancestors in 1790.

Today, the company has eight factories in Norway – employing some 700 people operating 20 lines to produce salami, burgers, fresh meat and air dried ham. Cooked meat and ham production is also being planned for the future. Thanks to high quality and an enviable reputation, the company supplies around 50% of the salami consumed in Norway and their other products enjoy equal, if not greater, success in the home market.

To cope with increasing demand, the Trondheim plant has been extended no fewer than 24 times since 1957 and now operates 6 slicing lines that produce 65 tonnes every week. Grilstad has also recently invested in a Marel IBS2000 Vision bacon line in their Gjovik plant, the success of which inspired Head of Technical Development, Georg Mattingsdal, to look at how Marel could help reduce high labour costs and improve profitability at his Trondheim plant.

Robot Technology

Georg was attracted to the idea of applying robot technology to automate the slicing and packing operation and, safe in the knowledge that Marel are without doubt, market leaders in intelligent portion loading, he carefully researched and subsequently ordered, a PolyLine comprising PolySlicer 3000, G2300 Checkweigher, VBS Vertical Buffer, Pack Desynchroniser and a triple head IPL Robot.

The PolyLine installed at Grilstad’s Gjovik plant comprising PolySlicer 3000, G2300 Checkweigher, VBS Vertical Buffer, Pack Desynchroniser and a triple head IPL Robot.

The new line was installed with a Marel engineer appointed to oversee and optimise the performance of the system. The PolySlicer 3000 high speed slicer automatically loads and slices up to 4 logs of high quality salami at a time. The sliced groups are then dynamically weighed by the G2300 Checkweigher which is connected in closed loop feedback with the PolySlicer in order to maintain on-weights in excess of 98%. After the checkweigher a VBS Vertical Buffer System is programmed to buffer a certain percentage of the sliced groups so that they can be released into the product flow when the PolySlicer is being reloaded. This delivers a more consistent flow of product to the IPL Robot and thermoformer and, in turn, achieves higher throughput. Georg says the VBS plays a valuable role in the line with its compact footprint and substantial contribution to higher throughputs.

The IPL Robot is equipped with 3 heads which share the work of loading the sliced groups into the thermoformer at, typically,180 picks/min.

PolyLine

PolyLine produces both shingled packs and overlapped shingle packs which, Georg says, have been welcomed by customers who have commented on the improved presentation of the product. IPL Robot has a great deal to do with this because it can place the sliced groups in the pack more quickly, more gently and more precisely than any operator and the relatively few transfer points on the  PolyLine also contributes to maintaining good presentation and hygiene – a vital safety issue with ready to eat products.

Georg is delighted with the new PolyLine, commenting: “It has made a big difference to the output, quality and presentation of Grilstad’s products and Trondheim’s profitability. I am also pleased about being able to manage the system on line and, in partnership with Marel, he looks forward to even higher levels of efficiency and productivity in the future.”

 

For more information about the Marel’s Hish Speed Slicing range, contact:Tony Ambrose or Terry Starkey, Marel UK, on Tel 01603 700755, Fax 01603 700844, E-mails tony.ambrose@marel.com, terry.starkey@marel.com.

Posted in Automation, Packaging, ProcessingComments Off on Seven Generations of Excellence

Food manufacturers opting for optima performance

Drives and controls are fundamental to keeping the wheels of the food industry turning. Obsolete systems can have a negative impact on productivity levels and processing operations even at the most profitable of companies.

Optima Control Solutions Ltd (OCS) already has a global reputation for improving productivity and energy efficiency in a range of industries and is now seeing a significant growth in demand from the food industry for cost-effective, high-quality drive control systems that help maximise plant performance.

Upgrading machines is a complicated business and, not surprisingly, is seen to carry a high degree of risk. Taking a key production machine out of service, completely changing the control system for a new, bespoke set up with modern technology, often including mechanical modifications, then putting it back into production within a fixed downtime period is an extremely cost-sensitive process.

However, OCS managing director Michael Hill believes that by upgrading the outdated drives and controls of plant machinery food companies can expect a healthy payback against the cost of purchasing new equipment. New control systems can also slash power consumption, particularly important with looming energy price rises.

Optima, a Siemens Solution Partner, recently upgraded a Hamba 2 Spreads Line filling tubs of margarine for a leading food ingredients company (who cannot be named) using Siemens S7-315 Profibus, an Ethernet Processor and a new HMI touch screen for processing information, such as the positions of tub valves.

By replacing the outdated Siemens S5 PLC and upgrading to Siemens S7 the line is now operating more efficiently and the food company’s engineers no longer have to worry about the availability of parts for the machine. The refurbishment was so successful that Optima has been asked back to overhaul the manufacturer’s Hamba 3 line.

Mr Hill said: “The intelligent integration of modern drive and control technology has a significant impact on production efficiency in the food industry. The upgrade we successfully completed for this manufacturer has improved the machine’s effectiveness and also provides them with the ability to cater for any future system expansion.”

The food and drinks industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK economy. It turns over around £75 billion pa, but just like other industries it must embrace the cutting edge technologies now available to help boost productivity and reduce costs if it is to remain internationally competitive.

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Lorien helps independent UK bakery extend its existing process and packaging plant

For the past two years, Cheshire-based family bakery Frank Roberts & Sons has been working with engineers at Lorien Engineering Solutions on a multi-million-pound automation project that will make its production more cost-efficient.

Compliance engineers at Lorien have been working with the bakery’s international equipment suppliers to extend its existing process and packaging plant.

Tony Reynolds, compliance manager at Lorien, worked with a bread slicing and bagging machinery supplier in Los Angeles, as well as an engineering company who deals in basket-conveying systems in Christchurch, New Zealand.

This involved assessing the machinery against European Harmonised Standards and then modifying the guarding and control systems, to ensure that the equipment would meet CE marking legislation.

Key benefits of service application

None of the suppliers had practical experience of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, as required for CE marking, making Lorien’s service essential.

Lorien prepared the documentation for Frank Roberts & Sons’ CE technical file, to ensure the machinery met all relevant EU legislation and was safe to use.

The company claims to provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for ensuring safety and best practice during capital investment projects.

Lorien has been awarded five Order of Distinctions from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), recognising its commitment to workplace safety.

Posted in AutomationComments Off on Lorien helps independent UK bakery extend its existing process and packaging plant

Kliklok Launches New Robot Loader at PPMA Show

Kliklok International will be demonstrating their new Collating Robotic Loader (CRL) and Race Track system at the forthcoming PPMA exhibition. A brand new innovation from Kliklok, the CRL is a flexible machine ideally suited to handle the output from low to high speed wrappers and collate wrapped products into cartons or trays at up to 600 products per minute, with a maximum load of 3kg. The CRL incorporates advanced design electronic motion control technology using a combination of variable frequency control, servo motor drives and a robotic Flex Picker.

Three versions of the CRL are available depending on speed and tracking distance requirements, with optional modules such as a Carton Management System which allows cartons to be either indexed into place or to be continuously moving while being loaded.

Multiple CRL units can be positioned along a cartoner’s infeed conveyor to enable product from additional sources to be combined, enabling the full speed capacity of the cartoner to be utilised. Built-in ‘plug-and-play’ style communication between the CRL units creates easy production line expansion with the addition of further units.

User-friendly innovative recipe-driven menus are accessed from Kliklok’s Insight colour touch screen to ensure fast change over between product styles, sizes and collations. This also offers superior troubleshooting capability, advanced servo diagnostics and a complete digital manual.

See Kliklok’s latest innovation on Stand E71, NEC, 27-29th September, 2011.

Posted in Automation, PackagingComments Off on Kliklok Launches New Robot Loader at PPMA Show




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