Introduction to automation for Asian food manufacturers

HMPS, a leading Australian machine builder who specialise in customised end of line packaging machinery, will be exhibiting in the Australian Pavilion at Propak Asia 2017.

According to Linh Bui, Business Development Manager at HMPS, the company will be showcasing an end of line packaging machine which is perfect for food producers who are new to automation.

“The HMPS 6000 End Load Cartoner is used to package dairy snacks. The end of the line is automated, however the machine allows for manual infeed” comments Linh.

“We have found that customers have an increased need for automation while taking into consideration the human element of their business. They also need machinery with a small footprint which is adaptable to their operating environment.”

Machines and automation are able to increase productivity to a level which is just not possible with human resources. According to Bui, some companies who go for this type of automation machine find themselves in that precarious position in between growth phases. Automation is needed to take them to the next level. The HMPS 6000 End Load Cartoner, which will be on display, has the ability to pack up to 100 products per minute which translates to 25 cartons per minute. This type of automation would make a huge productivity and profit impact to any customer’s business.

Linh, who specialises in dealing with the Asian market adds that many Asian food companies are looking towards automation to manage the increased volumes of output required in the food manufacturing environment, while adhering to safety and hygienic requirements of the industry. HMPS designs customised solutions based on the customer’s requirement. There is no one size fits all and their team of engineers will develop a design around the application.

“Australia and Asia is similar in that the machines are required to do multiple functions and has to be easy to set up for various product lines. HMPS specialises in designing for this type of flexibility” comments Bui.

“We suggest automation to eliminate end-of-line labour constraints. In this instance, our recommended solution delivers an expected lifespan of at least 15 years, and the availability of local parts and servicing would minimise running costs over its life. An ROI both in labour and material savings calculated that this machine would be offset within 3-4 years in the Asian economy.”

HMPS invites interested customers to view the model on display and discuss their unique end of line packaging requirements with Linh Bui and Mark Emmett (Managing Director HMPS) who will be at Propak.

HMPS will exhibiting the HMPS 6000 End Load Cartoner on stand AM31 during Propak Asia.


Food & beverage manufacturing is the future

With a heritage approaching 60 years, SMC Australia is already looking to the next 60. Food & Beverage Industry News spoke to the company’s Managing Director Wayne Driver about the challenges his company will be facing.

It’s never easy saying goodbye to a good client. This year, SMC Australia is set to say goodbye to Toyota and Holden as both companies shut down their Australian manufacturing plants. At the same time, the company is seeing many of its mining clients slow down, with the buzz in this space dwindling.

For a company with six decades of experience, and subsidiaries in more than 55 countries, this changing of the tides is nothing new.

As Managing Director Wayne Driver told Food & Beverage Industry News, this shift presents an exciting opportunity to dedicate its resources at tackling challenges in the food processing industry.

“Historically, we have been strong in the mining industry but obviously with the mining boom over, the area that is growing is food and packaging,” said Driver. “We’re able to focus more energy and resources in supporting the food and packaging industry and that’s certainly an area we’re very much focused on.”

While there are a number of new innovations on the horizon, according to Driver, the Australian arm of the company will be very much at the forefront when it comes to new developments.

“SMC’s R&D centre in Japan is focused on product that is lightweight, has a much smaller footprint and is focused on energy saving along with a number of other innovations,” said Driver.

He noted that the company’s plans include the pursuit of food and packaging industry robotics; seeing more OEMs integrating robots into their machinery; setting up R&D centres in China, the US, UK and Germany; and extending its electric actuator range.

“Although historically we are a pneumatics company, over the years we have been known more for electronics, serial communications and various protocols,” he said.

“So it’s a very dynamic industry in which we operate and it’s good to have the backing of the R&D centres as well as engineers in Sydney and Auckland to be able to keep up with demands in the market place.”

Companies like SMC are very much on the frontline in terms of coping with the disruption that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will bring. When asked how it will affect SMC, Driver was upbeat.

“It is definitely the way of the future,” he said. “While some companies are focusing on the IIoT industry mainly at an academic and university level, SMC is concentrating on it at a practical level, the product level and how it can be integrated and used with our customers.”

Wayne and Peter Driver
Managing Director of SMC Australia, Wayne Driver (left) and his father, the company’s founding Managing Director, Peter Driver.


Another area for growth for the company is protein – the red meat and white meat areas – where, he said, “automating a number of processes from manual brings more throughput for the meat company and obviously more work for us”.

Asked whether food and beverage manufacturing will be the next mining industry, Driver said: “I think certainly mining will always be there. It’s going through a cyclical phase at the moment. There will be projects that will come online again in the future. I think the beauty of SMC is that, because we have such a diverse customer base, we’re well positioned for when the mining picks up again. We can be very responsive to that while also growing in the food packaging industry.

“Food and packaging will continue to grow, because let’s face it, we all have to eat and while Australia only has a small domestic market, the majority of OEMs in ANZ can only grow their businesses by exporting.”

Driver noted that it’s important that the company has a competitive advantage. He said innovation in ANZ is paramount, and that SMC wants to help companies be more efficient and reduce their costs and improve energy efficiency.

“I think mining will always be there and it will bounce back, but at the same time, it’s good to be in both markets,” he said.

As to whether there was one industry that currently SMC was not involved with but would like to expand into, Driver said that it’s not so much about particular markets but more about overall opportunities.

“SMC is always looking at other opportunities in the market and it’s important that if we do look at that, we weigh up what is involved before entering certain markets,” he said.

“There are some markets we will decide that are not strategically appropriate and given the company’s growth at this time, there is nothing on the immediate horizon that we are looking at expanding into. But if we do find something of interest, it will be at the appropriate time and with the right resources.”