Bosch exhibits two new packaging systems for bars, biscuits and bakery

Bosch Packaging Technology will showcase its latest packaging system solutions for bars, biscuits and bakery at two global packaging trade shows in September. At PackExpo in Las Vegas, USA, Bosch will showcase a high-speed integrated system solution with features that take efficiency to the next level. At FachPack in Nuremberg, Germany, customers will experience a scalable mid-range system, which is ideal for fast-growing companies to expand their capacities. “We have decades of experience in engineering packaging systems. We carefully analyze the requirements of our customers to ensure that they get a system tailored to their needs,” Martin Tanner, director product management at Bosch Packaging Technology, says. “No matter if manufacturers need an entry level system, a flexible high-speed solution or anything in between, we are able to provide the ideal solution.”

Efficient integrated system
At Pack Expo in Las Vegas, Bosch will showcase one version of its highly efficient seamless bar packaging systems. The exhibit consists of a high performance, indirect distribution station, a cardboard inlay feeding unit, a high-speed Sigpack HRM flow wrapping machine and a flexible Sigpack TTM1 topload cartoner. “This system is one example of our seamless systems portfolio that provide manufacturers with highest levels of efficiency, productivity and flexibility,” Tanner explains.

The displayed system features an optional cardboard inlay module. The Sigpack KA forms flat, U-shaped or O-shaped cardboard inlays, that are fed into the high-speed flow wrapper. The Sigpack HRM is equipped with an HPS high-performance splicer and is able to wrap up to 1,500 products per minute. One of the highlights of the system is the Sigpack TTM1 topload cartoner. It stands out for its high product and format flexibility. In this configuration, the machine either loads the flow wrapped products into 24-ct display cartons or fills them directly into a WIP (Work In Process) tray. In addition, the integrated bar system is equipped with the mobile device-friendly Operations and Maintenance Assistants that are both part of the Industry 4.0-based Digital Shopfloor Solutions portfolio. These user-friendly, intuitive assistants boost operators’ capabilities and guide them through maintenance and operative tasks in a quick and easy manner.

New all-round system
At FachPack, Bosch will launch its new all-round packaging system, which is suited for bars, biscuits and bakery products – but can also be adapted for other products. It features the new Pack Feeder 4 and the new Pack 403 horizontal flow wrapper with an output of up to 800 products per minute. The chain feeding system stands out for its easy cleanability with tool-less belt removal and gentle product handling. The Pack 403 achieves consistent flow wrapping results thanks to its upgraded cross and fin-seal units. With decals and scales, the machine is operator friendly and features a removable discharge belt that reliably rejects faulty packages.

“Our new system is a modular and scalable solution that is able to grow with the customer’s needs,” Tanner explains. “Manufacturers can easily upgrade and complement the system with extra options such as a cartoning machine.”

Profound competence and expert consulting
Bosch Packaging Technology also offers dedicated project consulting – beginning with early planning, the choice of technology, system layout up to service packages and beyond. One major competence area is sealing technology, which is key in the packaging process. “Which sealing technology achieves the best results always depends on the product and film characteristics,” Tanner adds. “Based on many years of experience, we offer in-depth support at our sealing testing labs, where we conduct tests together with customers to identify the best option.” Heat-sealing technology will be shown as part of the packaging system at FachPack, while cold-sealing will be shown at Pack Expo. Both systems are available with a wide range of modern sealing technologies.

Global customer services network
In addition, Bosch Packaging Technology provides access to their comprehensive global network of customer services. At Pack Expo, customers can learn about Bosch’s asset life continuation solutions, which include upgrades for obsolete control systems, the refurbishment of older machines and the relocation of equipment. Two machines will be on display for visitors to experience the solutions firsthand – a refurbished JSL hand sealing machine and a Stratus wrapper with a new control platform as well as a stand-alone OEE dashboard.

Cattle company serves up carbon neutral beef

One of Australia’s largest and oldest cattle producers has launched one of Australia’s first carbon-neutral beefs.

Five Founders is the first branded beef product to be launched by the North Australian Pastoral Company (NAPCo) and has been officially accredited as carbon neutral after meeting the Australian Federal Government’s strict criteria.

NAPCo, which was founded in 1877 and manages approximately 200,000 head of cattle across Queensland and the Northern Territory, undertook a 12-month accreditation process as part of its journey to provide consumers with a unique beef product.

Five Founders will initially be sold in NAPCo’s current markets of Australia, China and Singapore before a staged and measured expansion to other markets.

NAPCo CEO Phil Cummins said the company’s decision to pursue carbon neutrality in its first foray into selling its own cuts was to meet the desires of the modern consumer.

“When we decided to launch our own branded beef product, we studied the market and quickly realised that people increasingly want produce that not only delivers the highest quality eating experience but respects their affinity for environmental and animal care,” he said.

“Consumers are more environmentally conscious than ever and this is especially the case among younger generations such as Millennials, who want confidence they are buying sustainable products.

“NAPCo has always prioritised our animal welfare and environmental practices and embracing carbon neutrality has been a natural progression of this. NAPCo’s care for animals is also demonstrated in our ‘whole-of-life’ advantage as we breed and raise our own cattle, ensuring good health and full traceability within our supply chain.
“Creating such a ground-breaking beef product has been an eye-opening and incredibly rewarding experience for our staff.”

Cummins said the company engaged an independent national carbon and energy management consultancy company to help guide its bid to produce Australia’s first carbon-neutral beef.

“Pangolin and Integrity Ag Consultants were engaged to calculate our carbon footprint through a hybrid lifecycle assessment (LCA) of our herd, which was then combined with estimation of energy-related emissions from the properties and feedlot,” he said.

“A range of improvements on our properties and in our herds has subsequently allowed us to reduce our footprint, including genetic improvements that allow our cattle to breed and be processed at a younger age and thus emit less methane.

“Having made these efforts to reduce our overall footprint, we then purchased carbon credits approved by the Federal Government to offset the remainder.”

Cummins said NAPCo was also committed to conservation activities such as securing land for nature refuge programs and performing carbon sequestration trials.

“We are also looking to trial feed additives that will reduce the amount of methane emitted directly from our cattle,” he said.

“This is the beginning of our carbon journey, not the end, and we will be working to further reduce our footprint.

“NAPCo has prioritised animal welfare and environmental practices for almost 150 years and see it as our duty to find innovative ways to tackle this global challenge.”

Prior to launching Five Founders, NAPCo spent more than a century solely focused on breeding, growing and finishing cattle for both domestic and export markets.

The company manages more than 6.1 million hectares in Queensland and the Northern Territory, along with the award-winning Wainui Feedlot and Farm on the Darling Downs. About 180 people are employed across all aspects of its operations.

NAPCo is owned by a variety of shareholders, including the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) which bought an 80 percent stake in the company in 2016.

iBase Technology’s BYTEM-123-PC, EN50155-certified vehicle-based HMI

The BYTEM-123-PC is based on the quad-core Intel Atom processor E3845 and EN50155 certified for railway applications. It provides high computing performance and low power consumption, silently operating at temperatures from -40°C to 75°C. Meeting EN50155 standards, the units support input voltages including 24V (default) as well as 72V and 110V (options).

The BYTEM-123-PC front panel provides IP65 protection to make it dust proof and providing the ability to wash down the screen, and also IP54 rating for the whole unit. To enhance functionality and performance of the BYTEM-123-PC, iBASE has included two-finger multi-touch screen to enable users with greater control of the user interface.

The BYTEM-123-PC supports a range of I/O and expansion capabilities, this includes  support  for M12 connectors for power input and 10/100M Ethernet communication, two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet controllers for system and software installation or maintenance. The systems also support VESA mounting and an optional rack mounting kit for fitting into different kinds of installations.

Key features:

  • EN50155 certificate
  • Optical bonding
  • Front bezel IP65 and full IP54 protection
  • 24V DC power input with M12 connector, 48V DC, 72V DC or 110V DC as options
  • Two M12 LAN ports and one M12 USB port
  • Movable and programmable membrane keypad
  • Additional rack mount kit


How Vega has led the way in radar level transmitters

The use of the radar level transmitter for the process industry started back in 1991. These were extremely large units and operated with a 6GHz frequency. The units were sold generally into liquid applications and were only ever considered when no other technology would work. They were a large unit weighing in at several kilograms and operated only from an AC supply.

In 1997 Vega released the world’s first true loop powered radar level transmitter, offering a more suitable transmitter for typical process applications. But once again they came with their limitations. 1999 saw the 26 GHz radar level transmitter being released, offering a smaller unit with a reduced antenna size and narrower beam angle (a downside to lower frequencies is the larger beam angle).

Vega continued to develop and improve radar level transmitter performances through the first decade of 2000. The main changes were in the software area where, thanks to customer feedback, the parameters for setup were improved and made much more descriptive and user friendly.

As with all developments you reach a point where the components and physics of the technology have been maximised. At this stage, Vega started research on the 80 GHz frequency range. This frequency was not new to the market as it was and still is quite common in the automotive industry with reversing sensors.

During the research and development of this frequency Vega carried out a number of real-life customer trials and the results of these opened up many more opportunities for the use of the radar that had never been practical before. It also allowed, for the first time, antenna sizing and adaption to many typical process fittings that exist in the industry. One of the things to note with regard to radar frequencies is that, as you increase the frequency, the antenna size and the beam angle reduce.

Radar level transmitters work on the reflection of the signal from the product being measured, and the strength of that returned signal is based in the Dielectric Constant (conductivity). So, in the past, they were not considered suitable for applications that have a relatively low DK value radar. 80 GHz now allowed these measurements to take place, but, of course, there are other considerations.

As well as the high frequency, you also need quality components that provie you very good sensitivity or dynamic range as it is commonly known as. Typically, up to this point, radar level transmitters had a dynamic range of around 90 db – that is, until the VEGAPULS 64 (liquids) and the VEGAPULS 69 (solids) were developed. Vega had manufactured a radar level transmitter with a dynamic range of 120 db. So what does this mean? Well, as with audio, for every increase of 3 db you get a doubling of the power. An increase of 30 db over the previous and existing radar frequencies achieve an increase of over 1000 times in the sensitivity of the Vega 80GHz radar level transmitters. For this increase Vega transmitters were now able to measure extremely low DK products such as plastics.

Radar level transmitters, like all instruments, do have their limitations, and many limitations are set by the physics of the technology. It is very important to take into account not just the frequency, but all the data, when evaluating whether a transmitter is suitable for the application. At Vega, 80 GHz has proven to be a large step forward in solving difficult applications, but the company has developed a model for liquid applications and a model for solids applications, as different algorithms for the types of process medium are needed.

Radar level transmitters are now a very accepted form of non-contact level measurement and the use of these units has increased by many times over the past decade. But as with all developments, this one has not yet finished, and Vega is continuing to improve the transmitters. The company said that, in the near future, it will again break through barriers and open up opportunities for radar to provide more solutions in industry applications.

Last chance for Food and Beverage Industry Awards tickets

The 2019 Food and Beverage Industry Awards tickets are selling fast and this week is the last chance to purchase them as the event is being held next Thursday July 18th. The annual event was a sell out last year.

“Last year’s event was a huge success,” said Events Manager Lauren Winterbottom. “We have already had a huge amount of interest and a large number of nominations for the awards. If you want to attend the event I would get your tickets now.”

The Food and Beverage Industry Awards 2018 brought companies from New Zealand and Australia together to celebrate new products and the best services and technology the industry has to offer.

At last year’s awards, drinks manufacturer Utonic took out the Best of the Best award and the Beverage of the Year for its Utonic Repair drink.

There will also be awards for food safety, packaging innovation, health foods and best in design to name a few.

Sponsors at this event include Flavour Makers, Rockwell Automation and Total Construction.

For tickets, click here.

Solution for vegan- and plant-based beverages of business

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences announces the debut of naturally sourced Grindsted Gellan Veg 200 stabiliser, enabling high performance results of plant-based and vegan beverages.

Since 2014, the number of new vegan products increased by 35 per cent, with beverages as one of the highest growing categories globally. With 6 out of 10 U.S. consumers increasing their consumption of plant-based foods and beverages in their daily diet, so called “alternatives” are becoming mainstream.

Dietary preferences shifting towards plant-based options is becoming more prevalent, and personal health is the key driver of change. In the DuPont-sponsored study conducted by HealthFocus, 42 per cent of respondents said that they prefer more plant-based foods in their daily diet and more than half of all consumers said that it “makes me feel healthier.” Also, the environmental component of this dietary shift is not negligible, as three out of four Millennials are willing to spend more on ethical products.

Grindsted Gellan Veg 200 advances plant-based and vegan beverages to fit consumer expectations. Plant-based/vegan claim, health profile, clean label, premium taste and texture are the most desired features of innovative products in this category.

“Produced by bacteria during fermentation of renewable, bio-based raw materials, Gellan VEG 200 is a purely natural solution. It provides excellent stability and particle suspension and minimal contribution to mouthfeel,” said Lise Stouby, senior scientist, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.

Grindsted Gellan Veg 200 is suitable for a range of plant-sourced raw materials, has low protein reactivity and high performance across a broad pH range. Added directly into the mix, Gellan VEG 200 delivers a stabilizing network throughout the shelf life to maintain a homogenous and stable final product.

“We are proud to launch a product that answers critical manufacturers’ needs ease of formulation and production. Starting today, it’s available worldwide,” said Kirsten Braüner Nygaard, business development manager, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.

Transparency key to building trusted brand

One is quiet, the other gregarious. One is the numbers man, the other the details guy. One is an introvert, the other an extrovert. They are an unlikely duo, but over the past 25 years Steve Taylor and Bill Franks have taken a one-man band that is Total Construction and turned into a company that is turning over hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Specialising in self-storage, food and beverage, and aged care facilities, the company has navigated its way through the GFC, the odd grumpy client, and government bureaucracies to find their niche in what can be a very competitive market.

“We are complete opposites,” acknowledged Taylor. “Bill has never smoked or drank and partied hard, whereas I have taken all those things to the extreme. I live in the city and Bill lives in the mountains in Kurrajong. He lives on 35 acres and I live on 400sqm. We’re very different, but it works.”

Talking to them in the board room of the company’s beautifully detailed head office in Strathfield in Sydney’s inner west, you can hear the mutual respect when they speak about each other, and the pride with not only how they have built their business, but how they do business.

Taylor does most of the talking, and Franks doesn’t seem to mind. They met almost 30 years ago working for Donnelly Construction, based in Castle Hill in Sydney’s north west.
“We were building a school together up at Castle Hill and Bill was the foreman and I was the leading hand on the job,” said Taylor. “After work we’d take off in his ute to Wilberforce and build his house.”

Taylor then got an opportunity in his early years to work as a project manager under Nev Kennard, he of the hire and self-storage fame. The out-of-the-box-thinking Kennard gave the young Taylor a few insights into not only how to run a business, but how not be satisfied with second best. Franks had already left Donnelly’s and started his own company. Taylor quickly wrangled in Franks to become a subcontractor to him to help build Kennard’s facilities.

“That was when I had a building job in Wetherill Park and Kennards came to us and said, ‘Don’t take any more work on, we’re going to keep you busy for the next couple of years’,” said Franks. “Then the recession hit, and then Nev said there was no more work.”
“Nev predicted the recession. He was a visionary,” said Taylor. “He was a very forward thinking, entrepreneurial guy. That’s who I learned my business acumen from. He taught me to challenge everything. I was the sort of person that when they said, ‘Think outside the square’, I didn’t even see the square. I learned from him how to question and challenge everything with respect.” When the 1989 recession hit, Taylor went up to Cairns and then came back to Sydney to help run a joint venture for Kennards. Franks kept his business ticking over by helping out the hire/storage company when he could.

“I kept on doing maintenance and building work for Kennards during that whole recession period,” said Franks.

It was while Taylor was on a sabbatical that the idea of Total Construction really came into fruition.

“When I was in Europe, Bill saw that Nev was getting ready to take off again workwise,” said Taylor. “They thought they might start a company but would need me to run it. But I was having too good of a time in Europe. I was having the time of my life and didn’t want to come home. The reports from my dad were that the economy still wasn’t that great, so there was no need to rush home. Bill was badgering my dad about when I was coming back.”

“It was that 93/94 era. I always thought we should start a proper company,” said Franks. “We picked up a job for Rheem water heaters and we built their R&D lab.”

And how did what was literally a two-person operation come to be a company that now has 150 full-time staff and up to 400-500 sub-contractors working for it at any one time? According to Taylor, there was a moment in time when it all came together, and he took a punt.

“In 1994 Sam Kennard took over as CEO of Kennard Self Storage,” said Taylor. “He used to work for me when I ran his dad’s business. He was at university and used to work part time for me. Sam approached me to do some work. I’ll never forget him turning up at my office – I hadn’t seen him for a couple of years. My eyes lit up and the entrepreneurial spirit – which I didn’t know I had – went spinning into overdrive. They had a site in Goldburn. They invited me to go there. And I was just a young guy – 27/28 years old – and I knew a bit about business, but I was just a carpenter. They drove me down to the Goldburn site and they said, ‘What do you think?’ I said, ‘You can do this, this and this.’ We got in the car and drove back. And while on our way, a little voice in my head said, ‘This is a make or break moment’. So, I said to them, ‘I’ve got a new business – how about we become your in-house contractor? We’d still be a sub-contractor but manage all your in-house properties’.
By the time we got back to Campbelltown we had a deal that unfolded 10 years’ worth of work. We then went and built the building for them for $1.2 million and 16 weeks later it was open.”

But their story isn’t just about taking a punt and luck, it was also about playing to their strengths.

“From the beginning, we decided that we weren’t going to be a residential builder because we knew it was a boom or bust industry,” said Taylor. “You have to have a crystal ball to know when the boom is going to happen. There is money in apartments if you are a developer, not a builder. That’s my theory. And to do residential you really have to deal with developers.” You get the impression from Taylor that developers are not his favourite people.

Another aspect to their success, they say, is how they treat their staff, not just in terms of remuneration, but in their development, too. Taylor believes that this is one of the reasons they get so much return business – their staff are invested in the outcome, just as much as he and Franks. Both men also believe a lot of their success is down to knowing the market and putting the right processes in place to make sure the business runs smoothly, and that staff are looked after.

“We have a cadet program and the KPI on that is that 10 percent of our workforce is cadets,” he said. “We’re just under that at the moment because some of them have just graduated. They’re still working for us, but they’ve just been promoted. That is a big mentorship. Every one of our staff here has free membership with Fitness First nationally. It costs us over $100,000 a year, but it means we get our staff visiting the gym 200 times a year.”

Plus, their attitude is different. Franks said it is all about respecting the customer. Something that not all companies think of. To some, it is about the here and now, and immediate results, without looking for the long-term prospects.

“Our KPI of return business is 75 per cent and we smash it every year,” said Taylor. “We had a lot of people come from the Tier One companies, and they’re not taught how to get repeat business. It’s ‘screw the client at all costs’. We needed to teach people that there is trust within the industry.”

Another aspect of the business is transparency. Both men are up front with their staff on the turnover and how much a project costs. They find that because they are talking 10s and sometimes 100s of millions of dollars in turnover, people think they are rolling in money. But people don’t seem to understand that there are lot of outgoings in such a big operation. Once Taylor and Franks put the project plan in front of their workers, it soon becomes apparent that neither will be challenging Jeff Bezos for the richest man in the world stakes. Transparency aside, being up front also creates trust that they are all in it together.

“When you’re pushing staff to give you transparency then we should be transparent, too,” said Taylor. “I tell them how we run the business and then they feel engaged because we are being transparent, and they are frank with us about the parts of the business they work in. People think you are a money-making machine; that’s because you turn over $200 million a year you must be a multi-millionaire. Transparency gives our employees a reality check.”

And when it comes to the business itself, there is a reason it is called Total Construction. It epitomises what the company has to offer, according to Taylor.

“We wanted to show a point of difference” he said. “For example, when it comes to our food and beverage division, we have an in-house engineering capability, as well as an in-house infrastructure business. Automatically, you are showing clients that you are a business that is diverse, that is thinking, that is capable. You’re not just a tendering machine in the construction industry. You can bring value.”

Both Franks and Taylor have brought the members of their respective families into the fold. Not that either man is looking to retire any time soon. But it’s comforting to see the next generation of Taylors and Franks showing interest in a business both men have built from the ground up.

“We’ve both got family in the business now,” said Taylor. “It’s owned by the two of us and our families. We see ourselves bringing more family in and maybe handing it on, but we don’t know yet. Bill and I are both young for our age and we think we’ll be here for a while yet, but maybe in a lesser capacity.”

And the key to their continual success and partnership? Taylor sums it up in two short sentences.

“We trust each other. Bill’s always been there for me through good times and bad and vice versa.”

Why packaging processes are the essential ingredient for food safety

The Australian food and beverage market is one of the country’s major industries, with an annual revenue of $2.1 billion. It is populated by a variety of iconic and enduring brands. In such a crowded market, it can be difficult for smaller businesses to stand out. But with the right tools and processes in place, even the smallest businesses can compete on a level-playing field with larger operators.

Packaging is one of the crucial ways that businesses can build their brand and differentiate themselves from their competition. With strong links between visual presentation and positive memories, it’s an essential piece of a brand’s identity. Iconic Australian brands like Vegemite, Arnott’s and Cadbury can be instantly recognised by their packaging, and it has a direct impact on the perception of their brand.

But packaging is more than just a “pretty face” – it has an important role in protecting the health and safety of customers. This was made clear in last year’s strawberry tampering scandal, when Food Standards Australia New Zealand’s (FSANZ) report into needle contamination suggested that more effective, tamper-proof packaging could be one way to prevent future incidents. Similarly, with the debate over single-use plastics and resource wastage growing stronger by the day, packaging can also signify a company’s commitment to sustainability.

In the wake of food issues like strawberry tampering and combined with increasing competition and a focus on sustainability, having streamlined, consistent and high-quality packaging processes during manufacturing is now more important than ever. A high standard of packaging not only attracts new customers to a brand, it can also save costs, protect customer safety, and maximise business resources.

The importance of safe packaging
The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code lays out a series of standards that food businesses must maintain, including an active commitment to reducing the risk of food contamination and protecting the health of consumers. The code outlines that packaging must be durable, of a high quality, not leach chemicals or allow harmful microorganisms to become mixed with the food, among other requirements. Contamination remains a core risk of packaging processes and can be caused by poor manufacturing conditions or inconsistent cleaning and sanitising processes.

When managing food processes, consistency is key. Quality packaging is costly to manufacture, so it’s equally important to use it efficiently and effectively. This requires constant monitoring, skilled workers, and equipment that’s up to the task. But maintaining high quality standards doesn’t just mean being “compliant” to current legislation – it requires an active commitment to constantly improving manufacturing processes.

Reducing risks
One simple fact of food manufacturing is that the presence of human workers on the production line carries the risk of contamination, from various bodily fluids to the growth of harmful bacteria in manufacturing environments. In the first two months of 2019, there have been nine food recall reports from FSANZ, including a variety of dairy product recalls due to the presence of E. coli bacteria, as well as a beer nut recall due to the presence of glass fragments. These incidents, which have potential to cause illness or harm, were likely the result of inefficient manufacturing processes or human error.

When taking on dull and repetitive tasks in the workplace, fatigue can lead to mistakes. In the food and beverages industry, these mistakes can be harmful, but actively improving production processes and introducing new technologies can prevent them.

Investing in technology and automation is one obvious solution: not only to reduce risk, but also to improve productivity. Since being installed in manufacturing plants in the 1970s, robots have evolved to take on increasingly complex tasks. Now, the latest robotic technology can take on smaller scale and more intricate work, and handle more delicate products, such as eggs and fruit.

Collaborating for better packaging processes
In particular, collaborative robots (cobots) are a growing technology that the food and beverage industry has an opportunity to adopt to reduce the risk of contamination and maintain high levels of product consistency. With their small size, flexible and adaptive setup, and ability to work in close-proximity with people, cobots can be used across food and beverage production facilities, from picking and placing to packing or palletising.

This process often takes place in a “clean room”, where products can be manufactured in a controlled environment to reduce the risk of pathogen transference. Cobots working to produce items such as dairy and juice can create longer-lasting products, as well as ensure consistent output.

By integrating cobots into the production line, a company can reduce the risk of cross-contamination across a plant. Additionally, automating repetitive tasks not only increases consistency and productivity but it also frees up employees to take up more interesting and engaging tasks. Reallocating these tasks creates new opportunities for workers to learn valuable, transferable skills such as programming, keeping them more engaged and alert while working on the production line.

The food and beverage industry has a long history of adapting to changing taste, trends, and technology. Introducing automation technology like cobots to the workplace has the potential to improve overall safety, reduce waste, and improve productivity. It is important the industry does not wait for another safety scandal to act: it’s time to get on the front foot and ensure the sector’s efficiency, growth and success for years to come.

ESKO Australia – solutions to your food processing needs

ESKO Australia sees itself as a one-stop shop for the  various food processing and packaging markets, where innovation is one of the key drivers for its customers. Solutions that it offers its clients include one-off products, or as part of a larger,  turn-key system through its global equipment suppliers  – Steriflow, Waldner, CT Pack, OMAG, Langguth, Imball, Zacmi, Mespic to name a few. All of these companies have proven records at installations throughout Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific Islands.

At AUSPACK 2019, you are invited to visit the company’s stand, B170, to discuss all your  food processing and/or packaging needs. Not only can you meet our team, but some of our  equipment supplier representatives will also be on hand to answer any queries. When can help your ideas come to fruition. See you at our stand.

How much does food contribute to Australia’s economy?

Australia’s food and grocery manufacturing sector is in many respects the quiet workhorse of the national economy. Australia’s largest manufacturing sector comprises companies that typically take produce from the farm and transform it into food and the consumer goods that every Australian needs every day. Fundamentally, the essentials of life.

While this industry has built a strong reputation for quality, safety and environmentally responsible production, its importance is further realised when you examine its contribution to the communities in which these companies operate.

For Northern Victorian regional economies, the food and grocery sector contributes $12 billion in annual output and makes the largest contribution. It employs 21,500 Victorians and pays $119 million per annum in tax – more than any other sector. The sector’s contribution to regional communities is even greater when you take into account the supply chain linkages for example through local farming, engineering and transport jobs that the sector stimulates.

These are impressive numbers, with major global companies like Fonterra at Stanhope, Mars Pet Care at Wodonga and Nestle at Tongala through to small, local companies like Beechworth Honey driving jobs and local economies across Northern Victoria.

The far more urban region of Western Sydney has also emerged as a food and grocery manufacturing powerhouse, generating $17 billion in output per year and $138 million in taxes.

The sector employs 24,400 workers whose wages and salaries pump $1.9 billion into the local economy annually. On average, workers can earn up to $80,000 a year.

Western Sydney’s current population of 2.1 million is expected to grow by a further 1 million people over the next 18 years, and it is critical to ensure jobs are available in the same areas in which people live.

While manufacturing has had a bad rap of late, we still make things in this country, with the highest quality standards. There is no doubt Australia’s largest manufacturing sector is being challenged by input costs, which are rising on everything from commodities to labour to energy; and seven years of continuous retail deflation.

Looking ahead, as Australia’s food manufacturing sector relies so heavily on Australian farmers, shortages caused by the drought will have considerable flow-on effects for food processors through increased input costs. Given the challenge posed by ongoing retail price deflation, this places greater stress on jobs and investment in manufacturing.

Yet this sector is incredibly resilient and is worth backing, because we have a globally competitive edge. Our “Clean and Green reputation” is the envy of the world and it enables some companies to get premium prices for value-added food and beverage products in growing export markets.

Northern Victorian food and grocery manufacturers exported over $2.1 billion last year, and Western Sydney $2.5 billion (a growth of more than 10 per cent from the previous year) showing our trading advantages in ensuring our products are served up on Chinese, Japanese and Korean dinner plates.

The ability to fully capitalise on these advantages is not going to happen without an ongoing push for trade competitiveness, a stable regulatory environment and reform to drive down input costs. Importantly we also need to look at ways to encourage these companies to continue to invest in their manufacturing plants and people.

Australians have long been proud of making things and now is the time to get behind what we are making in our regions and cities alike.

The AFGC has recently launched a public affairs campaign to do just that – demonstrate the true value of the $131 billion food and grocery industry to all levels of government and the Australian public.

Built around the central theme We’re from here, the campaign message is: Australian food and grocery manufacturers and processors play a key role in Australia’s communities and economies in which they operate. This is being dissected further into the areas of quality, choice, jobs and engagement with the community – all of which are key drivers of our sector.

Coca-Cola Amatil to sell SPC

Coca-Cola Amatil will sell its fruit and vegetable processing business, SPC, which is expected to record a $10 million loss for the 2017-18 financial year.

The beverage company’s decision to sell SPC comes four years after the Victorian government and Coca-Cola Amatil co-invested $100 million ($78 and $22 million respectively) to help the struggling business.

Coca-Cola Amatil initiated a strategic review into SPC in August. The company’s group managing director, Alison Watkins, said that while there were no plans to close SPC, the review had concluded that selling the Shepparton-based firm would provide the best means of enabling it to grow in the future.

“We believe there are many opportunities for growth in SPC, including new products and markets, further efficiency improvements, and leveraging technology and intellectual property,” Watkins said.

“The review has concluded that the best way to unlock these opportunities is through divestment, enabling SPC to maximise its potential with the benefit of the recent $100 million co-investment, while Amatil sharpens its focus as a beverages powerhouse.”

Watkins said that while SPC production would for now continue as normal at Shepparton and Kyabram, Coca-Cola Amantil would develop a divestment timeline and process over the coming months.

Watkins also indicated that Coca Cola Amatil has decided that the IXL and Taylor’s brands will remain with SPC following the announcement on 21 November that an expected sale to Kyabram Conserves will no longer proceed.

Coca Cola Amatil has invested approximately $250 million into SPC since acquiring it in 2005, including in new tomato and high-speed snack lines, a new aseptic fruit processing system and new export opportunities including in China.

Watkins said that Coca-Cola Amatil expects its 2017-18 full-year results will weighed down by $50 million in expenses due to “cost optimisation programs” and that the company would possibly be unable to meet earnings growth target in the 2018-19 financial year due to factors that include the impacts of container deposit schemes in Australia, higher PET resin costs and a weak Indonesian rupiah.

Watkins said that SPC’s $10 million loss was “modest” and “not a big deal” in the  long-run.

“The challenge for the business is top-line growth, but the core structure of the business now is very good. So what will move that loss to a profit is growth, and that’s what the business is poised to do,” Watkins said.

“We really see a very bright future as a result of the investment we’ve made.”

Heat and Control, and Ishida, open their doors to industry people

With a combined 200 years of experience in the snacks industry, Heat and Control, and Ishida open their doors to industry people.

The companies demonstrated their complete solutions in a snacks food production Open House event at the Ishida factory facility in Birmingham, UK.

About 100 snack food producers visited the demonstration centre during a three-week period in June, 2018.

The event provided snack food producers the opportunity to see the equipment in action and to participate in a series of information and training sessions.

READ: Ishida and Heat and Control announce enhanced co-operation

Packaging & Inspection Systems business manager Robert Marguccio, said the event was a great way for customers to interact with snack food experts from both Heat and Control and Ishida.

“Given the automation benefits of Industry 4.0, engaging with a single source supplier like [Heat and Control] Snack Solutions can add value through increased connectivity levels and digital data exchange, along all stages of the processing and packaging production lines,” said Marguccio.

Working with one supplier was a far easier and cost effective process, as customers only needed to speak to one team, he said.

Snack food producers were able to see demonstrations of product moving through key sections of the processing and packaging lines.

One example was potato chips moving from a switchback conveyor into an incline conveyor, which can move product vertically to where it’s needed, while reducing drop damage.

After reaching the top of the incline conveyor, the potato chips are transported down the line through Heat and Control’s fastback revolution proportional gate.

The gate eliminates product breakage during gate closure and provides an accurate feed of product to weigher via the fastback Left Right Center (LRC).

The LRC is a double multihead weigher feed solution designed to provide a precise and consistent product stream to Ishida’s patented back-to-back 218 twin weigher.

The product then moves from the weighers into twin or single snack food bagmakers.

For quality control, Ishida checkweighers will verify correct product weight or count, eliminate underweights, and protect profits by eliminating costly product overweight giveaway.

The snack product is then packed using the ACP-700 case packer, which can be integrated into any snacks production line.

Automation of the line is controlled using Heat and Control, and Ishida’s data solutions technology, which enables operators to fully oversee the production line and provide real time feedback to the operator.

The companies came together to form a strategic alliance that provides snack customers with full end-to-end processing and packaging solutions.

In Australia, New Zealand and the USA, Heat and Control is the exclusive distributor of Ishida packaging and inspection technology.

In India, Heat and Control is the exclusive distributor for snack food packaging.

Can we have our chip and eat it too?

Ever since Swedish scientists discovered acrylamide in food in the early 2000s, there has been growing concerns over the potential negative impact it could have on people’s health, and some regulatory bodies have been looking at ways to restrict acrylamide levels in consumer products.

Acrylamide is a chemical, which forms during the cooking process when sugars and amino acids are release from food. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, have the highest levels, ad certain cooking methods, such as frying and barbecuing, produce higher levels than boiling or steaming.

The World Health Organisation and the International Agency for Research on Cancer has labelled acrylamide as “probably carcinogenic to humans”; the US Environmental Protection Agency has categorized it as an “extremely hazardous substance”, and the European Food Safety Authority noted that acrylamide was a “public health concern as it potentially increases the risk of developing cancer in consumers of all ages”

While these groups have given clear warnings to regulatory bodies and pushed for stricter, maximum levels to be enforced, some say that not enough is being done to curb the occurrence of acrylamide in consumer products. Is this trend about to shift?

In 2016, Denmark lowered indicative levels for acrylamide, and it seems that the European Commission (EC) is only steps away to setting stricter regulations. In 2007, the EC adopted a Recommendation on the Monitoring of Acrylamide Levels in Food, in 2011, they adopted a Recommendation on Investigations into the Levels of Acrylamide in Food, and in 2017 the EC is set to vote on draft regulation on acrylamide.

So what does this mean for food producers? The acrylamide topic is continuing to gain traction, and it may only be a matter of time before stricter legislation is realised.

Potato chip producers are one group at the greatest risk of being hit by this legislation, with these products producing some of the highest acrylamide levels. European manufacturers especially cannot be complacent and let changing legislation creep up on them without being duly prepared.

This now begs the question: Is there a way to reduce acrylamide in potato chips without compromising on taste and quality? The answer is yes. The upside is that these products can be marketed as a ‘premium’ product to appeal to an ever-increasing health-conscious market segment.

These are a number of ways to reduce acrylamide levels in food, such as varying cooking temperatures; storing raw product in different ways; harvesting at different times of the year; ingredient additions; or changing growing conditions altogether. But these methods can affect long-term costs and have negative effects on the taste on your products.

For potato product manufacturers, there is an alternative method which can reduce acrylamide levels by over 50%. This method is known as electroporation. Electroporation is a technique in which electrical fields are sent through a cell in order to perforate the out membrane with microscopic holes. In the case of a potato, this process allows sugars and amino acids to be released from the potato prior to cooking, which in turn lessens the occurrence of acrylamide.

Heat and Control, in partnership with ScandiNova – a world leader in the development and production of Pulsed Power Systems, have developed a potato processing machine which does just that. The machine, known as E-FLO, can fit into any potato processing line and requires low voltage, minimal maintenance and has a patented transformer design.

Peeled and washed potatoes are supplied in measured quantities by upstream equipment and delivered to the E-FLO infeed chute. The rotating E-FLO wheel transports the potatoes through the processing area as a compact packed bed through a water bath. Processing has to take place in a water bath for the electrical pulses to influence the product as desired. After a short exposure to the electric field pulses, to perforate the cell walls, the potatoes are lifted and discharged from the water bath by the continuing rotation of the wheel into the discharge chute. The potato then continues down the production line where greater amounts of sugars and amino acids can be removed during the slicing and washing stages. THE RESULT: potato chips with a reduction in acrylamide of over 50%, in some test cases.

But apart from reducing acrylamide and creating a healthier product, there are a number of other advantages to running your potatoes through a gauntlet of electrical fields:


A notable benefit to pulsing your potatoes with electricity is that your chip is crispier. The E-FLO increases the amount of starch in the outer layers of the potato, which helps to give the chip that all-important bite. It also reduces the need or length of time needed to blanch your potatoes before cooking.

Less wear and tear

Slicing thousands of potatoes daily can quickly result in dull slicer blades. The E-FLO, however softens the tissue of the potato, allowing the blades to slice between the cells of the potato rather than through them. This lessens the pressure and friction on your tools, which means less down time and longer equipment life. Slicing between the cells of the potato also produces a smoother chip surface. A smoother surface means the chip absorbs less oil, which, in the long run, can significantly reduce your oil expenditure.

Product potential

The E-FLO has the potential to work on a range of products, such as differing root vegetables,  making them easier to process. Because the E-FLO softens the tissue of the raw product, different cutting technology can be used to create new shapes more easily.

While there hasn’t been a direct link between acrylamide and cancer in humans, the evidence provides researchers with a ‘more than likely’ scenario. It may just be a matter of time before tougher restrictions are put in place for food manufacturers. Either way, introducing a machine which reduces acrylamide levels while producing a crispier and crunchier chip into your production line makes sense. And giving consumers the choice of a healthier, ‘premium’ product may just increase your customer base.

With the E-FLO, we can all have our chip and eat it too.

Most packaged foods contain added sugar – research

A new study by The George Institute for Global Health has revealed around 70 per cent of packaged foods contain added sugar.

The findings published in Nutrients highlight the need for added sugar to be declared on packaging and used in the Health Star Rating front-of-pack labelling system. Under the current system only total sugar needs to be reported on food labels and used in the HSR calculation.

Professor Bruce Neal, of The George Institute for Global Health, said there was a clear need to differentiate between added sugars and total sugars. “Good sugars are an integral part of a healthy diet and we need to be able to separate sugars naturally present in dairy, fruits and vegetables from sugars added during manufacturing.

“Added sugars are empty calories and a major contributing factor to the obesity epidemic and tooth decay. Australians would be much better off if they could quickly and easily see how much sugar has been added.”

Researchers from The George Institute analysed more than 34,000 packaged foods – 18,350 discretionary and 15,965 core foods – to discover how the HSR could be improved if added sugars were used in the algorithm. Core foods are foods that form the basis of a healthy diet. In contrast, discretionary foods are energy-dense and nutrient-poor and include foods and drinks not necessary to provide the nutrients the body needs.

Using Australian Dietary Guideline definitions, they found 87 per cent of discretionary foods included added sugars, compared to 52 per cent of core foods. And discretionary foods such as cakes, pies, ice cream, pastries, processed meats, potato chips and soft drinks contained on average almost four times more added sugar than core foods such as cheese, milk, bread, yoghurts or plain cereals like oats.

Co-author Dr Sanne Peters, of The George Institute, said the results clearly showed that using added sugar instead of total sugar to calculate the HSR resulted in much better alignment between core and discretionary foods. “One of the key criticisms of the HSR has been that it doesn’t always align with Australian Dietary Guidelines. Using added sugars instead of total sugars means it does a much better job of this.’’

This was particularly so for discretionary products such as muesli bars, jam, rice puddings, and chutney and other sauces and spreads, which contain a lot of added sugar but get a relatively high HSR in the current system.

The research will be submitted to the Government’s current review of the HSR system.


Farmer Power launches new fund raising campaigns

Farmer Power,  has just launched two fund raising campaigns in partnership with APCO Australia to help promote and fund an educational campaign for the public and as a signal to the government to inform them on the issues within the dairy industry.

According to the news release by Farmer Power, they have said that the financial hardships that farmers are facing will not stop at Victoria but will also eventually impact on everyone, both personally and financially, if it is not addressed.

It has been reported across several news sources that rural businesses in dairy farming regions are in trouble with farmers being in debt. This was speculated to be due to the trickle-down effect of last year’s dairy crisis.


These campaigns are aimed at gaining assistance from the business fraternity in supporting Farmer Power in their endeavours.

They are also aimed at building support from both the public and businesses to bring about positive change for Dairy Farmers, but not only dairy farmers, but also regional businesses and rural communities which are all being directly  impacted by this crisis.

Automated food sorting machines to grow at seven per cent CAGR by 2021

Technavio market research analysts forecast the global automated food sorting machines market to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of close to seven per cent during the forecast period, according to their latest report.

The research company’s analysts highlight the following three market drivers that are contributing to the growth of the global automated food sorting machines market:

  • Retrofit activities carried out in aging food processing facilities
  • Rising demand for food products and shorter delivery cycle
  • Implementation of standards applicable to food processing

The food industry is the oldest industry that has gone through several revolutions such as Green Revolution, White Revolution, and Pink Revolution. Depending on the type of food products manufactured, there have been several changes in the methods of food processing witnessed in the industry. However, the introduction of automation in the industry is transforming the aging industry by integrating new methods and technique, according to Technavio.

“Automation has allowed the industry to reduce the manual work, improve hygiene, and speed-up the process. Also, realising the cost benefits achieved in terms of return-on-investment in the long run, small and medium-sized enterprises too have switched to automated machines to optimise industry operations,” says Sushmit Chakraborty, a lead analyst at Technavio for automation research.

Rising demand for food products and shorter delivery cycle

The improving economy of developing nations has witnessed a rise in the demand for different food products and changes in eating habits. To serve the growing need for food, the food industry is required to reduce the process time and delivery time. This can be achieved by reducing the process cycle time and implementation of automated machines.

Implementation of automated machines has drastically reduced the process time and increased the quality of food products manufactured. The demand for various food products such as dairy, fruits and vegetables, oils and fats, and meat and seafood can be fulfilled by integrating the processes that require minimum process and cycle time.

“Automated food sorting machines are used for different food items, thus making the processes faster and more hygienic. Industrial automation and information analytics allow the user to extract the data and perform the activities more accurately and fast, thereby reducing the delivery cycle,” says Sushmit.

Implementation of standards applicable to food processing

The food industry must adhere to food and safety standards that regulate and monitor the food quality. For every food product manufactured, there are a set of quality standards that are to be maintained during the manufacturing process. Traditionally, food industry involved manual efforts during the manufacturing processes. However, to achieve the quality standards decided by food safety and standard authority, it is necessary for food manufacturing companies to rely on food processing equipment.

Automated food sorting machines provide speed and allow the industry to optimise the quality standards. The improved quality achieved by implementing automated machines and integrating methods with artificial intelligence will result in the further growth of the market.

Image: BBC Technologies’ CURO 16

CSIRO maps out Australia’s food future

New technologies could see us eating algae-based sources of protein, developing allergenic-free nuts and tolerable varieties of lactose and gluten, and reducing environmental impact through edible packaging.

Speaking at the launch during the Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology’s (AIFST) 50th Anniversary Convention in Sydney, Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Craig Laundy , highlighted the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in driving new economic growth in the industry.

Keeping a greater share of food processing onshore and better differentiating Australian food products are major themes across the Roadmap, which calls on businesses to act quickly or risk losing future revenue streams to the competitive global market.

Developed with widespread industry consultation and analysis, the Roadmap seeks to assist Australian food and agribusinesses with the desire to pursue growth and new markets.

Deputy Director of CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Dr Martin Cole said Australia was well positioned to act as a delicatessen of high-quality products that meet the needs of millions of informed and discerning customers both here and abroad.

“Australian businesses are among the most innovative in the world, and together with our world-class scientists, can deliver growth in the food and agribusiness sector amid unprecedented global change,” Dr Cole said.

“Less predictable growing conditions, increasingly global value chains and customers who demand healthier, more convenient and traceable foods are driving businesses to new ways of operating.

“Advances are already being made through the use of blockchain technology and the development of labels that change colour with temperature or time, or are programmed to release preservatives.

The Roadmap was developed in collaboration with the government-funded food and agribusiness growth centre: Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL).

Recently, FIAL launched their Sector Competitiveness Plan, which outlines the over-arching industry vision to grow the share of Australian food in the global marketplace and the necessary strategy to achieve the vision.

“With the growing Asian middle class, Australia is in the box seat to take advantage of the many emerging export opportunities,” FIAL Chairman Peter Schutz said.

“Consumers are looking for differentiated products that cater to their needs.

“This is especially exciting for Australian food and agribusinesses which have the capability to respond with customised and niche products.”

Currently, Australia exports over $40 billion worth of food and beverages each year with 63 per cent headed for Asia.

Dr Cole explained that Australia is a trusted supplier of sustainable, authentic, healthy, high quality and consistent products.

“We must focus on these strengths and enhance the level of value-adding to our products,” DrCole said.

“Recent Austrade analysis shows early signs of such a shift, as for the first time in Australia’s history value-added foods have accounted for the majority (60 per cent) of food export growth.”

The Roadmap outlines value-adding opportunities for Australian products in key growth areas, including health and wellbeing, premium convenience foods and sustainability-driven products that reduce waste or use less resources.

Five key enablers for these opportunities are explored in the Roadmap: traceability and provenance, food safety and biosecurity, market intelligence and access, collaboration and knowledge sharing, and skills.

These enablers align with FIAL’s knowledge priority areas that are central in helping the food and agribusiness industry achieve its vision and deliver increased productivity, sustainable economic growth, job creation, and investment attraction for the sector.

The Roadmap calls for improved collaboration and knowledge sharing to generate scale, efficiency and agility across rapidly changing value chains and markets.

“To survive and grow, the challenge facing Australia’s 177,000 businesses in the food and agribusiness sector is to identify new products, services and business models that arise from the emerging needs of tomorrow’s global customers,” Dr Cole said.

Arrow Energy set to fix manufacturers’ energy woes

Arrow Energy has announced plans to double the production capacity of its Tipton gas project in Queensland amid an east-coast industrial gas shortage.

The planned expansion of Arrow’s Tipton operations is expected to involve 90 new wells in the initial phase and another 180 wells over the next 25 years.

It will also include new gathering lines, an upgraded water treatment facility and four new compressors.

“This project continues the development of the Arrow resource which will see more gas in the market,” said Arrow Energy CEO Qian Mingyang.

The project follows investment of more than $600 million by Arrow in its Surat Basin infrastructure, including $500 million towards its Daandine expansion project commissioned in late 2016 and more than $100 million to expand capacity at its Daandine and Tipton fields.

“We only hope that the other states follow Queensland’s lead and open up gas reserves to help fix the energy crisis households and businesses, especially manufacturers, along the eastern seaboard are facing,” said Mingyang.

Rugged panel PCs for food makers

B&R has expanded its range of automation-ready Panel PCs with a new series of widescreen formats ranging from 7″ WVGA to 24″ Full HD.

These Panel PCs are suited for use in harsh environments and are the perfect visualisation devices for Box PCs while at the same time offering easy and flexible mounting options.

With a slender design, all models are available with a single-touch or multi-touch screen and connecting the panels to a PC unit turns them into a full-fledged PC, complete with scalable processing power.

The core component of the panel is the widescreen, which ranges from 7″ WVGA to 24″ Full HD, while the panels also have the possibility of adding a modular SDL/DVI receiver that turns the panels into operator terminal.

With SDL3 digital signal transmission technology with standard Ethernet cables, it is even possible for the panels to bridge more than 100 meters between terminal and PC.

The Panel PCs offer scalable computing power by using anything from Intel Atom processors all the way up to the powerful Core i7 family.

The modular platform – consisting of the actual panel, SDL/SDL3 receiver and PC unit are designed to deliver a considerable reduction in maintenance costs, and in the event of an upgrade, there is no need to replace the entire Panel PC.

Added to this, with its uniform interface, B&R has established a flexible system platform for any future and expanded PC architectures.

Since the display and PC components are separate, it is also possible to upgrade the internal PC technology while at the same time, keeping the original display unit.

Freeze dried food could be the answer to food waste

According to a story on ABC Online, freeze-dried food could be the solution to saving billions of dollars worth of wasted produce.

Australians dispose of $10 billion worth of food every year and according to Foodwise, with $2.76 billion of that is fresh produce.

Queensland food processor Freeze Dry Industries has fast become an outlet for local farmers looking to make money off crop that would otherwise go in the bin.

“Freeze-drying is a very scientific process, which has origins with NASA as space food,” CEO Michael Buckley told the ABC.

“My inspiration came from the pure joy of the technology in attacking waste, because I hate the thought of us throwing out beautiful fresh fruit and vegetables.”

However freeze drying is not cheap, with freeze-drying machines starting from $300,000,” he said.

Buckley told the ABC he was convinced that consumers are prepared to pay more for the experience of eating a freeze-dried snack.

For farmers, the option of earning money from a waste product, despite the cost, is an incentive for many growers.

Despite the challenges, Buckley expects the interest in freeze-dried fruits to increase, largely driven by demand from the likes of “the health food industry,’ he said.