New reliability test for moisture analysers

Routine moisture-analyser testing between professional calibrations is a good way to ensure moisture measurements are consistently correct.

However, regular performance testing is often neglected because traditional methods are time-consuming and impractical. Mettler Toledo’s SmartCal offers a fast way to verify the performance and veracity of a moisture analyser.

SmartCal simultaneously tests both the heating and weighing units. When results lie within expected tolerances, it lends validity to all measurements made since the previous test.

These results are viewed in a series of clear, readable measurement reports for straightforward monitoring.

They can either be stored directly in the instrument or manually entered into an Excel report.

Mettler Toledo’s also offers a certified version of SmartCal. cSmartCal is tested by the independent German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing.

It satisfies regulatory requirements and is suitable for highly-regulated environments that require an extra level of results assurance. SmartCal StarterPac contains 12 sachets and accessories including the user guide, reporting templates, thermo-hygrometer, and validation documentation.

Smart packaging set to feature at AUSPACK 2017

Smart packaging – which encompasses both active and intelligent packaging – is seeing rapid technological advancement on a global scale.

The global market for smart packaging is currently estimated at $5.3 billion and growing at CAGR of 8% for a projected value of $7.8 billion by 2021, according to market analysts Smithers Pira.

Intelligent packaging technologies incorporated or embedded in a pack (like codes and tags) provide a means to access information, check authenticity, monitor product conditions, receive and store data as well as deliver messages to customers, shippers and brand owners.

An important application for Australian manufacturers is proving product provenance and authentication, particularly for those exporting into Asian markets where counterfeiting is rife and where consumers seek assurance that a product is genuinely Australian.

Product identification and inspection expert Matthews Australasia (Stand 56 at AUSPACK 2017) has worked with New Zealand company Trust Codes to provide high-end infant formula processor Camperdown Dairies with a ground-breaking platform to allow Chinese consumers to quickly check the authenticity and provenance of its products using their smart phones.

The system prints each tin of infant milk formula with a unique QR code with human-readable information managed by Matthews’ iDSnet software.

The printed QR code allows consumers to scan and identify the individual product and report its history, among other information.

In another local development, packaging equipment supplier Result Group (Stand 38 at AUSPACK 2017) has partnered with IDlocate, a traceability and anti-counterfeit solutions provider, to deliver a consumer-facing authentication platform which enables unique QR coding systems to be printed on packaging.

By scanning the code with any smartphone or handheld device, consumers have direct access to a range of data in real time — including growing information, ingredient details, promotional offers, export origin and serving suggestions.

Augmented Reality is another exciting technology being used by brands to create engaging and immersive experiences for consumers.

Omniverse Foster Group (Stand 27 at AUSPACK 2017) will be demonstrating advances made to its 3D immersive packaging technology which it introduced at AUSPACK 2015.

The company will showcase how it is taking AR to the next level of digital platforming, enhancing the technology’s ability to bring brands to life.

AUSPACK 2017 will run from 7 – 10 March 2017 at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park from March 7-10.

ELIX Polymers launches new food grade contact material

ELIX Polymers has launched a new ABS grade for use in products that come into contact with food and which also require extra toughness and resistance to high temperatures.

Target applications include kitchenware, products for preparation and storage of food, and also toys.

The new M545TF grade will enhance the company’s Healthcare portfolio, which already includes grades for medical devices, cosmetics, food contact applications and toys.

The latest grade has been migration tested with different food simulants.

This enables ELIX Polymers to advise its customers about migration issues and regulatory compliance during the product design phase, helping to prevent problems before they occur and shortening time to market.

M545TF can be supplied precolored, with ELIX taking the responsibility for compliance of the pigments with food contact regulations.

ELIX Polymers’ current portfolio of FDA-approved colors already includes more than 120 active recipes; new colors are under continual development.

“ELIX Polymers offers a high level of service to our customers, especially for the healthcare portfolio,” says Aurelie Mannella, Industry Manager Healthcare at ELIX Polymers.

“We are pleased to have gained a reputation among our customers as a company that consistently offers excellence in service, along with high-quality products and constant innovation. We have implemented a rigorous selection of our pigments and suppliers in order to be able to guarantee consistent and zero-risk solutions.”

 

Murray Goulburn and Mead Johnson Nutrition dissolve partnership

Murray Goulburn (MG) has announced today that Mead Johnson Nutrition (MJN) and MG have mutually agreed that they intend to terminate the March 2016 agreement for an alliance for the supply of nutritional products.

MG said that it remained committed to a B2B nutritionals strategy and MG and MJN will continue to explore new ways to work together.

Interim CEO David Mallinson announced that MG will now review its strategy for its nutritionals investment to ensure MG is maximising value for its suppliers and owners, whilst exercising discipline with MG’s capital.

Approximately 90 per cent of MG’s existing nutritional sales are destined for markets outside of China and MG’s supply agreement with Indonesia’s Kalbe Nutritionals remains in place.

Mallinson noted that “MG remains committed to developing a leading B2B nutritionals business for all export markets and we will continue to assess the best possible way to invest for future growth in this business.”

What bulk packaging system should you choose?

When it comes to choosing a bulk packaging system, every business has its own unique needs. There are different types of bulk packaging systems available on the market, and each machine comes with its own uses and advantages.

Some focus more on outer packaging functions such as forming, cleaning, and sealing. Others focus more on the interior of the package through filling, wrapping, and creative packaging solutions. What you’ll need depends on the type of items you’ll be packaging and the type of packaging you’ll be using, as well as your budget.

Form, fill and seal machines (FFS)

These machines are commonly used for food packaging, although they can also be used for other items including liquids and solids. The FFS machine creates a bag from a flat roll of film, while simultaneously filling the bag with the product and sealing the bag once it’s full. The advantages of FFS machines are that they can operate at a high speed and they’re ideal for running the same product continuously.

The cost of the film is cheaper than purchasing pre-made bags, so you will save on operating costs. However, changing the film is time-consuming, and if the bag is dropped it will often break.

Vertical form, fill and seal machines (VFFS)

VFFS machines fill each bag before heat sealing it, labelling it with a time stamp, and auto cutting the bag. Most VFFS machines can operate at about one finished bag per second, so they are ideal for businesses with high output requirements.

They can be used for small individual packages (like sachets) or for larger bags, and they can package a wide variety of materials like seeds, powders, liquids. VFFS machines are suitable for bagging oats, hay, mulch, fertilisers and more.

Bale packaging machines

Bale packaging machines use hydraulic cylinders to compress products to a quarter of their original size. This allows you to store more products, maximise your available space, and save on packing and transportation costs. This type of bulk packaging system is normally used for cereals, rags, sawdust, humus, straw, hay and fodder.

Valve bag fillers

These machines are consistent, accurate, and simple to install and adjust. Valve bag fillers use a two-stage filling system. The majority of product is filled at maximum rate, and then just before the bag reaches its target, the machine reduces the fill rate to a dribble feed.

This way, the machine can stop filling more accurately when the bag reaches its target weight.

Valve bag fillers are relatively small machines, so they don’t take up a lot of floor space. They’re suitable for packaging dry materials, powders and granular products such as soil, mulch, minerals, grains or concrete mix.

Pre-made bags or open mouth baggers

These systems are extremely flexible. They are compatible with paper bags or woven bags, heat sealers, inner liners, stitched outer bags, fold overs and taped seals.

They offer various feeding methods including gravity feeding, auger feeding, and vibratory feeding, providing you with the ability to package unusual products.

You can add dust extraction systems or bag compression functions depending on your business needs. Poly woven bags are, on average, more robust than FFS bags, but your cost per bag will be higher. Open mouth baggers also tend to be slower than FFS systems.

Visit www.accupak.com.au to find out more.

Tetra Pak announces new US$110 million Vietnam factory

Bolstered by rapid consumption growth and increasing customer needs in the Asia Pacific region, leading food processing and packaging solutions company Tetra Pak today announced their US$110 million investment in a state-of-the-art regional manufacturing facility near Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to serve customers across the region.

The move is prompted by increasing consumption volumes, with the 2016 total packed liquid dairy and fruit-based beverages intake at 70 billion litres across ASEAN, South Asia, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Additionally, over the next three years, these markets are likely to grow at a healthy 5.6 per cent per annum, with products packed in Tetra Pak cartons projected to grow at a much faster rate as compared to other packaging formats such as glass bottles and cans.

“Tetra Pak has been present in the region for decades, with our first factory set up in Gotemba, Japan in 1971,” said Michael Zacka, Regional Vice President, Tetra Pak South Asia, East Asia and Oceania.

“Over the years, we have seen substantial growth of our products, driven by a wide portfolio and a number of innovations that we have introduced in the market. Hence our investment in a new plant, which will be our fourth Packaging Material factory in the region, providing us with expansive coverage and scale.

This decision is a strong reflection of our commitment to the region and our firm belief in its future potential.”

The greenfield factory, expected to begin operations in Q1 2019, will have an expandable production capacity of approximately 20 Billion packs per annum, across a variety of packaging formats, including the popular Tetra Brik Aseptic and Tetra Fino Aseptic.

It will primarily serve customers based in ASEAN, Australia and New Zealand. With a strong focus on sustainability, the site will adopt a host of global best practices to minimise the environmental footprint, including the utilisation of a high proportion of renewable energy sources.

This investment will complement Tetra Pak’s three long-standing production facilities in Singapore, India and Japan, building on the wealth of experience built up throughout the company’s operation in the region.

Together, the factories will enable the company to offer more innovations, efficiency and customer service to meet the rapid growth in Asia.

“We are committed to investing in Australia and New Zealand’s food export business to help our customers tap into the huge opportunities opening up both at home and in the wider region. Our investment in this manufacturing facility means we will be able service our ASEAN markets more efficiently, offering greater innovation, enhanced quality, efficiency and flexibility for producers.” said Craig Salkeld, Managing Director for Oceania, Tetra Pak.

Did milk processor overstate its accounts?

A forensic accountant has alleged that dairy processor Murray Goulburn may have overstated its earnings and even lost money in the last financial year.

It was claimed in early November that its treatment of the milk supplier support program in its accounts was wrong.

This in turn has led to dairy farmers doubting whether they’ll get repaid, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Not helping the situation is the company’s decision to write off part of the advance.

Forensic accounting company, Morris Forensic, says Murray Goulburn’s pretax profit of more than $57 million should have been a loss of just over $92 million.

Morris Forensic believes that Murray Goulburn treating the advance as an ‘asset’ is not correct because there is no right to recover the advance from farmers. “In my opinion, Murray Goulburn’s financial statements should have been prepared on the basis that the amounts paid or payable to suppliers for milk purchased during the year were inventory purchases,” Morris Forensic argues in its report.

Murray Goulburn has confirmed to the SMH that farmers do not have to repay the advance and that the company has already written off part of the advance.

“In my opinion, the manner in which Murray Goulburn recognised the MSSP assets of $183.334 million in its 2016 financial report resulted in Murray Goulburn increasing its reported profit before income tax by approximately $150 million,” Morris Forensic said in its report.

Murray Goulburn is the subject of a class action and of ASIC inquiries due to allegations that it misrepresented certain aspects in its prospectus when it raised capital from investors last year.

Rosella flies off with new branding

Rosella is set to unveil a new logo this November, which the company claims will be the most dramatic change in the company’s visual identity for 20 years.

According to Senior Brand Manager, Kristine Dalton, “The most immediate change is the rosella bird itself. We have revisited the grassroots of our original logo whilst preserving the distinctive, native Eastern rosella and have given it flight to represent the company continuing to keep pace with modern Australian eating.”

“We believe the change will be welcomed. The new design will appeal to a new generation of Australian families by capturing the essence of our Australian Spirit, our vibrancy, energy and our free spirit.”

Designed by Melbourne Design House Disegno, the logo represents the company’s colourful history in a modern and evolving style.

“As an organisation so engrained in Australian culture, we are excited for this change to continue our longstanding relationship between the Rosella brand and customers,” concluded Dalton.

The new logo will first appear on the 600ml sauce bottle, on shelves nationally in all Coles, Woolworths and Independents late November.

SPC workers fear getting canned

According to a story this morning in The Age, jobs at food producer SPC Ardmona hang in the balance after Woolworths said it would be ending its canned tomatoes deal with SPC and wouldn’t say whether it will retain a five-year agreement struck in 2014 for other private-label tinned fruit.

At the same time, the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) has raised fears the company is considering sending fruit-sourcing offshore.

Tom Hale, the AMWU national food division secretary, was quoted as saying that the federal government should “pull together all political parties and start drafting legislation to help keep the Australian food industry alive”.

He also noted that the voluntary Food and Grocery Code of Conduct should be “enshrined into law, which would force big retailers to comply with minimum standards when dealing with suppliers….”

“The current system of self-regulation is not working,” Hale was quoted by The Age report.

While Woolworths did rescue SPC’s struggling Shepparton cannery two years ago with a five-year deal to buy its private-label tinned fruit, the agreement was apparently made only on a ‘handshake’.

At the same time, according to a number of sources, the private label tomatoes are an “immaterial” part of Woolworths $70 million supply agreement with SPC.

“It plays havoc with the lives of farmers and factory families who have made important decisions based on Woolworths’ word,” said Federal Regional Development Minister Fiona Nash.

General Mills announces major restructure & closure of Victorian facility

General Mills has today announced that it will be restructuring its Australian operations.

Part of this restructure will mean the closure of General Mills’ manufacturing facility in Mount Waverley, Victoria along with the consolidation of its Australian manufacturing activity into an expanded production facility in Rooty Hill, New South Wales.

The closure of the Mount Waverley facility will occur between April and June 2018.

All staff in both locations have been informed of the closure. General Mills will be working to re-deploy and relocate employees to Rooty Hill as appropriate, but it is likely that most roles from Mount Waverley will become redundant.

The difficult decision to close the Mount Waverley facility, which makes pasta, sauce and ready-to-eat meals, was taken to simplify General Mills’ supply chain and secure the future growth of the business, according to a company press release.

Food conveyor cleaning nozzles

According to Techpro, food conveyor cleaning can now be done quicker and also more cost effectively.

While manual conveyor cleaning is regularly undertaken to ensure Australia’s first-class food hygiene protocols are maintained, a number of manufacturers have found effective conveyor cleaning is achievable simply by installing the correct spray nozzles for the job.

A properly automated conveyor cleaning system should provide uniformed cleaning across the entire conveyor as well as efficient water usage.

Optimal results can only be achieved when the positioning of spray nozzles is carefully planned.

Other factors to consider include available water pressure and flow rate, nozzle size, droplet size and spray pattern.

Coca-Cola launches Aussie summer ‘sweat smasher’ with sports stars

Coca-Cola  has announced details of Powerade’s new Australian Summer campaign ‘Smash the Sweat’.

The campaign is designed to encourage consumers to smash the sticky, humid conditions associated with the season through the launch of limited edition Powerade sport-themed ‘shrink packs’ aimed at generating cut-through during the key summer period.

The strategy, said the company, revolves around tapping into the Aussie’s love of sports through collectable summer sports-themed packaging, featuring imagery from a range of sports including rugby, cricket, basketball, tennis, soccer and athletics.

The signature packs are signed by sporting legends and Powerade Ambassadors Greg Inglis, Mitchell Johnson and Andrew Bogut.

Appearing from early November, the limited edition packs will be promoted in-store at point-of-sale and supported on social media channels in the build up to summer.

As the summer sport season kicks off, the campaign will be boosted through outdoor media calling on consumers to ‘Smash the Sweat’.

Sarah Illy, Brand Activation Manager, Powerade, said: “We all love an Aussie summer, but with the hot, sticky conditions it becomes even more important to stay hydrated. So this summer we are challenging people to ‘Smash the Sweat’. Being a sports-obsessed nation, we decided to tap into that trend through our collectable sport-themed packs to encourage people to be active and stay hydrated.”

“The limited edition bottles have been inspired by Australian sporting legends with the objective of keeping Powerade ION4 top of mind for rehydration needs. Powerade ION4… is scientifically formulated to help replace four of the electrolytes lost in sweat and is an ideal way to ‘Smash the Sweat’ this summer,” said Illy.

 

Tomra acquires Compac for A$65m

Norway’s Tomra Systems has agreed to a buyout deal of NZ$70m (A$65m) for Kiwi fruit sorting company Compac Holdings.

The 100 per cent acquisition of the Auckland based packhouse automation systems maker by Tomra will see it expand extend its global operations.

The deal is subject to Overseas Investment Office approval and is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

“Market forces have driven double-digit growth at Compac over recent years, and we have rapidly become a global business from humble New Zealand roots,” Compac chief executive Mike Riley said.

He also added that the merger will see Compac being able to meet the increasing demands for their products and services in a more “scalable and operationally efficient manner”. Executive vice president and head of Tomra sorting Volker Rehrmann explained,

“Compac serves complimentary food sorting markets, which is a very welcome addition to the Tomra sorting food business. We see our customers’ needs evolving and with our complementary solutions and an increased ability to leverage our combined food sorting technologies, we are ready to meet future customer needs.”

Despite the acquisition, Compac’s leadership will stay in place in the new structure, operating as a standalone entity while Tomra will still continue to offer its existing product portfolio.

Tomra has also said it will continue to invest in Compac’s R&D activities as the Norwegian group’s “centre of excellence for lane sorting” worldwide.

South Australia banking on a brandy re-branding

Making brandy cool again and appealing to millennials with a growing appreciation for boutique spirits are the goals of a new distillery opened today by a leading Australian beverage company.

Bickford’s Australia has launched a craft range of spirits under the 23rd Street label at a reinvented distillery in South Australia’s Riverland.

The 23rd St Distillery, on the street of the same name in the town of Renmark, has launched two brandies, a gin and a hybrid whisky.

The former Renmano distillery will also produce craft spirits under its own label as well as well-known Australian label Black Bottle Brandy, Australia’s second biggest brandy brand.

It is about a kilometre away from the St Agnes distillery, the maker of Australia’s biggest selling brandy.

Bickford’s, established in South Australia in 1874 and historically known for its cordials and syrups, has grown strongly into the alcoholic beverage market in recent years.

It bought VOK Beverages in 2002 and has steadily built up a portfolio of well-known spirits brands including Beenleigh Rum, Real McCoy, El Toro and Vickers Gin.

It bought the Black Bottle Brandy label from Accolade in 2011 and has until now been making it out of its Beenleigh Rum distillery in Queensland. Vickers Gin and the new premium Black Bottle Very Special Australian Brandy will also be produced at the new Renmark distillery, which is about 260km northeast of the South Australian capital Adelaide.

Bickford’s bought the Renmark site from Accolade Wines in 2014 after receiving more than $2 million in Riverland Sustainable Futures Funding towards the establishment of a spirit distillery in the region.

The 23rd Street Distillery is the result of a $6.6-million transformation and rejuvenation of the century-old landmark.

“With research suggesting the younger millennials are a discerning generation looking to bring quality and premium products into their repertoire, our focus is very much on boutique products of exceptional body and taste,” 23rd Street Distillery’s Head Distiller, Graham Buller said.

“We’re blending our distilling knowledge and expertise – along with all the delicious local produce of the Riverland on our doorstep and those of the Adelaide Hills just a few hundred kilometres away – to create fun, exciting and prime sprits for the liberated palate.”

The new generation 23rd Street Not Your Nanna’s Brandy (AU $50) has spent two years ex- Chardonnay oak barrels to impart rich colour, smoothness and length.

It is described as having vanillin sweetness on the front palate that gives way to vivacious honey and apricot flavours before finishing with soft oak spiciness. It’s a brandy with a new flavour profile and proposition the distillery hopes will encourage a new, younger breed to the category.

Buller describes 23rd Street Prime 5 brandy (AU$80) as “the ultimate in refined character” and “a rich and complex fruitcake-in-a-glass”. Aged up to eight years, portions of traditional double pot distilled liquor deliver sophisticated richness and roundness which, combined with portions distilled by the single pot process, add liveliness to an outstanding limited edition craft brandy.

For the brand’s Signature Gin (A$80), Buller individually infuses 10 botanicals – including traditional juniper and coriander – and complements them with invigorating freshness from local mandarins and limes to create what he terms “a layered palate and full-bodied mouthfeel”.

The hybrid whiskey is, in Buller’s words, “the realisation of my dream to achieve the best of both worlds and create the perfect blend of scotch and bourbon whiskies”.

The barrels of Scotch and American bourbon – each with an average of five years’ individual maturation – are returned to bourbon barrels for finishing.

The new premium Black Bottle Very Special Australian Brandy is a blend of double and single pot distillation and matured for an average of eight years in a mix of French and American oak.

“We will also look to be creative and inventive, introducing new tastes and flavour combinations to the craft spirits industry that particularly resonate with millennials seeking maximum enjoyment by satisfying their sensory pleasures of savoury and sweet, bright and smooth, contradictory yet united,” Buller said.

“In addition, we hope to reignite brandy, give it a healthy dose of cool and engage consumers with a drink they thought was only for their nannas.”

Bickford’s Group Owner and Managing Director Angelo Kotses said the distillery was a chance for the company become a player in Australia’s booming craft spirits industry and leverage export markets.

“We looked at the international model where cognac all of a sudden became cool and consumption went up and markets such as Asia grew dramatically so it was an ideal time to look at that whole category again,” he said.

“Suddenly Renmark has become the centre of brandy in Australia and what we want to do is build the pie rather than take share from anyone else.

The new distillery’s production will centre on three restored vintage copper pot stills with the capacity to produce around 1500 litres – or about 11 barrels – of matured spirit during each run, positioning 23rd Street Distillery as Australia’s leading family-owned producer of branded spirits.

Kotses said having the marketing arm and manufacturing experience of a large beverage company, sufficient scale and existing buyers on hand globally was a boost for the new brands.

“What we’re seeing is the craft spirits guys can’t produce enough volume because of the equipment size and style,” he said.

“We’ve got this nice space where we can take advantage of scale and that also gives you a great quality product on a consistent basis that sometimes you can’t get with a small still.”

Published with approval from The Lead

Manuka Honey makers all abuzz over poor imitations

With Manuka Honey top of the ‘must buy’ list for health and beauty benefits, consumers need to be sure that what they are buying is the genuine article, said a major Manuka Honey industry body today.

In response to their fears of counterfeit products, the guardian of New Zealand’s leading quality mark for genuine Manuka Honey – UMF – has come up with an online solution.

The NZ-based UMF Honey Association (UMFHA) has now launched a service on its website that carries a full list of names of licence-holders that can be easily checked for via a handy search function.

It has been designed for users to ensure they can now easily check the company name on product using just about any smartphone.

Overall, over 90 companies are licensed to use the UMF quality mark which represents the purity and quality of Manuka Honey.

The UMF classification and grading system is internationally recognised as the hallmark of premium Manuka Honey.

Keeping Modern (Food) Manufacturing Secure

In the classic factory of the 1950s, security was simple. Managers strolled from their offices on a floor that towered over plant activity, closely observing whether shift crews below were doing what they were supposed to do.

Because employees knew the eyes of a supervisor may be upon them at any time, they were less inclined to cheat the system – such as slipping any of the company’s property or product into their pockets, or sabotaging a machine out of spite. And motives were, on the whole, aligned: what was good for the business was good for everyone involved.

Fast-forward six decades and it’s a different story. With advancements in information and communications technology, the manufacturing industry has undergone significant transformation.

Today, manufacturing employees are more likely to operate advanced technology from their computers and mobile devices, rather than undertake physical work. They are empowered to connect remotely, set their own hours and even self-determine how to effectively perform assigned duties.

As opposed to their factory counterparts of prior generations, their tools aren’t welding machines, circular saws and drills; they’re tablets, smartphones and thumb drives. They don’t follow instructions from an assembly book stocked on a shelf; all best practices/guidance are stored in files on a server.

But that’s also where an abundance of sensitive, proprietary data about customers is kept, as well as information about electronic payments to both suppliers and workers.

With the rapid rise of sophistication and autonomy, it’s clear that something important has been lost: the protective eyes on the floor. And this has security implications for both the insider threat and external cyber security threats.

The Insider Threat

Years ago, those eyes made it more difficult for a disgruntled crew member to surreptitiously slip a blueprint into his lunchbox.

Today, it’s much easier for the same worker – perhaps unhappy after years of stagnant career progression – to abruptly quit, transfer the entire R&D library onto a thumb drive and deliver the stolen information to a competitor.

Without proper monitoring and auditing controls in place, the current level of empowerment – which ultimately serves a positive, productive purpose for organisations – can be abused.

That’s not good for the enterprise, and it’s not good for employees. But it’s fairly unfeasible to “watch” over everything when there are so many employees now connecting to manufacturing systems both inside and outside a traditional factory environment. Toss in an expanding influx of contractors, partners and other non-staff enterprise users, and you invite additional risk.

Especially since many of these parties aren’t vetted to the same degree of scrutiny as full-time personnel. It’s worth noting here that not all security breaches are the result of a malicious insider.

Personnel or contractors may play the role of the unintentional insider where they can be ‘tricked’ into downloading malware and introducing this into the network.

Or they can lapse into sloppy habits, such as sending corporate materials to their home computers on vulnerable, private email accounts.

Of course, they can also outright lose things (devices, USB flash drives, etc.) which can end up in the wrong hands.

To combat the insider threat, manufacturers need to empower the organisation to better protect the information and data that helps make it profitable. Whilst it’s important to give employees the latitude they need to do their jobs the business also needs to retain visibility into their actions.

A robust security measure that is able to do this includes three important pillars:

1. Data capture – implementing a lightweight endpoint agent can capture data without disrupting user productivity. A system like this can monitor the data’s location and movement, as well as the actions of users who access, alter and transport the data. Collected user data can be viewed as a video replay that displays keys typed, mouse movements, documents opened or websites visited. This unique capability provides irrefutable and unambiguous attribution of end-user activity.

2. Behavioural audit – understanding how employees act will help pinpoint unusual or suspect behaviour enabling closer monitoring for those deemed high risk.

3. Focused investigation – if a clear violation is detected it’s important to pinpoint specific events or users so you can assess the severity of the threat, remediate the problem and create new policies to stop it happening again.

The Outside Threat

With significant changes to the manufacturing landscape businesses also face significant threats from outside criminals. Over the last decade there has been huge uptake of technology and online systems to create new efficiencies and improve operational effectiveness through the sharing of information.

However with every opportunity comes risk; and given the growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoTs) and big data it’s no surprise that cyber security has been elevated to one of manufacturers’ biggest risk factors. In fact, according to IBM, manufacturing was the second most targeted industry in the US for cyber-attacks in 2015.

So whilst networked products, known as IIoT in manufacturing, means there are virtually endless opportunities and connections that can take place between devices, it also means there are a number risks due to the growth in data and network entry points. In many cases, manufacturers have been quick to embrace the benefits of IIoT but still have some catching up to do in order to adequately protect their data, customers, products and factory floors.

Australian manufacturers need to consider multiple cyber security threats including factory threats, product threats and operational threats.

For example, if equipment controllers are not adequately secured it is possible for an outsider to attach malware ridden PCs to the OT network while performing routine maintenance. Similarly, manufacturers must take great care in preventing any products, like driverless cards or robotics, from being compromised as not all cyber-attacks are focused on the network but can also affect how a computer processor or piece of technology operates.

For manufacturers to fully realise the benefits of IIoT securely, it’s important they identify security weaknesses and put a process in place that can mitigate not just current but future risks.

This means any security system should be:

1. Simple and flexible – your security solution should be able to scale with your operations and be easy to use.

2. Unified – in today’s environment you’re likely to split IT functions between cloud and on-premise technologies to maximise the advantages of each approach. By implementing a unified solution you can eliminate the extra cost and duplicated work of systems that have separate management to consolidate cloud services and on-premises solutions in a single console with one visibility, policy and reporting system.

3. Fault tolerant – there’s no point in having a security system if it goes down when you need it most. Prevent interruptions in network security by having traffic rerouted to a trusted partner in the event that a security appliance goes offline.

Ultimately, even though the threat of cyber-attacks in manufacturing is a reality, there are multiple ways Australian businesses can move forward without fear.

 

 

Forcepoint

www.forcepoint.com

 

 

 

Bundy Rum gets all fancy with its new Master Distillers’ collection

The Bundaberg Distilling Company (BDC), Australia’s most awarded rum distillery has released the limited edition Bundaberg Rum Master Distillers’ Collection (MDC) Solera, and the highly anticipated return of Bundaberg Rum Black.

Launching at The Spirit of Bundaberg Festival on the 15th October, Bundaberg Rum Solera is a celebration of the modern era of premium rum.

Rich and bold, it has been instilled with notes of vanilla, fruitcake and butterscotch, making it a well-balanced treat for the palate, according to the company.

One of the most complex rums the company has ever created, Bundaberg Rum Solera is named after the fractional blending and maturation process it uses in order to achieve its unique flavour profile.

Senior Brand Manager for Bundaberg Rum, Duncan Littler, said: “The Bundaberg Distilling Company was always going to have big shoes to fill in 2016, following Bundaberg Blenders Edition 2015 winning the World’s Best Rum earlier this year. Bundaberg Rum Solera has delivered perfectly – it is as sophisticated as it is bold – and it is an exceptional addition to our Master Distillers’ Collection.”

As with previous MDC releases, each bottle of Bundaberg Rum Solera carries a unique bottle number, making it the perfect addition for any collector/collection.

Also making a return at The Spirit of Bundaberg Festival is the legendary Bundaberg Rum Black.

One of the first drops from Bundaberg Rum to be aged for 12 years, it pioneered the notion of premium rum in Australia when first released in 1995.

The process of ageing this legendary rum for 12 years gives it notes of rich molasses, warming aromatic layers of clove and nutmeg, which develop into a raisin and honeyed oak finish.

“Bundaberg Rum Black has always been a favourite amongst our fans and we’re thrilled to be able to respond to that by bringing it back,” finishes Duncan.

Synchrotron plays key role in food sector research

The Australian Synchrotron in Melbourne is playing a critical role in research breakthroughs that benefit the food sector including biofortification of foods, assessing the effectiveness of food processing, and determining the nutritional impact of foods. Hartley Henderson writes.

This world-class facility uses accelerator technology to produce a powerful source of light (X-rays and infrared radiation) a million times brighter than the sun. The intense light produced is filtered and adjusted to travel into experimental work stations where the light beams reveal the innermost sub-microscopic secrets of materials under investigation.

Dr David Cookson at the Australian Synchrotron explains that basic ingredients in food are highly complex in nature – a ‘mish-mash’ of different proteins, starches, and fats, mixed together in a highly complex way.

“The Australian Synchrotron’s unique capacities and capabilities allow Australian researchers from across academia and industry to unravel these complexities by investigating materials at a molecular level to facilitate processing and production improvements. Longer-lasting products can be created, a better understanding of quality control can be generated, and certain nutritional characteristics can be boosted or reduced,” he told Food & Beverage Industry News.

“The reason the Australian Synchrotron is so important to any of these improvements is it provides highly accurate, objective data on any material modification, using the powerful X-ray beam to produce visualisations of unprecedented detail.

“For example, there is great opportunity in synchrotron food research related to dairy products. A team from CSIRO Food and Nutrition has used the Australian Synchrotron to examine the structure of casein micelles, which play a significant role in the ideal consistency and stabilisation of milk-based products.

“Understanding the nanostructure of micelles through the Small and Wide Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS/WAXS) beamline provided new understanding of how the size and number of micelles within a component of cow’s milk can affect how efficiently the milk is processed into products such as powdered milk and hard cheese.”

Rice projects

In a rice project currently underway, plant biologists have used gene technology to increase the amount of iron and zinc transported into the endosperm, the part of the rice grain that most people eat.

The Australian Synchrotron’s X-ray Fluorescence Microscopy (XFM) beamline was used to produce ‘metal maps’ that accurately track the diffusion of key nutrients such as iron and zinc at sub-micron resolution levels without damaging the rice grain’s internal structure.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0151.JPG

Dr Alex Johnson from the University of Melbourne’s School of BioSciences, who is the Australian lead of the project, says that white rice is very low in iron and that some 2 billion people suffer from iron and zinc deficiency.“The aim of the project, which is in part funded by HarvestPlus, is to develop a biofortified rice that is high in iron and zinc, demonstrating that by manipulating rice plant genes, rice plants can translocate more iron and zinc to the endosperm,” he said.

“When rice is milled it loses the outer layers of the grain where much of iron and zinc is located, but the powerful synchrotron was able to show that the nutrients were translocated deeper in the part of the grain that is not affected by milling.

“The biofortified rice that we developed in the project has now been successfully tested in the Philippines and Columbia under highly controlled conditions. HarvestPlus is now seeking funding to further develop and de-regulate this transgenic rice for sale to farmers, possibly in Bangladesh, and possibly in five years from now if these research activities go well.

“Most staple crop foods have low iron content, so there are significant opportunities to further utilise the synchrotron to show the extent and location of nutrients in additional grain crops such as wheat.”

Director of HarvestPlus, Dr Howarth Bouis, recently won the World Food Prize for his team’s pioneering work in addressing the global problem of micronutrient deficiencies, known as hidden hunger, through biofortification.

He says malnutrition amongst poor people is a serious public health problem because they can afford to eat the basic food staples but do not have enough income to buy non-staple foods which have higher levels of minerals and vitamins. As a result, many suffer from inadequate intakes which cause serious health problems.

“It is cost-effective to breed nutrients into staple crops to address mineral and vitamin deficiencies. With respect to iron in rice, we were unsuccessful in using conventional breeding techniques, but we have been able to do this by using a transgenic approach to increase the iron in rice, with the bonus of also increasing the zinc content,” he told Food & Beverage Industry News.

“We have already released over 150 conventionally-bred varieties across twelve biofortified crops in 30 countries, and are testing these varieties in an additional 25 countries around the world. We are hopeful that as many as 1 billion people will benefit from biofortified foods by 2030. High iron and zinc transgenic rice eventually could contribute significantly to this ambitious goal.”

In another rice project, researchers from the NSW Department of Primary Industries have used the Australian Synchrotron to compare parboiling techniques, showing that longer parboiling processes at higher temperatures cause more micronutrients to migrate from the outer bran layer into the starchy core of the grain.

Dr Laura Pallas, Rice Chemist at the NSW DPI, says changing global rice processing and eating habits is an enormous task. “There are deeply entrenched expectations across various cultures around desired texture consistency and flavour, including different approaches to parboiling and cooking,” she said.

“Advances in this area are important because rice is the closest thing we have to a global dish and it is gluten free and a good source of complex carbohydrates.”

Meat quality

The quality of meat, such as tenderness and intramuscular fat in lamb, is currently graded by mechanical and chemical tests, but obtaining that information in a more timely way in the abattoir has eluded the meat processing sector.

Therefore, the Australian Synchrotron has been involved in a research project to provide information on meat quality aspects such as tenderness and intramuscular fat content.

The project was led by the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Agriculture Victoria Division (Dr Eric Ponnampalam), in collaboration with the NSW Department of Primary Industries (Dr David Hopkins), the University of Melbourne (Prof Frank Dunshea) and the Australian Synchrotron (Dr Nigel Kirby).

Drs Ponnampalam and Hopkins say the research is exploring new approaches to measuring meat quality that may have applicability within the processing sector, thereby providing rapid information on the suitability of meat to different sectors of the supply chain.

“The Synchrotron’s Small Angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS) beamline technology was used to investigate differences in muscle fibre and/or fat, which can influence the eating quality of meat,” they said.

“The project results demonstrate that these technologies could be powerful research tools in the future to determine not only the structural components of muscle, but also the composition of muscle relating to eating quality traits of meat.

“In addition, the synchrotron SAXS beamline technology presents a promising opportunity to determine carcase toughness or tenderness and relative fat content and could be a useful experimental tool, overcoming the need for destructive sampling techniques.” They said the method requires significant further development to be utilised in the processing sector.

 

Australian Synchrotron

03 8540 4100

www.synchrotron.org.au

Here’s the clever chemistry that can stop your food rotting

A hotel in Reykjavík has on display a McDonald’s burger and fries, seemingly undecomposed after 2,512 days – and counting. It was bought on October 30, 2009, the day that the last McDonald’s in Iceland closed. But you don’t have to go to Reykjavík to see it: it has its own webcam so you can watch it from your armchair.

What makes this meal so long-lived? Well, I haven’t examined this particular burger myself, but chemical reactions cause food to decay – and understanding them can help us to keep food better and for longer.

Let’s start with uncooked rice – in many peoples’ minds it’s a foodstuff that will keep for a long while. Experts reckon that polished white rice will keep for 30 years when properly sealed and stored in a cool, dry place. This means in an airtight container with oxygen absorbers that remove the gas that can oxidise molecules in the rice.

Hotter food goes off faster; as you may remember from school science lessons, chemical reactions are faster at high temperatures because hotter molecules have more energy and so are more likely to react when they collide. It’s one reason we have fridges. But there is a limit. Above a certain temperature (approximately 50-100°C), the enzymes in a bacterium get denatured – their “active site”, where its catalytic activity happens and it binds to molecules to carry out reactions on them, loses its shape and can no longer carry out reactions.

Back in the 19th century, Louis Pasteur invented the process that bears his name. Pasteurisation kills the bacteria that make food go off and today this is applied mainly to milk. Milk that has been pasteurised by heating to just over 70°C will keep for two to three weeks when refrigerated, while UHT milk, made by heating to 140°C, will keep in airtight, sterile containers for up to nine months. Raw milk left in the fridge would last only a few days.

Living off the land

The short life of food was the reason that medieval armies “lived off the land” by scavenging, but in 1809 a Frenchman named Nicholas Appert won a prize offered by his government for a process for preserving food. He showed that food sealed inside a container to exclude air and then cooked to a high enough temperature to kill microbes such as Clostridium botulinum kept for a long time.

Clostridium botulinum bacteria.
Shutterstock

He’d invented canning, which came into widespread use, and not just for feeding armies and expeditions – it was immediately taken up by the civilian sector, too. Tinned food certainly works. Sir William Edward Parry, for example, took 26 tons of canned pea soup, beef and mutton with him in 1824 on his expedition to find the Northwest Passage. One of these mutton cans was opened in 1939 and found to be edible, if not very palatable.

Conversely, cold slows germ growth. Keeping food at around 5°C in a fridge slows microbial growth – but it doesn’t stop it. People living in very cold areas like the Arctic discovered this sooner, of course, without the need for fridges. And watching the Inuit fish under thick ice gave Clarence Birdseye the idea of fast-freezing food; this creates smaller ice crystals than ordinary freezing, resulting in less damage to cell walls, so the food not only keeps for longer but also tastes better.

Sugar and spice and all things nice

Beginning with communities in hotter regions like the Middle East, dried food has been around for thousands of years – the earliest cases are thought to date back to 12,000BC. Drying food, whether using the sun (and wind) or modern factory processes, removes water from the cells of the microbes that break down food. This stops them reproducing and ultimately kills them.

An extension of this is the use of salt (or sugar) to preserve food. While salt beef and pork may conjure up thoughts of the Royal Navy in the days of Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin – heroes of Patrick O’Brian’s Napoleonic novels – the process goes back much further than that.

Master and Commander: Aubrey and Maturin.

In the Middle Ages, salted fish like herring and cod were widely eaten in northern Europe, and fish was of course essential during Lent. The cells of microorganisms have walls that are permeable to water but not to salt. When the cell is in contact with salt, osmosis takes place, so water moves out of the cell in order to try to equalise the salt concentration inside and outside the cell, and eventually so much water is removed from the cell that it dies. No more bacteria.

Sugar has a similar effect, just think of fruit preserves, jam or jellies. Smoking also dries out food. Some of the molecules formed when wood is burned, like vanillin, will add flavour, while others, including formaldehyde and organic acids have preservative properties.

Freeze-drying is an up-to-date way of removing water from food, perhaps this is the kind of coffee that you use. Modern manufacturers are tapping into something that the Incas in the High Andes developed 2,000 years ago to prepare freeze-dried potatoes, known as chuño. The practice continues today. Potatoes are left out overnight, when freezing temperatures are guaranteed, then they trample on them, bare-footed, to mash them up. The blistering sun then completes the job – you have a food that will keep for months, food either for the Inca armies or the peasants of Bolivia and Peru.

Turmeric: hidden powers.
Shutterstock

How about spices? Well, both onion and garlic have antimicrobial properties. There is evidence that the use of spices in warmer climates is linked with their antimicrobial properties, so adding them to food can help preserve it.

The antibacterial activity of some spices, notably cinnamon and coriander, is probably due to the aldehydes – reactive molecules containing a –CHO group, formed by oxidising alcohols and including hexenal, the molecule we smell when grass is freshly cut – they contain.

The spice that has got most attention is turmeric, made from the roots of a plant in the ginger family, Curcuma longa, and particularly a molecule it contains, called curcumin. Turmeric was used in food in the Indus valley over 4,000 years ago, as well as in medicine. Today, it may be a useful lead molecule against Alzheimer’s disease, as well as possibly interfering with various signalling pathways implicated in cancers.

So there is sound science behind the processes used to preserve food and some of these substances may have hidden benefits to our health. That hamburger in Iceland, however, remains a mystery. There certainly have been plenty of media stories trying to get the bottom of its apparent immortality – but the only way to be sure would be to subject it to rigorous scientific enquiry. Perhaps I’ll book my flight.

The Conversation

Simon Cotton, Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, University of Birmingham

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Top image: Shutterstock

 

Sacmi beverage & packaging plans to conquer Asia

Sacmi Group, a plant engineering provider to Indonesian industry will be attending the Plastic & Rubber Indonesia (Jakarta, 16-19 November 2016) to show existing and potential customers its comprehensive solutions range, which has improved in terms of product versatility and process automation.

Thanks to decades of experience developed in the closures field, Sacmi is able to provide all the intrinsic advantages of a technology with outstanding productivity and the lowest energy consumption on the market.

It was, in fact, starting from this technology that Sacmi successfully developed applications such as the new high quality, ultra-light containers obtained with compression blow forming.

Sacmi’s modular labellers designed to work efficiently and in parallel across multiple technologies and labelling systems go hand in hand with a full range of solutions that ensure total quality control on the production line, at every stage of cap, preform, label and primary packaging production.

Designed and developed by the Group’s Automation & Service Division.

These systems are equipped with high-definition image acquisition devices and advanced software to ensure all-round high-speed product quality control, directly on the line.

Sacmi also provides an efficient parts service via its two companies in Indonesia.