Providing performance for the Hunter Valley

Powerlift Nissan has long been associated with the Hunter Valley where a growing number of wineries rely on Nissan forklifts to manage various roles within their operations.

“I’ve been supplying forklifts to the Hunter Region for many years now,” said Powerlift Nissan Newcastle’s Allan Peacock, “and the first thing that strikes you is the down to earth nature and openness of the people in discussing all things relating to wine. Although there is competition, every winery has its niche and each is happy for their neighbour to succeed, there is a real sense of community. Of course they all talk and compare notes about the equipment they operate including the forklifts, so you have to be very service driven if you want to keep hold of the business.”

Scarborough Wine Co. is a family business and the winery produced its first vintage in 1987.

Jeremy Scarborough is Winemaker and General Manager and has been with the business for seven years, having worked for a number of other wineries after leaving school.

“We are at the big end of small for a Hunter winery, producing between 16,000 to 18,000 cases a year. 80% of our wine is Chardonnay of which we produce three different styles as well as a Shiraz, Pinot Noir and other ranges,” said Scarborough.

“50% of our wines are sold though the cellar door and 50% is wholesale, where we distribute direct to bottle shops and major customers mainly up and down the east coast.

“We’ve been operating a 1998, 2.5 tonne Nissan forklift for about 8 or 9 years now and it’s proved to be a good reliable machine. Initially we rented it for 2 years and then decided to buy.

“For a winery of our size, we work it pretty hard, 7 days a week in vintage and 5 days a week out of vintage. We use it for loading and unloading trucks, lifting and shifting grape bins and also for barrel work. We have 1000 barrels in two racks and each barrel has to be moved every 4 weeks so it gets a fair work out, but we haven’t managed to break it! It’s really reliable and our guys prefer to drive it over our other forklift brand”.

“We also get excellent service and support from the Powerlift Nissan Newcastle guys; they fit in with our schedule. They let us know when the service is due and the fork lift keeps doing its thing. We did have a drama when the gear shift cable broke but the service guy was here with the right part and we were back up and running within two hours, that’s service!,” concluded Scarborough.

Tempus Two Winery’s Winemaker, Liz Jackson, explains that her winery is “one of the medium sized producers on the Hunter, producing about 100,000 cases a year. We produce Semillon Chardonnays, Verdelhos and Shirazes from our own grapes but we also source premium grapes from other regions.

“We’ve been operating a LX series Nissan since November 2007. It’s fitted with non-marking tyres with a fuel injection system and catalytic converter which come as standard. Operating around bins of fruit and wine barrels we are mindful of keeping emissions to an absolute minimum,” she said.

“We also have one of the busiest cellar doors in terms of volume, so consequently our warehouse is very busy. We don’t have a large warehouse so the forklift is expected to work in confined areas. The operators find the controls very precise and it’s very manoeuvrable”.

There’s also a major entertainment facility within the winery complex and Nissan forklifts are sometimes required to help with the logistics relating to the event.

“For a recent event we realised we were going to need a forklift on short term hire and phoned Allan at Powerlift Nissan Newcastle. He had a unit out to us within two hours. We’ve known Allan for a while, we know he’ll do the right thing by us so we stick pretty close to him,” said Jackson.

“This is the only forklift we operate so we have to be sure that it is there for us every time, that’s why we’ve chosen a Nissan,” she concluded.

Tower Estate has been producing wines since 1999. It specialises in premium wines produced from fruit grown on its own vineyard as well as fruit sourced from around the country. Tower Estate crushes 200 to 250 tonnes of fruit a year and produces 10,000 cases.

According to Assistant Winemaker Jeff Byrne, their Nissan is probably the most integral piece of machinery in the winery.

“When you look at our forklift, it’s absolutely integral to the efficient running of this operation. It’s involved in every area of the business from lifting 2 tonne pots of fruit at harvest time, picking and tipping bins, truck loading and unloading and moving pallets of finished product,” said Byrne.

“And when you look at the value of the product it’s carrying, empty barrels cost $1,200 and full barrels contain 300 bottles at $30.00 per bottle, an accident can prove very costly.”

“The forklift was brand new in 1999 and came painted in the Tower Estate livery, (but) it’s had a fair work out since then,” he said. “It’s been a fantastic machine and does the job with the minimum of fuss. It’s reliable and we rarely have any problems with it.

“Being our only forklift we can’t afford any downtime so we rely on the guys from Powerlift Nissan Newcastle to manage the servicing of the forklift which they do with the minimum of disruption to us. Ideally we’d like a brand new Nissan and keep this one as a back up, maybe one day!” he said.

For further information contact:

Powerlift Nissan Newcastle

nswsales@powerlift.com.au

www.powerlift.com.au

www.scarboroughwine.com.au

www.tempustwowinery.com.au

www.towerestatewines.com.au

The future of coding

The advent of bar codes 30-odd years ago indelibly changed supply chains. Today, technology advances are not so radical, but the data they can offer a company can radically change how that company understands its business.

Matthews’ Identification Systems group (IDS) manager Mark Dingley, describes changes now in marking and coding as an “evolution”, rather than a “revolution”.

“Changes now increasingly facilitate integration and ease of use of equipment, ensuring different points of information application are co-ordinated. For instance, inputting information at a central point, ensures a seamless, accurate information matrix, and eliminates the possibility of human error on the production line.

“Many other benefits also flow from all devices being linked back to a central PC via Ethernet cable or wireless — and such devices can include primary coding equipment, primary scan or database lookups, generic carton coding gear, SSCC label printers and so on. Code formats can be downloaded to all devices, with all equipment set up with one action, from the same database.

“EPC – or RFID – is another area where we are seeing incremental change. The development of smart labels, for instance, and improvements within that technology, have seen their applications expand.

“For example, at Auspack 2001, Matthews demonstrated an RFID Label Print and Apply machine on our stand – Australia’s first RFID-ready printer. At the time, RFID ‘smart labels’ cost $5US each, and there was precious little interest in this technology for FMCG applications. A year later at Interpack 2002 in Germany, scouring 15 exhibition halls revealed one solitary stand displaying a smart label – the only item related to RFID – and it was locked behind glass!

“Step forward to 2004, and at Pack Expo in Chicago, an entire exhibition hall was dedicated to RFID; while at the most recent Interpack, hundreds of companies exhibited their RFID solutions.

Dingley goes on to explain that “The length of time this technology has been in the market naturally has its associated downward impact on cost. They no longer cost $5US each, which also aids in technology uptake. Due to strong demand, we recently ran a series of live demonstrations of our EPC/RFID solutions, including our fully integrated IDSnet ‘RFID-ready’ software solution.

“Pleasingly, because this is what we have always pushed, businesses are increasingly looking to these systems for the business intelligence they offer, not just for compliance. Evolution in middleware, which Matthews constantly researches, helps here too.”

Knowledge gains also expand application breadth.

“Knowing that businesses need to fully integrate their production line to their ERP systems, allows them to extract the key value from EPC.”

But don’t think bar codes are dying – far from it.

“New application areas for bar coding are most certainly still evolving,” Mark says. “Until relatively recently, most supply chain applications of bar codes had been confined to the long-life and dry goods area. Now there’s a focus on chilled and dairy products to adopt bar code identification standards for logistics and traded unit items, which have now been in place for many years within the long life food and consumer goods sector.”

Other bar code evolutions include 2D bar coding, which allows more information to be encoded on a much smaller physical area. A good application here is with small container items, where there’s the possibility to provide increased detailed data – say of ingredients in the case of pharmaceutical products.

“Matthews also works closely with GS1 to add more value in delivering innovative supply-chain solutions to members, industry and government organisations,” continues Mark. “In recent years, we have been delivering innovative implementations of the EAN.UCC system protocols – such as interfacing with major ERP systems to gather critical real-time data to use on SSCC pallet-labelling stations. GS1 has told us it sees what we are doing here as a practical application of higher-level logistics solutions.

“Our alliance with both GS1 and the Automatic Data Capture Association support our industry awareness of bar coding and what is required to deliver innovative solutions, so we’re at the leading edge of bar coding.

“We’ve also found that our research into middleware drives our work. The future of coding will be in that: the software, the automation, the engineering, the overall installation – all this enables turnkey capability. And that, allows coding to be the gateway to global commerce, through data synchronisation and information flow.”

For more information contact:

Matthews Intelligent Identification

1800 333 074

info@matthews.com.au

www.matthews.com.au

Mobile warehouse cuts times-to-market

Trucks and other road and transport have always been an important element in Australia’s materials handling and logistics industry. As a result the drivers have continued to face increasing pressure to beat the clock and keep handling times down.

Often the reason for urgency is poorly planned or poorly managed warehouse facilities, which increase times to market and put needless pressure on these road carriers.

Australian materials handling specialist, Industrial Conveying (Aust) Pty Ltd, is now ‘fusing’ warehouse and truck operations to expedite stock movement.

The company’s Managing Director, Mr Done Erskine, says the smart operator will know how to fuse warehouse and transport aspects of the business to make use of the expediency of road freight.

“There is high importance to ensure that your road freight carriage in fact becomes the primary source of storage, basically making it a mobile warehouse,” said Erskine.

“Very few companies are utilising this train of thought – in fact they are not even recognising the potential for this to be done.

“When you study official figures on Australian road transport, it is quite obvious that trucks move the majority of the country’s freight, so business managers and owners may need to be just their thinking completely.

“They must consider making trucks the main source of storage and consequently setup materials handling and loading to service it accordingly.”

According to a recent report from the Australian Logistics Council, 75% of Australia’s domestic freight is carried by the trucking industry.

This report shows the trucking industry carried 2,148 million tonnes of freight in 2004-05. It was 75 per cent of the 2,866 million tonnes of domestic freight that was carried in Australia.

The rail system handled only 664 million tonnes, or 23% of the total, with the remainder carried by air and sea.

Road transport accounted for 37.5% of Australia’s freight task in 2004-05, with rail accounting for 35.9% and sea transport accounting for 22.1%.

“But with an optimised materials handling system put in place, smart companies, instead of storing stock on the premises for an indefinite period, rarely have to see their goods,” said Erskine.

“Instead, they use a clever materials transfer system on their site that instantly moves goods from incoming to outgoing without storage, or they have equipped their transport carrier with appropriate systems to load and unload palletised or non-palletised product and transport it directly to their clients without warehousing.

“This new approach is bettering supply chain standards and eliminating double handling and storage time that costs business in so many ways.”

Firstly, with floor charges per metre continually rising, the elimination of reliance on warehousing is an automatic, and enormous, cost saving.

Reduction in multi handling of stock also reduces time and operating costs and ensures smoother movement of product from manufacturing base or bond store to the customer.

In the case of perishables, reduction in supply chain steps can only be of benefit to handlers of products with limited shelf life.

“Our involvement in this type of materials handling solution was sparked by a growing call from the industry (saying) that warehouse consolidation alone does not adequately reduce running costs,” explained Erskine.

“It was clear a step had to be taken out of the materials handling sequence to provide a leaner level of operation for many Australian companies.

“That has allowed us to develop fixed and purpose-built systems for a demanding market serious about making transport systems a de-facto storage solution.”

Using its existing product and technologies alongside solution-specific developments, ICA is currently developing several turnkey projects for Australian companies undertaking this cultural change.

Among these technologies are:

  • Automated transport loading and unloading systems including handling unit loads or complete truck loads;
  • Pallet handing systems such as multi-lane palletising equipment, to organise truck loads ready for dispatch;
  • Elevators and spiral conveyors for non-palletised goods transfer between different floor levels, powered roller conveyors and lift tables.

For more information contact:

Don Erskine

Industrial Conveying (Aust) Pty Ltd.

03 5440 5100

icaust@icaust.com.au

www.icaust.com

NMI approved in-motion weighing system

Scale Components announced the launch of the Australian National Measurement Institute (NMI) Pattern/Type Approved SC4000 in-motion catchweighing system this week.

The SC4000 is designed for dynamic in-line catchweighing applications in an extensive range of transportation, distribution, logistics, packaging and general process weighing installations. NMI approval enables the SC4000 to be certified for legal trade measurement.

According to Scale Components Product Manager, Ray Chappelow, catch weighing is the term used in legal metrology by trade measurement authorities to describe an automatic weighing instrument that determines the mass of discrete items (for example freight items) that are transferred across the weight receptor (scale).

“In layman’s terms, this means capturing the weight of a product as it passes across the scale,” Chappelow said.

“The SC4000 is available in various configurations for the transportation, distribution, logistics and packaging industries as well as many other industries. A stainless steel version is available for food, beverage and other industries that require this standard.”

The SC4000 is NMI Approved for conveyor speeds of up to 60 metres per minute and weighing capacities of up to 60 kg. A Systec IT8000 stainless steel weighing terminal is used as the digital weight display.

The SC4000 can be included in many value-oriented solutions to capture and process dynamic weight information. This information can be combined with automatic barcode information such as consignment or tracking number and dimension information from one of the company’s many dimensioning systems to provide a turnkey data capture solution.

“Our distribution, logistics and transport customers derive real value from these dynamic weighing systems that are designed to be integrated into solutions for freight hubs or logistics and shipping systems. Scale Components have the right equipment to move your business forward,” concluded Chappelow.

For further information on contact:

Ray Chappelow

Scale Components

07 3274 1972

sales@scalecomponents.com

www.scalecomponents.com

AUTOMATICA 2008 expands further

Four months before it starts, AUTOMATICA 2008, the 3rd International Trade Fair for Automation, focusing on assembly and handling technology, robotics, machine vision and associated technologies (10 to 13 June 2008, New Munich Trade Fair Centre), is already well on course for expansion.

Currently over 31,500 square metres of exhibition space have been booked with AUTOMATICA coming to be seen as the sector’s leading international trade fair.

DENSO Europe BV Netherlands, Denso Robotics’ Sales and Marketing Manager, Bart Al, commented that: “We at DENSO Europe BV participate because we believe the AUTOMATICA is the most important platform in Europe for robotics manufacturers to show their latest developments. It allows us to meet all our buying and potential customers from all major industrial countries in the heart of Europe. The excellent logistics in the area of Munich by air and road, together with the wide range of accommodation, guarantee a good attendance of our customers. We have therefore chosen AUTOMATICA 2008 for launching a newly developed type of robot because we feel sure that here we will reach a very broad audience in a single forum.”

Research, too, is recognising more and more the opportunities that AUTOMATICA offers as an international platform. The research project SMErobotTM will be presented at AUTOMATICA 2008 for the first time. The aim of this EU-supported project is to create fundamentally new automation solutions for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies. In this project the five leading European robotics manufacturers are joining forces for the first time. The project is being coordinated by the Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung (IPA).

Progress platform for innovations and solutions

As a progress platform for the sector, AUTOMATICA takes place on a two-year cycle, the right frequency for the presentation of global launches and innovations for the manufacturing industry.

The clearly defined spectrum of products and services was developed in close cooperation with the robotics and automation industry. The key technologies of assembly and handling technology, robotics and machine vision form the core areas of the trade fair. The associated technologies are broken down into sections on positioning systems, drive technology, sensor technology, control systems technology, safety technology, supply technology, software, services and service providers and research and technology.

Trade visitors at this event find tailor-made automation solutions that respond to each production challenge with the optimum solution. Meaning not only the latest trends and innovations, but specific solutions that can further optimise the visitors´ own production processes.

High-quality accompanying programme

A high-ranking programme is being organised to accompany AUTOMATICA 2008. For the third time, the ‘Robotik’ congress is being held in parallel with AUTOMATICA. This congress, the largest trade congress organised by the VDI Wissensforum, takes place on 11 and 12 June 2008 at the ICM, International Congress Centre, adjacent to the exhibition centre. The main topics at Robotik 2008 will be industrial robots in production, robots used outside production and in new fields of applications, plus components, processes, systems and cognitive robots. Over 250 experts from the robotics sector are expected to attend.

Also taking place on 11 and 12 June 2008, in the ICM, is DAGM 2008 (Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Mustererkennung). This event is being organised by the Department of Man-Machine Communication of the Technical University of Munich. Gathered together at this event will be experts from research and industry, all engaging in interactive exchange on the future of industrial imaging.

At the ‘Innovations Platform Service Robotics’ over a dozen manufacturers, suppliers and respected research institutes from Europe and overseas, working in cooperation with the Fraunhofer IPA, will be showcasing the latest developments in international service robots. Trade visitors will be able to see the latest products, prototypes and components in the three theme areas, including: ‘Innovative components and new technical solutions for service robots’.

For further information please visit:

AUTOMATICA

www.automatica-munich.com

email: info@automatica-munich.com

DENSO Europe

www.denso-europe.com/default.aspx

Efficient dock loading/unloading technology

In the drive to optimise docks to maximise output from all loading and unloading activities, many companies are analysing their existing setup and revealing that more streamlining is often required.

Australian materials handling and logistics specialist Industrial Conveying (Aust) Pty Ltd is custom designing, manufacturing and installing a new line of cost-efficient technology for bulk loading (and unloading) of palletised product into shipping containers.

This development bolsters the company’s existing suite of dock loading systems that includes the unique Airlift, Airola, Airchain and Transkate systems that comprehensively utilise trucks at the delivery points.

These technologies are powered and allow efficient movement of stock to eliminate bottlenecks, double handling, and dormant freight and delivery delays.

With this new technology, the vehicle/container is raised to a correct height to enable efficient loading (and unloading) with powered docks. Skates for the dock are constructed to allow minimum sideways movement of the load.

Timeframes for handling have been reduced drastically, effectively handing the user a competitive advantage in its own industry sector.

Industrial Conveying has been calling for better recognition of the fact that transport vehicles themselves are largely overlooked as a unit of overall supply chain management that can be configured to suit the user’s purpose.

This new bulk loading system is designed to cater for 20ft and 40ft containers. During the handling process, vehicle/container docking alignment is controlled and verified electronically. Equipment controls are easy to use and minimal training is required.

The docks themselves are designed to both load and unload the containers. Being robust in design and construction, the technology easily copes with the demands of a 24/7 operation.

Applications range across all industry sectors. Loads are prepared on the loading dock whilst trucks are in transit. Once the truck arrives, the vehicle/container loading time is normally less than 5 minutes.

Managing Director of Industrial Conveying, Mr Don Erskine, says the new system increases the ‘smart’ utilisation of truck fleets during the loading and unloading process.

“Materials handling and supply chain management is much more than just warehouses, trucks and transport, it takes into account how all these aspects combine to make a complete handling spectrum,” said Erskine.

“By lessening the steps in product handling and the time associated with this, increased profit margins become the end result.

“Complete integration is the key to a successful outcome. Many companies are relying on a piecemeal approach, adding bits and pieces of solutions over time, yet the entire handling system can be fully integrated in one go to provide a smooth, lasting and very profitable logistics system.”

For more information visit www.icaust.com.au, or contact Don Erskine, Industrial Conveying (Aust) Pty Ltd on 03 5440 5100 or email icaust@icaust.com.au

Free tickets to Making Australia’s Future

Australian Made is giving away 50 free tickets to the Making Australia’s Future Conference at Melbourne University this November 29 – but you’ll have to get in quick!

The noon till evening conference is designed to provide engineers and strategists in Australia’s manufacturing sector with the best advice on pertinent industry issues.

The conference will feature highly practical presentations from the executives of some of Australia’s most successful manufacturing companies – from BlueScope Steel, Toyota, Cochlear, Hawker de Havilland and more.

Speakers

Cochlear senior vice president, manufacturing and logistics, Dig Howitt, will set out valuable action points on how Australian factories can establish and maintain a world-class culture of innovation.

Hawker de Havilland general manager for business development, Jo Staines will show manufacturers how to capitalise on opportunities in the international aerospace industry.

Barry Budge, Corporate Manage of Toyota’s Purchasing division will provide inside information to those manufacturers interested in doing more work as suppliers to the automotive industry.

ANCA executive turned consultant, Linsey Siede, will share his wisdom on how Aus¬tralian manufacturers can better design and build products for export. In his six years at ANCA, Siede’s responsibilities encompassed all of the compa¬ny’s global operations, including branches in the US, China, UK, Italy, Germany, Japan, Brazil, and Israel, and agents in more than 25 countries throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas.

Debate

A highlight of the afternoon will be a debate on the topic: “Going green is Australia’s greatest manufacturing opportunity today”.

Representing the affirmative case will be Jon Ward from Sustainability Victoria and Ian Young of the Manufacturing Best Practice Program.

They will oppose two of Australia’s most talented university debaters.

Question times after each of the presentations and networking into the evening will provide delegates opportunity to follow up on points of interest.

To claim your free ticket, click here.

TraceTech: free registration

Members of the food industry that have not already registered for tomorrow’s TraceTech conference can register today for free.

The supply chain and logistics event will take place from October 23 to 24 at the Australian Technology Park, Sydney, and will involve over 15 sessions by industry experts including:

Food & Agricultural Case Studies chaired by Nick Smale, CSIRO with Aaron Iori, Meat & Livestock Australia.

Logistics Sessions chaired by our own David Doherty, SCLAA and featuring Gerry Wind of CHEP, Renzo Bevinetto & Brett Armitage of IFC Global Logistics

Technology Sessions chaired by Frank Dorrian, RFIDba, with Sean Sloan GS1, and a panel with Scott Austin, Sunshine Technologies, Dave Ffowcs Williams Blackbay and Sean Sloan

Packaging Sessions chaired by Ray Chappelow FAIP, Scale Components with Mark Luft, AAIP – Dy-Mark, Phil Biggs, Matthews.

Cold Chain Sessions chaired by John Howell, RWTA with Colin Baskin, Comvita, Don Richardson Ceebron and Dr Nick Smale CSIRO.

For full details of the conference sessions or to register, click here.

www.tracetech.com.au

TraceTech presentations

Members of the food industry are invited to attend TraceTech, a two day conference and exhibition to inform and educate supply chain, transport and logistics managers about the benefits of improved traceability, held on October 23rd and 24th in Sydney.

Free keynote presentations during TraceTech by industry professionals will cover issues of traceability including why it is key to gaining a competitive advantage in the supply chain.

Presentation details:

presentation one

Topic: Why traceability is the key to unlocking value and gaining competitive advantage in your supply chain?

Presenter: Nicholas Tsougas, director, Insight Program (federal sector), Oracle Corporation.

When: Tuesday October 23, 10am.

Presenatation two

Topic: Track and trace in consumer electronics: improving traceability to deliver competitive advantage.

Presenter: Peter Djurichkovic, national logistics system manager, Canon Australia.

When: Tuesday October 23, 2pm.

Presentation three

Topic: Information flows across the supply chain.

Presenter: Brett Campbell, partner consulting, Deloitte Touche Tomatsu.

When: Wednesday October 24, 2pm.

Click here to register for TraceTech.

Ensuring cold chain safety and efficiency

A major development in Australia’s cold chain within the last five years has been the ability to remotely monitor the temperature of storage facilities and vehicles while in motion, ensuring food items are transported and stored correctly at all times.

According to the Refrigerated Warehouse and Transport Association of Australia, the accurate monitoring of products, product traceability, correct handling and on-time delivery and pick-up, are the main areas covered in the Cold Chain Code of Conduct that ensures perishable food items move along the supply chain safely and efficiently.

The ability to monitor temperature throughout the transport cycle is particularly important when it comes to traceability and accountability in the supply chain and knowing, or being able to prove, that a specific food item has been transported and stored at a certain temperature.

Monitoring equipment

According to Global Cold Chain Solutions, a cold chain service provider, challenges faced by the cold chain and food industry include the use of older temperature monitoring equipment and equipment not being calibrated or read correctly, presenting a higher risk of foods being stored at incorrect temperatures.

“From a basic thermometer to a sophisticated wireless monitoring system, food manufacturers and suppliers must ensure that equipment used can be calibrated to ensure it is always measuring accurately,” Global Cold Chain Solutions director Laura Wills said.

“It must also be ensured that a refrigeration unit bears the correct rating for the Australian climate, such as sub-tropical or tropical ratings, as some European brands and new, low-cost refrigeration units imported from Asia are unsuitable for Australian conditions.”

Global Cold Chain Solutions’ flash link wireless temperature monitoring system provides continuous monitoring and complete management reporting capabilities for temperature and humidity.

It meets HACCP, quality assurance standards and other regulatory guidelines for the maintenance of environmental monitoring records, offers non-restrictive sensor placements for areas including freezers and refrigerators, and requires no human intervention, resulting in significant labour savings and reductions in human errors.

Storage and transport solutions

Global Cold Chain Solutions also offers the food industry a range of temperature-control transport solutions, including wireless in-transit temperature monitoring and thermal insulated cold chain boxes for shipping small food samples or bulk shipments for domestic and international use.

The disposable cold chain boxes are made from high-density polyurethane, an effective thermal insulation material.

Combined with gel bricks that freeze at specific temperature points, the shipments do not require dry ice, which is classed as a hazardous item and attracts a handling charge when used.

Due to polyurethane’s light weight and the thickness of the insulation panels, fewer gel bricks are required than in polystyrene boxes, which are typically loaded with an excess quantity of gel packs.

“This means less weight, reduced distribution costs, and gives the box the ability to perform in challenging situations, such as extreme heat, for long periods of time,” Wills said.

Global Cold Chain Solutions also supplies reusable refrigerated boxes that, utilising Kodiak Thermal technologies, are able to protect perishable items without the use of dry ice or power.

Containing a phase-change refrigerant and patented temperature-regulating thermal switch, the Kodiak lid is frozen in a standard commercial freezer, and a green light indicates when the lid is fully frozen.

At this point the container is packed and the lid closed.

Being a temperature-regulating technology, the Kodiak will respond to any external temperature variances, maintaining internal temperatures for the duration of the shipment.

When the internal temperature rises above the mid-point of the specified temperature spectrum, the thermal switch connects the frozen refrigerant to the patented thermal shield surrounding the payload and cools the interior.

When the internal temperature falls below the mid-point of the specified temperature spectrum, the system isolates the payload from the refrigerant and the cooling stops, ensuring ultimate temperature control.

“The refrigerated boxes do more than just store frozen material, they regulate the temperature within the cold boxes and the vacuum insulation panels protect temperature-sensitive foodstuffs,” Wills said.

Traceability

As part of the suite of information technology they provide to clients, Swire Cold Storage, a cold-chain logistics service provider, operates the Translogix Sapphire Transport Management System and Swire Warehouse Inventory Management System across all its fleets and warehouses, providing customer-specific transport and warehouse services including electronic data interface, timely and accurate information, and instant trace and track capabilities.

“Traceability throughout the supply chain is increasingly important, particularly in a situation where there is a product recall and stock needs to be located and identified promptly,” Swire Cold Storage business development manager Stephen Lanham said.

Tailored cold storage facilities

Swire Cold Storage also provides clients with tailor-made solutions, collaborating with customers in storage facility design to ensure optimum efficiency.

The company’s facility located at Cannon Hill, in New South Wales, is linked via 230m of overhead refrigerated tunnel to an adjacent abattoir operated by Australian Country Choice, the main meat supplier to Coles supermarkets.

“We have created a unique paddock-to-plate solution where cattle is slaughtered at one end and a series of automated and highly safe processes are then employed to chill, freeze, sort and store products that are destined for local and export markets,” Lanham said.

While the cold chain may not be heavily regulated in Australia, standards including HACCP and the Food Standards Code, as well as quality assurance measures implemented by food companies themselves, set a mandate for food-safe practices in the industry and must be followed.

With transportation and storage of food items being an integral part of the supply chain, food companies must ensure that a high standard of refrigeration and monitoring equipment is met by the service provider.

Investing in dairy

Fonterra has announced the investment of $44 million to increase production capabili­ties across its eleven produc­tion sites in Australia.

The investment initiative comes out of Fonterra’s newly formed ANZ business unit, which brings together a num­ber of Australia and New Zealand food companies to strengthen the company’s abil­ity to develop innovative prod­ucts and drive growth in the dairy sector.

Fonterra’s upgrade of pro­duction technology, equipment and processes will enable it to meet consumer demands for top quality, convenient and nutritious food.

“A main focus of Fonterra Australia and New Zealand is to drive sustainable growth in the dairy sector by developing innovative products and dif­ferentiating ourselves from our competitors,” Fonterra gener­al manager operations and sup­ply chain Bruce Donnison said.

“This involves looking at the entire supply chain and devel­oping ways to maximise our infrastructure, enhance manu­facturing capabilities, logistics and warehousing solutions, packaging formats and shelf presentation.”

Over the next year a num­ber of capital projects will be undertaken to upgrade process control systems tech­nology, maximise plant output, minimise downtime and main­tain dairy food quality and integrity.

A $17 million upgrade of the company’s Darnum Park site in Victoria has extended its production capabilities to include nutritional and infant milk powders. A new milk dryer enables the site to produce up to 6.5 tonnes of milk powder/hour and high-speed product pack­ing lines are able fill 10 tonnes of milk powder/hour.

“This is an example of build­ing production infrastructure that is efficient, flexible and meets consumer needs,” Donnison said.

“The nutritional baby food products will service the South East Asian market.”

A new milk dryer and bag­house system will be installed at Fonterra’s Cobden, Victo­ria, dairy manufacturing site in 2008. The multimillion dollar upgrade will enable the site to manufacture a wider range of high-quality, specialised milk powders.

Top food manufacturers help the hungry

Foodbank, Australia’s largest food-relief organisation, presented four of Australia’s largest food manufactures with awards at the Australian Food and Grocery Council’s annual industry dinner on September 10th, for supporting Australia’s hungry.

Nestlé received the Leadership Award for providing regular donations across a wide range of staple foods and for raising awareness on the issue of hunger.

Dairy Farmers and Fonterra both received the Innovation Award for donating more than 500 tonnes each of fresh dairy products and finding creative ways to manage the logistics of preserving and donating short-shelf life, fresh products.

Goodman Fielder Baking won the Collaboration Award for donating thousands of loaves of bread to Foodbank daily, guaranteeing fresh bread in Foodbank Warehouses.

Last year, Foodbank distributed 12 million kilograms of donated food, making more than 15 million meals every day to feed approximately 35,000 people.

According to the organisation, this would not have been possible without the donations made by its industry partners.

Australian coffee expands overseas presence

Gloria Jean’s Coffees has developed a new global supply chain to ensure more efficient delivery to its growing network of 765 stores in 26 international markets.

The company has been working with supply chain management consultants Logiworx to develop the new global supply chain which will be managed by logistics provider, Kuehne and Nagel.

Expanding the company’s Castle Hill, Sydney, base, Gloria Jean’s Coffees’ new supply chain will incorporate a new warehouse in Alexandria, Sydney, with plans to open three more major regional distribution centres across the globe.

Kuehne and Nagel will manage warehouse distribution centres in Sydney, Rotterdam, Jebel Ali (UAE) and Singapore to distribute supplies to stores worldwide.

According to company, the new supply chain will dramatically increase efficiencies for the company, enabling it to implement its global expansion plans.

In the last year, Gloria Jean’s Coffees has grown their in store numbers by over 22% in Australia and by over 82%internationally.

The global supply chain strategy will roll out progressively over the next year.

Investing in dairy growth

Fonterra has announced the investment of $44 million to increase production capabilities across its eleven production sites in Australia.

The investment initiative comes out of Fonterra’s newly formed ANZ business unit, which brings together a number of Australia and New Zealand food companies to strengthen the company’s ability to develop innovative products and drive growth in the dairy sector.

Fonterra’s upgrade of production technology, equipment and processes will enable it to meet consumer demands for top quality, convenient and nutritious food.

“A main focus of Fonterra Australia and New Zealand is to drive sustainable growth in the dairy sector by developing innovative products and differentiating ourselves from our competitors,” Fonterra general manager operations and supply chain Bruce Donnison said.

“This involves looking at the entire supply chain and developing ways to maximise our infrastructure, enhance manufacturing capabilities, logistics and warehousing solutions, packaging formats and shelf presentation.”

Over the next year a number of capital projects will be undertaken to upgrade process control systems technology, maximise plant output, minimise downtime and maintain dairy food quality and integrity.

A $17 million upgrade of the company’s Darnum Park site in Victoria has extended its production capabilities to include nutritional and infant milk powders.

A new milk dryer enables the site to produce up to 6.5 tonnes of milk powder/hour and high-speed product packing lines are able fill 10 tonnes of milk powder/hour.

“This is an example of building production infrastruc-ture that is efficient, flexible and meets consumer needs,” Donnison said.

“The nutritional baby food products will service the South East Asian market.”

A new milk dryer and baghouse system will be installed at Fonterra’s Cobden, Victoria, dairy manufacturing site in 2008.

The multimillion dollar upgrade will enable the site to manufacture a wider range of high-quality, specialised milk powders.

Supply Chain & Logistics Conference

The 2007 Queensland Supply Chain & Logistics Conference will be held on August 2nd and 3rd at the Sofitel Hotel, Brisbane. Supported by the Australian Institute of Packaging, the conference will enable members of the food industry to widen their view of how a supply chain works and the role it plays in packaging.

Guest speakers will include G Peter Dapiran, a senior fellow of the freight and logistics group at the University of Melbourne, who will discuss issues of change and collaboration, including supply chain managers’ strategic plans for the coming decades; and Paul Driver, the national transport safety manager for Woolworths, will look at the Retail Logistics Supply Chain Code of Conduct.

To view the conference program or to register, visit the conference website.

Improving Australia’s food innovation

A new $54.2 million Food Innovation Grants Programme (FIGP), launched by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to increase innovation in the food industry, is currently accepting round one applications.

The FIGP, which will fund approximately three projects every year until June 2011, aims to assist Australian-based food and beverage businesses undertaking research and development (R&D), innovative programs or developing cutting-edge products and technology.

Applicants will need to demonstrate a project’s ability to add competition and profitability to the Australian food industry in areas of production, processing, packaging, storage or logistics.

The potential of the project and/or its resulting commercial activities to achieve national productivity and economic growth; diffusion of knowledge and skill to other parts of the Australian economy; or other societal, community or ecological benefits, will also be considered.

Proposals must address a technical challenge in the Australian food industry and/or how the uptake of new technology will deliver significant benefits, either on a national, sectoral or regional basis.

The FIGP will contribute, on a matched funds basis, up to half of the eligible project costs for R&D, the movement of innovation towards commercialisation, and the introduction of cutting-edge technology.

Projects are not eligible if they present no element of technical risk, are food product line extensions, involve the purchase of land or infrastructure costs; or are activities related to food processing inputs rather than outputs, among other things.

Interested applicants can download and complete the self-diagnostic eligibility check to ensure they satisfy eligibility criteria.

Potential applicants must then complete a preliminary application form.

Round One submissions are due by August 9, 2007.

An Advisory Group, consisting of technical, industry and business specialists will assess applications.

Food industry to benefit from RFID

The results of a pilot program to test integrated electronic product code (EPC) and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology across a number of industries, including the food industry, were presented at a seminar in Sydney as part of the SMART 2007 Conference.

The National EPC Network Demonstrator Project Extension, carried out by a multi-industry Australian consortium, including MasterFoods and Procter & Gamble, demonstrated how RFID using the GS1 global standards can provide opportunities for streamlining operations and improving supply chain collaborations.

The consortium achieved a 100% EPC/RFID tag read rate and reported customer productivity gains of 22.2%.

While the technology is relatively new in Australia, results of the recent RFID pilot, including improved productivity, delivery processing times and visibility throughout the supply chain, point to numerous advantages for the food industry.

As well as improving logistics efficiency, the implementation of RFID technology will allow for on-shelf tracking of individual consumer items that is not possible with barcoding.

According to a new report by IDTechEx, the use of RFID technology within in the food industry is expected to rise in the next 10 years.

GS1 chief operating officer Mark Fuller said the food industry will benefit from using RFID.

“As well as increasing the visibility of stock and being able to physically track pallets and cartons as they move from one site to the next, RFID will improve the management of products, on-shelf replenishment and tracking promotions,” Fuller said.

Food manufacturers and retailers can also expect this technology to improve food safety and product recalls.

“What is important for consumers is that the products they are eating are safe,” said Fuller.

“RFID allows manufacturers and importers to ensure the ingredients being used are what they should be, which is of particular importance considering the counterfeit products entering the market.

“In terms of recalls, individual tagging of consumer items in the future will allow for selective removal of spoilt products as opposed to clearing entire shelves,” he said.

Despite obvious benefits, there are factors impeding industry-wide implementation of RFID including the cost of tagging, currently around the 7.5 cents mark for bulk purchases, as well as the cost of software, process changes and weighing up the return on investment.

“Implementing RFID is not a simple thing to do, it is a major move for an organisation but a move that is inevitable,” Fuller said.

“The major retailers have said for certain it is going to come and it’s not far away.”

The GS1 advisory group, comprised of industry leaders such as Woolworths, Coles and Visy, are currently devising a road map to assist the food industry in implementing RFID over the next few years.

Innovative solution for LCL frozen cargo

Shipping and logistics provider, OOCL will launch Reefer LCL Plus in mid-August, a service for transporting less than container load (LCL) quantities of frozen cargo to Hong Kong and Tokyo.

For many years exporters and importers of frozen cargo between Australia and Asia have not had a regular, scheduled sea-freight service for LCL quantities and have had to opt for more expensive options such as airfreight or freight full-sea freight container loads.

OOCL said the Reefer LCL is a new opportunity for exporters and importers of small loads of frozen cargo to ship them on a regular basis at economical costs, meeting the needs of a growing frozen cargo market with Hong Kong and Japan.

“Operating through our accredited and approved cold stores in Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Tokyo, our customers are assured of a first class professional service”, OOCL Australia’s national sales manager Tim Mason said.

“Customers can be confident that their cargo is in good care as OOCL will be managing their shipments from time of receipt to the time of delivery”, he said.

Weekly services will be available from both Melbourne and Sydney on an alternating basis.

Interested customers can access this service by phoning OOCL customer service on 1300 662573.