Coles increases recycling of soft plastics by 32 per cent

Shoppers recycled enough pieces of plastic to go around the world one and half times at Coles last year, representing a  32 per cent increase on the previous year.

Revealed in Coles’ Sustainability Report, Coles customers recycled 905 tonnes or 226 million pieces of soft plastics – including packaging such as biscuit packets, lolly bags, frozen food bags and bread, rice and pasta bags which cannot be recycled through most kerbside recycling services.

Coles became the first major Australian supermarket to roll out REDcycle bins in all supermarkets last year.

Customers can place plastic bags and soft plastic packaging in REDcycle bins at the front of Coles stores so they can then be recycled for a range of uses such as furniture, playground equipment and materials for walkways in parks, roads and bollards.

Locals in Hornsby in New South Wales, Yarraville in Victoria, Kenmore in Queensland, St Agnes in South Australia, Kingston in Tasmania, Jamison in ACT and Inglewood in Western Australia are among the most dedicated soft plastic recyclers in the country, with these stores diverting the most plastic from landfill.

READ MORE: The future of soft plastics to be discussed

Coles chief property and export officer Thinus Keeve said customers should be commended for remembering to bring their soft-plastics back to store.

“The increase in use of REDcycle bins shows just how significant the issue of reducing waste has become for customers,” he said. “We know that recycling is important to our customers, and we are seeing many people changing their habits to reduce waste that ends up in landfill.”

“Since we partnered with REDcycle in 2011, our customers have recycled enough pieces of plastic to go around the world five times which is just fantastic. We want to become Australia’s most sustainable retailer, so we are looking at ways to divert even more waste from landfill and reduce packaging.”

The soft plastic collected in REDcycle bins at Coles supermarkets is used as a raw material by Australian manufacturers, Replas and Plastic Forests. It is converted into a range of uses, including playground benches, garden edging, wheel stops, walkways in parks, bollards and the customer seats used in Coles supermarkets. REDcycle has also partnered with Close the Loop and Downer EDI to provide soft plastic for road base.

RED Group director of development Elizabeth Kasell is proud that consumers have jumped on board to support soft-plastic recycling. This is helping retailers, distributors and manufacturers work together for a better outcome for materials that were previously going to landfill.

“The beauty of this program is its simplicity. We’re not asking people to change their routines – it’s just a matter of remembering to take their plastic packaging with them next time they visit their local Coles supermarket. And we were delighted to roll out our bins to Coles supermarkets across the country, it’s made a huge difference,” Kasell said.

Does plastic get a bad rap?

Director of sustainability is an unusual title, one that is not common within a multi-national company. But not only is that Alan Adams’ role for plastic packaging specialist Sealed Air, he is also part of the leadership group for the company’s APAC region.

At a recent conference at FoodTech Queensland, the education director of the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP), Pierre Pienaar, made the point that, “plastics are not going anywhere’. And he is right. The thin, mainly oil-based product has a multitude of uses in many industries including food.

“Plastic is, and will remain, in my view, really important within the industry,” said Adams. “In fact, it is probably more important than ever when it comes to reducing food waste, and enabling our lifestyle. What we have to do though, is drive it to a circular economy so we can utilise those resources.”

With China and other Southeast Asian countries declining to take Australia’s recyclables, sustainability is more important than ever. However, it is something that Sealed Air saw coming over six years ago. The then recently appointed (but now retired) CEO of Sealed Air, Jerome Peribere, knew sustainability was going to be an issue, and one that needed addressing sooner rather than later.

READ MORE: Plastic waste: why every gram counts

“Jerome came out with this idea that we should think about ourselves as a sustainability company,” said Adams. “That was controversial and confronting when you think we are predominantly a plastics manufacturer, so it didn’t necessarily resonate with the average person back then.

“However, his reasoning was sound because if you look holistically at our impact on the world, we have a positive impact on the environment. If you think what Jerome was thinking back then, it led to us redefining our vision and mission. Our vision became to create a better way of life and today this continues with our CEO Ted Doheny and our purpose statement that, ‘We are in business to solve critical packaging challenges and leave our world better than we found it’. And it is through enabling efficient supply chains for food and goods without damage, that we remove a lot of the wastage that can be created in many industries including food.”

These company ideas backed up the sustainability minded Adams’ thoughts on what the future would hold. Adams was already a member of the Bioplastics Association for Australasia and served as president for four years. The association introduced standards for compostable and home compostable packaging for Australia during that time. Adams not only talks the talk, he walks the walk.

“I have a personal zero food waste policy at home,” he said. “It makes for some interesting food, and it has gotten easier to make it zero since I started composting. But we had herb salads from time to time, and it’s questionable how nice they are. Plus we grow a lot more food of our own now.”

Adams believes that there is a disconnect between people’s perceptions of plastic and how it can also be a sustainable product. But that is because there are a couple of issues that need addressing. The main one being that the Australian recycling industry is still immature.

“The problem is we don’t have great infrastructure and sustainable recycling industry developed yet,” he said. “If you talk about what plastics are recovered and recycled in Australia – and turned into something useful, and not landfilled or shipped overseas – you are talking about 4.6 per cent of rigids and 1.2 per cent of flexibles. It is tiny.”

How can such a perception of plastics be changed? Adams believes it will take a change in mind-set. Too often, there is a myopic view, which is not telling the real story.

“Any supply chain, or any product has three big buckets,” he said. “First is inbound resources. What are the products made from? How are they made? How efficient is that? Then you have operational efficiency. Does it do the job? How well does it do the job? Does it deliver performance? Then you have end of life. What happens to it after it has been used? Equating sustainability just to the end of life is really missing most of the picture.”

This is why he thinks Australia needs a mature recycling/circular system in place. What has also changed is how much people now rely on plastics in everyday life, especially when it comes to the food industry. Adams grew up on a farm in the middle of the North Island of New Zealand. The lie of the land was a lot different back when it came to food waste. He remembers having a shepherd’s pie on most Monday nights because it was a left-over from the Sunday roast from the day before. People rarely eat like that these days, he said. It’s all about lifestyle, too.

“We had very low food waste back then,” he said. “Can we wind back the clock 30 or 40 years ago and live that way? No we can’t. People will not stand for it. We want to have the eating experience we want but also be able to recover those resources at end of life. Otherwise, you are asking us to unwind the lifestyle we really want, and that generally ends with quite a big consumer backlash.”

How does a company like Sealed Air develop sustainability around a product that is continually under the microscope? For a start, it develops packaging solutions that can help products last longer on the shelf, such as its Cryovac brand food packaging range. If product can last longer on the shelf, then there is less chance of it being thrown out before it is eaten. Adams also realises that the way people consume food is changing.

“We have to be creative in our solutions and the recovery of the materials we generate – and plastics is a big part of it – to enable us to efficiently have the food where we want it, when we want it and the size and quantity we want,” he said.

But do people want to eat food that is staying on the shelf longer. Hasn’t the public been told again and again, that fresh is best? Sure, said Adams, but not all foods. Back in the day, a butcher would cut the customer a piece of meat, wrap it in paper and it would be taken home to be eaten. However, new packaging technologies not only mean the aforementioned longer shelf life, but it can “fool” the meat into thinking it is still relatively fresh.

“The meat is dead when you have carved it and served it up and exposed it to the atmosphere,” said Adams. “It was as good as it was going to get at that moment. From then on, it is going to degrade. If, however, you vacuum pack it, the meat still thinks it is the bigger part of the piece of meat it used to be. Because oxygen is not getting to it, atmosphere is not getting to it so, it continues to age and continues enzymatic action.

“There are case studies that will show you that the eating experience of vacuum-packaged meat with a longer shelf life is better than MAP packaged meat. Certain cheeses like to be aged, too. In the past it has been wax coatings and wax papers and things that helped keep longer shelf life. So there are efficiencies in a lot of this as well as potentially eating experiences. It isn’t like that with all foods. I’m not sure vacuum-packing apples will make for a good experience a few weeks down the track.”

Adams knows that there is a long way to go, especially in the recycling stakes. Even though there are challenges, he knows Sealed Air is on the right track when it comes to sustainability – it is what drives him every day. “I think what is really important is that Sealed Air clearly understands – and many people don’t see this – that sustainability is everything. It’s an umbrella over everything we do,” he said. “If you look at our core values and drivers – which are about food safety and shelf-life along with operational efficiency, package optimisation and brand experience – all of those things are sustainability endeavours in their own right. But I am very aligned with it, which means I love my job and I’m very happy working towards those goals.”

The right brew for beverage and distillery flooring

The craft beer and distillery market in Australia is worth in excess of $4 billion and growing. Although currently dominated by North American brands, more exciting new craft brewers and distilleries are setting up rapidly throughout the country, with up to 600 brands now being available.

The Independent Brewers Association (IBA) estimates that there will be double-digit growth of 24.2 per cent for local craft beer through the liquor stores over the next 12 months, proving Australia has a growing appetite for quality beer and spirits. Wealthy investors and bankers also view the market as a key opportunity with the likes of Gerry Harvey recently investing $20 million to build Australia’s largest whisky company.

Similar to the building and construction of a winery, breweries and distilleries have parallel challenges in getting the floor coating just right.

The brewing process is subject to constant wear and tear and spills. This is driven by steam and boiling water creating a large swing in temperatures that the flooring needs to withstand. Following on from the production process, forklifts and pallet jacks are used to transport ingredients and finished brews to delivery trucks. This constant traffic movement can cause the floor to crack and peel and result in dangerous trip hazards, as well as a build-up in bacteria. A seamless heavy-duty, non-slip epoxy floor from a company like Roxset Health and Safety Flooring will protect from accidents and inhibit growth of bacteria and provide ease of cleaning.

READ MORE: Flooring meets strict food code requirements

Another key consideration with the final coating is erosion. Sugar solutions used in wine making and brewing rapidly erode concrete, which can leave the surface pitted and damaged resulting in expensive downtime and repairs. It also creates a hazardous working environment for workers.

Breweries, distilleries and wineries have a lot of rules and regulations they are required to follow, not just in terms of how they run overall, but their set-up, too.

Important requirements they must meet include:
• A brewery floor needs to be made of non-porous material, with no cracks and gaps.
• Flooring must have anti-microbial properties to prevent collection of bacteria and other harmful organisms and meet HACCP Compliance.
• Floor coating must be moisture and chemical resistant and not degrade quickly due to repeated exposure.
• Floor coating must work well in both wet and dry conditions.
• Floor coating should be non-slip and have low environmental impact.

The SE Floor Coating Solution from Roxset is a specialised tailored system to suit high impact wet areas for the food and beverage industry. Key clients over the past 30 years include, Ned’s Whisky, Capital Brewing, Vasse Felix Winery and Voyager Estate.

For consumers, breweries and distilleries are a cool place to hang out and see how the beverage is made and to sample offerings. But what they do not realise is the level of detail, which goes into every choice made. From the brewing of equipment to the flooring, everything needs careful consideration.

Roxset has the expertise and history to make sure all hygienic and safety concerns are met in distilleries, wineries and breweries. It works with clients so it can find a solution that will mean the floor surface meets strict Australian standards and makes for a safe and healthy workplace for employees.

AquaRush bottling facility designed to meet expanding industry needs

Bottled water has been a refreshment for Australians for the best part of three decades. According to a recent IBISWorld report, the industry in Australia for the past five years through to 2018-19 was valued at just over $700 million, and is expected to grow by 0.8 per cent over the next year. IBISWorld believes this is due to Australians becoming more health conscious and the rise of disposable incomes, especially among millennials.

One company that has been at the forefront of the bottled water and mixed beverage development is AquaRush. Established in 2014 by serial entrepreneur Roshan Chelvaratnam, AquaRush offers various types of water –ranging from spring, sparkling, mineral, demineralised and mixed beverages.

The company combines various technologies and manufacturing facilities, with the intent of reshaping the future of bottled water in Australia and the world.

It has a new HACCP, GMP and ISO-accredited automated bottling and commercial facility that uses a range of technologies to produce the finest quality water products for the consumer and industrial markets at an affordable price point.

It is capable of filling 15,000 350ml bottles per hour and has both PET and glass-filling lines.

The company has existing distribution channels in Australia, APAC, South Africa and the Middle East.

READ MORE: Poor water quality linked to sugary drink consumption

The company has a quality management system that continuously monitors its products to make sure they meet Australian regulatory guidelines, standards and codes of practice. Chelvaratnam is the founder and managing director of the company.

Over the past few years he has built a number of successful businesses across the automotive, import, export and wholesale, electrical, and now beverage market.
“We’re focussed on developing innovative products that cater to people’s diverse lifestyles and interests; new product categories include premium sparkling water, high alkaline water and black sparkling water, to name a few,” said national sales manager Marko Powell. “We offer different variances of water to cater to the customer’s needs.

“We strive to remain at the forefront of innovation with the latest advances in water filtration. We bottle volcanic water, exotic sparkling water, flavoured water, commercial water and more.”

One area that the company doesn’t spare any expense is investing in the training and development of its staff.

Each quarter it offers skills-based training in a specialised area relevant to each role so the company’s staff are learning and developing their knowledge base.

“We’ve also invested in encryption technology allowing our water bottles to be scanned from a smartphone app,” said Powell. “This app links to a product landing page authenticating the product, digitising the experience and allowing consumers to interact with the product they’re purchasing.”

Sustainability is also a buzz word that is gaining traction in the food and beverage industry. This is something that AquaRush is serious about, with it setting itself goals that will mean less plastic in landfills.

“Since 2018, we have implemented 66 per cent recycled plastic bottles and recycled cardboard,” said Powell. “Our goal is to work towards 100 per cent recyclable packaging and we are on track to doing so.

“We use 20 per cent glass in our overall brand portfolio and we aim to increase this to 50 per cent by mid 2020. Progress against our sustainability goals is discussed during senior leadership meetings each quarter.

“Beyond these meetings, the executive committee members are committed to executing against these goals, driving their importance within their immediate staff.”

When it comes to philanthropy, the company knows that giving back to the community is just as important as reducing its carbon footprint.

“We’ve donated money to help rebuild an orphanage for disabled children in Sri Lanka,” said Powell. “The aim of the orphanage is to provide a safe and caring environment for these children who would otherwise be forgotten.”

As well as producing a range of water products under various labels including the I Am, Kangaroo & Koala Aqua Downunder critters, and AquaRush 2Pure Water brands, the company provides private label production services to other companies within the water industries.

AquaRush also supports the World’s first plant-based natural water, and which most recently won the Beverage of the Year Award at the 2019 Food & Beverage Industry Awards, as well as the Global Zenith Awards.

They are also the exclusive water partner to Global Table, which is hosted by Seeds & Chips, the global food organisation.

“The Team at AquaRush is excited to enter into a joint venture partnership with award-winning company Aqua Botanical Beverages from September 2019,” said Chelvaratnam.

“Aqua Botanical has won “Beverage of the Year” two years running and Aqua Rush will be bottling their ‘still’ and ‘sparking’ water products. Our alliance further reinforces our position as a bottler of choice in the industry.

“We will be at Food and Beverage Show displaying Botanical Water and many other fantastic products at our stand. Join us at J31 at the Sydney Fine Foods Exhibition to meet the team and discuss potential private label options and future product development opportunities.”

Rotary Dryer Roaster for nuts and meat snacks

The latest innovation in roasting technology from Heat and Control, the Rotary Dryer Roaster (RDR), will provide snack and prepared food operators with an end-to-end solution for the dry roasting of nut, seed and dry meat products like beef jerky.

The RDR multizone convection dryer/roaster system uses the technological advances in dry roasting so food processors can continuously process high volumes of foods.

“This latest addition to Heat and Control’s catalogue reinforces our strength in thermal food processing technology and provides snack and meat manufacturers with even more options, as well as confidence, that they can consistently produce high-quality product,” said Jim Strang, CEO for Heat and Control International.

“We have been offering the latest technology and the highest quality equipment since 1950, and the Rotary Dryer Roaster is the latest example of our continued commitment to develop solutions that empower our customers,” said Strang.

RDR for nuts
The RDR advances Heat and Control’s snack line capability, enabling food manufacturers to take advantage of the cost saving benefits a single source supplier can offer with a solution for seasoned and coated nut snacks, including frying, dryer/roasting, seasoning, coating, conveying, weighing, packaging, case packing, inspection, and controls.

The RDR gives operators control to dry or to roast in a continuous, gentle, and sanitary manner with optimal quality and uniform results.

“The RDR provides high volume convective airflow combined with gentle rotary motion that ensures that all product is uniformly treated with heated air. Operators have full control over the roasting or drying process variables, enhancing the finished products’ colour, flavour, and texture,” said Greg Pyne, Heat and Control sales manager, Australia.

“While this is new equipment for the industry, processors see the potential,” explained Pyne. “They recognise the benefits of the continuous process, the consistency and repeatability of the process, and the savings resulting from reduced labour and floor space requirements.”

Unlike static rack ovens, as product is gently tumbled in the RDR, heated air circulates through the product bed to facilitate uniform drying/moisture removal or roasting. The design handles the raw product in a continuous, high-density manner through a unique flighted drum that ensures positive motion.

Features include a drum design that facilitates continuous first-in-first-out product flow and independent fans and burners in multiple convection zones, which provide complete process control that can be tailored to various products. An externally mounted drum drive design provides access for internal clean-in-place piping and nozzles which provides for automated thorough cleaning.

RDR for meat products
Along with nut products, the RDR is also suitable for applications such as the drying of meats and poultry to create jerky and meat chips, as well as drying pet products to create food and treats.

While Australia has yet to see the same levels of growth as other markets for natural/protein based snacks, consumers are looking for different food options, with demand for jerky on the rise. According to intelligence agency Mintel, the UK and US have achieved 50 per cent growth in the jerky market from 2011 through to 2016. Australia is poised to follow suite for similar growth, with a wave of niche, start-up operators entering the market. Australia is also home to the fourth largest paleo-market in the world.

Jerky snacks are rich in protein, and are becoming more readily available in retail outlets and online as a substitute for cooked meats. Different product flavours, such as chili and lime, teriyaki or smoky chorizo, are also attracting consumers into seeking jerky as a protein rich option when its snack time.

Globally, the meat snack market was worth $6.4 billion in 2017, and is estimated to exceed $29.5 billion by 2025, according to PR Newswire. The growing middle class across Asia are seeking more premium meat-based snacks that are sold in accessible locations for time-poor customers. As the Australian beef market has a reputation in Asia for being a high-quality product, there is demand for the export of Australian beef jerky products, providing manufacturers the opportunity to grow their business internationally.

One of the biggest issues in jerky production is lack of efficiency in the drying process, due to the amount of time it can take to dry the product with consistent taste and quality. Food processors can expand their portfolio to capitalise on new opportunities because the RDR gives operators control to dry or to roast product in a continuous, gentle, and sanitary manner with optimal quality and uniform results.

AIP training course heads to NSW

The AIP Use of Lifecycle Assessment Tools for Sustainable Packaging Design training course is aimed at providing an introduction and learning framework for packaging industry professionals to apply lifecycle thinking to their working contexts. This includes an understanding of the reasons why lifecycle thinking is critical, as well as how the method may be used for packaging design projects they manage.

The course will be structured to cover the following:

  • Understanding the current shifts and challenges in Sustainability
  • What is Lifecycle Assessment?
  • Why is Lifecycle Assessment an important tool in Sustainable Packaging Design?
  • How do you quantify eco-efficiency?
  • Lifecycle Thinking within Sustainable Packaging design
  • Introduction to life cycle assessment (LCA) and Its benefits
  • Case Study Examples and Interactive hands-on LCA tool usage
  • Seizing the strategic opportunity in Sustainability
  • Better understanding of how to use LCA tools for competitive advantage and to establish strong relationships across your Supply Chain partners

The objectives of the course are to provide participants an understanding of:

  • The role LCA plays in both Sustainable Packaging Design and development.
  • Why Sustainable Packaging really matters.
  • Four step procedure of lifecycle assessment.
  • Tools and knowledge to apply LCA in practical contexts.

Who should attend?
Brand Owners, packaging manufacturers and suppliers, business owners, managers, marketers, engineers, packaging technologists, sustainability professionals, packaging designers, agencies and sales staff.

Course presenter
Dr Simon Lockrey
Coordinator – Design Action Program + ID Engineering Courses
Senior Lecturer/ Research Fellow – School of Design
School of Design, College of Design and Social Context
RMIT University, Australia

Lockrey is a leading sustainability and design innovation academic, having been based at RMIT since 2009. The domains in which he has managed sustainability research include life cycle assessment (LCA), co-design, design innovation, marketing, resource efficiency and food waste. Simon has worked with global and nationally significant companies, including CHEP, Visy, Nestlé, Dyson, Grocon and Breville. Relevant government and NGO projects have also ensued, with Sustainability Victoria, Environmental Protection Agency, Australian Food and Grocery Council, Australia Post, Australian Antarctic Division, Uniting AgeWell, and Meat and Livestock Australia.

 

Watch out UberEats, Deliveroo and Menulog – DoorDash has arrived

DoorDash, the largest on-demand food platform for door-to-door delivery in the US, announced today its official launch in Australia, beginning with Melbourne. This marks the company’s first market expansion beyond North America.

Australia’s ‘foodie capital’ will be the first to experience the unparalleled convenience DoorDash will bring to the food market, with Melburnians benefitting from a greater selection of restaurants than ever before. Thousands of restaurants will be available for delivery through DoorDash – in addition to hundreds for pick up – across the CBD and inner suburbs, with plans to expand to the outer suburbs in the coming weeks.

DoorDash’s launch taps into Melbourne’s love of food and food delivery apps. At launch, customers can order from well-known brands such as Nando’s, Betty’s Burgers and Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill, as well as local independent restaurants including misschu, Bay City Burrito and exclusive partners Cedar Bakery and Il Gusto.

Melbourne isn’t alone in its enthusiasm for on-demand access to food from favourite local restaurants, with the rest of the country continuing to embrace the ease and convenience of food delivery. In fact, almost two million Australians aged 14+ (9.8 per cent) use meal delivery services in an average three-month period.

“We are excited Australia is our first international expansion outside of North America,” says DoorDash general manager, Australia, Thomas Stephens.

“We dove deep into the Australian market and quickly realised two things; restaurants want more from their delivery partners, and not all Melburnians have access to the selection that they should expect.”

“We’ve built a lot of product and expertise to solve these problems in North America. Combining that experience with a tailored approach just for Melbourne, we’re excited to grow the market here. We’ve built a service for Australian eating habits with a simple focus: provide more access to Melburnian’s favourite foods,” Stephens said.

Along with a wide selection of Melbourne’s finest eateries, DoorDash offers a superior delivery experience plus a unique ‘pick-up’ function allowing users to collect their meals on the go in addition to ‘group ordering’ for big groups.

“Working collaboratively with restaurant owners of all business sizes, customers and Dashers, our priority is accessibility to a delightful food delivery experience for all. From Melbourne, we aim to continue our expansion efforts throughout Victoria and Australia through the remainder of 2019 and into 2020,” Stephens added.

Nando’s CEO, Craig Mason says, “Nando’s is a great choice when you’re wanting something tasty but not keen to cook. With over 80 restaurants across the city and outer suburbs, we’re excited to be partnering with DoorDash to offer our customers even more flexibility around how they enjoy their favourite meal.”

Bay City Burrito’s Owner and Chief Burrito Designer, Gary Mink says, “At Bay City Burrito, we pride ourselves on the quality of our ingredients, whether it is our locally-sourced produce or imported tortillas. It has been refreshing working with the team at DoorDash who have taken the time to understand my business and set me up for success on their platform to get incremental orders from both their delivery and pick-up product.”

Bosch flow-wrapper designed for hygienic requirements in food industry

Bosch Packaging Technology has developed a new version of its fully automated horizontal flow wrapper Pack 403, which is specifically designed for harsh environment use.

The Pack 403HE comes with all the features of the Pack 403 and is suited for medium to high-speed wrapping. The machine is able to wrap a wide variety of products ranging from biscuits, chocolate, cookies and crackers to frozen foods or meats. “We have designed the new Pack 403HE to meet the growing need of customers with strict hygienic requirements. To avoid contamination with allergens, germs or unwanted ingredients, food manufacturers need machines that are easy to clean,” says Kelly Meer, product manager at Bosch Packaging Technology.

Optimised for deep cleaning
Today, food manufacturers often produce different products on the same machine. “Keeping the products free from unwanted substances such as traces of peanuts or wheat can be a challenge in terms of cleaning. The Pack 403HE provides improved features to facilitate particularly intensive cleaning,” Meer said. It differs from the standard version in terms of product design and material. Customers can apply aggressive cleaning agents including alcohols or acids, and easily wipe them off with water after they have taken effect. Water and cleaning agents will simply run down the drain.

“We call this the foam-and-rinse concept. In contrast to high-pressure cleaning with air or water, customers avoid the risk of spraying substances or germs. The foam-and-rinse method guarantees an easy and reliable washdown. The concept will soon also apply to the Paloma pick-and-place robot,” said Meer.

Improved washdown features
The Pack 403HE also features washdown motors and gearboxes meeting the BISSC standard, sanitary feet, and a continuously-welded stainless steel main frame plate. Stainless steel guarding, robust plastics, removable parts, sloped surfaces, and easy-to-clean gaps between machine components further simplify the cleaning process. The machine’s cable connection to its electrical cabinet has been sealed to prevent the penetration of moisture or unwanted substances. Clear tubes help to detect any contamination. The wrapper is also equipped with a washdown infeed and stainless steel etched and stand-off labels to also support convenient cleaning.

Fast and easy handling
The Pack 403HE produces up to 400 packages per minute, reaching a maximum film speed of 76 meters and includes all of the same features offered in the Pack 403. The automatic film splicer allows for fast film changes without interrupting production. The machine is equipped with servo-driven power feed rollers to optimize film tension and tracking. It also has cantilevered and removable discharge belts that reject faulty packages with compressed air.

Mastering the complexities of supply chain data accuracy

The complexity of managing data integrity and alignment between trading partners often results in inefficiencies for both retailers and suppliers across operational and cost considerations. This issue is likely to grow in importance as supply chains become more complex through advanced automated distribution centres and new routes to market in an omni-channel environment.

Shoppers, consumers and regulators are demanding ever-more transparent product and value chain information in a digital format, underpinned by data in real-time context, at more granular levels than previously considered. The information must be correct and consistent at all times, and throughout the many sources of access available to these stakeholders.

Recognising, considering and discussing the challenges faced by trading partners is a first step towards retailers and suppliers raising awareness and levels of collaboration required to bring new products or product changes through the supply chain effectively, and to mitigate risks during this process.

Suppliers and retailers face a variety of challenges to achieve required levels of supply chain data integrity and alignment. Key challenges to suppliers include those driven by lack of certainty around final data points where products are still under final development through the pre-launch period. This could be through human error in interpretation, capturing and applying data. Or it could be through lack of visibility into the current specific data in retailer or other stakeholders’ systems to check if it is indeed correct and aligned with the supplier.

Retailers face further challenges as they rely on suppliers to keep them updated on the status of the data points, and their own internal functions to maintain alignment across a variety of data repositories, which can be amended by various parties. There is an increased risk that interpretation and re-measuring by various distribution centre functions could lead to even further misalignment. This is particularly relevant in an automated environment where measurement of dimensions is critical to operational effectiveness.

To further complicate tasks associated with supply chain data management, shipper/carton dimensions can be impacted by issues such as crushability of packaging in transit, variability in specifications and dimensions supplied by upstream contractor (including internationally) and the weather and air moisture content. It is therefore necessary to introduce tolerances to avoid bringing processes to a halt every time a slight variation to a dimension occurs on any given package.

The Australian Food & Grocery Council’s Trading Partner Forum is a combined FMCG supplier and supermarket retailer body focussed on delivering end-to-end supply chain efficiency. It has released the first in a series of modular guidance documents to support improved accuracy and alignment for supply chain product master data in the industry.

The Supply Chain Master Data Integrity and Alignment Guide describes the complexities of managing foundational data points such as shipper and pallet dimensions and weights, and coordinating data management between trading partners. It is useful in the lead up to new product launches or product changes. The guide provides advice and support information to help FMCG suppliers and their supermarket retailer trading partners achieve better levels of data accuracy and alignment using easy-to-understand language and promoting best practice collaboration.

The Guide is freely available at https://bit.ly/2KAicxx

McCrometer FPI mag, a new approach to accurate water flow measurement

The McCrometer FPI Mag is suitable for capital or maintenance projects, retrofits and sites never before metered. The unique combination of accuracy, ease of installation and total cost savings make the FPI Mag the perfect choice for a wide range of Municipal and Industrial Applications. It  is the next generation mag meter.

The FPI Mag meets or exceeds exacting industry standards of 0.5 per cent accuracy with 3rd party testing verification. The multi-electrode design and unique operating principle delivers accuracy unmatched by other insertion meters and rivals the performance of full-bore mag meters.

The FPI Mag is available in battery or solar powered options for forward flow sensors, enabling installation in remote applications without access to power. Additionally, with the new Smart Output feature, which allows the FPI Mag to connect to AMI / AMR systems through an encoded digital output.

The insertion design of the FPI Mag allows for easy, hot tap installation, which allows the meter to be installed without interrupting service, de-watering lines, cutting pipe, welding flanges, or inconveniencing customers.
Customers save up to 45% on installation and the total cost of ownership because the need for heavy equipment and added manpower required during a typical full bore, flanged meter installation isn’t necessary.

The FPI Mag has no moving parts and a single-piece design. The multi-electrode water flow sensor contains nothing to wear or break and is generally immune to clogging by sand, grit or other debris. The FPI Mag is available with forward-flow only or bi-directional measurement for line sizes from 100 to 3500 mm.

The sensor body is made from heavy-duty 316 stainless steel for maximum structural integrity and is hermetically sealed and protected by NSF certified 3M fusion-bonded epoxy coating.

Why industrial gases are important in fish farming

Fish is a nourishing, healthy food that is popular throughout the world. However, as the planet’s population grows, fish stocks in some oceans are dwindling. One way to address this shortage is fish farms. Popular in Europe, especially Nordic countries, aquaculture also occurs throughout Australia – from the tropical north to the more temperate climes of Tasmania.

Like any commercial venture, there are many facets to make it a successful enterprise. When it comes to fish farming, an essential ingredient are various industrial gases, which have many applications in aquaculture – from hatching the eggs through to when the final product is shipped for sale.

Air Liquide is a gas specialist that has a lot of information and experience when it comes to fish farming. Its Tasmanian sales representative, Grant Stingel, works closely with the industry, not only as a supplier of gases, but also giving advice on how much, what type and how often a certain gas needs to be applied to the various production processes.

The most prolific gas used in fish farming is oxygen. There are two main reasons it’s needed. The most obvious is to sustain the life of the fish as they hatch and are grown. The other is a little more interesting.

READ MORE: Cryogenics offers alternative freezing solutions

“During the production of farmed fish, one of the high cost inputs is the food,” said Stingel. “It can cost up to $2,000 a tonne or more depending on the species and feed type.

Maintaining a stable level of oxygen in the tank increases the fishes’ metabolism, which in turn increases the conversion of food into fish mass. So the Feed Conversion Rate (FCR) reduces, meaning lower feed costs per kilogram of fish.

“And if you’re talking tonnes of fish, you’re talking tonnes of food per day. In the larger aquaculture systems, maintaining stable oxygen levels in the tanks will increase production. If you can increase the growth of the fish each day by adding oxygen, this reduces the time the fish are in the water, which in turn increases efficiencies within the whole production cycle.

“Typically, modern land-based aquaculture farms use what is called a Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS). This is essentially a water treatment plant to circulate and reuse the water. This plant uses pumps to push water through a series of filters to help purify the water before going back into the fish tanks,” said Stingel. “Oxygen is also used in this process to produce ozone to sterilise the water.

“In the inlet water to each of the ponds or tanks, the oxygen level is elevated by injecting oxygen, typically using a pressurised oxygen dissolver, to 120 to 140 per cent of normal saturation, depending on the biomass. This ensures that the respiration demands from the fish are taken care of and a stable growing environment is achieved.”

There are other applications where oxygen is necessary. Just before the fish are harvested, whether in ponds or sea cages, higher doses of oxygen are needed due to the fish being crowded into a small amount of water within the harvest area. This ensures that the fish are not as stressed before processing, giving a better end product.

Also, in some farms, oxygen is used to supersaturate baths of water to treat the fish for pest and disease, such as sea lice.

With all the oxygen being used, what are the costs involved? Not as much as you would think, said Stingel.

“Oxygen is typically only about one or two per cent of the cost of your production but it’s very important,” he said. “It is an essential element to the fish farming process. In some cases, oxygen can be seen as just a commodity, but oxygen used efficiently can also add benefits to your production.

“Oxygen supply to fish farms is essential so we have engineering support available,” he said. “As far as technical support, we can calculate how much oxygen you will need for the quantity of fish in each system. Based on the calculated oxygen required, we also offer advice on the oxygen dissolving system best suited for the application. Measuring the efficiency of your existing oxygenation system is also something Air Liquide can offer.”

Other gases are also used once the fish have been processed. Oxygen goes from being the hero to the enemy once the fish are ready to be sent to Australian supermarkets or exported.

“After harvest, we use other industrial gases for packaging fish products,” said Stingel. “Some aquaculture companies use Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP). This is a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide injected and sealed inside the trays often seen on the shelf at your local supermarket.”

The carbon dioxide inhibits bacterial growth, which will increase shelf life for the end product.

The nitrogen is to displace the oxygen and also maintain the package integrity so that it looks good on the supermarket shelf.

Another industrial gas used in the processing phase is liquid nitrogen, which is used to snap freeze the fish products by sending it through a freezing tunnel, which sprays the gas onto the product. This achieves a better quality product when thawed. This is because when a product is snap frozen, the cell structure of the food is maintained, meaning when thawed, the fish not only looks good, but tastes fresh.

“Even when it comes to the presentation of the food we can help. For example, dry ice produced from liquid carbon dioxide is used to add a bit of theatre at serving counters in restaurants or markets,” said Stingel. “As the dry ice thaws, vapour is formed, giving off a nice smoke effect. Dry ice is also good for keeping the product cold and fresh.”

In almost every stage in the production of fish in aquaculture systems there is potential to use an industrial gas of some type whether it is oxygen, nitrogen, argon or CO2. But the use of the various gases doesn’t stop there. Air Liquide can also provide gases for other, practical uses.

“The other application for industrial gases is for maintaining plant and equipment,” said Stingel. “With quite a lot of machinery involved in the process, you will also need oxygen and acetylene for heating and cutting, argon gas mixtures for welding, and LPG for heating and maybe also powering forklifts.”

Solid and perforated steel bake oven belts save time and money

IPCO offers a range of steel-grade belts to suit different needs and environments. IPCO 1100C grade is a carbon-steel product that is used by the bakery industry, while IPCO 1200SA is a stainless-steel grade suitable for applications such as food conveying, cooling, freezing and drying. Both are available either in solid form or perforated. IPCO also offers belt grades suitable for special needs, such as resistance to corrosion or abrasive materials.

However, it is important to note that the material, or grade, is only the start of the story.

Production of a belt requires the necessary mechanical properties of flatness and straightness to be engineered into the belt. The belt must also be able to transfer the heat from the heating media to the product in an even way. This means the colour of the belt surface is important. Consistent belt colour will maximise heat transfer and ensure an even bake. Specific heat treatments are therefore applied during the production process.

In terms of supply, IPCO can provide as much, or as little input, as an oven builder requires. This can be as straightforward as belt supply through to various levels of technical advice, or consultancy to ensure that the belt delivers maximum return on investment, as well as key conveyor components such as tracking systems and graphite stations ensure smooth operation. For instance, in cases of complete belt upgrades, moving from mesh to solid or perforated steel, IPCO will often supply all conveyor components – sheaves, bearings, framework and all other required accessories.

READ MORE: Steel belts offer versatility for the food industry

Wide belts for enhanced productivity
One area of increasing interest to many oven builders is IPCO’s ability to produce bake oven belts up to 3,500mm wide. This makes it possible to build wider ovens, increasing productivity without having to invest in factory extensions or new facilities. An oven with a 1,500mm-wide belt offers almost twice the productivity of one with an 800mm belt without any increase in the line length. An upgrade to an oven with a 3,200mm belt or larger, will increase throughput by a factor of four. The use of a steel belt of any size also has the potential to reduce baking times. The combination of a steel belt’s heat transfer qualities and comparatively low weight often means that belt speed can be increased, cutting baking time by as much as 25-30 per cent.

Reducing carbon footprint through energy efficiency
Bake ovens can account for as much as 45 per cent of a bakery’s overall energy consumption and as much of 25 per cent of this is used heating the conveyor belt. The bake oven belt can, therefore, have a major impact on overall energy costs so ensuring maximum efficiency here is important.

A solid-steel bake oven belt weighs 30 per cent less than a comparable mesh belt and therefore costs up to 30 per cent less to heat. And perforated belts weigh as much as 35 per cent less again.

As well as cutting heating costs, this weight advantage also means less energy is needed to drive the belt through the oven.

Apart from these energy savings, steel belts are also easier to clean being flat and smooth. This not only delivers savings in water and detergent but also means greater overall productivity, with time spent baking instead of cleaning.

And there’s an additional point worth making: these benefits don’t just apply to baking. IPCO belts are used across the food industry for cooling, freezing, cooking, forming and drying.

IPCO Australia enhanced technical and service support throughout Oceania
IPCO held the grand opening of its new Melbourne (Burwood Industrial Park) headquarters on July 9th. The company is owned by FAM AB, which is part of the Swedish Wallenberg group, and has production facilities in the Americas, Asia and Europe and a worldwide technical service for quick response wherever and whenever it’s needed.
As a partner to the bakery industry since 1925, the company has built long-term partnerships with both OEMs and end customers. IPCO engineers have a wealth of experience in supporting the bakery industry and can deliver the most appropriate solution for any requirement whether it is a new installation, an upgrade to an existing facility (from wire mesh to a solid or perforated belt), or simply supplying a replacement belt.

Future-proofing your supply chain: It’s not what you expect

Your greatest cost is also your greatest asset. Make one crucial step before investing in new technologies and invest in future-proofing your people. Here’s why…

Technology is no doubt having a transformational impact on the supply chain sector; blockchain, automation, machine learning and AI are improving operational processes, driving efficiency and ultimately better supply chain management.

Food and beverage companies are running lean operations and there’s always pressure on the supply chain manager to improve efficiency, lower costs and continue to deliver the same level of customer experience throughout the supply chain. Financially, the biggest cost to your business are your people – but what if you saw them as an asset, rather than a cost; improving your supply chain through their talents.

Supply chain leadership for F&B supply chains is crucial; before you harness the capability of new technologies or processes like IBP and advanced analytics, you need to have a foundation of good talent to be able to utilise them. Supply chain managers acknowledge that other leaders in their businesses think their job is a ‘back office’ function, but the real opportunity to improve the business lies in strategic differentiation and unleashing the power of your people to enable change.

READ: 7 risks in the food supply chain that compromise customer safety.

Amy O’Hara – head of supply chain at Sumo Salad suggests that the biggest indicator of success in your supply chain is in the success of your teams. The true ability to future-proof your systems is by preparing your teams for success in an automated supply chain future and understanding the importance of outsourcing to build skillsets in areas you’re currently lacking.

One of the brains behind Nike’s automated warehouse – Marie Varrasso, former director supply chain highlights the importance of bringing your people and technology together to create an automated warehouse that works in practice. The key reminder here: if you do not prepare your people properly for technological innovation, they will not be able to use these tools to their fullest potential. Automated warehouses are becoming more common in the F&B sector with Woolies leading the way in their fully autonomous warehouse – would your teams be prepared and upskilled if your warehouse was to go autonomous tomorrow?

The ASCI2019 conference brings together pioneers like O’Hara and Varasso in the industry who are leading the way to a more connected, transparent and automated supply chain. Leaders from Coca Cola – Carly Cummings and former Head of Transformation – Supply Chain will come together to discuss the nexus between people, skills and technology and why future-proofing your supply chain actually means future-proofing your people.

Across two days and three customisable streams, the event delves into the practical impacts of technology and innovation, pathing the way toward operational excellence in Industry 4.0 and the imperative to prepare the future supply chain management workforce today.

The supply chain workforce brings promise with opportunity for skills development and a multi-generational diverse group of thought leaders to engage – but this requires true leadership. ASC2019 brings together leaders and their teams with interactive workshops, panels and the coveted ASCI Leadership Challenge. Share your challenges with peers, learn from the thought leaders in the sector and develop a plan to harness this opportunity at ACSI2019.

Bridging the gap – dock levellers in food & beverage manufacturing

Food & Beverage Industry News talks to MHE-Demag Australia’s Paul Clarke about how dock levellers help businesses improve their bottom lines by ensuring their logistics operations are safe and efficient.

For manufacturers, the gap between the plant floor and the delivery truck is tricky. It not only poses a potential safety risk, but also can be a source of inefficiency. For food and beverage makers, there is an added concern. Because these businesses deal with perishable products, speed and temperature control are important considerations. They have to be able to ensure their goods arrive fresh to their destinations.

MHE-Demag Australia offers a range of solutions to help businesses deal with these concerns.

“The products and solutions we offer within the industrial product market, provide entrance controls that assist with the environmental integrity within food and beverage temperature-controlled storage and manufacturing facilities,” Paul Clarke, MHE-Demag Australia’s national sales manager told Food & Beverage Industry News.

“Our low-maintenance/high-strength docking products, along with our range of industrial doors, assist with improving productivity through longevity and durability and cost reduction through environmental controls.”

How to choose the right dock leveller

There are many dock levellers on the market that are sold with promises of heavy-duty capacity or high quality. However, according to Clarke, those making such claims often overlook some important considerations.

Choosing the right product for each individual application is one such concern. “The correct size and duty of the dock leveller will not only greatly affect the transition between the factory or warehouse floor and the floor, or bed of the trailer or truck being loaded, but also improve the life cycle of the products and maintain safe operational integrity,” he said.

He said that, where floor heights and load averages are known, MHE-Demag Australia can use a formula to identify the most suitable product for the application.

“Our products not only satisfy any concerns surrounding quality, strength and integrity but can also reduce the internal footprint normally taken up by dock leveller equipment,” he said. “This can increase the valuable floor space within manufacturing or storage facilities by taking the loading process outside the buildings with external dock design options.”

The company offers a variety of docking solutions, from the hydraulically operated “Gator” pit or frame mounted dock leveller range, through to “Edge of Dock” and “Scissor Lift” dock platforms in all sizes and configurations.

According to Clarke, the Gator dock leveller is worth highlighting. Research, conducted by the company showed that one of the most critical parts for loading docks is the capacity they can carry. As a result, MHE-Demag Australia designed the Gator from scratch to allow up to 20t being carried over the dock leveller, while having the same dimensions as most existing dock pits. This design enables fitting Gators into existing dock pits as well as consideration for current projects that work on standard pit dimensions.

On top of that, MHE-Demag Australia offers a range of industrial door products as well as number of after-market safety and environmental products such as “vehicle restraint systems”, traffic control/communication systems, lights and fans for safety and comfort as well as “dock seals and shelters” that are designed to provide an environmental enclosure in and around loading docks.

Pre and after-sales support

As national sales manager, Clarke is predominantly concerned with building new business and customer relationships by penetrating into a targeted market and territories.

“I also oversee the establishment or addition of vendor and sub-contract specialist resources to accompany our technical abilities to install and service all products within our holistic product portfolio,” he said.

He pointed out that the company is not just about supplying the highest quality products. Making sure customers choose the right solution for their application is the most important concern.

“That’s why we offer a free, no obligation dock survey and site inspection prior to any business engagement, to assist with identifying any potential issues or hazards that can often be overlooked,” he said. “We also focus on constant improvements to provide high standard after-sales service and planned maintenance options to protect our customers’ best investments and provide ‘peace of mind’.”

MHE-Demag Australia has established a strong presence in the Australian food and beverage manufacturing sector. For example, the company is currently in the final stage of completion within the expansion project at the Coca Cola Amatil site in Brisbane. For this project, it has provided a docking solution package incorporating dock levellers, restraint systems and loading lights through F K Gardener & Sons Constructions.

In addition, the company also has docks installed with RED Trucks Logistics & Storage and Style Ergonomics in Sydney. There have also been further successful projects undertaken at various sites through resellers in Victoria, along with the use of industrial door products within DTZ Auburn rail maintenance facility.

The future of logistics

According to Clarke, the importance of logistics has never been greater. “I believe that with the growing demands of an increasing population within Australia there will always be a need for greater logistical presence and efficiency,” he said.

“With the arrival and expansion of global retail giants like Amazon, Costco, Lidl and many more making their way into our growing market, the need for viable and reliable products that assist with the productivity of this sector will be in high demand. Quality is now the growing focus and presence within this modern market and MHE-Demag is renowned for being at the forefront of quality and safety with cranes and lifting equipment. This experience in delivering highest quality solutions now dwells into docking solutions to serve the food and beverage industry.”

MHE-Demag Australia designed the Gator from scratch to allow up to 20t being carried over the dock leveller.
MHE-Demag Australia designed the Gator from scratch to allow up to 20t being carried over the dock leveller.

A 200-year journey: Serving the food manufacturer in Australia

With Australian-grown produce now on the march, managing director Vince Di Costanzo explains how MHE-Demag Australia is driving the food and beverage industry forward.

At the forefront of manufacturing growth in Australia, food and beverage production is the guiding light.

The end of 2017 marked 15 months of continual expansion, according
to the Australian Performance of Manufacturing Index (PMI), despite a misconceived belief that the industry is in decline.

While it is changing focus – following the off shoring of sectors including automotive assembly and an acceleration towards the age of automation and robotics – one thing remains certain.

The appetite for Australian-grown food products is stronger than ever
– particularly in Asia – and means the distribution of packaged produce doesn’t have plans to go away any time soon.

Ideally positioned as the Pacific Rim’s dual logistics and cranes specialist, MHE-Demag’s industry knowledge is helping the drive from farm to fork.

And its latest technology, including the KBK Crane Construction Kit, is adding value to the production of raw and processed foodstuffs.

Following a journey that brought the German-based cranes specialist Demag halfway around the world to

Australia, it was a stop off in Asia in the last century where it first discovered its new purpose.

“KBK is our light-weight construction kit and is very adaptable to applications within the food industry,” said Vince Di Costanzo, MHE-Demag Australia’s managing director.

“It is used mainly in handling lighter loads – up to a ton or so – though, in the food industry, it can also support loads as low as 50kg.

“The beauty is that it gives room to manipulate the crane’s movements with less manual effort, improving cycle times while ensuring the safety of the machine operator.”
The company turns 200 years old next year. For almost 65 years, it has been based in Australia.

MHE-Demag's GATOR dock leveller - an essential piece in loading bay solutions.
MHE-Demag’s GATOR dock leveller – an essential piece in loading bay solutions.

 

Expanding the business has been no easy feat, however. Introducing new markets in Asia to its own supply chain, the company – formerly known as Demag Cranes and Components
– first sought the services of a distributor already established in that region.

Jebsen and Jessen (J&J), based
in Singapore and Malaysia, has a footprint in Southeast Asia over many generations, and it was in the early 1970s when Demag came calling.

“Although pockets of our manufacturing industry in Australia are moving offshore, we are still consuming those goods and that consumption is only expected to increase,” Di Costanzo said.

“In terms of manufacturing production, that is in decline. However, in terms of logistics, warehousing and transportation of manufactured goods – whether for import or export – that is In 2015, a smart move saw Demag Cranes & Components become MHE-Demag Australia, allowing J&J to own 50 per cent – joining their crane technology with J&J’s logistical nous, including its in-house dock-levelling equipment.

From this marriage of continents, MHE-Demag made its way to Australia.

“It means, in terms of the food industry and those customers we served before, we can do more than simply focus on their factory floor,” Di Costanzo explained.

“We can now assist them in getting the product out of the factory and into the warehouses where they are ultimately distributed from.”

This assistance can be provided by innovative loading bay solutions, tailored to ever-growing logistics challenges in Australia. The key here is MHE-Demag’s Gator – a dock leveller specifically designed for highly demanding operations in Australian warehouses.

Especially in the food and beverage industry, this extension of being further along the value chain allows the company to provide one-stop solutions, both on the factory floor and in the loading bay.

Using nylon wheels instead
of steel, KBK wears cleanly; a feature Di Costanzo insists makes MHE-Demag’s cranes more suited to the sector.

“The KBK Construction Kit
is designed to fit to lightweight structures, which are typically used around food-grade equipment,” he said.

“It is much easier to integrate than a large, overhead-travelling crane, which, due to its design,

wears over time, and when that happens, can cause debris to fall into the foodstuffs and contaminate stock.”

Standards for haulage on Australia’s roads and transport infrastructure are changing, with the Australian Logistics Council (ALC) making amendments to the Chain of Responsibility (CoR), which will hold more manufacturers accountable for freight-related incidents on the road, and not only haulage companies.

MHE-Demag’s cranes and loading bay solutions are supported by German safety standards, which Di Costanzo says are an industry leader worldwide.

“Having that German connection means we have always been ahead of the safety standards required,” he continued, “and that is the case for all of our products”.

“Australia, typically, looks to Europe for the next revision of
the standards. At MHE-Demag, our own engineering manager, Peter Woodward, heads the Crane Standards Committee here in Australia, which allows us to be the pace-setter when it comes to safety, whether that is in manufacturing or logistics.”

Narrow-gap Segmented Transfer Plates for conveyor belts

Flexco has introduced a Segmented Transfer Plate with options from 3.8cm to 7.6cm gaps between conveyor belts. Segmented Transfer Plates prevent product and foreign object debris from jamming in the transfer, minimising product and belt damage, increasing efficiency, and eliminating downtime. This new extension to the Segmented Transfer Plate line has several unique features, allowing it to be installed into narrower gaps.

Segmented Transfer Plates are designed to cover the gap between conveyors that are positioned belt-to-belt, belt-to-chute, belt-to-roller and for power turns. Available for belt widths up to 1500 mm, the transfer plates protect packages and other products from damage, while preventing belt tears and other damage from lodged foreign objects.

“The individual segments of the Segmented Transfer Plate are designed to release under extreme pressure in the rare instance when a product momentarily lodges between the belt and the segment,” said Beth Miller, director of light-duty marketing of Flexco.  “A single segment section releases, but the remaining segment pieces remain intact and continue to protect the operational efficiencies of your customers.”

The original design featured paired segments to accommodate gap widths 100 mm-250 mm. The new, narrow-gap option accommodates 38 mm-75 mm gaps. Molded-in ribs on the segment surface reduce friction up to 10 per cent and allow packages to transition over the plates.

Segmented Transfer Plates are ideal for use in parcel sortation operations, distribution centers, fulfillment centers, warehousing and airports.

Installation of Segmented Transfer Plates is easy, with flexible mounting options that can be bolted or welded in place. Segments that snap right on to the support bar also make routine maintenance quicker and easier.

Flexco will display the products in May at MEGATRANS2018.

 

Isuzu signs on with MEGATRANS2018

Truck manufacturer Isuzu has announced its support of multi-modal supply chain event MEGATRANS2018, joining the show as a Platinum Sponsor.

Isuzu, a market leader in the Australian transport industry for 28 consecutive years, joins key partners including the Victorian Government and the Port of Melbourne in supporting this inaugural trade show event, which takes over the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre 10-12 May 2018.

With a focus on connected vehicles and a technology-driven display in the works for MEGATRANS2018, Isuzu is aiming to set a new benchmark in the wider supply chain industry.

“The discussion and hype surrounding autonomous, or driverless, vehicles and technologies continue to build both overseas and here in Australia,” says Phil Taylor, Director and COO of Isuzu.

“Disruptive technologies appear to be becoming more prevalent with each new year, fundamentally changing the way the market will look at the road transport industry over the next few decades.

“There is one thing that I know for certain, whatever the technology, or the timeframe – Isuzu will ensure that Australian truck operators have access to the latest innovations in truck technology that are suitable for Australian operating conditions, driving better safety outcomes for all road users and improving air quality, productivity and the bottom line for the operator.”

Food & Beverage Industry News is an official Media Partner of MEGATRANS2018.

Magnetic gripper for reliable, safe handling

SMC has added to its gripper range with the launch of the MHM-X6400, which uses a magnet for the handling of steel plate, without the need for vacuum.

Ideal for workpieces with uneven or irregular surfaces or featuring holes, this magnetic gripper provides reliable and safe handling at reduced cycle times for improved productivity. It’s also ideal for many varied sheet metal handling applications including robotic systems.

In developing this product, SMC has looked to improve its handling flexibility by using magnetic grippers where vacuum was never an option due to the inherent limitations of a vacuum system.

With a holding force of up to 120 N, the MHM-X6400 continues to hold a workpiece even when air supply is lost completely or pressure drops are experienced, offering peace of mind when it comes to reliable and safe movement of workpieces.  Furthermore, with a residual holding force of only 0.3 N or less, cycle times are reduced and productivity output is improved.

Suitable for a range of transfer applications, the holding force of the MHM-X6400 can be adjusted by simply changing the height of the of bumper being used.

Made from Fluororubber, The bumper also prevents the workpiece from slipping and damaging during operations, improving safety.

Featuring three mountable surfaces and the option to mount auto switches, the MHM-X6400 offers flexibility and greater process control.

 

Smalte Conveyor Solutions collaborates with Nord Drivesystems to deliver

Smalte Conveyor Solutions recently supplied a quote for 23 stainless conveyors used to carry dips and spreads from a production area into a packing area – and then into an HMPS Case Packer.

Rob Winterbottom, Smalte Conveying Solutions Sales Manager, said that the initial quote was out of the client’s budget but that the team approached the job in a slightly different manner to best satisfy the customer’s needs.

“We decided to split the system into stainless steel in the production area and aluminium conveyors in the packing area which provided significant cost benefits to the client,” he said.

During the time of quoting, Smalte Conveying Solutions was visited by the team at NORD Drivesystems who advised them on an alternative to its competitors. “During the meeting, NORD’s nsd tupH geared motor with its sealed surface came up and I immediately saw this as a match for a client with very stringent hygiene requirements,” said Winterbottom.

In identifying the opportunity, NORD’s nsd tupH drive ticked all the boxes for the client’s production area such as; a cleaner design with the added benefit of using standard flanges in case of urgent breakdowns and availability of parts, and its suitability to harsh wash-downs.

“We met with our client and suggested the use of NORD’s drives for their application. The client could immediately see the benefits and awarded us with the contract on the same day,” said Winterbottom.

Thirteen conveyors were provided in the first stage with a second order received for an additional 11 conveyors. “All new Smalte Conveyors will now be supplied with NORD geared motors with the nsd tupH surface protection throughout the facility for standardisation purposes. We have a happy client and we are also very happy with the performance of these drives thus far,” said Winterbottom.

 

Conveying goods precisely and quickly with igus knife edge rollers

Knife edge rollers from igus are offering optimum results in high speed conveying applications through precise and quick movement of goods, especially in constrained spaces.

Gentle and speedy transport of goods is critical in the materials handling and packaging industry. When conveyor belts have to be deflected with precision in narrow spaces with narrow radii, knife edge rollers from igus offer a cost-effective, lubrication-free and maintenance-free solution. Developed by igus from the high performance plastic iglidur H1 material especially for belt deflections in applications involving high transport speeds, the new knife edge rollers not only deliver better performance at higher conveying speeds but also have a very long service life even at high temperatures.

Since the rollers are exposed to aggressive cleaning media, the use of the chemically resistant iglidur H1 material delivers an important advantage to the application. These rollers are, therefore, particularly suitable for the packaging, materials handling, automation and food technology sectors.

The use of iglidur H1 in the latest knife edge rollers expands the igus range to a total of four materials. To implement exact deflection of conveyor belts, igus has developed a standard range for different application areas.

In addition to the new iglidur H1 for high transport speeds, igus offers the universally applicable iglidur P210, as well as the FDA-compliant material iglidur A180 for temperatures up to 90 degrees Celsius, and iglidur A350 for application environments with temperatures of up to 180 degrees Celsius, both of which are particularly suitable for use in the food industry.

All the rollers are characterised by a compact design and long service life, thus contributing to the high efficiency of the machines.