Automatic strapping machine

As a global manufacturer and distributer of protective packaging systems and accessories, customers can rely on Signode to provide them with all their packaging essentials. Signode’s close relationships with customers mean Signode products are constantly evolving to meet customers changing needs.

The company has introduced the Predator 2 range consisting of a new and improved stretch wrapper and strapping machines. With improved features the machines are loaded with noticeable differences designed to improve customer productivity and efficiency.

The Predator 12 SS is an automatic strapping machine specifically designed for the meat, poulty and fish processing industries. This full body stainless steel machine protects products and the machine from rust and corrosive environments that are exposed to water.

The Predator 12 SS can improve with automatic strap loading and the capability of strapping up to 30 cartons per minute. (depending on carton size) Any miss fed straps are simply and swiftly corrected with the Predators automatic cut and refeed feature.

When strap runs out, the last piece us automatically ejected from the machine. With up to 70kg adjustable tension, the Predator can secure with either light or heavy export cartons.

Features include:

  • Up to 30 straps per minute (dependent on carton size)
  • Automatic strap loading in less than 10 seconds
  • Automatic strap eject for coil changes
  • Automatic strap cycle area
  • Strap cut and refeed
  • Mechanical tension adjustment for up to 70kg
  • Heavy duty locking castors
  • Heavy duty steel frame construction
  • Full stainless steel body
  • Food switch (included)
  • Full 12-month warranty

All Signode machines are manufactured with safety front of mind. Each machine is tested and tagged, supplied with a risk assessment and manufacturer’s CE European manufacturing rating. Signode’s national service team also provide technical support, preventative maintenance and emergancy onsite emergancy breakdown.

Enhanced vibratory conveyors

Key Technology introduces new features that enhance their vibratory conveyors – Iso-Flo, Impulse, Horizon and Marathon – for food processing and packaging lines.

Together with established features that promote food safety and equipment durability, the innovative new grounding arm, label stand-offs, sanitary drives and Vector-Lock Gen 2 ease use, reduce maintenance and maximise sanitation.

Key’s new patented grounding arm is made of a single stainless steel structure. Unlike braided wire rope with crevasses, which can harbor bacteria and a crimped ferrule that can fail, the single structure, smooth texture and open design of the new grounding arm enhance sanitation and improve durability. Mounted to Key’s StrongArm spring arms to dissipate static between the conveyor bed and frame, this grounding arm presents no horizontal surfaces where liquid, product or particulates can pool. It comes standard on new conveyors and can be retrofitted to existing systems in the field.

Label stand-offs are superior to traditional riveted plaques, which can trap bacteria, and adhesive stickers, which can peel off after repeated exposure to washdowns. Each conveyor’s identification, specifications and stroke indicator are laser-etched or stamped onto stainless steel and the colorful ISO safety pictogram labels utilize epoxy based baked finish over stainless steel. All these new labels consume less surface area and are attached to the conveyor with stand-offs to reduce laminations, which eases cleaning and improves sanitation.

The oil-free drives that can be used to power Key’s vibratory conveyors have been redesigned. A smaller footprint and a more open mount, which reduce the lamination area, make these maintenance-free drives more sanitary.

The new Vector-Lock Gen 2, used to secure removable screens and covers on Key’s vibratory conveyors, eases use and achieves better clamping. With a larger hook, a bigger radius and additional over-center latching for more positive engagement, this new Vector-Lock clamp enables quick release and quick closing while maximizing load carrying capabilities to secure screens and covers on even the heaviest conveyor systems that handle today’s highest capacities. Simplified geometry makes the new clamp easier to latch, inspect and maintain. It is interchangeable with previous generation Vector-Lock screen clamps and compatible with legacy conveyor platforms, so customers with installed systems can upgrade their conveyors in the field.

All of Key’s vibratory conveyors are inherently sanitary, presenting a stainless steel bed surface that is easy to clean. They are backed by Key’s five-year warranty, which ensures equipment reliability and limits the processor’s total cost of ownership.

Increase loading dock safety with Australia’s first telescopic lip dock leveller

The loading dock is a critical link for any business that ships and receives goods, so it makes sense that using the best equipment available is key in the efficient and safe handling of those goods. That’s why Assa Abloy has introduced the first telescopic lip dock leveler to Australia.

The DL6020T Teledock – available exclusively through Assa Abloy in this region –is suitable for every loading situation, regardless of its complexity. Unlike commonly used swing lip levelers, the Teledock has a movable telescopic lip, which provides a larger contact area between the vehicle bed and the dock leveller.

As a result it can be precisely positioned on the vehicle bed for optimal load utilisation and increased safety, explained Andrew Barker, national sales manager at Assa Abloy.

“If you are a large business that has a lot of containers coming into the country, they are usually loaded right to the rear of the trailer. What happens is that the swing lip dock leveller can’t engage with the back of the truck, meaning that the first row of goods has to be unloaded by hand before a fork lift can be used. This causes a slowdown in productivity and a slowdown in unloading and loading the truck,” he said.

“It also becomes a health and safety issue because there is a gap between the warehouse and the back of the truck where people are handballing the goods, meaning people could slip and fall down in between there.”

In the food manufacturing industry, which is governed by stringent regulations on the handling and transportation of food such as cold storage and protecting food from contamination, the Teledock can ensure a quicker unload, speeding up the transfer from truck to temperature controlled equipment in the facility.

The Teledock comes with the option of an Ergonomic Lip providing a bump free transition from the leveller platform to the lip. This makes the DL6020T Teledock ideal for operations with electrical pallet trucks.

It is also fully automated through the innovative and unique Assa Abloy 950 series docking control system that gives direct control of the dock leveler, dock shelter and door all in one control unit. With only a few self explaining buttons it is easy to operate, to meet the demands of modern logistics. Separate steering units or complex wiring are no longer needed.


Australia’s first automated, collaborative palletising system

Universal Robots’ Certified System Integrator, Andrew Donald Design Engineering (ADDE) has developed the first end-of-line automated palletising system for Australian standard pallets, which incorporates Universal Robots’ UR10 robot to create a collaborative and flexible palletiser.

With most packing operations still finishing with an operator loading a carton onto a pallet manually, ADDE saw an industry need to find a solution which could automate one of the most physically demanding and back injury prone tasks on the production line.

ADDE’s response was to create the Zero Footprint Palletiser (ZFP), which takes no more space than a pallet on the floor and an operator and allows manufacturers to generate greater efficiency and safety across operations, while also enabling employees to work closely in collaboration with the palletiser.

To create the ZFP, ADDE started with a UR10 robot, which can work without safety caging or barriers (subject to a risk assessment) and then added the hardware and software needed to achieve an affordable, minimal footprint and easy-to-deploy solution that can reach an Australian standard pallet.

“The intuitive nature of the UR10 provided a great starting point for us to build a flexible, easily programmable solution that takes up minimal factory floor space. The ZFP enables workers to continue to perform production line tasks in collaboration with the robot, while relieving factory staff from the risks of the repetitive task of stacking pallets,” said Barry Hendy, Managing Director at ADDE.

Manually handled palletising can lead to a number of occupational health and safety (OH&S) issues for both manufacturers and their employees. In fact, body stressing, manual handling and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are the most common cause for workers compensation claims in Australia. Many claims are due to muscular stress created by common packing tasks such as lifting, carrying or putting down crates/boxes.

However, beyond the health issues related to manual handling, there are also a number of financial costs involved. In fact, according to a 2016 research report from the Institute of Safety, Compensation and Recovery, MSDs accounted for 59.5 percent of the $61.8 billion that work-related injuries cost the Australian economy in 2012-2013.”

Commenting on the introduction of the ZFP, Shermine Gotfredsen, General Manager, Universal Robots, Southeast Asia & Oceania, Universal Robots said: “With the ZFP, the OH&S issues associated with manual handling can be avoided as workers can be freed up to work on less laborious tasks. However the collaborative nature of Universal Robots’ UR10 robotic arm also means that staff are enabled to work in conjunction with robots along the production line, unlike with traditional industrial machines where safety barriers often prevent employees from working close to machinery.”

User-friendly bag palletiser

Haver & Boecker announces the availability of ‘the world’s most user-friendly bag palletiser’ in the Australian market.

Developed by Haver & Boecker’s palletising technology division, Newtec Bag Palletizing, the new Terram 1000 offers Australian manufacturers of animal feed, seeds, mortar and plastic granulates an efficient bag palletising solution that combines user-friendly operation and maintenance with high safety and performance, delivering perfectly palletised bags with an output of 500 to 1,000 bags per hour.

Martin Mersmann, Haver & Boecker Australia’s Sales Manager for Packing Technology observes that the manufacturing industry is continuously focussed on minimising capital and operating costs without compromising productivity or quality. Haver & Boecker’s technologies aim to provide more efficient, robust and compact solutions to optimise operations and deliver a rapid return on investment.

He explains that the Terram 1000 is called ‘the world’s most user-friendly bag palletiser’ because of its incredibly simple and fully integrated operating system, flexible capabilities, compact design, perfect output and advanced safety features.

Key features of the Terram 1000 bag palletisers include intuitive touch panel screen integrating all operating modes and settings with machine diagnostics and maintenance assistance; both low level and high level palletising enabled; perfectly rectangular and stable pallet obtained with its forming plates uniformly stacking and shaping each layer; compact design allowing installation in a reduced floor space; and enhanced safety during maintenance with all components brought to floor level if required for easy access without using ladders or platforms.

Mersmann adds that investing in a solution such as the Terram 1000 means improved storage, transport and logistics, greater productivity and, fundamentally, more sales with the quality of the pallet delivering a better looking product.

The Terram 1000 also features Haver & Boecker’s precision weighing system, the MEC4.

Farmer Power launches new fund raising campaigns

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rising demand for food products and shorter delivery cycle

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

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

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

Implementation of standards applicable to food processing

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

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

Image: BBC Technologies’ CURO 16

Digital sorters at foodpro

Key Technology will showcase the Veryx C140 digital sorters at the foodpro trade show in Sydney from 16-19 July, 2017.

Featuring an innovative system architecture and advanced inspection technology, the sorters maximize the detection and removal of foreign material (FM) and product defects based on objects’ color, size, shape and/or structural properties while minimising false rejects to enhance product quality and increase yields.

With belt-fed and chute-fed configurations available in various widths, the sorters can handle a wide range of products and production throughputs. Belt-fed systems sort frozen and fresh cut fruits and vegetables, leafy greens, potato chips and other snacks, confections, seafood, wet and frozen potato strips and more.

Chute-fed systems sort nuts, dried fruits, IQF products and other free-flowing foods. The inspection width of every VERYX sorter is 10-15 percent wider than comparatively sized sorters, which enables higher throughputs within a similar footprint and better singulation of product to improve sorting accuracy.

Featuring a highly customisable modular design, Key tailors each system around the product characteristics and production objectives of each processor with the ideal sensor types, sensor positions, lighting, ejection system, product handling, software and more. The system includes specialised infeed and collection shakers designed specifically for each application to maximise sorting performance. The sorters can be easily upgraded in the field with additional or different sensors, as customer requirements evolve over time.

For food processors that require all-sided surface inspection, Key can configure belt-fed VERYX with top-and-bottom mounted sensors and chute-fed VERYX with front-and-back mounted sensors to achieve a full view of each object in the product stream with no blind spots.

Belt-fed VERYX is the only sorter on the market that positions bottom sensors away from product splatter, which ensures lower sensor windows are not obstructed by contamination buildup over time to sustain 100 percent surface inspection throughout the production cycle.


Seaco Global Australia becomes major container player

Container leasing company Seaco has continued to strengthen its presence both in Australia and worldwide since its amalgamation with Cronos Containers.

In January 2015, HNA controlled Bohai Leasing Co of China acquired Cronos Containers and subsequently integrated the container leasing activities into Seaco Global.

The company’s Australian team has been focussed on building the Seaco/HNA brand while developing new business relationships throughout Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.

Regional vice president for Oceania and Americas, Peter Folkard, welcomed the company’s collaboration with Sydney-based Container Rotation Systems (RCS).

“We are delighted to be working in association with CRS due to the compatibility and capability of their automatic lid lifting and container rotation system compatible with our Half Height containers,” he said.

“These are very exciting times for Seaco Global Australia and we are looking forward to developing projects in other locations worldwide.”

The Australian teams’ success has been supported by access to a global leasing fleet and portfolio of equipment including general purpose containers, ISO bulk liquid, powder & gas tanks, refrigerated and temperature controlled units and specialised container types (suitable for bulk items).

The company provides containers for a range of industries including mining, oil & gas agriculture & Farming, construction, defence, food, government, logistics, manufacturing, and waste.

In addition to a wide range of equipment, the Australian based container leasing team offers flexible domestic or international leasing options to suit individual customer requirements for long-term, short-term, master lease, spot-lease, one-way lease, finance lease and lease purchase options; including Damage Protection Packages (DPP).

Seaco Global has relationships with global carriers for equipment positioning and restocking of various standard and specialised container types.

The Australian team can also offer specific equipment designated for sale in ‘as is’ or ‘cargo worthy’ condition, with a network of engineers able to undertake additional upgrades, modifications and conversions to suit customer specifications.



Gentle conveying of delicate food

Piab’s piFLOW t conveyor is dedicated to the gentle handling of delicate ingredients and products.

It is designed to solve the problems of using vacuum technology to convey the delicacies of the food industry, such as nuts, seeds, beans, candy, as well as nutraceutical tablets and capsules.

Promising to revolutionize the automated handling of fragile goods, the conveyor features innovative and groundbreaking new technology (patent pending).

Suitable for transporting up to four million items per hour, the conveyor can be used to transport any fragile goods within a processing plant. For the food industry this enables the safe handling of, for instance, coated sweets, candy, roasted coffee beans, whole nuts, and nutraceutical tablets.

Eliminating the use of inadequate standard equipment and alternative, often back-breaking, manual procedures, the conveyor will safely transfer ingredients and products between the various processing units, such as tablet presses, coating drums, and packaging lines, avoiding all risks of damage.

At the core of the conveyor is the proprietary piGENTLE an innovative technology (patent pending) that maintains a gentle flow by regulating the feed pressure of the pump, ensuring that fragile ingredients or products are handled as delicately as possible.

The conveyor is an extension to Piab’s popular and high quality range of piFLOW conveyors for powder and bulk materials, and is specially developed to meet the stringent demands regarding operational safety and hygiene within the food, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries.

Bulk container packaging to be worth over $6bn by 2024

Bulk Container Packaging Market size is set to exceed USD 6 billion by 2024, according to a new research report by Global Market Insights.

According to the report, increasing edible oil export from SEA, particularly Malaysia and Indonesia, is one amongst the major factor propelling the overall bulk container packaging market size over the projected timeframe. For instance, Indonesia exported more than 14 million tons of palm oil in 2007 and reached roughly around 20 million tons in 2013. In addition, more than 30% of the total edible oil exports from Southeast Asia was done through flexitanks owing to its high operational efficiency along with low cost.

Flexitanks tanks are widely preferred by the oil exporters, as it helps in increasing the profit margin, by reducing the operational expenses. Increasing palm oil demand from Europe, India and China will complement the bulk packaging container market size over the estimated period. Furthermore, increasing biofuel production across the globe on account of its environment friendly characteristics along with government support will subsequently boost the product demand for transportation applications. Thereby propelling the global bulk container packaging market size by 2024.

Flexitanks are widely preferred in the foodgrade product such as malts, edible oil and fruit concentrates, beverage and non-hazardous chemicals transportation due to its high efficiency along with superior protection against contamination. These tanks offer value added traits as compared to prevailing substitutes including barrels and drums. It is easily disposable, and hence there is no associated cleaning cost as in the case of tank containers and barrels. This, in turn, diminishes the product contamination risk. In addition, flexitanks can transport over 20 times more quantity of liquid than other substitutes in the same cost. These above mentioned flexitanks features will consequently boost the bulk container packaging market size over the projected timeframe.

Major raw material including PE or PP, used in the bulk container packaging market share are petrochemical derivatives, therefore the industry is influenced by similar price dynamics. Oscillating crude oil price trends is likely to obstruct the global business size over the estimated period. For instance, PP price in 2010 was around USD 0.75/kg and was close to USD 0.90/kg in 2012.

In 2015, flexitank segment was valued close to USD 150 million and is likely to observe highest gains by 2024. Superior and value added product characteristics makes the product suitable in transportation of fruit juices, edible oil, beer and wine. For instance, these tanks offer minimum food grade product contamination threats.

In 2015, FIBC (flexible intermediate bulk container) led the overall bulk container packaging market size in 2015. FIBC is broadly used in the transportation of polymers, building materials, chemicals and detergents.

In 2015, food grade & beverage application was valued roughly around USD 900 million. Growing population has substantially increased the food demand in massive volume along with low prices. This has positively influenced the food grade & beverage trade across the globe and thus will push the bulk container packaging market size by 2024. Bulk container packaging market size for chemicals will observe growth more than 10% by 2024.

In 2015, North America accounted for the largest chunk in the bulk container packaging market. The region is the major exporter corn, soybean, oilseeds and feeds and therefore has enormous product demand. However, Asia Pacific, mainly led by India and China, will observe highest growth close to 11% by 2024.

In 2015, bulk container packaging market size was extremely consolidated with top three companies holding over 50% of the industry share. BLT Flexitank Industrial, MY Flexitank (MYF), SIA Flexitanks and Braid Logistics are few key industry players.

McCain to move into robotic cold storage facility

McCain Foods Australia has announced a new contract agreement with cold storage provider, NewCold as part of an ongoing effort to improve supply chain efficiencies.

NewCold’s first warehouse in Truganina, Melbourne will manage the storage and handling of McCain’s frozen products, as part of a 10-year agreement.

Construction has significantly advanced on the automated facility, which will consist of an integrated system combining automated, state-of-the-art pallet handling systems, using in-house warehouse and control software developed by parent Dutch cold storage innovator, NewCold Advanced Cold Logistics.

McCain Foods ANZ Supply Chain Director, Taso Kourou, stated that this facility upgrade would drastically improve logistics capabilities, meeting the needs of local and international customers, demanding improved efficiency from production to distribution of frozen products.


“The storage and handling of McCain’s frozen products in the new automated facility will give us a more stable temperature regime and highly accurate stock control,” says Kourou.

McCain Food’s Regional President for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India & China, Louis Wolthers, says the McCain team is keen to see the outcomes of the new agreement take effect.

“From a sustainability perspective, through the use of the warehouses’ highly controlled in-and-outflows combined with efficient cooling equipment, energy usage per pallet stored is up to 50 per cent lower compared to a conventional storage option.”

From receipt, storing and subsequent retrieval of palletised products, the warehouse makes use of unmanned stacker cranes, conveyors and automated truck unloading systems, all together capable of handling more than 11,000 pallet movements per day, allowing McCain to efficiently move stock out of the warehouse to customers more efficiently than ever before.

McCain will also have access to continuous feedback on performance, service and efficiency, allowing for a great opportunity for continuous improvement through its supply and delivery methods. The focus will be on recruiting local employees to staff the facility, with extensive skills and technology training for employees to ensure they can manage the facility at maximum efficiency.

The NewCold Advanced Logistics warehouse is a first of its kind in Australia, giving McCain an unparalleled mix of efficiency, speed, sustainability and automation, which in turn will create better outcomes for FMCG customers.

NewCold will be open for business in Autumn 2017, and is the beginning of a new approach to temperature-controlled storage in the southern hemisphere.

McCain Foods will store all frozen products with the automated facility on Robinsons Road, Truganina by July 2017.


Small manufacturers will get into the zone at foodpro

Australasia’s iconic food manufacturing event, foodpro, will be partnering with Food Innovation Australia (FIAL) in a brand new initiative: The Supply Chain Integrity Zone.

Security in the supply chain is vital to the food manufacturing process with traceability and audit compliance a priority; however smaller manufacturers often find it costly to comply.

The majority of technologies for traceability are often geared to larger manufacturers, which causes obstacles and barriers for smaller players in the industry.

In response to this, foodpro and FIAL have launched the Supply Chain Integrity Zone, a new initiative focusing on solutions available for small manufacturers who produce pre-packaged goods for sale to the consumer.

Companies across the various stages of the supply chain will be represented, allowing visitors to discuss end-to-end solutions with suppliers best suited for their business.

The zone will also include a series of seminars covering the latest technology, capabilities and insights.

“The Supply Chain Integrity Zone is a really important and exciting addition to foodpro” says Peter Petherick, foodpro Event Director.

“Foodpro has supported Australia’s manufacturing needs for 50 years, and it’s important we continue to respond to the industry as it changes. It’s become clear that there are an increasing number of smaller manufacturers whose needs, although similar to the bigger companies, must be met in more specific ways. The new zone serves a purpose for solutions and importantly, for discussion and engagement. With a focus on improving traceability and supporting audit compliance, the benefit to the industry will be incredible.”

The zone will feature companies that offer solutions specifically for smaller manufacturers who produce less than 10,000 units a week with a focus on areas including: materials in, processing integrity, packaging integrity, shipping & receivables and quality management solutions for traceability. FIAL is directly supporting the zone with the objective of increasing industry capability and compliance.

FIAL was established to foster commercially driven collaboration and innovation in the Australian food and agribusiness industry.

They are industry led and take a collective approach to ensure productivity, profitability and resilience in the food and agribusiness sector. Along with the partnership with FIAL, foodpro 2017 will also host wider discussions around innovation and the food industry with the annual AIFST (Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology) Convention.

Over 400 delegates are expected to attend the Convention’s 50th year to hear about topics such as the future nutritional needs, technology driving innovation, regulations related to imports as well as a roundtable discussing financing innovation and growth in the food industry.

For more information see:

Smart packaging set to feature at AUSPACK 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rosella flies off with new branding

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPC workers fear getting canned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brambles and The Global FoodBanking Network team up

Brambles, a leading logistics solutions company operating in more than 60 countries primarily through the CHEP and IFCO brands, has signed a three-year agreement with the international non-profit organisation The Global FoodBanking Network (GFN). Through this partnership Brambles will provide supply chain knowledge, in-kind contributions, volunteers and donations to help finance GFN operations, in an effort to reduce hunger, poverty, malnutrition and food waste globally.

The agreement comes as the United Nations FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) reports that the value of food lost or wasted annually around the globe – some one-third of the food produced or 1.3 billion tonnes – amounts to roughly US$ 680 billion in industrialized countries and US$ 310 billion in developing countries.  At the same time, nearly 800 million people suffer from hunger every day.

Lisa Moon, President and CEO of GFN, said: “We are honoured to partner with Brambles to leverage its expertise, products, and leadership to help drive efficiency and scale in food banks around the world. We would like to thank Brambles for their commitment to the fight against world hunger while also advancing sustainability”.

Last year, food banks within GFN’s network distributed 421,840 metric tons  of food to 6.8 million needy people in partnership with 27,000 charitable organisations and social centres. The GFN network consists of a total of 792 food banks located in 32 countries.

Brambles CEO, Tom Gorman, said: “Brambles is highly committed to deliver sustainable value in the communities where we operate. Food banks are a great example of that.  Our new relationship with GFN builds on our multi-year engagement working with our customers to support food banks around the world.  In addition, Brambles efforts to expand both the capacity and capabilities of GFN Network to address hunger is an important part of our comprehensive approach to addressing  food security”.

“We are focused on reducing post-harvest food loss, improving the ability of small holder farmers to access modern packaging that protects the integrity of the product and enhances food safety.  Whether we are working with individual food banks, the GFN, The Consumer Goods Forum or Enactus  our employees are dedicated to improving access to food and economic opportunity and to improving the sustainability of our environment”.

Zero Hunger is goal number 2 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Food loss and waste are recognized by Organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations FAO, and the Consumer Goods Forum, (CGF) as critical challenges in the fight to reduce hunger, protect the environment and grow economic opportunity.


Large scale bulk handling project boosts gluten-free production at bakery

Gluten-free, once considered a fad, is now becoming mainstream with more than 15% of North American households eating gluten-free foods.  As a result, the market for gluten free foods has doubled within the past five years and is now estimated to be approximately AUD 4.2 billion.

To meet this growing demand, Bakery On Main, a commercial bakery specializing in gluten-free foods, needed to significantly increase its capacity.  “We were operating at 100 percent of capacity.  Our bulk handling equipment, which consisted largely of inclined conveyor belts, was inefficient and very labour intensive,” says Michael Smulders, owner of Bakery On Main.  “It was also an open system, so ingredients were exposed to the atmosphere.”

After investigating various ways to upgrade the existing equipment, all of which proved unsatisfactory, Smulders decided to build an entirely new facility with an integrated bulk handling system designed specifically for gluten-free baked goods.  He commissioned an independent engineering firm to handle the overall design.  The firm worked closely with the Project Engineering Division of Flexicon Corporation to create a fully integrated system based on the company’s FLEXI-DISC Tubular Cable Conveyor (TCC) system.

Tubular Cable Conveyor principle of operation

Inside the TCC system, a series of low-friction polymer discs attached to a stainless steel cable gently slide bulk materials through smooth stainless steel tubing.  Because of its gentle conveying action and dust-tight operation, a TCC system is ideally suited for transfer of fragile, contamination-sensitive food products.

The stainless steel tubing can be positioned horizontally, vertically or at any angle.  Because the system is modular, inlets and outlets can be added as needed to control the flow of material.  The system can also be lengthened or shortened to fit the available space.

Regardless of configuration, the low-friction polymer discs and cable are driven by a rotating wheel at one end of the circuit, and maintained under tension by a wheel at the other end.

Two integrated systems produce granola and oatmeal

Bakery On Main offers five flavors of gluten-free granola including Cranberry Orange Cashew and Rainforest Banana Nut.  The bakery also offers six flavours of instant oatmeal, including Blueberry Scone and Maple Walnut Muffin.

The new building spans 10,200 sq m and has 6.1 m ceilings.  Because granola and oatmeal each require a different production process, Bakery On Main operates two separate bulk handling systems from Flexicon within the new building.

System integration permits fully automated granola production

 The granola handling system includes two Flexi-Disc TCC circuits, a Tip-Tite Box Dump Station, a Twin-Centerpost Bulk Bag Filler and two Bulk-Out Bulk Bag Dischargers.

The major granola ingredients are discharged from an extruder into the Bulk Bag Filler, which is equipped with an inflatable seal and a high level sensor and indicator.  Adjustable extension posts accommodate bulk bags as tall as 2300 mm when full–necessary because lower density materials, such as those used to produce granola, occupy more space per kilogram.

Palletized bags are then transported by forklift to a Dual Bulk Bag Discharger System which consists of two identical Bulk-Out BFC Series Dischargers, each with a cantilevered I-beam, electric hoist and trolley for loading and unloading bulk bags.

From each Bulk Bag Discharger, major granola ingredients flow onto a vibratory feeder and through an adjustable weir gate into a non-metered inlet adapter on a 150 mm diameter, 30.6 m long Tubular Cable Conveyor having one vertical and two horizontal sections.  The weir gate is programmed to adjust the feed rate according to the bulk density of the material.

Both dischargers rest on load cells that measure weight loss and signal the vibratory feeders to stop when a pre-programmed weight has been transferred from the discharger to a mixer purchased separately by Bakery On Main.

Minor ingredients are manually deposited into a small hopper due to the need for higher accuracy, and introduced to the TCC through a metered inlet adapter.  The combined ingredients are then discharged from the TCC through a full flow inline discharge adapter and fed into the mixer.

Once thoroughly blended, the ingredients are fed into an oven, which deposits baked material onto a moving conveyor belt. Baked granola then discharges into the surge hopper of a vibratory feeder that delivers the material into a non-metered inlet adapter of a 100 mm diameter, 52 m long TCC.

The TCC discharges finished product through inline tubular discharge valves into two packaging machines equipped with level sensors that signal a PLC to maintain surge hopper fill levels by starting and stopping the conveyor. Any excess granola is discharged through the system’s drive wheel discharge adapter into open boxes, which are transported by fork truck to a Flexicon TIP-TITE Box Dumper positioned at the intake end of the TCC. The boxes are hydraulically raised to create a dust-tight seal against a discharge hood, which is then rotated to mate with a gasketed non-metered inlet adapter of the conveyor, for re-transporting of the material to the packaging machines.

Oatmeal production process also fully automated

The oatmeal process is also fully automated, but without baking.  Received in 907 kg bulk bags, all ingredients are emptied by a BULK-OUT BFC Series Bulk Bag Discharger equipped with an electric hoist and trolley that can accommodate bags up to 1600 mm tall.

The contents discharge onto a vibratory feeder that flows into a non-metered inlet adapter of a 100 mm diameter, 11 m TCC circuit that, in turn, discharges through a full flow inline discharge adapter into another separately purchased mixer.  Blended ingredients are then auger-fed to a packaging machine.

A second 100 mm diameter, 8.4 m TCC circuit, fed by a TIP-TITE Box Dumper, hopper and vibratory feeder, supplies a second packaging machine.

Close cooperation with engineering firm eliminated obstacles

Throughout the design, engineering and installation of this totally automated and integrated system, a team of engineers from the Flexicon Project Engineering Division worked closely with the independent engineering firm commissioned by Bakery On Main to handle the overall design.

“The Flexicon people were detail oriented,” says Smulders.  “They had all the engineering resources needed to tailor the system to our exact needs, including suspending everything except the fillers and dischargers from the ceiling in order to minimise our space requirements.  They were responsive and very easy to work with.”

Mark Parisi, a member of Flexicon Representative Flo Dynamics, which supplied the equipment, played a key role.  “Mark shepherded the project along, solving any problems,” Smulders recalls.

“The new facility gives us the increased capacity we need without increasing our manpower requirements,” says Smulders.  “It now takes less time to produce a batch.  The new systems reduce damage to ingredients and are much easier on the workers.  Also, because the new systems are enclosed, ingredients have much less contact with the atmosphere.”

Smulders anticipates the need for additional capacity as the market for gluten-free foods continues to grow.  “With the production lines and team we’ve put together, we don’t anticipate any problems with meeting future demand,” he says.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHEP wins for retail pallets

CHEP won gold and silver for two of its customer solutions at the 2016 POPAI Marketing at Retail Awards, announced last week in Sydney.

The global provider of supply chain solutions won gold for its Retail Display Pallet and Beverage Tray System; and silver for its Retail Modular Pallet.

According to the company’s Director of Strategy and Marketing for Australia and New Zealand, Justin Frank, both solutions deliver significant sustainability benefits in the supply chain. He said the two awards reflect the environmental benefits of the products in the distribution and merchandising of beverages.

“CHEP supports a share and re-use circular economy and we work with our customers and partners to innovate and deliver efficiencies, reduce waste, and improve flow through their supply chain.

“Both platforms are designed to move products seamlessly from the manufacturer to the retail floor, as an innovative one-touch solution fully-stocked and ready to go, while also removing the need for one-way cardboard packaging and minimising transport resources, including a reduction in fuel.

“The solution delivers superior category management by being: easy to see; easy to access; easy to replenish; easy to flex; easy to remove; and easy to re-use.

Around 65 per cent of retail supply chain costs are incurred in the short distance from the loading dock to supermarket shelf display.

“Together, with the movement from the distribution centre, it is commonly known as the ‘last mile’ and is the current battleground for innovation in the quest to gain efficiency, reduce environmental impact, improve on-shelf availability and promote sales.” Frank added.