Machine automation controller

Omron electronics has released its entry level controller, NX1P, designed for small to midsize production machines. Based on the Sysmas (System for Machine Automation Control) platform, the controller features advanced motion control and networking for onsite IoT.

It is battery free and reduces machine maintenance, featuring an SD memory card slot to restore, back-up and verify data in the controller.

With one or two built-in option boards, there is no need to increase the size of the control panel for adding serial and analog communication.

This makes it a compact controller with push-in-plus terminals at the I/O and CPU unit to strengthen connection and save wiring time.

According to the company, these features together with a fast execution time of 3.3ns makes the controller an easy-to-use, high performance compact controller.

Moreover, the controller has built-in Ethernet/IP and EtherCAT ports. EtherCAT allows connection between I/O devices with a single cable providing control for up to eight servo systems, reducing wiring work.

Single-axis position control and four axes of motion control can also be achieved through electronic gear/cam and linear/circular interpolation. IO-Link master is enabled, meaning downtime is reduced and status of machines can be detected quickly and precisely.

Coke summer campaign now with Snapchat

Coca-Cola South Pacific has today announced that it has developed Snapchat lens for their summer campaign including one to go live on New Year’s Day which will allow users to interact with Coke in a new way.

“There are a number of ‘firsts’ in our summer campaign this year including the exciting launch of the Coca-Cola AU Snapchat channel,” Kate Wilson, Coca-Cola South Pacific IMC Manager (Sparkling) said.

“This platform provides us with the perfect opportunity to bring to life the campaign through an impactful, real-time and relevant connection point that resonates with our audience.

“We hope the campaign inspires young Australians and shows them a fresh and surprising side of our brand. “This year we’ve taken a different approach, challenging our consumers in surprising ways through music and artistic content as well as using social and digital to drive awareness amongst youth.”

The multi-million dollar integrated marketing campaign will feature in out-of-home, mobile and cinema, experiential marketing, PR, social and influencer engagement, as well as point of sale shopper marketing. Digital content will run across catch-up TV, Vevo and YouTube in 15 and 30 second cut-downs through programmatic advertising.

In a new twist to building awareness for Coca-Cola, street art murals will bring the campaign to life across iconic urban sites in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.  Sydney-based street artist Mulga has been working with Coca-Cola over recent months to create the murals and artwork that will feature across social media, online video, digital and OOH – including on the iconic Kings Cross billboard from this week.

 

Ari Mervis appointed CEO and MD of Murray Goulburn

The Chairman of Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co. Limited (MG), Philip Tracy, today announced that the Board of Directors has appointed Ari Mervis as the new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of MG and MG Responsible Entity Limited.

He will commence on Monday, 13 February 2017. Commenting on the appointment of Mr Mervis, Mr Tracy highlighted the Board’s desire for MG’s incoming Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to possess extensive operations and consumer goods experience.

“After a comprehensive international search, the Board unanimously agreed that Ari was the ideal choice to lead MG at this critical juncture in its history. We are delighted to have secured a candidate with a proven track record of delivering results and operational success across multiple geographies,” Tracy said.

Mervis’ career with SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer, began in 1989 and included senior positions in South Africa, Swaziland, Russia and Hong Kong. In his most recent capacity, Mervis was Managing Director of SABMiller in the Asia Pacific and CEO of Carlton & United Breweries in Melbourne, with responsibility for overseeing businesses across Asia Pacific including China, India, Vietnam, South Korea and Australia.

“I am extremely pleased to be joining MG and see it as an enormous privilege to lead such an iconic business that plays an important role in the daily lives and livelihoods of so many Australians,”  Mervis said.

“Murray Goulburn is a great company, with a long and proud history. I am looking forward to partnering with MG’s dairy farmers, employees, customers and stakeholders to restore this great Australian co-operative, as we adapt to the challenges and opportunities facing the dairy industry globally.

“I look forward to working with the Board and Executive Leadership Team to ensure we strengthen MG’s position as Australia’s leading dairy company,” Mervis commented. In making the announcement Mr Tracy paid tribute to interim Chief Executive Officer, David Mallinson.

“As interim CEO, David has led MG with conviction and discipline during an exceptionally challenging period, focussing on the twin priorities of MG’s value-add strategy and achieving significant cost efficiencies to support stronger farmgate milk pricing for MG’s suppliers,” Tracy said.

 

SA wine industry leads way on solar uptake

Dozens of wineries in Australia’s premier wine state are harnessing the sun’s power for purposes beyond growing grapes.

South Australian wineries are embracing solar energy at twice the rate of other business sectors, installers say. Yalumba Wine Company in the Barossa Valley is just weeks away from completing one of the largest commercial solar system installations in South Australia and the largest to date by any Australian winery.

It will have taken more than three months to put the 5384 individual panels in place at three sites: Yalumba Angaston Winery, Yalumba Nursery, and the separate Oxford Landing Winery.

When fully operational, the 1.4 MW PV system will produce enough renewable energy to reduce Yalumba’s energy costs by about 20 per cent and cut its annual CO2 emissions by more than 1200 tonnes, equivalent to taking 340+ cars off the road.

“It is an exciting project and one that will deliver us significant savings, as well as being consistent with our corporate focus on sustainability,” said Managing Director Nick Waterman. Yalumba is currently the leader of the pack, but it is an increasingly large pack.

No one keeps a detailed list, but wineries with systems in excess of 100kW include D’Arenberg, Seppeltsfield, Peter Lehmann, Angove, Torbreck, Wirra Wirra, Jim Barry and Gemtree. Many smaller wineries are installing smaller systems.

In the Adelaide Hills, Sidewood has flicked the switch on a 100kW solar system as part of a $3.5m expansion project at its Nairne winery.

With the support of an $856,000 grant from the South Australian Government, the system will provide more than 50 per cent of the winery’s annual consumption.

Sidewood has also become the largest sustainable winery in the Adelaide Hills after receiving full Entwine Accreditation for all four of its vineyards in September.

There was a brief lull in solar installations after the current Federal Government scrapped the financial support provided under the previous government’s Clean Technology Investment Program (36 of the 80 projects funded in South Australia in 2012-13 were in wineries) but things are moving again.

David Buetefuer is Director of Sales and Business Development for The Solar Project, which has worked with a number of local wineries including D’Arenberg, suggests four reasons for this: the wine industry is starting to recover from a slow patch; the price of electricity is at an unprecedented high; the cost of solar is coming down; and there are new ways to get started.

Yalumba, for example, has signed a 10-year power purchase agreement with energy supplier AGL, which is installing and maintaining the system and will own the energy produced.

This will be sold to Yalumba at a rate comparable or lower than its current per kilowatt hour rate. Another alternative is a rental model under which, as Buetefuer puts it, the bank owns the system. In both cases, the winery does not have to find the capital up front and the system is off balance sheet.

“It’s an interesting time because all three models now work – power-purchase, rental and straight purchase – whereas not that long ago the only people buying solar were those who had the available capital and could justify payback times of five, six or more years,” Buetefuer said. “It’s opened up a lot more opportunities.”

Buetefuer said the wine industry recognised the benefit of harnessing solar power at its most productive period of the year, which coincided with the summer to autumn vintage when the demand for electricity was at its peak in wine production.

“One of the defining features of the industry is the long-term planning that goes into establishing vineyards and infrastructure to support wine production well into the future,” he said. D’Arenberg’s chief winemaker Chester Osborn agrees.

He said one of the important things for the winery last year was reducing peak demand from the grid. “A big portion of our electricity cost comes from our peak requirements which we only need for a couple of months a year, but get charged for every month,” he said.

“We have reduced our power bill by 40 per cent and we are hopeful that the advances in battery technology will lead to further efficiency improvements.”

D’Arenberg’s 200kW system in McLaren Vale was the largest in a winery in South Australia when installed at the end of 2013.

The company made the investment so it could generate 20-30 per cent of its power from solar energy and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent. Among the most publicly visible solar installations in South Australia are the two arrays that line the road to the Jacob’s Creek Visitor Centre in the Barossa.

They not only produce all the energy the winery needs, they feature in quite a few visitor photographs.

South Australia is consistently responsible for about 50 per cent of Australia’s annual wine production, including iconic brands such as Penfolds Grange, Jacob’s Creek, Hardys and Wolf Blass. From The Lead

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: https://www.foodproexh.com/

Oxygen permeability tester for food and package makers

Bestech Australia has introduced the OX2/231, an oxygen permeability tester to determine oxygen transmission rate of film and package products, including plastic films, composite films, sheeting, plastic bottles, plastic bags and other packages.

This is important to ensure the food product maintains a long shelf life. It comes with 2 test modes for both films and packages for accurate tsts.

The tester can test 3 specimens at once, and then export test results for analysis. An easy-to-use menu interface with LCD display ensures viewing and exporting data is convenient. The OX2/231 is recommended for the following packages:

• Films – Plastic films, aluminium foils, etc

• Sheeting – Engineering plastics, rubber and building materials

• Package Caps

• Plastic Pipes

• Blister Packs

• Wine bottles

• Contact Lenses

Stainless steel pipe conveyor for food makers

Exair has added smaller and larger sizes to the air operated 316 Stainless Steel Threaded Line Vac conveyor product line, which is designed to convert ordinary pipe into a powerful in-line conveying system for food products, pharmaceuticals and other bulk materials.

The 316SS Threaded Line Vac is now available with NPT threads for use on 3/8 NPT through 3 NPT pipes.

Featuring large throat diameters for maximum throughput capability, these conveyors are designed to attach to plumbing pipe couplers, sanitary flanges and other pipe fittings.

Available from Compressed Air Australia, the 316SS Threaded Line Vac conveyors eject a small amount of compressed air to produce a vacuum on one end with high output flows on the other. Response is instantaneous.

Regulating the compressed air pressure provides infinite control of the conveying rate. Construction is durable Type 316 stainless steel to resist corrosion and contamination.

The 316SS Threaded Line Vacs can withstand temperatures to 204ºC.

Nine sizes are available. Applications include gas, grain or ingredient sampling, part transfer, hopper loading, scrap trim removal, tablet transfer and packaging. Other styles and sizes are available to suit hose or tube.

Additional materials include aluminium and abrasion resistant alloy. 316SS Threaded Line Vacs are CE compliant and solve a wide variety of conveying applications.

Australia’s newest distillery made Pozible by crowdfunding

Australia’s newest distillery, Cape Byron Distillery has launched its first spirit, Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin via Australian crowdfunding platform Pozible.

Created by Eddie Brook and acclaimed Scottish distiller Jim McEwan, Brookie’s captures the unique tastes and flavours of sub-tropical New South Wales.

The distillery itself is nestled in the very heart of the Brook family’s macadamia farm and is surrounded by a lush rainforest.

A traditional “dry style” Gin, Brookie’s is a balanced combination of the traditional and local native botanicals, trickle distilled in a custom hand-made copper pot still.

Jim McEwan said, “We’re bringing a new level of excellence to distillation. When you taste this gin, it tastes pure. You’re tasting a bit of nature, you can taste the salt air, you can taste the fruits and flowers of the rainforest, it has the warmth of the personalities associated with family distillers.”

Brookie’s is a gin also has a strong environmental message. Over the past 30 years the Brook family have planted over 35,000 native trees, mostly sub – tropical rainforest trees. Today the farm is thriving eco system.

A percentage of the profits from every bottle sold will support the work of the local Big Scrub Landcare group, whose sole mission is to protect what’s left of a mighty rainforest and to encourage new plantings.

 

New reliability test for moisture analysers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riviana releases pressed pear juice in a 1 litre Tetra Pak

Pressed Pear Juice from Riviana has been released in a 1 litre Tetra Pak.

According to the company, Riviana Pressed Pear Juice is made from quality fresh pears which have been pressed against a fine sieve to extract the juice.

The cloudy appearance underscores the fact that it is not made from concentrate and has not been diluted with water.

“We don’t ‘produce’ juice – we press and then pack it,” explained Riviana Foodservice Channel and Strategy Manager Nick Dymond.

“Taking this approach ensures quality and flavour and makes the product much more appealing than reconstituted juice.”

The shelf-stable packaging with convenient resealable screw cap is designed to ensure ease of use.

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.

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.

Revealing the science of Aboriginal fermentation

Wine researchers at the University of Adelaide are investigating the traditional practices of Australian Aboriginal people in producing fermented beverages and foods.

Although referred to in early European texts, little is known about the processes involved, the yeasts and bacteria at work, or the chemistry, taste and smell of the plants and finished products.

Led by Professor Vladimir Jiranek, Professor of Oenology and Director of the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production, the research will focus initially on fermentations of cider gum sap (from Tasmania), nectar from Banksia and other native blossoms (from various locations) and quandong roots (from South Australia).

“Although these historic accounts mention such fermentations by Aboriginal people, as far as we can tell none of these processes have been characterised scientifically,” says Professor Jiranek.

“Preliminary discussions with members of Aboriginal community groups and historic texts to date have pointed us towards the steeping of nectar-laden flowers such as Banksia or extracts from pandanus nuts in water, which could be then set aside for varying lengths of time. Such materials would undoubtedly ferment to some extent, changing the sensory properties and yielding alcohol, although probably at quite low levels – less than beer.”

“Another product arises from the cider gum, a Eucalypt limited to isolated parts of Tasmania which readily produces a sugar-rich sap that was actively sought out by Aboriginal people as well as the local fauna.

“Allowing this material to stand for some time would result in a fermented, cider-like beverage, albeit again of modest alcohol content.”

Professor Jiranek says the project represents an opportunity to comprehensively document these and related practices across Australia. The study will improve understanding of the use of native plants and their cultural context.

“There is an important historical and anthropological aspect to the project,” Professor Jiranek says. “Some of these processes are not being practised anymore, but there may at least still be people with living memory of them. We’re keen to record what we can while still possible.”

“The work may also reveal that novel organisms are involved that are unique to Australia, making this an opportunity to identify some new species of yeast and bacteria, perhaps with interesting new properties. We will also characterise the composition of the saps, nectars and various extracts as fermentation substrates while the Australian Bioactive Compounds Centre will determine if bioactive compounds are also present,” he says.

South Australia banking on a brandy re-branding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published with approval from The Lead

Sugar Research Australia names new biosecurity boss

Sugar Research Australia (SRA) has announced the appointment of Dr Andrew Ward to lead the organisation’s Biosecurity division.

Ward comes to the position from being Leader, Plant Health, with SRA and he has significant experience in diverse agricultural industries, including sugarcane.

SRA CEO Neil Fisher said that Ward was an experienced scientist in Queensland, NSW, the Northern Territory, and internationally, and that he was ideally placed to lead this critical focus area for SRA research investment.

“The Australian sugar industry has placed plant biosecurity as one of its top priorities for investment from SRA,” Fisher said. “Diseases, pests and weeds represent a significant threat to the ongoing viable production of Australian sugarcane.

“SRA’s research investment into biosecurity is the frontline of protecting the industry from external threats that exist in foreign industries, including our nearby northern neighbouring countries. SRA also plays a vital role in researching and managing the threats that already exist within the Australian sugarcane industry,” Fisher said.

“The research effort into sugarcane smut over the last 20 years is an example of the value of biosecurity research investment for sugarcane growers and millers. Preparation for the risk of smut began 10 years prior to its actual incursion in 2006, and those early preparedness measures were a valuable insurance policy as the industry transitioned to smut-resistant sugarcane varieties after smut was discovered in 2006.”

Ward said he looked forward to leading SRA’s biosecurity activities for the industry.

“Biosecurity risks can cause hundreds of millions of damage to agricultural industries. For the Australian sugarcane industry, SRA’s research programs through biosecurity, and its linkages with other research, is critical to ensuring the ongoing success of the Australian sugarcane industry,” Ward said.

Image: LinkedIn

Keeping Modern (Food) Manufacturing Secure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Insider Threat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Outside Threat

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

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

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

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

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

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

This means any security system should be:

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

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

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

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

 

 

Forcepoint

www.forcepoint.com

 

 

 

Aussie wine scoops three gold CWSA Awards

Calabria Wines has outclassed the competition at the recent China Wine & Spirits Awards, taking home three Gold Medals from the competition, including the prestigious Double Gold.

The company’s 2013 Iconic Grand Reserve Barossa Valley Shiraz was awarded the superior Double Gold, while the 2014 Three Bridges Durif & 2014 Three Bridges Barossa Valley Shiraz both won a Gold Medal.

“We are very proud of the success we have yielded for our Barossa wines. We have worked extremely hard to produce high quality wines from this region and the C.W.S.A accolades reinforce our long term commitment to the Barossa Valley” commented Calabria Wines third generation family member and Sales & Marketing Manager, Andrew Calabria.

Calabria Wines have been producing Three Bridges Durif for 15 years and it is the company’s most celebrated product.

Carbohydrate research centre established in SA

A NEW research laboratory will explore the potential benefits of complex carbohydrates that include natural immune system enhancers and high quality cosmetics.

Adelaide Glycomics in South Australia was launched today and is a collaboration between the University of Adelaide and Agilent Technologies Australia Pty Ltd.

It will be the largest research centre of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and will host cutting edge research in the field of glycoscience (the study of structure and function of glycans).

Director of Adelaide Glycomics Vincent Bulone said complex carbohydrates were critical in every area of biology and were vital in the production of more high function foods.

“We want to turn this into the centre of gravity for carbohydrate analysis in the southern hemisphere and we already have a lot of international collaboration from industry to do a lot of applied research with high potential in a whole range of sectors and industries,” he said.

“Carbohydrates are the most abundant molecules on earth but almost the most complex and heterogeneous. They are also the least understood.

“Because of this we cannot control very easily the properties of the application products we develop and to do this we need to understand the structure and biological properties – with this facility we will be able to do that.”

Carbohydrates are one of the main types of nutrients and are the most important source of energy in the human body.

Adelaide Glycomics will serve as a hub for national and international collaboration in the field of complex carbohydrates across multiple industries.

Some of the potential benefits the centre will explore include new texturing agents for food, creating bioplastics, new drug delivery systems, helping control the composition and quality of wines, producing hair gels and cosmetics, and developing biosensors.

“You can use carbohydrates as a metric and modify them with biomolecules that can be used as sensors. You can use them to couple as protein receptors for sensing pollutants that bind to proteins in polluted water,” Professor Bulone said.

“There is carbohydrate research already happening in Australia, but what we want to do here is have something really comprehensive and world class equivalent to the only other centre of its kind in the world in Georgia, USA.

“The other thing we will do is organise training for the future leaders in R&D in Australia in that area which is going to constantly expand and our society is growing more towards green chemistry, green materials, sustainability, converting waste into products.”

Agilent’s Academia and Collaborations Manager for the South Asia Pacific and Korea region David Bradley said the company was proud to work with the University of Adelaide.

“This collaboration underscores the importance Agilent places on academia, working together to boost scientific outcomes that will provide economic and societal benefits,” he said.

“We have since developed many spectroscopy-based laboratory instruments, and continue to be committed to working with researchers across various industries to develop new applications from insight to outcome.”

Drop the ‘xenophobic’ attitude to trade says AIFST

At the recent 49th Annual Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology (AIFST) Convention in Brisbane, most leading Australian food and agribusiness industry experts agreed that while innovation is the key to ensuring a viable future for the food and agribusiness industry, the concern around foreign investment is impacting markets and hindering the collaboration.

The panel, chaired by former ABC journalist Peter Couchman, comprised some of the industry’s leading decision-makers, including Peter Schutz (FIAL), Michele Allan (Science and Innovation Australia), Richard Katter (Ernst & Young), Dr André Teixeira (CSIRO), Terry O’Brien (Simplot), Janice Rueda (Archer Daniels Midland), Dr Ben Lyons (TSBE) and Alastair Maclachlan (Preshafruit). Chair of AIFST, Peter Schutz said the Australian food and agribusiness industry needs to work collaboratively and allow for investment in the industry.

“We need all components of the industry – including the business community, farmers, agribusinesses and the wider supply chain – all working together seamlessly.

“There is a lot of xenophobia in Australia, but we need these foreign markets to invest in the Australian food and agribusiness sector because they will guarantee us markets.

“This lack of collaboration culture within Australian food and agribusiness is impacting our readiness for engagement with the huge market potential of the emerging Asian middle class,” said Mr Schutz.

The panel agreed the Toowoomba region in Queensland is leading the way in food and agribusiness collaboration, and the rest of the nation needs to follow suit. “The Toowoomba and Surat Basin area is a stand-out region in terms of collaboration across universities, government and the production and agribusiness industry, opening up the region directly to international markets,” said Mr Schutz. CEO of the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) Dr Ben Lyons said that while Toowoomba is part of Australia’s leading agriculture region in terms of production and innovation, there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of collaboration.

“We have a number of opportunities opening up to the local food and agribusiness market in Toowoomba, such as the opening of the Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport servicing the Toowoomba region,” said Dr Lyons.

“This has given us the ability to export fresh meat from Toowoomba at 5pm that will arrive in Shanghai by 7am local time, to be served in a high-end Shanghai restaurant that night. This makes everything much more immediate.

“Australia as a whole needs to step away from being insular and become more open to foreign ownership and investment. Australia has had a mindset of protectionism in the past. I was quite upset by the Kidman ownership decision, because what impression about investing in Australia does that send to China?” he said.

Terry O’Brien, Managing Director of Simplot said the resistance to innovation and new ideas comes down to a number of Australian agricultural and food production companies being family-owned.

“I do a lot of work in Tasmania, where the farming and agricultural land has been passed through many generations. This creates a fear of growing new products including new varieties as they feel they haven’t been tried and tested.

“This region almost has to wait for the current generation to stop and the younger generation to step up to utilise their new technical skills and their ability to think collectively,” said Mr O’Brien.

Sanitarium makes a bigger dash

Sanitarium’s Little BIG DASH is returning to Australia for 2016, offering an obstacle adventure designed to put the fun into physical activity for more than 20,000 kids and their parents.

Family teams from two to six will tackle 3km of wild and wacky obstacles to reach the finish line, forming part of Sanitarium’s long-standing mission to help Australian families improve their health and wellbeing.

For the first time, the event will run in three cities, returning to Brisbane and Sydney following popular events in 2015, while families in Melbourne will have their first opportunity to participate in the unique bonding experience.

While Sanitarium’s aim is to encourage families to embrace an active lifestyle in a safe and non-competitive environment, participants report that the best thing about Little BIG DASH is its ability to bring people of all ages together to have fun.

Brisbane will be the first city to hold the event, kicking off the laughs on 24 July at Seventh Brigade Park in Geebung, proudly supported by the Queensland Government. The fun then continues in Sydney on 21 August at Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith and Melbourne on 25 September at The Thunderdome in Calder Park.

Sanitarium’s General Manager Todd Saunders said: “We’re thrilled to bring back the Little BIG DASH from Sanitarium for another year and expand the event to reach more families than ever before. In an age where the addictive allure of screen time sees Australians living an increasing sedentary lifestyle, our aim is to get kids and adults on their feet and bring family and fitness together in the most enjoyable way possible.”

Little BIG DASH from Sanitarium features unmissable activities and obstacles which have been designed for kids from age five to 15 and for adults looking to get in touch with their inner child. With ten thrilling obstacles to challenge participants, kids and parents can bounce through the Rumble Tumble Tower, twist through the Tangle Tunnel and test their balance on the Bupa Balance Beam.

Tickets for Little BIG DASH from Sanitarium are available to buy now with discounts available.

For more information and to register a team, head to www.littlebigdash.com.au

 

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