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And the 2018 Food Processing Award winners are…

19 October 2018

There were nine Food Processing Awards up for grabs this year. The judging panel whittled it down to three finalists in each category and we left it to the readers of Food Processing to decide the winners, which were announced at an awards ceremony in Coventry on 18th October.

Robotics & Automation (Sponsored by FANUC):
OAL –  APRIL Eye
Part of the OAL  Food Manufacturing Digitalisation Strategy, supported by the University of Lincoln and Innovate UK grant funding, APRIL Eye eliminates human error on the packing line by combining artificial intelligence (machine learning) with machine vision to read back date codes, just like a human but without the errors that occur with the distraction and boredom that can result from undertaking repetitive tasks.  


Process & Packaging (Sponsored by Lenze):
GEA – OxyCheck
OxyCheck is a non-invasive in-line quality assurance system that is able to check the oxygen content and seal integrity of every Modified Atmosphere Pack (MAP). It eliminates the need for time-consuming sample testing that wastes packaging material, contents and only tests a small percentage of the packs. The system checks the sealed packs immediately after they are sealed on a GEA PowerPak thermoformer. OxyCheck works by checking the fluorescence properties of a special food-safe dye spot that  is printed onto the inner side of a lidding film. 

Continuous Improvement (Sponsored by SMC Pneumatics):
Proseal – Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade
Proseal, a UK food industry equipment manufacturer, has seen strong continuous growth over the past six years, which led to a Queen’s Award for Enterprise. This growth has been driven by the company’s ongoing investment in research and development and a strategy to constantly develop new machines and technologies. The company itself has been consistently innovative which has allowed its food industry customers to respond quickly to changing market requirements. 

Environmental & Sustainability (Sponsored by Rexroth – A Bosch company):
Fulton Boilers – PURE Technology steam boiler
The VSRT challenges the heat transfer and mechanical design principles of traditional steam boilers. The gas-fired, vertical spiral-rib tubeless steam boiler is the first product to employ the ‘PURE Technology’ approach, an initiative that has resulted in a boiler with high efficiencies and ultra-low NOx emissions as standard. 

The PURE technology employs a unique design to achieve low stack temperatures by passing the flue gases through a spiral-wound heat exchanger that is fully immersed in water. The tubeless design has also enabled Fulton to create a compact lightweight boiler with minimal footprint. 

Hygiene & Food Safety (sponsored by BASF):
Hanwell – IceSpy wireless temperature monitoring solution
IceSpy is said to offer a cost-effective wireless temperature monitoring solution. Additional measurements, such as humidity, CO2 and pressure, are also available for system expansion in heated and dry storage facilities.  Each transmitter unit has a radio range that can reach up to 300m over open ground. For added data security each transmitter has on-board logging capability for five days, data is downloaded via RFID. The units are powered by a single 1.5V AA Lithium battery, which can be replaced by the user as and when required, battery life will be two years plus, with notification when a change is required.

The system delivers flexible wireless system that incorporates revolutionary technological breakthroughs in wireless temperature monitoring. 

Future-Factory Enabling Technologies (Sponsored by Wago):
VEGA – PLICSCOM with Bluetooth
VEGA was the first sensor manufacturer to bring a Bluetooth solution to market. The PLICSCOM display and adjustment module is mounted directly on the sensor for measured value indication, adjustment and diagnostics. The Bluetooth option allows any transmitter to be adjusted wirelessly from a distance of around 25m, or remotely operated via an App, in line with the trend towards the smart factory enabling data from instruments to be used more widely across the enterprise. The Wireless Bluetooth solution is backward compatible so can be used on the entire installed base of plics sensors.


Skills & Development (Sponsored by Omron):
Ornua Foods UK
Ornua offers a seven-year engineering apprenticeship programme and is committed to actively developing talent for the future and to encourage its employees to continue to build on their skills. The latest group of apprentices, working with Stoke-on-Trent College, all achieved distinctions in their programme.

Young Engineer of the Year (Sponsored by Festo):

This award recognises youngsters who have chosen to work within the food sector and who have the potential to do great things within the sector in the future. The award was once again presented to all of the finalists to recognise their commitment to the industry. The awards were presented by Steve Sands, product management & marketing manager at Festo.

Andrew Burgess - Ornua: Engineering Apprentice at Leek-based Ornua Foods UK. Andrew works across most areas of the butter and cheese manufacturing plant. He has completed the first year of a seven-year engineering apprenticeship programme. Andrew recently won an award for Apprentice of the Year from Stoke-on-Trent College.

Nathan Cope - Bakkavor: Engineering Apprentice at Bakkavor’s Bourne site – Bourne Prepared Produce. The products made at Bourne are primarily Fresh Fruit and Beansprouts & Salads. Nathan will work in all of these areas. He is on a Level 3 Food & Drink Engineering Maintenance Apprentice Standard.

Jess Hugill- Nestle: Engineering Apprentice at Nestle's York factory. The products made at York are primarily KitKat, Yorkie and Aero. Currently, Jess is working with KitKat. She is on a Level 3 Food & Drink Engineering Maintenance Apprentice Standard. 

Stephanie Williams - Tulip: Engineering Apprentice at Tulip. Stephanie is on a Level 3 Food & Drink Engineering Maintenance Apprentice Standard, at Birmingham Metropolitan College. She had been at the company’s Westerleigh plant since 2016.

Lifetime Achievement (Sponsored by Food Processing): 
Martin Howarth, director at National Centre  of Excellence for Food Engineering.
Martin has always had a passion for engineering and an interest in how products are actually produced. He read for his undergraduate degree in production engineering at the then Trent Polytechnic (now Nottingham Trent University.

His engineering career began at Racal Marine Radar, and he later went on to work with Nottingham Trent University, researching robotic techniques in automated manufacturing, joining the university as a lecturer, while continuing his research into automated manufacturing systems.

In his current role at the NCEFE Martin works tirelessly to create support and gain funding for food engineering, through collaboration with different bodies in the UK, such as the FDF and the NSAFD. 


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