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“Tailor made solutions”

10 July 2014

Food Processing speaks to John Price, Food Beverage and Packaging Manager UK at Murrelektronik

Can you describe Murrelektronik’s business and what solutions you provide?
Murrelektronik is one of the leading worldwide manufacturers of advanced technology in electrical engineering and electronics. We offer complete electrical equipment for machine installations across a number of industry sectors and our product range is split into four groups: Components for the Electronic Control Cabinet and Control Systems, Interfaces from the Control Cabinet to the Field, Cable and Connection Technology and finally I/O Systems and Fieldbus technology. As a single source supplier and system specialist, our solutions are made-to-measure for a variety of complex processes and applications.

How much business does Murrelektronik do within the food and beverage industry?
In 2013, our company grew quite quickly in the food, beverage and packaging sector, largely due to new product innovations and the fact that many of our products already meet the rigorous demands of industry with IP69K protection and ECOLAB certifications. We achieved an average growth of approximately 12.5% in the food and beverage industry alone. In 2014, I’m pleased to say that this growth trend looks set to continue. We are highly focused on showing how our technology can benefit the food and beverage industry during this exciting time for the sector in the UK.

What solutions do you provide for the food and beverage industry?
We have a range of products and system solutions that meet the requirements of the Food Contact Zone, Wet Zone and Dry Zone. The food and beverage industry has high requirements for hygiene. Products and components have to guarantee the highest protection and resistance. All metal parts of our comprehensive IP65 &IP69K connector range are made of V4A stainless steel and the cables consist of food-safe ECOLAB plastic material. In fact, our MVP12 steel distribution box provides the least expensive installation. When looking at decentralised automation, we work with customers to create tailor made solutions that offer increased system availability, comprehensive diagnostics and cost saving advantages. Applications include crate and bottle washers, blow moulders, rinsers, blenders, bottlers and fillers, cappers, pasteurisers, labellers and more.

Can you give application examples?
Recently we had an enquiry for our KDP compact cable entry (manufactured by our sister company Murrplastik) and field wiring for sensors. The application was for a cider micro-brewery with seven remote IO panels (stainless steel). We made recommendations on the most appropriate connectors and cable materials for the application. We also found that the sensor cables were connected to the PLC manufacturers’ fieldbus IP20 I/O module. Our Technical Team frequently find customers often stay in what might be termed their ‘comfort zone’, using the same products over and over again rather than exploring options. However in this instance, the Electrical Controls Manager was intrigued by Murrelektronik’s compact Cube20 modules offering up to 32IO in a 56 mm wide package, meaning he could use smaller, less expensive remote panels. He also knew that the end customer would be more than happy with the advanced diagnostics and individual output protection features. But the software guys were going to take a bit more convincing; after all they had to make it work!

Murrelektronik Cube20 IO samples were delivered personally to the software team by Murrelektronik’s Technical and Applications Manager, who help them get started. Backup support was available from Murrelektronik’s Customer Support Team and in no time, the software guys were completely comfortable with integrating the Murrelektronik Fieldbus IO with the PLC.

For Murrelektronik, supporting our IO products on a range of different PLCs is nothing new, it is an everyday occurrence. We do not offer PLCs, so our IO has to work with all PLCs. This is particularly relevant for systems houses and machine builders, who may have one customer specifying PLC manufacturer R on their preferred protocol, and the next customer specifying PLC Manufacturer S, on a different protocol. Using Murrelektronik IO brings a standardisation for the IO irrespective of PLC, which saves time in design, whilst the end user gets the best diagnostics and wiring protection available.

In addition, the Controls Manager opted for Murrelektronik’s Power Supplies and MICO DC power distribution / protection modules. The advantages were numerous - margins were low, competitive pricing and functionality kept the Controls Manager happy and the software guys got such good support from Murrelektronik, so they were also delighted with solution. And for the end-user, he gets a state-of-the-art micro-brewery with the best diagnostics!

What sets your solutions apart from the food and beverage industry?
Here in the UK, all customers benefit from locally based engineers and sales managers, backed up by an experienced technical department and customer support team. Food and beverage customers have the added advantage of a specialist Key Account Manager who is focused entirely on the needs and requirements of the sector. With links to a range of industry specialists across the global Murrelektronik network, our UK customers are already benefitting from our expertise.

How does Murrelektronik intend to grow their food and beverage business?
Jens Möllmann, a well-respected, highly trained Murrelektronik employee with over 10 years’ experience, has become the new Food, Beverage & Packaging Global Sector Manager. This shows our commitment to growth and will enable Murrelektronik to build up segment-specific knowledge, create ideas for new products and innovations and bring them to market quickly. And of course all this will be of great benefit to our UK customers. This is a very pivotal point in the food and beverage business our company and I am delighted to be an integral part. Quite simply, we’ll grow our business by providing better, more economical system solutions and electrical products for the UK food and beverage industry.

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