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Food Processing Awards 2018: your finalists

28 August 2018

Our annual Food Processing Awards are designed to acknowledge and recognise companies for their excellence and innovation within the UK food and beverage engineering sector. This year the Awards ceremony will be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Coventry on the evening of the annual Appetite for Engineering event – 18 October.

This year we have nine awards up for grabs and have gathered nominations over the past few months. The judging panel has just sat down to whittle the bumper crop of nominations this year down to the finalists. So, for your consideration this year we have the following…

Robotics & Automation (Sponsored by FANUC)

Staubli – Humid Environment (HE) grade robots
This robot range was ahead of the game in creating a robot designed to meet the very specific needs of the food industry for handling exposed food products. The exterior of the arm is designed in compliance with EHEDG recommendations on minimising water retention to prevent bacteria such as salmonella and listeria from developing. Connectors are integrated into the body of the robot so that all the equipment can be cleaned. The equipment is smooth (with rounded edges), water-tight, and open below to allow water to drain.

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.

WMH – Twin robot in line ultrasonic cutting unit
This unit is a new development for WMH and pushes the boundaries of possibility for flexibility and inline cutting and slicing in the food industry. The inline system is designed specifically for the food processing industry, with hygienic angled surfaces, spaced off bracketry, cantilever support frame and quick release belt. It employs robotic automation to create a simple to operate, flexible inline cutting and slicing solution which can adapt to changing product and production requirements.

Process & Packaging (Sponsored by Lenze)

Endoline – Space saving slimline case erector
At almost half the width of current case erecting systems the 2518 case erector was originally designed to work with grading, packing and processing machines within the egg industry but is suitable for any food manufacturing case erecting application where space is at a premium. The first 2518 prototypes were developed for AHA Frisch-Ei Eggs to feed into Moba case packing lines where the addition of a support plate into the hopper resulted in a 50% reach reduction for manual operators. The addition of an icon driven HMI screen makes the system easy to use and, by reducing the footprint of the system, Endoline has reduced the conveyor system requirements for each machine.

Industrial Labelling Systems – FlexWipe automated pallet labelling solution
FlexWipe has been cleverly engineered in a way which allows it to work at temperatures as low as minus 20°C. Clever engineering has turned standard print and apply equipment into multi-side labelling, extreme-temperature beating technology – a great solution for the frozen and chilled sector which removes the need for operators to manually label pallets in extreme environments. FlexWipe’s twin-motor technology ensures accurate positioning of labels and a unique identity which enables companies to comply with GS1 SSCC barcode regulations.

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. 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.

Idhammar – Overall Equipment Efficiency (OEE) System Software
Idhammar’s OEE software is helping companies to increase output without investment in capital plant or additional labour, or to maintain the same level of production in a shorter time period with fewer resources. Even businesses with ERP and MES solutions are able to build the case for deploying an integrated OEE application to transform loss management strategies and justify improvements by gaining tools to give the insight needed to achieve greater control of production. On a day-to-day basis, real-time reporting against KPIs can alert manufacturing teams to issues and accelerate response times to performance recovery. Meanwhile, trend analysis over time enables continuous improvement teams to quantify losses and prioritise improvement opportunities.

Hosokawa Micron Group – Gen4
The Gen4 business unit combines machine capability with software and controls knowledge to deliver data driven process industry solutions, helping users convert knowledge into action to prompt continuous improvement. Hosokawa Gen4 is currenlty working with production managers across all tiers of the food processing industry to offer a flexible, cost effective way to maximise the opportunities of ‘data driven manufacturing’ to enhance continuous improvement techniques and maximise yield, reduce waste and save energy.

Environmental & Sustainability (Sponsored by Rexroth – A Bosch company)

Packaging Automation – Alternative film seal solutions
A seal system has been developed by Packaging Automation for a new heat sealable pulp board pack developed by Evesham Specialist Packaging which is biodegradable, capable of recycling right down to consumer level and can be composted. Such initiatives demonstrate that there are alternatives to plastic trays. This new range of packaging is currently being rolled out across many UK grocery retail outlets.

Trakrap – Milk Pack
Milk Pack is a sustainable secondary packaging solution developed by Trakrap for plastic milk bottles. Launched in November 2017 it is a specially designed 100% recyclable and ultra-thin stretch film which enables the collation and wrapping of a wide range of milk bottle sizes, from half-pint to four litre formats, and is strong and reliable enough to protect them during transit.

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)

Unigloves – Fortified glove
Single use gloves specialist Unigloves and antimicrobial technology specialists BioCote combined their expertise to create this antimicrobial (includes anti-bacterial) nitrile glove range to mitigate risks of cross contamination. The gloves incorporate silver ion technology which has been proven to destroy 90% of bacteria within just 15 minutes and 99.5% in only two hours. It is also proven to be effective against E.coli and Salmonella, antibiotic resistant superbugs, invasive fungi species, plus H1N1 influenza, H7N9 and the current Aussie flu strain. The gloves are chemical resistant and are latex and powder free. They also feature a textured surface for better grip.

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.

Axflow – Almatec MM series pump
The MM Series of air-operated double diaphragm (AODD) pumps have been designed to meet the standards, regulations and operational requirements that govern the food and beverage industry. The pumps use food- grade wetted materials and are constructed to enable easy cleaning. They also feature soft redirections without rotating parts and shaft seals in the product chamber. The materials and design of the pump enable CIP and SIP capabilities. Construction materials comply with FDA Standards, and pumps equipped with PTFE diaphragms and ball valves also comply with EC1935/2004. In addition, the pumps are ATEX conforming according to the 2014/34/EU directive.

Future-Factory Enabling Technologies (Sponsored by Wago)

Rockwell Automation – Connected Enterprise
Connected, smart devices open new windows of visibility into processes. Data and analytics enable better and faster decision making. Rockwell’s Connected Enterprise platform converges plant-level and enterprise networks, securely connecting people, processes, and technologies. Such a platform can dramatically improve manufacturing processes by allowing data from production lines, or even plants to be gathered and analysed, providing the information to enable better decision-making based on key performance indicators (KPIs). It also improves efficiency by supporting remote and automatic recipe changes, simplifying connectivity and minimising exposure to information security risks.

IBM – Food Trust
Food Trust is a blockchain solution developed by IBM for greater visibility and accountability throughout the food supply chain. It was developed in association with the food industry to help improve transparency, standardisation and efficiency throughout the food supply chain. The cloud-based software-as-a-service solution is built on IBM’s Blockchain Platform to directly connect participants through a permissioned, permanent and shared record of food origin details, processing data, shipping details and more.

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)

Bakkavor’s apprenticeship programmes develop the skills of bright young talent who want to embark on a new career in food manufacturing while working towards a nationally recognised qualification. Bakkavor offer an Advanced Apprenticeship, aimed at school leavers who have completed GCSE’s, and those starting in a new career, with Higher Apprenticeship for those who have typically gained A-Level qualifications and are hoping to fast-track their career. To compliment the qualification the company has designed a structured internal training programme.

The Nestle Engineering Apprentice programme lasts four years and mixes block release college studies with on the job work experience in a range of electrical and mechanical engineering technologies. Apprentices learn to develop their skills in areas such as safety standards, quality and hygiene.

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.

Tulip’s apprenticeship routes encourage development and progression opportunities with bespoke on the job training. The aim of the programmes is to provide specific role knowledge and technical skills as well as focusing on business behaviours, while supporting the apprentices to achieve their full potential. Tulip offers apprentice opportunities across all of its sites in the UK, enabling it to provide local job opportunities for young people.

Young Engineer of the Year (Sponsored by 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 Salad site – Bourne Prepared Produce. The products made at Bourne are primarily Fresh Prepared Fruit, Stirfry & 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 has been at the company’s Westerleigh plant since 2016.

How to nominate…
To vote for your favourite finalists all you need to do is email the company name and the award category to

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