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Making sense of it all at Foodex

08 March 2020

Foodex, the biennial food industry event, is set to take place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 30 March to 1 April. Food Processing highlights some not to be missed stands. 

The trade event focuses on food and drink manufacturing, processing, packaging and logistics and, as industry starts to adopt Industry 4.0 principles, Foodex offers a good opportunity to learn more about new technologies and to find out more about what they can offer your business. This year the spotlight will be on top trends across the food manufacturing sectors - from improving traceability and consumer trust, transforming productivity and highlighting the latest new ingredients and super foods.

Visitors to the Dolav stand will be able to see its new Ace 460, a shallow, hygienic pallet box that holds 445l. The new Ace 460 box has been confirmed by Campden BRI as ‘Hygienic design’ and, at 580mm tall it is said to offer a good solution to avoid crushing softer or delicate loose products such as tomatoes or chicken portions. Like the 740mm-high standard Ace 1000, the Ace 460 is a one-piece moulded unit with three integral runners for safe tipping. It weighs 33.4kg and has a maximum stack load of 4500kg. Dolav also offers a choice of solid or perforated walls, or a combination of both and drain plug options.  

SEEPEX will use the event to showcase its EHEDG-certified progressive cavity pumps and an open hopper pump for viscous waste product removal.

The BCFH pump range has a low shear action and handles thin to highly viscous products, including those containing soft solids. This is said to ensure minimal product changes due to shear stress during pumping and, combined with minimal pulsation and accurate flow control, ensures consistent product quality. An energy efficient pumping solution for the removal of waste and by-products in hygienic enclosed systems offers  a waste removal solution that eliminates manual transfer between high care and low risk areas, reduces waste volume and disposal costs and produces ideal biogas feedstock.

Taking centre stage on the PFM Packaging Machinery stand will the company’s vertical form fill and seal technology which features automated film reel set-up, eliminating one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks for operators. The R700 is a flexible, compact solution for the production of bags sealed on three sides, such as pillow-bags and block bottom bags, including four corner seals, with speeds of up to 120 cycles per minute. 
Alongside the R700 VFFS on the stand will be the Pearl, a horizontal flowrapper constructed in stainless steel the unit is  compact, with a short infeed. It provides a flexible packaging solution offering reduced downtime for reel changes, and automatic film web tracking. Capable of up to 150 packs/min, the Pearl was developed to provide the efficiency advantages of multi-axis servo drive, but at an entry level cost.  Also on show will be a versatile, maintenance-free multihead weigher designed for high-speed and precision weighing of granules, pellets and similar products. 

Vikan will be showcasing its latest cleaning tools including wall-mounted and mobile shadow boards, food handling tools including ergonomic scoop, measuring jug and push-pull hoe, The company will also be talking about its new product app which provides 24/7 access to all Vikan products.

Teknomek is using the show to explain how it is able to solve some very specific problems for its customers. The team will be talking about the ethos behind its new ‘Quality meets Quality’ partnership programme, which pairs its hygienic stainless steel furniture with brands such as Dyson and Trespa. 

WCS Group is a provider of water treatment, hygiene and air solutions, servicing major brands across the UK & Ireland. The company ensures clean, safe water, fresh air and exacting hygiene. It extends service life,  enhances operational efficiency and helps its food industry customers manage Legionella risk, conserve energy, reduce water use and maximise safety responsibly and predictably with measurable results. Visitors to the stand will have a chance to see an array of new products from the company, ranging from thePureox 3500 chlorine dioxide generator, X-Pot side stream filtration, SolidFX chemical dosing generator and Hevasure continuous closed system monitoring system.

Fulton will display a range of fuel-fired and electric steam boiler solutions and will be launching its all-new boiler sequencing control system as well as promoting the solutions on offer from its aftercare division.

The controller is designed to optimise installations operating multiple steam boilers, helping to ensure energy efficient operation and improve boiler longevity. Using sequencing to provide redundancy and reliability, Fulton predicts that significant savings can be made by automating start-up and shut-down procedures, controlling and optimising main steam header pressure or temperature, ensuring steam supply is controlled precisely for the required process and by eliminating idle time at low-fire. The company will also be promoting the features and benefits of its VSRT vertical steam boiler – including the VSRT-250 which is due for launch this year. 

Yamato Scale Dataweigh UK will be demonstrating the role that X-ray and metal detection inspection, checkweighers and multihead weighers play throughout the food packaging process, particularly when it comes to complying with food safety and quality requirements. Its YX20 X-ray solutions, metal detection and checkweigher combinations will be on display, along with a range of multihead weighing machines. This includes the Yamato’s Table Top Semi-Automatic Dataweigh which is said to provide a low impact solution for delicate products, while the EPSILON multihead weighers can handle sticky or fragile products, with large radius buckets and linear feeder pans that are easy to remove without stopping the machine.

Holmach will introduce the Perfinox range of components and systems for cooking, cooling, CIP and rapid heating and cooling. Included in the range is Perfitech, a compact production unit for processing liquid-based food products with various viscosities and densities, with or without particulates. The multi-functional Perfitech, for example, has a range of functions including heating and cooling, homogenisation, emulsification and built in CIP, with vessels ranging in size from 300-3,000l.  

Another element of the range is Perfitherm, a scraped surface heat exchanger which features a vertical design, with double jacket for a maximum surface and efficient exchange. The system is said to combine the advantages of the tubular heat exchanger, with a slow and gentle stirring system, equipped with scrapers to provide several processes including rapid heating and cooling, aseptic cooling, crystallisation, sterilisation, pasteurisation and gelling.
With a capacity ranging from 100kg/hr to 10,000kg/hr, with exchange surfaces from 0.5ms2 to 7.0ms2, the Perfitherm can be used to process large quantities of mayonnaise, ketchup, sauces, soups, creams, ready meal sauces, pâté, fruit preparations, dairy concentrates and houmous. Like all Perfinox technology, the Perfitherm is easy to integrate and maintain and is designed for CIP and SIP.

The Vega stand will feature working models and hands on demonstrations of its new range of level and pressure devices designed for simple automation and control tasks for food and beverage manufacturing. The sensors are designed and built for simplicity of operation, ease of use and quick installation. Features include superbright LED status lights, Bluetooth operation and interchangeable process connections, all aimed at delivering time savings, reduced costs, safer, simpler set up and operation of devices. 

Another highlight on the stand will be latest in 80 GHz radar technologies for both non-contact level monitoring and control of liquid and solids at all levels of manufacturing business. 

Winkworth is using the show to launch a range of mixers aimed at those developing new food products which are not yet fully integrated in production. The UTS range is based on the company’s ribbon blender concept, which offers a solution for young businesses looking to develop their product range. With low power requirements, the machinery provides a single phase, lightweight, food grade, manual loading, bottom discharge solution. The mixers come with the added benefit of Winkworth’s manufacturing expertise - including its Mixing Test Centre - as well as access to a mixer hire fleet. The UTS range offers a scalable solution for new product developments.

Fortress Technology will showcase its hygienic, easy clean range of gravity fed, horizontal conveyor and pipeline metal detectors. Three systems will be on display to demonstrate the flexibility of the range and its ability to help food producers keep pace with the new retail trends and codes of practice, adapt to different SKUs, as well as reduce waste, product giveaway and eradicate false rejects. The range is able to cope with different foodstuffs simultaneously as well as different packaging formats.

HRS Heat Exchangers will showcase its range of heat exchangers and turnkey food processing systems aimed at eliminating heat transfer challenges when handling viscous or delicate food products where fouling or shearing may occur.

The company offers two technologies for scraped surface heat transfer, both of which are suited to use with viscous products. The reciprocating Unicus series is designed for applications where fouling or low heat transfer is a limiting factor. Gentle movement of the scrapers allows the system to be used with delicate products, such as whole fruit or vegetable pieces, without affecting product integrity. 

The R Series is a traditional rotating scraped surface heat exchanger (SSHE) which can reach velocities of up to 300rpm resulting in high levels of shear and increasing the heat transfer rate. It is well suited to use with viscous food products. 

Minebea Intec will be exhibiting for the first time. On its stand visitors will be able to see its range fo weighing and detection solutions.

The latest slim-line Vistus RS metal detector, for example, which is just 79mm thick making it perfect to fit into existing filling and bagging lines. The range of checkweighers will be represented by both the Essentus range of entry-level checkweighers and the Flexus combi checkweigher.

Also, from its inspection range, an X-ray system suitable for typical food production environments will be on show. A feature of the range is its product learn function which enables new products to be set up with minimal training.

The company will also display a range of weighing components from load cells to process controllers used for batching, formulation and recipe control. Demonstrations of the ProRecipe XT software will also be available.

Zeppelin Systems specialises in creating plant solutions for raw material handling processes including storage, conveying, conditioning, dosing, weighing, minor ingredient systems, mixing, fermentation and controls.  On the stand will be a continuous dough mixer -  the CODOS NT - which is said to offer  the benefit of continuous production including consistent quality with added process benefits such as energy and space saving drive technology; improved trough cooling which provides more efficient heat transfer and consistent dough temperature; a wash in place lid; and improved controls. The Mixer can handle between three and eight tonnes of product per hour.

Busch Vacuum Solutions will be showcasing a number of its latest vacuum solutions that match the customers requirements and processes in food processing and packaging applications. 

A new rotary vane vacuum pump will be on display. The R5 RA 0760 A PLUS is an intelligent vacuum solution ready for Industry 4.0. It offers a pumping speed range from 440 to 760 m3/h while reaching an ultimate pressure of 0.1 millibar. This makes it a suitable vacuum solution for many applications in food processing and packaging. By following an intuitive menu structure on the display, users can set the operating mode that best suits their process needs, ensuring that vacuum supply matches demand. This results in energy savings while also enabling improved packaging rates, by ensuring that the right vacuum is provided when needed. Experts on the stand will be available to demonstrate at the trade show booth how existing vacuum pumps can be operated up to 40% more efficiently by retrofitting a variable speed drive. 

Following the recent launch of its first, robotic food handling system CME will feature this system on its stand. The precision food packaging system utilises robots from Stäubli’s new HE fully hygienic range. The HFPC 120 cell has been designed to EHEDG’s (European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group) standards and utilises a modular approach allowing the cell to be customised to match specific requirements. The system is capable of handling and packing a wide range of products at up to 120 picks per minute per module including: meat products, fish,  cooked or baked products.

OAL will be showcasing its robotics and automation solutions, as well as its patented cooking technology, alongside its academic partner, the University of Lincoln. Visitors to the stand will experience the technology of the future, including the latest advances in materials handling using robotic technology and how artificial intelligence-based label and date code verification can replicate human vision to boost productivity and accuracy. 

Manual handling and weighing of ingredients can cost food manufacturers up to 1% of turnover. However, by automating ingredient handling and storage it is possible to reduce labour costs while eliminating cross-contamination and maximising traceability and accuracy to improve productivity. The system automatically weighs powders to an accuracy up to +/- 1g at weigh-up rates of up to 1,000kg/hr.

Also demonstrated on the stand will be APRIL Eye, an artificial intelligence-based vision system for label and date code verification. Running at speeds of over 1,000 packs a minute, the system is said to ensure full protection of the production line without compromising on volumes. The solution automates the date code verification process using basic cameras backed up with an artificial brain, delivering a vision system that can deal with variations such as lighting, positioning, print quality and placement inherent in a food or beverage plant and read anything that is also legible to the naked eye. In this way, APRIL Eye eliminates errors, offers full traceability and protects consumers and brands while at the same time reducing labour costs and waste. 

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