HMPS produces an industry first

Proudly Australian machine builders, HMPS Group (HMPS), began in 1980 and have since evolved into specialists in the design and manufacture of automated processing and packaging solutions. Over the years, the company has solved complex packaging challenges and their most recent success story was no exception. Read more


Rittal’s RiMatrix NG open IT infrastructure platform

Digitalisation has long since reached every organisational level, from the top floor to the shop floor of food and beverage processing environments. In today’s smart, networked world, data is continuously being exchanged. Communication between people, machinery, robots and IT systems is generating a never-ending stream of data that needs to be controlled, monitored and processed by high-performance data centres. Read more

Hygienic IP65~IP69K Protected Panel PCs Designed to Meet Food & Beverage Manufacturing Challenges

Australia’s food and beverage processing industries are worth approximately $26 billion to the economy and employ almost 235,000 people. It is a vital industry because it not only produces goods for the local market, it is also a net exporter of foodstuffs and beverages. When combined with the related industries of agriculture, forestry and fishing, then the figure balloons to almost $54 billion.

All food processing businesses need plant and equipment that not only does the job but are reliable and designed to meet the environments in which they work. This includes an array of plant – from conveyors belts and packaging equipment, through to sorting and mixing machinery. Any hiccup can have catastrophic consequences. One slight mishap can cause the whole operation to close, deadlines to be missed, or food and beverage produce to spoil. It’s money down the drain. What preventative plant and maintenance managers need to have are the tools to make sure this never happens.

Read more

Hygienic solutions for cleaner food & beverage production

Australian food and beverage manufacturers are held to ever increasing standards of product quality and hygiene. Strict industry regulations are continuously driving businesses to review and adapt their production practices. Consequently, clean and safe operation is a top priority for the food and beverage industry.
Damaged or contaminated products can be detrimental to business reputation along with the financial implications of costly product recalls. This pushes producers to carefully consider every production step to ensure they contribute towards required outcomes.
This is where conveyor solutions can offer a significant help. Well-designed conveyors are engineered to add value at every step of the manufacturing process to improve overall operational efficiency, safety and cleanliness. This also extends to packaging as even the slightest residue can negatively impact product quality.
“The majority of food and beverage manufacturers buy in their packaging. This can create multiple issues from potential contamination to operational inefficiencies. We always recommend integrating package sanitisation into the filling process and not think of it as an isolated task. This is a lot more effective and makes quality control possible.” says Brian Gilmore, sales director of FlexCAM a leading Australian conveyor system specialist.
Air rinsing is a commonly used practice to remove contaminants such as dust from packaging. It works by inverting bottles, plastic containers, glass jars or aluminium containers to allow air to be blown into the interior. “A bottle inverter gently grasps the packaging, turns it upside down for sanitisation, and then lowers the container back onto the conveyor line ready for filling. With the help of standardised bottle inverter solutions this step can be easily incorporated into any production line eliminating the need for additional handling and processing .” says Gilmore.
Bottle inverting has been widely used in milk production. As milk can be very susceptible to contaminants sanitising milk bottles right before filling is a common procedure. “Traditional cleaning methods lack fine product control. As a result, they can damage milk containers and cause production stoppages further down the line negatively impacting production efficiency.  They are also limited to handle sturdy containers. On the other hand, positive drive inverters are suitable to handle delicate packaging such as glass bottles, flimsy plastic containers or fragile high grade labeling.” explains Gilmore.
Bottle inverters using wedge technology offer gentle and accurate product handling by positively controlling the package as it is processed. Standardised wedge inverters can be engineered to handle multiple product sizes on the same conveyor line. They can be adjusted to suit different width, height and materials.
Wedge conveyor solutions also allow operation teams to introduce speed controls into the cleaning process without causing any downstream blockages. The sign of a good design is in its ability to consider the whole production process.
“Bottle inverters also have an important role in spacing or metering products in preparation for the next production step. This could include labelling, filling and pressure testing. In addition, they can be used to ionise plastic bottles to remove static or introduce in process inspection to reject any imperfection,” points out Gilmore.

Food & Beverage Industry News September Special Feature – Packaging and Processing

With the National Packaging Targets set for 2025 it is not long before the government standards are put in place and food and beverage manufacturers will have to comply. If you supply packaging & processing solutions to the industry then our readers want to talk to you. They are on the lookout for the latest technologies that can not only help them meet the 2025 targets but also make their job easier.

This is an feature to explain to our readers the important role that packaging has in the food and beverage sector – how recycling, composting and the biodegradable aspects of packaging are becoming important. It is also a great feature to introduce new technologies and innovations to the food and beverage processing and manufacturing sectors.

If you are a company that specialises in food and beverage packaging, the September Issue of Food & Beverage Industry News is an excellent platform to get your message across.

Contact Luke Ronca on: luke.ronca@primecreative.com.au
M: 0402 718 081

Global effort delivers technology to enhance the cooking processes

Most major food safety authorities around the world are aware of acrylamide and its potential health danger to consumers and it has now become a growing concern for snack food manufacturers.

Snack food producers are challenged with finding ways to reduce acrylamide formation during frying without making fundamental changes to their manufacturing process, and without compromising on taste or quality.

To meet this challenge, food processors looked to equipment suppliers, such as Heat and Control, to work with them to develop equipment solutions for potatoes.

A global collaboration
In one such collaboration, Australia-, US- and the UK-based Heat and Control teams worked with a European snack processor and a Swedish tech company ScandiNova to bring to market a solution that has enhanced the cooking process. It made the reduction of acrylamide possible and provided potato processers with a host of valuable additional benefits including improved yield and product quality, increased line efficiency and reduced operational cost.

It came about after research and development, the result of which was an equipment solution that would apply Pulsed Electric Field (PEF) processing to potatoes prior to manufacturing in order to reduce acrylamide. This solution became the E-FLO system, by Heat and Control.

The science of PEF
PEF is a unique non-thermal method of inactivating microorganisms, including many common food pathogens, without heating the product to the usual pasteurisation temperatures.

The destruction or inactivation of the microorganism is achieved by the breakdown of the microorganism’s cell membranes during exposure to electric fields.

PEF has previously been used in the food industry with juices, wine and olives as a means for sterilisation, preservation and for retaining nutritional values.

Heat and Control’s innovation was by the use of this method in a new application and for a different purpose.

For potatoes processors, the use of PEF treatment delivers cell disintegration, in place of the preheater operation. In this application, pulsed electrical fields create micro-pores in cell membranes, which enable the loss of primarily of liquid contents such as asparagine and reducing sugars but not starch loss. Structural and textural changes are also realised, reducing wear on cutting blades, increasing line yield and reducing water usage.

The benefits of this processing method have seen food processors across various industries incorporate this technology into their processing lines.

A January 2020 report by Technavio stated the global food industry PEF systems market is poised to grow to more than $325 million during 2020-2024, progressing at a CAGR of about 24 per cent during the forecast period.

Developing E-FLO to deliver PEF
Partnering with ScandiNova, a provider of solid-state, high-power pulse modulators and RF systems, Heat and Control developed the patent-protected E-FLO Electroporation System to deliver the PEF process to the new product of whole potatoes and with the overall goal of reducing acrylamide levels in potato chips.

The technology worked by sending PEF through the cell walls of the potatoes to perforate cell membranes with microscopic holes.

This allowed sugars and asparagine to be released from the vegetable before it was cooked, thereby reducing the harmful acrylamide.

The process
Peeled and washed potatoes are supplied in measured quantities by upstream equipment and delivered to the E-FLO infeed chute.

The rotating E-FLO wheel transports the potatoes through the processing area as a compact, packed bed through a water bath.

Processing takes place in a water bath so that the electrical pulses can influence the product as desired. After a short exposure to the electric field pulses, to perforate the cell walls, the potatoes are lifted and discharged from the water bath by the continuing rotation of the wheel into the discharge chute. The potato then continues down the production line where greater amounts of sugars and asparagine can be removed during the slicing and washing stages.

In the case of the European snack processor, E-FLO saw excellent results with a reduction of acrylamide in its potato chips. As have other E-FLO installations, with some processors experiencing a reduction of acrylamide (in most cases) by over 50 per cent in their potato chips.

The E-FLO had met the original goal of reducing acrylamide while ensuring no degradation to the original taste and texture of the product. To the delight of the Heat and Control design team, the technology was able to offer other benefits.

Lower processing costs
In addition to reduced acrylamide formation, the use of PEF technology in the E-FLO system was shown to also provide yield savings with faster processing of the potatoes, cutting improvements for a longer blade life and lower oil content in the final product.

Aside from reducing acrylamide and creating a healthier product, other benefits of using electroporation included increased line efficiency and reduced operation cost. In addition to a return on capital investment due to increased yields processors enjoyed the following benefits:
• Reduced acrylamide allowed them to meet EU legislation.
• Reduced preparation time, water and energy usage.
• Less blanching – electroporation allows the tissue of potatoes to become more permeable removing the need for blanching before cooking. With less blanching, starch loss was avoided and yield was increased
• Reduced wear and tear of slicing blades – slicing thousands of potatoes daily results in dull slicer blades. PEF processing softens the tissue of the potato, allowing blades to slice between the cells of the potato rather than through them. This lessens the pressure and friction on tools, which equates to less down time and longer equipment life.
• Reduced oil use – slicing between the cells of the potato also produces a smoother chip surface. A smoother surface means the chip absorbs less oil, which significantly reduces oil expenditure in the long run.
• Health benefits – PEF treatment typically reduces fat content of the final potato by two to three per cent. This is due to increased starch content in the outer cell layers of the potato slices and smoother surface after cutting, which enhances the oil drip-off effect after frying.

This creates a more desirable, crunchier and premium product.

Today, the European snack processor continues to use the E-FLO to produce its potato chips with less acrylamide and meet EU regulations. The E-FLO Electroporation system is an example of innovative technology made in Australia with the help of global partners.
The right partner

Reduction of acrylamide is an important issue and one that industry is beginning to embrace on a global scale, regardless of regulation.

Potato processing is a significant investment and the key to success is choosing a supplier who can work with a company to meet their objectives.

The right partner can create a line that meets performance, quality, and efficiency targets from the outset.

Importantly, the total cost of ownership, rather than the individual cost of single pieces of equipment, should be considered.

Parisians can now buy steak from machines 24 hrs a day

The first automatic raw meat vending machine has been installed in Paris this week, as customers can purchase steaks or sausages at any time of day or night.

According to L’Ami Txulette Basque butcher owner Florence Pouzol, the machine was installed outside a shop in the fashionable 11th arrondissement.

“We wanted to give our customers an additional service when the shop is closed,” Pouzol said.

“At first you think it’s strange, but then you realise it might be a good way to buy meat if you work late and feel like a steak when you get home.”

The refrigerated meat machine is the fifth to open in France, but the first in the capital. Laetitia Lafaye, the first French butcher to install a meat vending machine, in the south-western town of Sainte-Catherine, said the idea came from Germany, where there are hundreds of such machines.

Last year a cheesemonger in the eastern town of Pontarlier installed a automatic cheese distributor.

Paris got its first 24-hour baguette vending machine in 2011. Since then, hundreds more have been installed across the country.

But the spread of the machines is proving controversial. Traditionalists say they will lead to the demise of craft butchers, bakers and cheese shops.

Emmanuel Gripon, from the French Bakers' Federation, said: "It's contributing to the desertification of the countryside and it harms the social life of communities."

However, many people welcome the convenience they offer.

Wine Solutions from Spray Nozzle Engineering

Spray Nozzle Engineering, a leading Australian spraying solutions company, has a long history of providing solutions to the wine and beer processing industries in Australia and New Zealand.

From stainless steel washdown and tank cleaning systems, to wine racking equipment, Spray Nozzle Engineering’s support of local industry expands more than 30 years.

Strahman washdown guns are certified with the Smart Approved WaterMark. Their washdown solutions are powerful and water-saving. Add their stainless steel hose reels, and food grade hose for a complete washdown solution.

Spray Nozzle Engineering’s CIP solutions for the wine industry combine exclusive Gamajet Alfa Laval tank cleaners, and their own innovative, engineered products.

Gamajet tank cleaning machines, such as the GentleJet™, are powerful, yet gentle on toast, making them ideal for larger vessel and tank sizes. For smaller sizes, Spray Nozzle Engineering has designed and patented their M Series tank cleaning heads. Originally designed as a replacement for spray balls, they are fast, efficient and effective.

The Rack-it-Teer™ is a precision stainless steel spear wine racking solution, with patented locating finger and ‘positive-seal’ system that allows filling, decanting and oxygen purging without wasting gas. Rack-It-Teer™ adapts to all barrel sizes, making it extremely versatile.

In addition to supplying equipment to the wine industry, Spray Nozzle Engineering also repairs and services tank cleaning equipment in their Centre of Excellence service centres in Melbourne and Hamilton. This allows for fast local service that minimises downtime and costs, with loan heads available to approved customers.

Jungheinrich Unveils Totally New Combi Stacker

Jungheinrich is market-launching a new narrow-aisle forklift – its EKX 514-516 electric order picker and trilateral forklift – in short, a “combi” (combination) stacker.

With a payload capacity of 1,600 kilograms and a lift height of 17.5 metres, the new model will be officially unveiled before a global trade audience at the LogiMAT 2016 exhibition in Stuttgart (hall 9, stand 9B02 and 9B04).

Efficient and Economical, with Just One Battery for Two Shifts

The truck is equipped with state-of-the-art control technology, completely new motor technology and an efficient energy management system. Its intelligent lightweight design makes use of high-strength steels, resulting in a weight reduction of 150 kilograms. “This means we can guarantee the efficient and economical operation of the stacker over two shifts with a single battery charge,” states Dr Klaus-Dieter Rosenbach, Jungheinrich Board of Management member in charge of Logistics Systems Business.

For two-shift operations this eliminates not only the need for extra batteries, but also for charging stations and other expensive equipment, while at the same time reducing manpower requirements. Rosenbach continues: “This is not a mere promise of two-shift operation without changing the battery – we also back up this claim vis-à-vis the customer.” In other words, if a battery fails to hold a charge for two full shifts, Jungheinrich will replace it free of charge.

Economical Motors: 93 Percent of Energy Converted into Output

Completely new motor technology developed by Jungheinrich is at the core of the EKX 514-516. This consists of a synchronous reluctance motor which has been used for the first time in this vehicle – a motor which combines the high performance and energy efficiency of synchronous motors with the cost advantages and low maintenance requirements of three-phase AC asynchronous motors.

According to Rosenbach the motor’s efficiency factor of IE31 is the highest achievable in forklift operations.

The new motor technology converts around 93 percent of the energy consumed into actual output, cutting energy losses by half. “This means that energy consumption has been reduced by a further 15 percent compared to the previous model,” remarks Rosenbach. “And this, despite the vehicle’s much higher performance,” he adds.

Reaching Great Heights Smoothly and Safely, Thanks to Vibration Damping

For the first time Jungheinrich is also equipping this model series with a patented vibration damping system.

The optional Floor Pro module reduces lateral oscillations of the mast and driver’s cab which are caused by uneven floors or other floor types not designed for narrow-aisle forklifts. “This system provides the user with the opportunity to travel more smoothly and up to 30 percent faster on substandard surfaces,” explains Rosenbach. In addition the system is easy on loads and vehicle and helps reduce the level of maintenance.

The goal is to allow narrow-aisle trucks to work safely and efficiently even on floors that were originally designed solely for reach trucks – even at lift heights of 10 metres.

The new EKX 514-516 is fitted with a number of different modules for process integration, including RFID technology, redundant height and distance measurement and the Jungheinrich Logistics Interface.

If the optional Jungheinrich warehouse navigation system with semi-automatic target approach is added, throughput can be enhanced by up to 25 percent. Dr Rosenbach concludes: “By combining intelligent assistance systems with high-performance synchronous reluctance motors, Jungheinrich has made great strides in further optimising energy efficiency – putting us in great shape to meet the future challenges of Intralogistics 4.0.”

Bühler takes pole position in global rice processing

The Bühler Group is continuing to strengthen its leadership in rice processing, handling and storage capabilities.

With dedicated local services and solutions, built on thorough regional knowledge, it is able to meet the exact needs of customers across the world.

 Bühler was founded 150 years ago and has, over that time, continually renewed its strategic commitment to its customers worldwide.

Now, as the global leader in the supply of industrial food processing systems, contributing approximately 30 percent of global rice production, Bühler is now the number one supplier in industrialised rice processing.

 Its position in the industry as a trusted technology partner to processing businesses is further underlined by its raft of innovative solutions to suit the needs of processors large and small. 

 Rice is grown on every continent, apart from Antarctica, and is a staple food for more than half of the world’s population.

In fact, one billion people globally are directly or indirectly reliant on rice – either for food or income, or both.

With the world’s population predicted to reach 8.27 billion by 2030, demand for rice is expected to increase by approximately 100 million tonnes to 550 million tonnes in the same period.

Bühler is well prepared to play a key role in processing these fast growing rice volumes: thanks to significant contract wins over the past 12 months, the company has taken the pole position in global industrialised rice processing, exceeding its closest competitor in terms of combined turnover in rice milling and logistics.

Today, around 30 percent of the global rice harvest will be processed on systems from Bühler.

This accomplishment is owed to Bühler’s commitment and success in delivering global expertise with local customer service and its ability to understand every step along the value chain.

The company not only understands the raw material, but the individual drivers in the handling and production process – from receipt of freshly harvested paddy, all the way to the finished and packed rice.

Bühler’s locally-based experts proactively support and advise customers in the decision making process, creating a real impact in reducing post-harvest losses.

As global demand for food rises so does the pressure to reduce food waste, which already stands at well over 315 million tonnes of food every year.

In its markets, Bühler has introduced a number of different initiatives to reduce food loss worldwide – and is thereby helping to fight global food shortage.

Detlef Blass, Head of Rice Processing Europe and Americas explains: “Paramount to Bühler’s success are the 80 plus sales and service centres around the world. They have a deep-rooted understanding of the issues affecting the markets they operate in and cement Bühler’s ability to adapt its technology and business model to the needs of processors in each area.”

In the region – for the region

Furthermore, Centres of Competence located in major rice producing markets, including India and China, house the world’s best rice technology and nutrition experts, who are well placed to develop regional rice processing and added-value technology solutions that meet distinct local requirements in paddy handling, storage, and milling.

The success achieved in South East Asia is a perfect example of this formula and highlights Bühler’s widening technology and engineering footprint in the key rice processing markets.

Rustom Mistry, Head of Rice Processing for China and South East Asia explains: “In the past two years we have secured in excess of USD 100 million worth of business, including the company’s largest-ever contract for rice processing, a landmark agreement with Merry Rice in Thailand.”

The contract, for more than 50 Bühler SORTEX S UltraVision™ optical sorters, and 50 high-capacity UltraPoly™ rice polishers, will result in the world’s largest rice mill, capable of processing more than 10,000 tonnes of rice per day.

Other contracts secured in South East Asia include the first complete rice mill in Vietnam for Phung Hoang, an exporter in high quality rice from Vietnam, a pre-cleaning and dryer complex for Capital Rice in Thailand and a complete paddy processing plant for Nine Seas in Myanmar.
Bühler is also building a strong customer base in South Asia, particularly India and Bangladesh. Sunil Ranade, Head of Rice Processing for South Asia, Middle East and Africa, points out that Bühler recently installed its first UltraLine™ Rice Mill in Bangladesh with the 16 tonnes per hour rice mill.

This was a progression of the partnership between Bühler and Erfan Group, the country’s largest rice processor and supplier, which began in 2013. Further success in the region includes contracts with City Group, Patel Agri, SKML and most recently a 12 tonnes per hour paddy to brown rice processing plant for Galaxy Rice Mills in Pakistan.

SORTEX innovations

A key component of the success in rice processing has been the growing demand and acceptance of Bühler’s leadership in optical sorting for rice.

Offering a comprehensive portfolio of fully automated rice optical sorters from 4 to 16 TPH including innovations such as the SORTEX S UltraVision™ allows rice processors to specify a Bühler optical sorter that delivers the specific rice quality and sorting capacity that meets their exact output requirement.

“Earlier this year, Bühler launched its new Bühler W optical sorter in response to the growing demands from small to medium sized rice processors. Within just three months, the company had already confirmed more than 100 single machine contracts in India alone. Further product launches include its recently developed product line, which provides a bespoke rice milling solution for low capacity processors,” Sunil Ranade continues.

Bühler is also trading strongly in Europe where it has completed a combination of new installations and plant upgrades.

Much of this additional business came from existing customers, including a Spanish-based multinational food group.

It installed a 100% Bühler rice grinding plant – the largest in the world – producing high value premium rice flour for use in baby foods, instant beverages and gluten free products.

Meanwhile in the Americas, market development and penetration for Bühler rice processing solutions remains buoyant.

In Columbia, Bühler has supplied engineering and accessories for a paddy project, processing more than nine tonnes per hour.

One of Central America’s largest rice producers has also invested in a second UltraLine™ whitening and polishing unit including all accessories – increasing production from paddy input to almost 40 tonnes per hour.

In Costa Rica, one of Bühler’s largest rice processing customer’s is planning further upgrades to its automated rice processing plant.
In North America, Bühler secured a USD 1.5 million contract to supply SORTEX S UltraVision™ sorters to four rice processors, including two of the largest farmer-owned rice producers in the US, establishing Bühler as a first choice technology partner in this established rice market.
Bühler will continue to expand local sales and service channels, plus build expertise to further strengthen its provision of energy efficient, processing technologies for emerging and mature rice markets worldwide. Bühler’s commitment to understanding and serving its customers, underpinned by a solid strategy of forging and investing in long-lasting business partnerships with rice processors, large and small, around the world, will ensure that Bühler remains in pole position for 2016, where several significant rice projects are further expected.

TNA assists snack manufacturer stay ahead

As a producer and co-packer of a variety of corn-based snacks, from tortilla chips to snacks mixes, popcorns and extruded snacks, Keystone Food Products depends on flexible, high-performance packaging solutions that can be easily integrated into its existing production line in the US. 

With a growing market requirement for smaller bag sizes, Keystone needed to expand its plant’s manufacturing capabilities while still maintaining profitability.

Flexible solutions for expanded capabilities

Keystone chose the tna robag FX 3ci for its facility, as its turnkey packaging system could be easily integrated with existing equipment. With performance improvements of up to 30% in both output and the reduction of rejects, the new packaging system has significantly increased the speed and precision of the entire production, helping Keystone to optimise performance while catering to the demand for smaller bags.

Allowing for any jaw configuration (single, flat, double or triple) or size, the tna robag FX 3ci offered Keystone the flexibility it needed for its range of packaging services, including its quattropack operations. Plus, the tna system does not require any mechanical adjustments when changing product or film — an important benefit for Keystone, which required a simple, yet efficient machine to facilitate the switch between different bag formats and products. Future performance increases can be realised by upgrading the jaw set-up, leaving Keystone prepared for the future.

Ensuring accuracy

Keystone is responsible for the packaging of both its own and other brands’ premium snacks. As such, the company needs a highly accurate weighing system to ensure that only the exact amount of product would be included in the bag. This avoids raw material waste and allows Keystone to produce an increased number of units from the same quantity of material.

The tna intelli-weigh omega 314 has proved to be an effective solution to Keystone’s challenges. By combining strain gauge load cells with digital filtering to virtually eliminate the influence of external vibration, the system allows for precision, high-speed weighing. As a result, discrepancies between bags are negligible. The modular design enables quick and easy troubleshooting and maintenance, and enhances product flow.

Improved product verification

Keystone also required a more automated verification system to enable it to maintain its quality standards.

Installation of the tna intelli-read 3 barcode scanner has enabled Keystone to maintain rapid packaging speeds while ensuring that its products are checked to the highest standards. The solution automatically scans the barcode on the film and crosschecks it to verify that the correct product is being processed. Mounted directly onto the film system of the tna robag, the tna intelli-read 3 scans the entire product’s width, making it virtually impossible to bypass as every barcode — regardless of where on the film it is printed — will be read. With the barcode scanning system in place, Keystone was able to speed up the bagging process, while being assured that only products at the right weight and with the correct packaging would leave the plant.

Maximising plant footprint

Keystone wanted a system that would increase its production capacity within the limited space that was available. Because the previous production set-up was fragmented, an important part of the installation process was to analyse the arrangement and provide more continuity in the way equipment was laid out.

Previously, each of Keystone’s machines had its own platform, occupying valuable floor space. By designing a single platform that would incorporate the three new packaging machines, tna was able to optimise the plant’s surface area, saving both time and space.

Another challenge was to adapt the layout to the plant’s low ceiling height. New machines were specifically tailored to meet space requirements and facilitate product transfer between different packaging stages. Before they could be packaged downstairs, light corn products were washed in the upstairs station. The lack of space, however, meant that conveyors could not be installed. The tna intelli air distribution system has a small footprint and gently transports bags and other lightweight packed products along a bed of air. It automatically discharges empty packets for optimal output and has flexible configuration plus several layout options.

The tna hyper-detect metal detector enabled Keystone to maximise the available floor space. Its design allows the metal detector to be positioned closer to the multihead weigher, reducing machine height and increasing the speed at which the bagger can produce finished bags. The system offers improved metal detection capabilities, while eliminating degradation in product transfer to ultimately deliver safe product throughout and minimise rejects. This provided Keystone with a stable operation for optimum sensitivity and consistent performance when inspecting products.

Ishida X-Ray Technology to ensure Greek Yogurt Quality

The accuracy, versatility and reliability of an Ishida IX-GA-65100 X-ray inspection system is helping one of Greece's leading yogurt producers to deliver the highest levels of quality control and achieve continuing success in both national and international markets.

Based in Serres in Macedonia, Northern Greece, Kri Kri was established in 1954 when George Tsinavos opened a small pastry shop, producing ice cream and other dairy products.

Strong and consistent growth over the years led to the construction of a new factory in 1987, which enabled the company to expand its product range to include yogurts.

With all its milk supplied by local farms in the Serres area, Kri Kri is able to process and pack its yogurt within 24 hours, requiring just one pasteurisation process.

This ensures that all the nutrients form the milk remain in the finished yogurt.

The Ishida X-ray forms part of Kri Kri's own stringent quality control procedures and also enables the company to meet the strict requirements of its customers. While the advanced production processes incorporate the highest hygiene levels, it is vital that Kri Kri remains vigilant against potential foreign bodies such as metal, glass or other foreign materials that could contaminate the yogurt if there was a problem with any of the equipment on the line. 

Kri Kri's extensive portfolio of around 140 different products includes plain and fruit yogurts, traditional varieties and a children's range, packed in pots from 150g to 500g in size. The pots are first filled and then packed into cases before inspection in the Ishida X-ray machine.

To accommodate complete cases, the company has opted for the Ishida IX-GA-65100 which is specially designed for larger products.

For Kri Kri, the major benefits of the Ishida X-ray system are its ease of use and flexibility. With the many different product types and pack sizes, there can be up to four changeovers in each eight hour shift.

The IX-GA-6100's user-friendly colour touchscreen enables specifications for each product to be held in the memory and called up at the touch of a button for fast and simple changeovers.

In addition, the touchscreen provides different levels of security, meaning that only designated and trained operators are able to make adjustments or change settings.

Like all Ishida IX-GA models, it features the company's unique Genetic Algorthm (GA) technology, which uses image data analysis over a number of inspections to achieve an extremely high level of inspection accuracy.

This enables Kri Kri to 'train' the machine to focus solely on the yogurt contents in each pot, and exclude any external areas.

The machine is able to distinguish between the fruit pieces in the frut yogurts and any unwanted contaminants, and to mask the small chocolate pieces used as a topping for children's yogurts which are packed in a separate plastic dome above the lid of the pot.

"I compare the versatility of the Ishida X-ray to that of a Swiss army knife, with so many different options available. This means we can tailor the machine to our exact detection requirements, and so are able to handle many different product types," Kri Kri production manager Petros Kissas said.

"We place huge emphasis on the premium nature of yogurts and on our commitment to deliver the highest quality, so it is absolutely vital that we can carry out stringent monitoring to ensure that all our products leave our factory in the best possible condition."

Equally important, the Ishida X-ray inspection system provides valuable traceability information so that in the event of any complaint, an image of the pack in question can be retrieved to establish beyond doubt if there was a problem with the contents.

Kri Kri is currently processing around 80-90 tonnes of yogurt per day, with the Ishida X-ray system monitoring approximately 12,000 to 14,000 cups per hour.

"These numbers are well within the capabilities of the X-ray machine," explains Petros, "We prefer to operate it at medium to high speed in order to ensure that every pack is checked thoroughly."

Petros confimrs that the reliability of the IX-GA-65100 has been exceptional with no breakdowns since its installation. The machine is also easy to clean as part of Kri Kri's regular and strict hygiene procedures.

Kri Kri's new state-of-the art production and packing line was borne out of an initial catastrophe when a fire on Christmas Eve 2013 caused severe damage to its dairy production plant. 

However, within seven months, the new facility had been created with double the production capacity.

Given the opportunity to specify the newest and best equipment for the new factory, Kri Kri turned to Ishida and its Greek agent Europack for its X-ray inspection solution.

"We knew of Ishida's reputation for reliable, top-of-the-range equipment and we had already enjoyed excellent collaboration with Europack, so these were key factors in our decision," explains Dimitris Barboutis, Kri Kri's technical manager.

"Naturally, we were looking for value-for-money from our investment but the overriding concern was quality and safety -these simply cannot be compromised, since ultimately it is our reputation that is on the line. And we know that with Ishida we have the equipment that will help us maintain our hard-earned reputation."

Equally significant, this ability to demonstrate its high quality contro standards has been a fundamental part of Kri Kri's drive into export markets, meeting growing global demand for traditional Greek yogurt.

The company's products are now sold in 20 countries in Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East, with listings in several major supermarket chains, including the UK.

Safe biscuit bulk handling

When an iconic Australian food company needed a new method of reliable, continuous supply of snack biscuits to its high-speed weighers and feeders for packaging, it sought the assistance of two Australian manufacturing companies, who are both leaders in their fields.

Victoria-based Kiel Industries collaborated with Pro Ali Design in Sydney on the project to design and build a new production line for the snack biscuit manufacturer. A project that illustrates the expertise and skill of the two companies.

From a modest beginning as a small, family-owned and operated company, Kiel Industries has grown into a prominent leader in the rotational moulding industry. 

Founded in 1989 by the Kiel family, the company now supplies the largest range of plastic pallets in the southern hemisphere and continues to dominate materials handling with innovative designs for pallets, bins, and ancillary products. 

Kiel utilises some of the most technically advanced moulding equipment in the world and over time, its custom moulding division has grown to be a prominent participant in the industry. Their equipment was specifically selected so that the company can offer economical short production runs, together with competitive pricing on high volume production. 

Pro Ali Design's dedication to quality, design and service, coupled with a commitment to continuous improvement and technological innovation, has made the company one of the most reputable and respected providers of conveying solutions for many of Australasia's leading food manufacturers.

A major requirement of the biscuit packaging line was to replace the existing bins and handling system with a line that used a cleaner, more versatile bin. Colin Kiel, Managing Director of Kiel Industries, said “For the production line, 'cleaner' meant that the bins had to empty completely with no residual biscuits being trapped by corners or edges.”

The biscuit production process involves several basic steps. Pastry is made and spread before the topping is added and then cut to shape and baked. Once through the ovens, the snack biscuits are   placed into the Kiel designed plastic storage and transport bins in large plastic bags. When the biscuits are ready for packing, the bins are moved and the biscuits decanted to portion pack sizes of 25g and 70g. Portion packs are retained in the Kiel bins until bin emptying is required to create multipacks on the packaging line. The portion packs are then boxed, ready to be sent out to supermarkets across the country.

The customer requirements were for 650 litre, food-grade polyethylene bins that were standard pallet-sized with smooth walls and easy to clean. The bins also needed the capability to be safely stacked up to eight high.

The biscuit manufacturer ensures the freshness of its product by insisting on a 14-day turnaround between baking and packaging. During this two-week period, approximately 1000 bins of snack biscuits are produced. To meet this demand and ensure there were always sufficient bins, Kiel Industries manufactured 1500 bins in total.

Kiel Industries tendered for the project but were only given four months to produce the minimum number of 800 bins. “This was a little tight because during our normal operational shifts, one mould can only produce 100 bins per month,” Kiel stated. “We had to maximise the efficiency and utilisation of the production line to make best use of the machines.”

Once the design of the bin had been confirmed, prototypes were sent to Pro Ali Design in Sydney for development of the automated tipping machinery that was to be part of the new production line. “It was interesting for a change for us to develop a bin and have the handling equipment built for it,” said Kiel. “Usually, a company designs and builds a processing plant and then asks us to give them a bin that fits their system.”

Pro Ali was selected because it specialises in the design and construction of state-of-the-art stainless steel conveying systems for the food industry, including customised package and box handling conveyor lines. In addition, all the company's equipment is manufactured to meet the appropriate Australian Standards, as well as AQIS, MAF or FDA 'clean design' specifications.

According to Jon Ball, Pro Ali's Business Development Manager, his company received a very specific brief from the biscuit manufacturer for the development of its new production line. The main requirement was to improve efficiencies and remove the need to manually load biscuits from different shaped bins.

The cubic-metre bins developed by Kiel Industries had to be robust to withstand being picked up and moved around in areas where there were multiple forklifts operating, so the Pro Ali design incorporated a heavy duty bin tipper.