Staff Writer

West Coast butter earns champion award in NZ

Westgold Unsalted Butter was awarded Food for Chefs Champion Butter at the New Zealand Champions of Cheese awards on Tuesday night, ahead of marketing preparations to launch Westgold nationally.

Master Judge Russell Smith said the butter won the supreme butter award because it was, “The sort of butter you just want to slather more and more on. It’s a very good example of a technically well-made butter resulting in an even, smooth texture and delicate, sweet flavours.”

Manufactured by Westland Milk Products, Westgold butter has been sold throughout the world for more than 12 years. However, it has had limited availability on New Zealand supermarket shelves. This is about to change.

“We’ve sold Westgold internationally for years but recently decided it was time to share the West Coast’s best kept secret with our fellow New Zealanders,” said Westland Milk Products Chief Executive Rod Quin.

“If you live in Azerbaijan you probably already know that Westgold butter is a premium product.” Quin said, “but most Kiwis wouldn’t know that the champion butter in New Zealand is produced in Hokitika. The best butter starts with the best cream, and our farmers have a high percentage of Jersey cows in their herds, known for producing high quality cream.”

Westland conducted a complete redevelopment of Westgold in preparation for the launch on to retail shelves, planned for next week.

“We wanted to develop Westgold to reflect what makes the people and product unique,” Quin said. “The butter has new packaging designed to give it a uniquely Kiwi look, while retaining the golden foil that keeps the butter fresh and looking great. The new packaging will be made available to all of our consumers around the globe, but it all starts with New Zealand.”

“Behind Westgold is a tradition of making butter on the West Coast dating back to 1893. The process of butter making at Westland’s Hokitika factory has been refined over generations to become both an art and a science. Using time-honoured processes based on traditional batch churning, our butter-makers take quality, fresh cream and turn it into the butter that has now been recognised as New Zealand’s best.”

AIP announces inaugural Save Food Packaging Awards for ANZ

The Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP) has launched the inaugural Save Food Packaging Awards for Australia and New Zealand.

Developed in conjunction with the World Packaging Organisation (WPO), the Save Food Packaging Awards are designed to recognise companies who are developing innovative and sustainable packaging that minimises food losses and food waste, extends shelf life and improves the supply of food.

 “A key component of the Save Food Packaging Awards is to raise the profile of the critical role of packaging to reduce food waste and therefore reduce product’s overall environmental impact. It is time that packaging technologists are designing packaging to save food,” commented award chairman Mr Pierre Pienaar FAIP, CPP.

“Avoiding food waste is a critical packaging issue and one that food producers, manufacturers, brand owners, retailers and consumers need to better understand. Whilst the primary function of packaging is to protect the content, the function of packaging to reduce food waste is rarely discussed.

“The connection between packaging design and food waste needs to be discussed more openly in the industry. From field to fork there are a number of possibilities for food loss and waste to occur. It has been approximated that up to 50% of the edible food produced, does not reach the fork.”

“Avoiding and preventing food loss and waste can considerably limit the scope of additional resource requirements because approximately 30% of the food that is currently lost and wasted would already be sufficient to feed the starving world population.

“About 1.3 billion tons of food is actually thrown away each year, either because it spoils due to incorrect storage, inappropriate transport methods or it no longer meets the standards of the trade and consumers. In addition, a lot of food is not eaten by consumers because, for example, the quantities purchased by them are too large.”

Meat processors join Foodbank to fight Australian hunger

Foodbank is partnering with Thomas Foods International and Fletcher International Exports to expand the Foodbank Meat Program.

This innovative program will allow Foodbank to continue to fight hunger in Australia by providing more meat to Australians in need. As Australia’s largest hunger relief organisation, the organisation provides food to over 2,400 agencies and distributes over 33 million kilos of food each year. More than 30 per cent of the food distributed goes to rural and regional areas to support their local communities.

Both Thomas Foods International and Fletcher International Exports will donate 1 tonne of 65cl mutton trim to Foodbank each month. Primo Smallgoods (which will also donate manufacturing time) will then use this to produce beef and lamb mix sausages for Foodbank which will be distributed around the country.

This donation will see Foodbank’s Meat Program increase from producing 1,400 kilos of fresh sausages each month to over 4,300 kilos, equating to over 800,000 sausages annually.

Other companies making donations to the program include Primo’s suppliers, who will subsidise the ingredients, and Scott’s Refrigerated Transports Services, who will donate the transport services.

Roger Fletcher, of Fletcher International Exports, said he is proud that his family and staff can work with the industry and Foodbank to be part of the expansion of such a valuable program. “This is a pleasing addition to our long association with Foodbank in Australia,” he said.

Darren Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of Thomas Foods International, said the company is keen to be involved in a program that provides far reaching community benefits.

“We are pleased to partner with Foodbank to help fellow Australians in need,” he said. “As a family owned company with strong family values, this program really struck a chord with us. All our staff live and work in local communities, so we want to do what we can to support others less fortunate, particularly in regional and rural areas where people are doing it tough,” Thomas said.

Primo Smallgoods Chief Operating Officer Jim Cleary commented that Primo has always been committed to giving back to the community.

“This partnership with Foodbank allows us to do that and more importantly, help feed families and individuals with their much-needed protein. Through this, we hope to fight hunger in Australia,” he said.

Australia’s first alcoholic root beer set for release

East 9th Brewing is set to release Australia’s first alcoholic root beer, named ‘Future Memoirs Of A Root Beer’.

According to the company, the new beverage will offer a signature blend of flavours including Sassafras, Vanilla, Cinnamon and Ginger. Served over ice (at 4.0%ABV), it is being marketed as a “sessionable alternative to traditional beers”.

The product features a psychedelic label designed by to London-based artist Cei Willis (of Vice mag fame).

According to the company, alcoholic root beer is set to be the next big thing in alcohol.  In the US, countless brands have hit the market in an effort to secure their slice of what’s already shaping up to be a multi-million dollar category (over $111 million USD so far in 2015, according to IRI Worldwide research, with the brand ‘Not Your Father’s Root Beer’ the clear category leader).

Future Memoirs Of A Root Beer will be available nationally from next month. It’s also part of the East 9th Brewing family, which includes Fog City Cloudy Cider, Fog City Red Sangria, Doss Blockos Pale Lager and Lick Pier Ginger Beer.

Future Memoirs Of A Root Beer

Product Name: Future Memoirs Of A Root Beer

Product Manufacturer: East 9th Brewing

Launch date: April 2016

Ingredients: Preservative (202,220) added for freshness

Shelf Life: 12 Months

Packaging: 330mL Bottles/4x4x330ML (16) Case

Product Manager: Benjamin Cairns

Country of origin: Australia

Brand Website:

Describe the product: Future Memoirs Of A Root Beer sets the scene of a retrospective window into the future with a glimpse of all the outrageous, awesome things you’ve already done in your upcoming destiny. With a signature blend of flavours including Sassafras, Vanilla, Cinnamon and Ginger, this Alcoholic Root Beer delivers an experience like no other. Served over ice (at 4.0%ABV), Future Memoirs Of A Root Beer provides and interesting and sessionable alternative to traditional beers.

Contact Email:

Coca-Cola defends cans as obesity row rages

Coca-Cola Amatil has said it would prefer to see more Australians drinking less of its products instead of a few people drinking a lot amidst a renewed push against the soft drink industry to tackle obesity.

CCA maintained its high-sugar products, like a 375ml can of Coke are not harmful if one can is consumed a week.

According to CCA managing director Alison Watkins, one can a week is not necessarily considered to be unhealthy.

"We would much rather have lots of people drinking small amounts of our product than to have a small number of people drinking a lot of our product," Ms Watkins said

"We are really wanting to make sure that we are part of solving what is undoubtedly a big problem for society -and that is obesity."

Coca-Cola Amatil was responding to criticisms by leading researcher Professor Marion Nestle from New York University.

Professor Nestle is on sabbatical with the University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre and delivered a lecture on Tuesday night to a packed theatre.

She claimed soft drink companies around the world were distorting the truth about their products to keep profits growing.

"There is so much evidence now that drinking sugars in form of liquids is not good for health," she said.

Official figures show that more than half of Australians are overweight or obese. More than a quarter fall into the obese category.

Coca-Cola Amatil told the ABC it will be disclosing details of its funding to research organisations in a couple of months. 

Mother Earth peanut butter now available in Australia

Mother Earth has launched its natural peanut butter in Australia. As well as perennial favourites crunchy and smooth peanut butter, there are also innovative superfood blends, Chia Seed Natural Peanut Butter and LSA Blend Natural Peanut Butter. 

Mother Earth’s natural peanut butter is made with Hi-Oleic Australian peanuts* which have a higher level of a healthier mono-unsaturated fats than standard peanuts. The range also has no additives, no preservatives and no added oils or sugar. It is now on shelves at Woolworths Supermarkets around Australia.

Children’s food author and television host Alice Zaslavsky says quality peanut butter like the Mother Earth range makes a delicious snack at any time and can be used in a huge array of recipes, from Asian sauces and curries to dressings for salads and vegetables.

“I love that the classic smooth and crunchy peanut butters have absolutely nothing added except a pinch of salt," she said.

"And the unique superfood blends are a taste and textural sensation as well as a great way to enjoy even more goodness with your morning toast or smoothie. Mother Earth peanut butters are a simple, natural and delicious addition to any kitchen.”

Alice recommends mixing crunchy peanut butter with honey and spreading on fresh wholewheat sourdough bread for an afternoon tea treat, or spreading Mother Earth superfood peanut butter on celery stalks for a wholesome and affordable snack anytime.

"You can tell Mother Earth peanut butter is all natural because the oil from the peanuts rises to the top of the jar. It not only keeps the texture lovely and silky but it's a sure sign there’re no preservatives or additives."  

*when supply is short Mother Earth sources the same peanuts form Argentina

Woolworths to offer high protein ice cream

FroPro, a 99 per cent sugar free, high protein ice cream will now be available to purchase from selected Woolworths supermarkets.

FroPro, an independent Australian business, was created by professional athlete and former rugby union star Ed O'Donoghue, as a healthy challenger to the sugar filled, high fat frozen dessert incumbents.

O'Donoghue first invested in the products’ commercial distribution nearly three years ago. To this point, the brand has grown rapidly with a loyal, health focused customer base in the independent grocery and health food chain market.

O’Donoghue said the introduction of FroPro to Woolworths is a game changer for Australians.

 “It’s a real watershed moment. By backing a product like FroPro in the ice cream aisle, Woolworths is leading the way in promoting better eating habits by giving Australians a healthier ice cream option. FroPro is the first 99% sugar free ice cream ever ranged in an Australian supermarket,” said O’Donoghue. 

Technical feature: Pumping hot cooking oil

Cornell Pumps often receives queries from the pump industry about its hot cooking oil pumps.

For some reason these pumps always hold a special attraction to people who have a technical mind-set. Or maybe it's just because of the end product – fried snack foods…

Cornell has been producing a series of pumps for this application since the 80s. Therefore, now is an opportune time for a technical feature of the most important characteristics of a hot cooking oil pump.

The problem

When fresh products are immersed in hot cooking oil during the frying process, water vapours are released from the product into the oil changing its consistency and temperature. This temperature and liquid property transition requires the oil to be circulated through the fryer and a heat exchanger.

 Obviously, at a temperature of 180° Celsius or more, the cooking oil can't be pumped using a standard centrifugal pump. In addition to sealing issues there are several other technical challenges which need to be resolved in order to guarantee a reliable pump system. During the pumping process water in liquid form travels along the bottom of the fryer until it reaches the pump suction, the action of the impeller breaks up the water into smaller droplets that flash into steam. This presence of steam doesn’t just cause damage to the pumps through the possibility of cavitation, the resulting turbulence and vibrations are also detrimental to the pumps performance.

The solution

Firstly, selecting the right pump is of vital importance. A cooking oil pump obviously has to cover the system curve, providing the lowest possible NPSHr. This is why in practice cooking oil pumps generally work a little to the left of the BEP – Best Efficiency Point.

 In addition, Cornell Pumps has developed several technical innovations which reduce the chance of cavitation or other pump damage to practically zero:

 Anti-cavitation system, here a small amount of oil circulates back to the heart of the impeller through the vapour suppression line. The high pressure jet into the impeller eye suppresses the vapour bubbles until they have passed through the pump.

 External balance system, this ensures that any build-up of debris around the shaft sealing is transported to the suction side of the pump to prevent damage to the mechanical seal. In addition, Cornell’s external balance line equalizes pressure between the impeller hub area and the pump suction to reduce axial loading action on the impeller, shaft and bearings.

 609S ʺOʺ Seat Mechanical Seal, as standard, Cornell uses a shaft sealing which is suitable for cooking oil temperatures of up to 200° Celsius without the need to install external cooling systems.

For extremely high temperatures there is the option to add a water-cooled mechanical seal that can withstand oil temperatures of up to 288° Celsius.

The result

The only thing that counts is the result; users in the snack and food industry often work in shift rotations, and they don't want to worry about the technical side of installations and pumping systems.  

There are now countless Cornell hot cooking oil pumps running all over the world, whose users know that pump yield and up time are both at the maximum level. Down time simply isn't an option!

 The picture shows three pumps of the 8H-F18K type, these are the largest hot cooking oil pumps that Cornell has in its range. These units will be used in a new project in which the operating capacity will be 770 m3/h @ 40 mwc. With an efficiency of up to 88%, the motors power is limited to 90 kW.

Emerson adds HART 7 to vortex flowmeters

Emerson Process Management’s line of Rosemount 8800 Vortex flowmeters now offers HART Protocol Revision 7, which allows for easier identification in the field, commissioning, and configuration.

“Making it easier to commission and start up a facility accelerates the return on our customers’ investment,” said Mark Fleigle, vice president of technology and product development for Emerson Process Management. “The extension of HART 7 to our vortex flowmeters simultaneously adds functionality and improves usability.”

Properly identifying devices both in the field and in the control room takes the guesswork out of whether or not the correct device is being configured or commissioned. The Locate Device feature of HART 7 displays a visible code on the device’s LCD screen which allows for quick field identification.

Once connected to the device, or while viewing from the control room, Long Tag allows for a detailed device name to be viewed or loaded into the flowmeter. Long Tag support increases the character limit from the current eight character tag to 32 characters, allowing the user to create more accurate descriptions necessary to track down each unique device.

HART 7 also offers greater flexibility for device configuration. For the most up to date process information, HART 7 delivers expanded burst mode capabilities to allow the vortex meter to burst up to 8 variables and to trigger messages based on process events.

In addition to the latest HART 7 features, the 8800 Vortex flowmeter now provides Sensor Signal Strength as a display and output variable. This allows for continuous health monitoring of the flow sensor both at the device and remotely as a HART variable.

Matilda’s expands range of frozen fruit

Matilda’s Frozen Fruit has expanded its range to include frozen seasonal mixed berry product, blueberries and mangoes, in response to increased demand.

In December, the company launched the first locally grown brand of frozen strawberries. This followed a hepatitis A scandal involving imported frozen berries which saw more than 30 people become sick.

The company supports the push for transparency in food labelling.

According to co-founder Ruth Gallace, the new mixed berries, blueberries and mangoes will all list the exact region where the fruit is sourced.

“When we sourced equipment for the factory in the Yarra Valley, I wanted to make sure we had complete transparency in our labels, and as a mother, I can see why consumers increasingly want to know the origin of food and want to trust that what they’re buying is from what is listed on the packet,” she said.

She said having a percentage of Australian food listed on the product is a start, but Matilda’s would like to see more producers list exactly where all of the products in the packet come from.

“We shouldn’t have uncertainly about origin. Consumers should have a clear choice regardless what they decide to do,” she said.

Matilda’s products are available in premium independent supermarkets nationwide.

Yowie US manufacturing plant commissioning on schedule

Confectionery company, Yowie is on schedule to ramp up its US manufacturing capabilities through its agreement with New York based Madelaine Chocolate Company.

The company said in a statement the agreement allows Yowie access to high speed, high volume, automated and robotically driven manufacturing of the Yowie chocolate candy product. It added that installation of manufacturing equipment for production of Yowie product is scheduled to commence on March 10, 2016, subject to timing of customs clearance.

The manufacturing equipment is currently in transit to the Madelaine facility following pre-commissioning in Europe to minimize commissioning risk. The pre-commissioning took place under Yowie supervision and successfully utilized the new Yowie capsule.

As Motley Fool reports, the company obtained a licensing agreement to manufacture Angry Birds chocolate to coincide with the release of a film of the same name in May this year. This product will be the first product to be manufactured from the newly commissioned line.

Yowie chocolates – based on the Australian mythical indigenous creatures – were introduced by Cadbury in 1997 and achieved sales of $100 million in the first two years, before being discontinued in mid-2005.

The brand then made a comeback in 2012 when the company was acquired by prominent mining executives, Waratah Resources’ William Witham and former non-executive director of Gleneagle Gold, Greg O’Reilly.

Yowie products were released in the US in 2014. According to the company’s half-yearly results for the 6 months to December 31 2015, revenues rose 1,094% to US$5.7m.

The large increase was the result of the company’s products across more than 4,000 Walmart stores in the US.

Capilano & Comvita set to form honey JV

Capilano Honey and New Zealand-based health products company Comvita are planning to form a new, jointly-owned honey making business.

The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form a business which would operate a number of Leptospermum honey producing apiaries in Australia and deliver premium honey for a range of medical and natural health products. The incorporated joint venture to be formed will be owned 50:50 by Comvita and Capilano.

Within their respective countries, Comvita and Capilano each market honey and manage apiary operations that produce a wide range of honey, including Leptospermum honey.

Capilano wishes to expand its specialised Leptospermum apiary operation in Australia and secure greater honey supply. Comvita currently operates in Australia in a sales and marketing capacity and this joint venture will secure greater volumes of Leptospermum honey to be processed in Australia, to meet a growing global sales demand.

Capilano and Comvita have already been involved in a joint research initiative to investigate the medicinal properties of Australian Leptospermum honey. In order to best satisfy growing sales, both companies recognise the need to expand their operations and grow the supply base for premium quality honey, especially in Australia.

The formation of the joint venture is subject to the execution of appropriate transaction documentation that is to be expeditiously agreed by both parties. 

Repair and test centres for tank cleaning machines

Spray Nozzle Engineering Australasia has opened two new tank head repair and cleaning Centres of Excellence, in Melbourne and Hamilton, New Zealand.

Specialising in Gamajet, the centres offer a full diagnostic and repair service for tank cleaning machines. They service all tank heads and eliminate the need to send your tank heads overseas for maintenance.

Gamajet Tank rotating cleaning heads use a rotary impingement washing action for many large breweries, trucking fleets, wineries and food & chemical operations. They can handle virtually any size or type of tank, from a 200 litre drum to a 60 foot tank.

This sustainable clean-in-place design eliminates all areas of potential bacterial growth and its consistent 360° spray pattern ensures reproducible cycles for verifiable cleaning.

The Gamajet cleaning machines are designed to eliminate the risks when it comes to confined space entry cleaning. The machines can be permanently installed or used portable from tank to tank. For the portable applications they are dynamically balanced so they may be lowered into a tank on a flexible hose.

Powerful supermarkets push the cost of food waste onto suppliers, charities

At a time when one billion people globally experience hunger, as much as 50% of all food produced – up to two billion metric tonnes – is thrown away every year. In Australia alone, as much as 44 million tonnes of food is wasted annually.

Last year, French supermarket chain Intermarché launched a highly successful campaign encouraging consumers to purchase “ugly” food. This year, France became the first country in the world to implement laws cracking down on food waste, with new legislation banning supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food. Under this new legislation, supermarkets are required to donate any unsold food to charities or for animal feed.

While there is no law in Australia requiring supermarkets to donate any unsold food, both Coles and Woolworths have aligned with food rescue organisations to donate unsold or “surplus” food.

This surplus food is distributed amongst those experiencing poverty and food insecurity and is done voluntarily by the supermarkets under the banner of corporate social responsibility.

But our research into the issue of corporate social responsibility and wastage of fresh fruit and vegetables has identified a number of tensions and contradictions, despite leading Australian supermarkets’ zero food waste targets.

First, the strict “quality” standards required by the Coles and Woolworths duopoly means that a large volume of food does not reach the supermarket shelves. This is produce that does not meet size, shape and appearance specifications – such as bananas that are too small, or apples that are too red. If producers do not agree to meet these standards, they will lose access to approximately 70-80% of the fresh food market in Australia.

Second, the two major food retailers do not take ownership of produce until it passes inspection at the distribution centres. It is here where suppliers, such as farmers and growers, are “invited” – under the supermarket’s corporate social responsibility initiatives – to donate rejected food to rescue organisations at their own cost, or otherwise pay for further transportation or dump fees.

Thirdly, in an effort to reduce the high levels of food wasted at the farm gate, Australian supermarkets have followed France’s lead by marketing “ugly” food, (or what Intermarché termed “Inglorious Food”) – food that does not meet strict cosmetic standards, but is still perfectly edible.

While a step in the right direction, this “apartheid” between beautiful and ugly food was criticised in this study for reinforcing values that perfection comes at premium and ugly food, which is often the way nature intended, should be price discounted. Growers are also concerned about the lower prices that “ugly food” attracts, and the flow-on effects to them in reduced profits.

A final tension regarding food waste is “who is to blame”? Supermarkets attribute their high quality standards to consumer demands – however, consumers can only buy what is available at the supermarket. Supermarkets have also been criticised for marketing tactics that encourage household food waste, such as “buy one, get one free” campaigns.

Despite the lack of transparency regarding food waste in the supply chain, supermarkets – with their powerful market position at the end of the supply chain – are in a good position to transfer the problem of waste elsewhere.

They do this by setting cosmetic standards in the procurement of food which results in high level of wastage, not taking ownership of produce that does not meet their own interpretation of the standard, claiming corporate social responsibility kudos for donating to food rescue organisations (while at the same time saving on dumping fees) and differentiating between “beautiful” and “ugly” foods – reinforcing difficult-to-attain standards of perfection.

Much of the food wastage and transfer of blame for food wastage can be attributed to the market power of the duopoly. Most significant, are the proprietor-driven private standardswhich require produce to be perfect.

Although donating to food rescue organisations may be positive for people in need, it does not address the structural problems of the supply chain. This raises the question of state-led regulation, as with the case in France, to restrict food wastage at the retailer level. However, more is needed. Food waste is one symptom of excessive market power, something that needs to be addressed to steer mass food retail in a more sustainable direction in Australia.


Carol Richards is Vice Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow, Queensland University of Technology.

Bree Devin is a lecturer in Public Relations, Queensland University of Technology.

Disclosure statement

Carol Richards receives funding from the Australian Research Council and the Norwegian Research Council.

Bree Devin does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.


This article first appeared on The Conversation. Read the original here.

Quality control microscopy cameras

The Jenoptik Progres Gryphax microscopy cameras are ideal for use in industry for quality control and controlling manufacturing processes.

They are equipped with sensitive CMOS sensors for fast live images. Image capture software is included with a convenient graphical user interface and a modern USB 3.0 interface.

The microscope cameras offer a particularly large sensor format for microscopy. Short exposure times and high image refresh rates make the system quick and convenient to use. Even moving objects can be analysed with minimal effort. The cameras reproduce colours accurately with extremely fine gradations and precise representation of the smallest detail.

Three models are available and include the Gryphax Subra – a full HD colour camera offering a larger sensor format than other CMOS cameras and the ability to deliver full HD recording of live images at video.

The Gryphax Naos is a 20MP colour camera using a back illuminated 1” CMOS sensor while the Gryphax Arktur is an 8MP colour camera using a back illuminated 2/3” CMOS sensor.

Features include:

  • Highly sensitive CMOS sensors
  • Fast live image in full HD
  • Fits any microscope
  • Connects to your PC via a modern USB 3.0 interface
  • Includes software with free updates
  • Cost-effective
  • Made in Germany

Beston Global Food Company posts first half loss

Beston Global Food Company has posted a statutory net loss after tax of $1.1 million for the six months to Dec. 31, including the costs of the capital raising associated with its IPO.

The company said in a statement, in its first period as a public entity, it recorded half-yearly revenue of $7.6 million and an underlying net profit after tax of $1.7 million.

BFC Chairman, Dr Roger Sexton, said that the Company was pleased with the results it had achieved in a short space of time.

“We are a company in growth mode” he said. “We are investing for growth, and we are acquiring for growth on our journey to become a global food company”.

“BFC is well on its way to becoming one of the few food companies in the world which has its own closed loop supply chain and is able to provide consumers in burgeoning global markets with an authentic, genuine, healthy, verifiably safe, food experience with products sourced substantially from our own raw materials, manufactured substantially in our own factories and sold through our own people on the ground in the markets we aim to serve.”

BFC Chief Executive Officer, Sean Ebert, noted that the Company was in a strong position with high quality assets on its balance sheet, no debt and cash reserves at 31 December of $34.45million.

He said that the focus of BFC in the second half is to continue to make revenue and margin gains in its existing operational businesses while expanding the Company’s revenue base with a number of initiatives which capitalised on the core competencies and capabilities of the Company.

“This included new products and new alliances and distribution arrangements, as well as the generation of new revenue streams based around the BFC patented OZIRIS food safety technology,” Ebert said.

Australian manufacturing’s hot streak continues

The country’s manufacturing industry is enjoying its longest period of expansion since 2006, according to the Australian Industry Group’s PMI result, released this morning.

Following January’s overall PMI of 51.5, today’s figures showed a result of 53.5, which is also the biggest monthly expansion since July 2010.

Any result above 50 indicates expansion. The further above 50, the greater the growth result. February’s overall result represented the eight straight months of growth.

The Ai Group’s chief executive, Innes Willox, said that the sector had enjoyed a running start to the year, and confidence was building in the expectation that the Australian dollar would stay around its current level.

“Production, sales, new orders and exports all lifted in February to consolidate the gains made by manufacturers over the second half of 2015,” said Willox in a statement.

“There is little doubt that greater competitiveness in export markets and in the domestic market due to the lower dollar is central to this turnaround.”

The result was overall positive, but there were some areas of concern, said Willox.

“Important sub-sectors, including the metal products sub-sector, remain in contraction as does the large machinery & equipment sub-sector despite improving trends in recent months,” he added.

“Many businesses are being adversely impacted by the higher costs of imported inputs associated with the lower dollar.”

Notable activity sub-indices included production’s result of 60.1 (its best result since 2004), new orders stayed positive at 52.4 (down from 52.8) and sales returning to expansion (53.0 points).

Manufacturers benefit from making their own nitrogen

With nitrogen making up 78% of the environment (the air we breathe), and freely available, it’s not surprising more and more manufacturers are investing in innovative systems so they can generate their own nitrogen on-site, based on demand, purity and quality requirements.

Manufacturers involved with laser cutting, injection moulding and heat treatment, as well as several other manufacturing applications, are reaping the significant benefits of having continuous availability of dry nitrogen, which is mainly used to displace oxidation-causing oxygen. 

Instead of relying on the costly and timely process of using nitrogen bottled gas supply (bottle banks) or bulk gas supplied in either gaseous or liquid form and stored on site in large tanks, manufacturers are moving to a more reliable and environmentally friendly system, and in the process considerable reducing their production costs.

Sonik Barot, Atlas Copco Australia’s Product Manager for CNG & Industrial Gas Projects, said the company’s energy efficient on-site nitrogen generation systems are generating considerable interest as manufacturers search for new ways to improve their production efficiencies and reduce operating costs at the same time.

“It is not surprising manufacturers are taking notice of our all-in-one nitrogen skids as they offer savings of 40 to 80% compared to existing nitrogen supply costs from bottled or bulk gas supply,” he said.

Barot highlights the fact that bottled and bulk nitrogen gas supply prices are normally between $5 to $17 per m3 based on the purity and the supply terms negotiated.

“However with our on-site nitrogen skid based system, generation costs work out to be less than $3 per m3 in most cases, with payback normally within 18 to 24 months.”

He pointed out that once paid for, electrical and maintenance costs were the only operational expenditure; offering savings of more than 80% compared to traditional nitrogen supply from bottled or bulk gas supply.

 “Once companies look at the figures, it’s an easy decision for them from a financial and reliability perspective. Plus of course they are lowering their environmental impact as well. A win-win situation,” he said.

Barot explained that the Atlas Copco Nitrogen Skid comes with the company’s highly-efficient GA VSD+ compressor, an NGP+ nitrogen generator using the latest generation PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) technology, air and nitrogen receivers, a booster, dryers and filters, all integrated into one compact and pre-commissioned skid.

“It is a true plug-and-play solution, which drastically reduces installation time and costs, and delivers cost savings and nitrogen supply independence for complete peace of mind,” he said.

“We are the only company which can offer the complete package mounted on just one small footprint skid; saving valuable floor space at the customer’s site.”

He said all components are built to Atlas Copco quality and energy efficiency standards, and are tested to work together for optimal performance and reliability.

Barot explained that the PSA nitrogen generators are used to separate nitrogen molecules from other molecules in the compressed air with oxygen, CO2, water vapour and other gases adsorbed and released back to the atmosphere.  

“The result is virtually pure nitrogen at the outlet of the generator,” he said.

With an air factor of 1.8 (at 95% purity) to 5.5 (at 99.999% purity) and a special cycle time modulation algorithm, Mr Barot said the running costs of the new NGP+ can be 50% lower compared to other nitrogen generators.

There are eight models available; four 40-bar versions for direct use and four 300-bar versions that also allow users to fill the skid-mounted storage tank or cylinders to create their own supply to their nitrogen process gas network.

”They can serve as the users’ nitrogen back-up supply, but they also allow users to downsize their system in case of fluctuating demand,“ Barot said.

Barot said that by catering to peak requirements with the user’s own pre-filled bottles, rather than with a higher capacity generation system, it offers significant savings.

He said the nitrogen skids are available in various capacity models, delivering from 6 to 60Nm3/hour at 99.9% purity and 4 to 38Nm3/hour at 99.999% purity.

“For larger companies, with higher capacity requirements, Atlas Copco can custom design and build a customised nitrogen generation system as per their needs and requirement,” he said.

Recognising that the nitrogen purity required varies from application to application, Barot said the purity of the nitrogen produced by the system can be easily adjusted to suit the company’s needs, from 95% to 99.999% or 5000ppm to 10ppm

“In laser cutting, for example, the higher the purity the cleaner the cut, with no burrs and no oxidation taking place,” he said.

He said it’s a similar story with the plastics industry.

“Operating the injection moulding machines at a high purity and the high pressure nitrogen delivers a far better finish, very clean with no burrs. Like laser cutting there is no oxidation with high purity nitrogen,” he said.

He explained that the nitrogen skid package comes standard with an oxygen analyser to measure the oxygen molecules and confirm the purity levels.

“If there is a problem with the nitrogen’s purity, all the gas generated is simply released into the atmosphere,” Barot said.

Dumping protection hurts economy: Productivity Commission

The Productivity Commission has released a report today arguing that anti-dumping measures consider only a narrow set of industries, remove the need for innovation, and don’t consider the overall cost to the economy.

AAP reports that the paper by the commission, an influential advisor the federal government, has blasted the anti-dumping system, which imposes tariffs on things like dumped tinned tomatoes following complaints made by SPC Ardmona.

Dumping is the practice of exporting and selling goods below cost, and is described as a type of predatory pricing.

"Once the emotive terminology is stripped away, any general distinction between anti-dumping protection and conventional tariff protection is a fine one," The Australian Financial Review quotes the report as saying.

"Like tariffs, anti-dumping measures benefit recipient industries, but impose larger costs on other industries, consumers and the broader economy [and] reduce the need for recipient industries to innovate in order to remain competitive and to adjust to changing market conditions more generally.”

The report’s release follows research on Asian steel dumping commissioned by the federal government – announced the day after Arrium revealed it was considering shutting its Whyalla steelworks – announced last week. The commission will report in April.

The steel industry is under heavy competition from imported Asian steel as China’s economy and its infrastructure building slows.

86 per cent of investigations into dumping in 2014-15 were to do with steel imports.