Staff Writer

Who Is Hamish McCook Anyway?

Meet your podcast host, Hamish McCook, and find out why this will be one of the best ways to spend 10 minutes of your time learning as we cover hot topics, trends and challenges for those working behind the scenes to support human survival in the twenty first century.

The future of media: partnerships, not real estate

Optimising value from B2B marketing budgets has never been more important. For marketing managers, this means ensuring that advertising leads to real sales opportunities.

We offer this complimentary guide to the partnership model, which gives advertisers maximum value and accelerates results.

Understanding the buyer journey in B2B Marketing

By David Dodd, National Key Accounts Manager.

Prime Creative Media offers this complimentary resource for B2B marketing professionals, an animation explaining the buyer journey and how to maximise your chance of sales success.    Read more

The dangers of going dark: Why a strong marketing presence now is key to increasing market share post-COVID

Prime Creative Media continues its Engine Room series, offering complimentary resources to companies to help navigate the COVID-19 crisis.

John Murphy, CEO Prime Creative Media, offers this guide on the dangers of ‘going dark’ in times of crisis, and how to drive a strategy to maintain or even increase market share as the economy recovers.

Showcasing hero clients to promote your business

Prime Creative Media offers this advice on how to use case studies in a B2B marketing strategy.

In the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, print and digital marketing has never been more important in driving sales. Prime Creative Media continues its Engine Room series, offering this advice on how to best use case studies in a B2B marketing campaign.

Case studies are the ideal way to explain how your products or services work and the positive impact they can have on a business, by having your clients do the talking for you. It’s that all important social proof, showing prospects that working with you could improve their business too. It’s a win-win because it also gives your clients exposure.

In our experience, working with thousands of companies in Australia, case studies should form a key component of any B2B marketing strategy.

Download the complimentary guide below on the four steps to creating a successful case study.

VEGAPULS 64 delivers best measuring results with 80 GHz

VEGA Grieshaber KG offers the first radar level gauge for liquids that operates at a frequency of 80 GHz. With its amazingly small antenna system, the VEGAPULS 64 is ideal for use in vessels with small process connections, such as those used in the food, pharmaceutical and biotech industry. The new sensor is also particularly suitable for use in these industries due to its hygienic materials and design.

The focusing properties of a radar measuring instrument depends on the transmission frequency and the effective antenna surface. By using a transmission frequency over three times higher (26 GHz was common until now), the antennas can be three times smaller and still achieve nearly the same signal focusing. This allows considerably smaller process fittings with an antenna size of only ¾” – a significant advantage, especially for use in small vessels.

This frequency also considerably reduces interfering signals generated at close range. This is crucial for the industry, because the antenna size and blocking distance (the dead band, i.e. the minimum distance between the antenna and the liquid surface) of radar instruments was far too large for small containers. Now, the medium can be measured with much higher accuracy, both right up to the process fitting and down to the very bottom of the container.

Another plus for this highly regulated industry: since existing process connections can be used, the new sensor can be easily installed without costly equipment modifications. Aseptic process fittings will be available at the market launch – in these, only PTFE serves as the wetted material. These process fittings meet the requirements of 3A, FDA and EHEDG.

Since radar signals pass right through viewing windows and glass containers, the sensor can also be mounted outside the container in some cases. This method, too, has become much easier thanks to the higher transmission frequency – and this solution will be especially interesting for the pharmaceutical and food industry.


Meet the ifm expert – Freddie Coertze

Meet expert Freddie Coertze, the Product Manager of Industrial Communications at ifm. Freddie talks about why he loves being part of ifm’s family culture and working with such high quality products. He is particularly inspired by the customers he works with and extending the ifm values of good service to customers, gaining satisfaction from finding the best solutions for them. Hear Freddie explain why ifm’s slogan ‘Close To You’ is not just a saying, but a real company value.

Watch this video to find out more

Minister moves on live sheep exports

The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud (pictured) has said he accepts accept all the recommendations made by the McCarthy Review into live sheep exports, following disturbing footage emerged last month of almost 2,500 sheep dying from heat stress during a trip to the Middle East last year.

“We accept all 23 recommendations made by Dr McCarthy, noting that further testing and consultation is needed to understand and implement Recommendation 4 on Heat Stress Risk Assessment,” Littleproud said in a statement.

“There will be immediate changes that impact now on the live sheep trade during the current Middle Eastern Summer and there will be changes that will be take more time to introduce.

“The live sheep trade will move now to the allometric stocking density system, which takes into account animal weight and size. This means sheep will get up to 39 per cent more space and reducing stocking densities by up to 28 per cent. This change will affect shipments during the Middle Eastern Summer this year.”

The minister said he plans to introduce a Bill increasing penalties and creating a new offence of profiting from poor animal welfare outcomes.

Under this offence, a director of a company could face 10 years prison or $2.1 million fine.

An individual convicted under the same offence would face 10 years and $420,000 fine.

For a company, the fine will be $4.2 million, three times the benefit gained, or 10 per cent of the company’s annual turnover, whichever is greater.

Under the current Australian Meat and Livestock Act, penalties will increase from the current five years prison and/or a $63,000 fine for an individual to 8 years prison and/or $100,800 fine.

For a company the fine will be increased from $315,000 to $504,000.




A new and different stand-on scrubber

Maker of floor cleaning machines and technologies, Tennant Australia has released a scrubber with the right features to deliver speed, agility and performance to food and beverage makers.

The latest addition to the company’s line-up of scrubber-dryers, the T350 is available with Tennant innovations like touch screen ProPanel, ec-H20 NanoClean, Smart-Fill (Automatic Battery Watering) and IRIS asset manager software to help businesses drive down the rising cost of cleaning.

“The T350 is a new and different stand-on scrubber that delivers category-leading productivity by combining the agility of a walk behind unit with the speed of a ride-on for F&B manufacturers who need the best of both worlds,” Josh Hastings, Tennant ANZ marketing manager told Food & Beverage Industry News.

“High productivity rates and great manoeuvrability make this stand-on scrubber an ideal choice for large or obstructed spaces across manufacturing.”

The unit has a cleaning path of up to 600mm (disk) which means it can deliver productivity rates exceeding 2,795 square meters per hour. It easily handles tight turning circles in small spaces while offering speed over larger sized production areas. What’s more, its turning circle has been designed to easily navigate tight spaces with minimal disturbance.

“As with all Tennant equipment, maintenance of health and safety is a key commitment. Food ingredients, oils, grease, debris and spills are specific challenges to food and beverage makers so maintaining cleaning standards with equipment solutions that not only remove dirt and soil, but also leave surfaces safe, dry, and ready for traffic is paramount to safety,” said Hastings.

The T350’s optimised squeegee design and advanced recovery system are designed to reduce the risk of slip-and-fall accidents and ensure soils are removed from the floor quickly and efficiently in fast paced manufacturing environments. New Smart Fill automatic battery watering technology (automatically) fills batteries to proper levels with (distilled) water which helps increase battery life, extend battery run-time and easily optimises long-term battery performance with a nearly maintenance-free battery watering system.

With excellent down pressure (up to 41kg), the T350 is suitable for a variety of floor surfaces found in food manufacturing, including textured and grouted floors with multiple cleaning pad and brush combinations available from the company’s partner, 3M.

“T350 has been designed with latest technology, operator comfort and safety in mind with ergonomic and easy-to-use machine controls including LCD touch panel with on-board (ProPanel) tutorial videos available,” said Hastings. “For safety, before engaging motion, the forward and reverse light will blink until you tell the unit which direction you want to go.  An intuitive and ergonomic green control knob gives the operator an easy (and safe) way to adjust speed while in motion.”

While cleaning, users can choose between four cleaning modes: Standard Conventional Cleaning, Quiet Mode (for sensitive areas), available Severe Environment Mode (for harder to clean areas) and ec-H2O NanoClean (exclusive to Tennant company).

Ec-H20 (pronounced ec-water) is a detergent-free “green” cleaning technology that uses millions of electrically charged nano bubbles. It not only reduces water consumption (by up to 70 per cent when compared to conventional cleaning), but is also ideal for use in food production areas. Additionally, it voids the disposal of conventional cleaning detergents into the waste stream environment.

“Maintaining sanitary environments is critical for food and beverage facilities,” said Hastings. “Tennant’s total floor care solutions help provide clean, hygienic environments where food or beverages are prepared, processed, packaged, bottled, stored or transported.”

Dry weather ahead cries out for ‘aggressive’ NSW dairy management

In the face of climate change and dry weather ahead, the NSW Government needs to strengthen its resolve to deliver dairy farmers an aggressive long-term strategy to underpin the sustainability of the industry and farm businesses.  We need to urgently build climate resilience amongst the farming sector.

This was the view today of Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan reacting to news this week that the State Government had appointed a drought coordinator to steer a path through dry conditions across most of NSW.

“While we all welcome the initiative & applaud the appointment of Pip Job to the position as announced by Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair, Dairy Connect believes the Government needs to have a long, hard look into the future in terms of climate, particularly in the dairy industry” he said.

“Dairy Connect also acknowledges and welcomes the introduction of the Drought Transport Fund which offers low interest loans to subsidise the cost of freighting fodder and which forms part of the existing $300 million NSW Drought Strategy.

“Sceptics are saying, however, that these initiatives are a patchwork of measures and are short term, many of which are being introduced much later than they have been needed.”

More than one third of NSW is in drought, or is on the edge of drought, with snow and frosts also biting early as producers scan the horizon for signs of an overdue autumn break.

Shaughn Morgan said NSW dairy farmers needed to have access to a comprehensive strategy that was forward-looking and, in practical terms, much more aggressive and proactive.

“Dairy Connect research has compared Government responses in NSW with those currently enacted in Queensland,” he said.

“Queensland dairy families have a Drought Relief Assistance Scheme which provides subsidies for fodder, water and livestock transport.

“The scheme includes an emergency water infrastructure rebate which underpins emergency water installations for livestock preservation and welfare.

“Against this particular item, NSW offers a 50 per cent subsidy to transport stock off farms of up to $20,000 per year.”

Dairy Connect also continues to encourage dairy farmers to speak with their neighbours, colleagues and friends if they feel the need to speak about how the drought is impacting upon them.

“It is vital that dairy farmers seek support & help if circumstances start to become unduly harsh and mental health issues begin to surface”, Shaughn said

In Dubbo on Monday, the Premier and Primary Industries Minister announced the appointment of respected agriculture leader and former National Rural Woman of the Year, Pip Job, to the coordinator role.

Gladys Berejiklian and Niall Blair acknowledged at the Dubbo launch that farmers were struggling.

The Premier said Ms Job’s appointment as drought coordinator would see her provide information to affected communities, identify emerging risks and coordinate drought response. Dairy Connect hopes this coordination will extend to mental health support and coordination.

Rabobank appoints new horticulture and wine analyst

Agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank has announced the appointment of Hayden Higgins to head up its horticulture and wine sector research. 

Higgins joins the bank’s food and agribusiness research team from his role as major agribusiness manager with Rabobank New Zealand.

General manager of RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness Tim Hunt said the new appointment was an opportunity to take advantage of Mr Higgins’ extensive knowledge of the horticulture and viticulture industries.

 “Over the past 15 years in his career in rural banking, Hayden has worked extensively across a range of industries, but has had particular exposure to both wine and horticulture,” he said.

“Since joining Rabobank in 2010 in the Hawkes Bay region, he has worked closely with some of the largest and most complex wine, horticulture and other agribusiness clients in the North Island and has built a substantial in-depth knowledge of these key industries in this time.”

 Higgins has also served as chair of Rabobank’s NZ horticulture strategy team since 2014.

Based in Hastings on New Zealand’s North Island, Mr Higgins will cover the horticulture and viticulture sectors for the bank in both Australia and New Zealand.

New wine platform aims to forge bonds between consumers and winemakers

Twenty Five Doors is a technology solution empowering wineries to easily create, market and deliver accessible and unique wine experiences at their cellar door. The purpose isn’t to ‘educate’ but rather to create a personal connection between every wine lover and their favourite wineries. Wine education is, ironically, the by-product.

Through the integrated planning website, launching this month with the Yarra Valley, Twenty Five Doors brings together the wine experiences available from wineries in a region in one place. It allows the wine lover to select and self-discover the wines and wine experiences that are on offer, and plan an itinerary to get the most out a particular region that suits their tastes.

The platform has an unique mapping feature which allows consumers to create, for free, personalised self-guided itineraries of wine regions selecting wineries which match their tastes and interests. The itineraries help all wineries to be discovered by visitors, especially the smaller wineries that don’t have marketing budgets to promote themselves widely. The wineries get qualified customers delivered right to their cellar door.

There is no cost for wineries to be listed on Twenty Five Doors. Instead, consumers pay an annual membership fee and wineries pay a small booking fee only when visitors book an experience.

As a member, consumers get access to unique and exclusive experiences at wineries so they can get the best from their travels. There are no more hours of researching, driving around in circles or standing in the wineries waiting for the next small taste of wine.

“Twenty Five Doors is a major step forward to providing scale to the hundreds of wine makers across Australia. It will allow them to focus on what they do best, make great wine and deliver a growing audience of informed, interested wine lovers to their cellar door and to their business,” said Australian wine authority Peter Bourne.


A new generation of photoelectric sensors

SICK has streamlined its portfolio of object detection sensors and equipped them with new technologies for improved performance. These new smart devices represent a significant improvement, both in terms of usability and reliability.

By focusing on the essentials, SICK has made its photoelectric sensors fit to face future challenges. The new W16 and W26 product families are the result of a consistent simplification and streamlining of the company’s product portfolio. These devices are technically optimized and equipped with new features, intended to make work easier and processes safer.

In addition, as smart components within networked production and control processes in complex machine environments, the sensors are equipped for the industrial future and Industry 4.0. They are not only consistent in terms of housing size, but also in terms of their equipment. Because all features are consistent across both product families, users can rely on these product families for seamless, reliable production in all situations.

The new technologies

Twineye Technology offers operational safety for high-gloss, reflective, and high-contrast objects, such as food packaging. This technology uses one sender and two receivers. Should the light beam be deflected by an uneven or high-gloss surface, the sensor maintains its status until the second receiver can no longer detect the object either. This prevent switching errors.

Linespot technology ensures that perforated, textured, and uneven objects can be reliably detected. The light spot, which has been extended to form a line, allows optical information to be provided about irregularities, such as gaps or rough surfaces.

Clearsens technology ensures transparent objects such as bottles can be accurately detected. The operating element can rotate to set the required mode depending on the object characteristics, and then pressed to carry out the sensor teach-in for the reflector. Where dirt reduces the light emitted by the reflector, Autoadapt technology compensates by adjusting the switching thresholds. This allows cleaning intervals to be extended and the availability of the sensors to be increased.

Depolarizing objects such as foil-wrapped containers also place high demands on sensors. These devices filter the received signal geometrically and can therefore differentiate between reflectors and depolarizing objects, and thus avoid switching errors.

Importantly, the new sensors also provide the input required on the route toward Industry 4.0. They are all equipped as standard with IO-Link and, as smart sensors, can play an active role in end-to-end automation networks.

Optically and mechanically rugged

Until now, ambient light in the form of direct sunlight, LED illumination, and so on has sometimes led to switching errors. The new product families feature an Optofilter which ensures they only see what is there.

They are also more mechanically rugged than predecessors. Their “Vistal” housing is made from a glass-fibre reinforced plastic and is resistant to extreme loads caused by thermal, chemical, or mechanical influences. Also, the sensors’ laser inscription allows clear identification of the device type, even after years of operation. The printed QR code takes the user directly to more product information.

Usability a priority

The usability of the new sensor ranges is intended to create a “cockpit feeling” in the machine room. BluePilot, a blue LED alignment aid which enables faster alignment of sensors and reflectors as well as senders and receivers, helps ensure this.

No further setup is required. In live operation, the LEDs in these device classes also offer a diagnostic function: should detection quality change as a result of contamination and/or vibration, the LEDs indicate the degree of impairment by slowly increasing or decreasing dimming. In this way, operators can detect faults at a glance early on before they result in production failures.

Setting up the new photoelectric proximity sensors with Bluepilot is just as intuitive. To this end, the advantages of the teach-in button and potentiometer have been combined in one operating element. This allows the sensing distance – which is in turn visualized by the blue LED ring – to be configured in a matter of seconds.

With the help of a new smart production system, SICK has been manufacturing W16 and W26 sensors since July 2017 in Germany. Production cells enable the manufacture of bespoke product variants within the context of a modular system under the same conditions as serial products – in a traceable manner, with a serial number for indexing and cross linking.

The new standard in level measurement

Since its introduction about 30 years ago, radar level measurement has continued to change and improve. VEGA Australia offers two 80 GHz units which represent the cutting edge in this field.

Up until the late 1980s, manufacturers used technologies such as capacitance and ultrasonic pressure to measure the levels of liquids and solids inside vessels. However, as is the case with most old technologies, these devices have now been largely superseded.

“Radar technology now is becoming an accepted form of level measurement. Radar has completely replaced traditional methods because of advantages to the client,” John Leadbetter, managing director of VEGA Australia, told Food & Beverage Industry News.

These advantages include better hygiene, efficiency, simplicity, speed, accuracy, and more.

VEGA Australia offers two products which provide all these benefits – the Vegapuls 69 which is mainly used to measure solid materials like grains, flours, and solid mixtures; and the Vegapuls 64, which is suitable for use with liquid and paste materials, such as sauces, dairy products, blends of mixtures, and oils.

80GHz level measurement

These level sensors are the first to use a frequency of 80 GHz. This means they have a narrow beam angle of 3 degrees which provides better focus. In addition, they have an increased power range and can measure up to 120m.

According to Leadbetter, the small size of the sensors is another important factor. “The smaller size in both models allows a lower beam angle. The other thing it does is help with the cost of installation. The customer doesn’t have to go out and modify vessels to larger diameter units. In most cases, existing sockets on the vessels can be utilised for the transmitter. Installation’s a lot simpler and easier,” he said.

While the sensors are suitable for use in many industries, including energy, oil, chemical, building and elsewhere, the models used by food makers have all the necessary industry approvals.

“The Vegapuls 64 carries all the food approvals and the Vegapuls 69 carries what they call the dust approval. This is necessary because things like grain and white sugar are highly explosive,” said Leadbetter.

The importance of hygiene

Hygiene is a crucial consideration for food and beverage makers. The advantage of radar level measurement, in this context, is that the sensor used never come into contact with the material being measured.

Apart from that, operations which use the technology should simply follow normal industry procedures. “Most applications in the food industry use cleaning in place with caustics, so we’re all fully approved, we have temperature ratings and everything for that. Realistically in the food industry you’re going to have no little gaps or anything like that so it’s going to be a smooth finish,” Leadbetter said.

Connectivity and simplicity

According to Leadbetter, another advantage of the sensors is that they are Bluetooth compatible.

“With both units you have a variety of fittings so they are adaptable to the needs of specific clients. They also have built-in asset management which means that, if there has been a problem in the middle of the night, they can go back through the memory and pick out what the problem was,” he said. “Asset management’s a big part of it.”

The sensors are used with an industry standard software called Pactware which is commonly used for instrumentation. Users log into their units through a laptop (or Bluetooth via a smart phone or iPad) and they are able to set the unit up either remotely or connect to it directly.

“The major feedback we get from customers is how easy they are to program. We’ve made it a lot simpler for the customer,” said Leadbetter.

According to Leadbetter, the two units have been very well received by industry. “Three major grain companies in Australia have now standardised on the Vegapuls 69. Also, in the case of the Vegapulse 64 we have food manufacturers that have standardised on the product. This means they are very happy with the performance,” he said.

On top of that, they have proved popular. Combined, they have sold in excess of 80,000 units, across all industries, worldwide.

Leadbetter said that VEGA Australia has all the level measurement bases covered. “We’ve covered the dry and processed food with the same technology. It’s one technology to cover both sides of operations,” he said.