Venair develops the first multishape silicone hose

Venair has unveiled the first conformable silicone hose in the market, able to maintain its shape under extreme operating conditions, at the PPMA Show in Birmingham.

The new Vena MF/MF-L is the result of a completely new innovative research. The product has been developed by Venair’s R+D team to meet the most demanding needs of the sector.

The main advantage of this product is its moldability. The Vena®MF/MF-L hose has the capability to acquire a certain shape and maintain it, even in extreme operating conditions. This is an innovation that eliminates the need to create silicon hoses of a specific shape.

Javier Sigler, R+D Manager at Venair, says: “The main advantage that Vena MF-L provides is that it allows us to reduce the amount of time and resources spent developing prototypes and hoses with special shapes drastically. Simply by shaping the Vena MF-L with our own hands, we have a hose that is totally adaptable to the position of the connection and the design of the installation.”

Vena MF-L is smooth both on the inside and the outside and works successfully in temperature ranging -60ºC to 180ºC, with peaks up to 200°C.

The sleeves are double reinforced to prevent breakage or indentation in the silicone during installation. Sigler also adds “In the development of Vena MF-L, we have taken in consideration not only its resistance, in order to avoid tearing during the instalment, but also its excellent durability and resistance to hardening produced by thermal action and deformation by compression.”

This product is both suitable for food & pharma and industrial applications with uneven connections, which require customized parts, as well as for prototyping.

UK brewery launches new energy centre to bolster energy efficiency

A new energy centre has opened at Molson Coors’ brewery in Burton, as part of a five-year capital investment plan to modernise its brewing infrastructure and technology.

Molson Coors says the new energy centre will support the business’ global ambition to cut energy consumption by 25% and 15% of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The cost savings are set to contribute to a wider $16 million saving (per annum) globally.

In its first full year, the new facility is projected to significantly reduce energy consumption at the brewery and improve the site’s carbon emissions by 6.5% (3,689 tonnes CO2e) leading to:

• A reduction in carbon emissions equivalent to the energy use of 337 houses for one year

• 4.5 million kWh less electricity used – enough to power 7500 street lamps

Jim Shaw, Supply Chain Director at Molson Coors says: “The new energy centre is a huge milestone for us, and the investment reflects our continued commitment to the brewing industry here in the UK.

"Modernising our infrastructure and technology enables us to become more efficient and flexible in our delivery. We are also able to reduce energy use and emissions and support our ambition to continually improve Our Beer Print as part of our Corporate Responsibility agenda.

“The facility will also produce cost savings which will be utilised and re-invested into our brands, service and breweries to ensure we continued to delight the UK’s beer drinkers.”

The launch of the energy centre is just one of many milestones reached by Molson Coors as a result of its five-year redevelopment plan. The introduction of a new shrink wrap facility in 2012 successfully reduced Molson Coors’ secondary packaging weight by 63% and reduced carbon emissions by 4%.

Earlier this year, Molson Coors received a £21 million investment for a state of the art bottling line, enabling them to manufacture new and inventive packaging, something which had previously been outsourced.

On a visit to the Burton Brewery in May, the Prime Minister David Cameron commended Molson Coors for its on-going dedication to encouraging innovation and growth within the industry. Total investment in the Burton Brewery has now surpassed the £75 million mark, the biggest single capital investment the brewery has seen in decades.

Molson Coors recently published its ‘2014 Our Beer Print Corporate Responsibility Report’, which highlights the business’ achievements over the last year. Molson Coors has achieved a 2.4% water intensity reduction since 2012 and has aligned globally around a 2020 zero waste to landfill target. In addition to this, Molson Coors exceeded its energy efficiency goals, reducing energy intensity by 2.6% compared to a 2.3% target.

Conveying and sorting in one

Festo, the innovation leader in pneumatic and electric drive technology, has developed the WaveHandler, a new pneumatic conveyor concept for the transportation and simultaneous sorting of delicate objects.

Steve Sands, Product Manager, Festo, says, “Delicate FMCG products, like fruit and vegetables, require particular care in their handling and transportation if they are to make a timely arrival to market with minimum damage losses. Their limited shelf-life means that time is of the essence. In such cases, it's believed that industry can learn a lot from natural principles and wave technology is one such principle. The new WaveHandler pneumatic conveyor concept could help the food & packaging industry make huge cost savings.”

The conveyor consists of numerous bellows modules that deform the surface creating a wave motion that transports the objects in a targeted manner. Inspiration for this principle was provided by monitoring natural waves. The movement of wind over the smooth surface of the water produces small ripples, which grow as the wind pushes against them. However, it is energy being moved by the waves, not water. The water molecules within a wave move up and down in a circular motion, but remain in roughly the same place. Yet the energy produced causes the wave to roll over the surface of the sea. The WaveHandler system behaves in a similar way - while each individual bellow advances and retracts in the same spot, a wave moves over the surface of the conveyor.

The WaveHandler display utilises forward thinking technologies based around Web4.0 concepts. Autonomous actuators, comprising 216 connected pneumatic bellows modules, are attached underneath the covering that forms the surface of the conveyor. Each module consists of bellows kinematics on top, an integrated standard valve MHA1 from Festo and the appropriate electronics for actuating the valve. The bellows structure is pneumatically driven and can expand and contract by around 1-2cm. The conveyor is supplied with power and control commands, via a CAN bus, by a compressed air channel and an electrical cable running through all the modules. Each identical module recognises its position in the network and is programmed to understand its role.

Mounted above the WaveHandler system is a camera system that senses the objects on the conveyor. The camera transmits the images to a computer that processes them and actuates the conveyor via software developed specifically for this purpose. In the bellow modules, each microcontroller receives commands via the CAN bus and forwards them to the valve. The respective bellows structure expands when the valve is switched, which causes the surface to arch at this point. The end result is a control network that moves objects on the surface in a targeted manner, enabling it to take over the sorting and moving action in the process.

Modular in design, the WaveHandler system could be positioned in the centre of a conveying unit to distribute the goods to the next conveyors on the left or right. The time and effort needed for installing the conveyor is reduced since an additional handling unit is no longer required for the sorting process. Individual modules can be connected as required and are self-configuring, which opens up new opportunities in applications where subsystems need to be quickly and flexibly integrated into production sequence.

Steve Sands says, “Whether it is decentralised intelligence, high transformability or plug and produce, the principles of the factory of tomorrow are already playing an important role in today’s products."

Compassion delivers first ever Chinese awards for pig welfare

Compassion in World Farming is helping to move animal welfare higher up the agenda in China with the launch of the Good Pig Production Awards.

The awards recognise Chinese producers operating without sow stalls and making significant commitments to welfare improvements for pigs. Eight of the 13 winning pig producers will be awarded at a Compassion event at Westminster in London on 24th September when they visit the UK on a study tour of British pig farms with other Chinese producers. The Awards will also be presented at the ‘2014 China Animal Welfare Forum’1 in Beijing on 11th October.

Compassion has been working in partnership with the International Cooperation Committee of Animal Welfare (ICCAW) in China over the last year developing the award criteria, and assessing potential winners. ICCAW has worked tirelessly advertising the award and administering the 50 or so applicants.

This is China’s first award to demonstrate the country is taking animal welfare, food safety and the sustainable development of livestock production more seriously. As part of the ICCAW partnership, Compassion also participated in the development of the first official Code of Practice for pigs in China.

Compassion’s Chief Executive, Philip Lymbery visited China in late 2013 and comments on the changing attitudes of the Chinese people: “The connection between how farm animals are kept and the quality and safety of the resulting food is starting to be recognised in China. It provides us with a real foot in the door to help promote less intensive farming in this, the most populous country on earth.”

China is the world’s largest producer of pigs, rearing 680 million a year – more than half the world’s pig population – and pigmeat is hugely popular, with over sixty percent of all meat produced in China eaten as pork. Meat consumption and production in China has risen exponentially since the mid 2000’s, and with it intensification and large scale farming systems and practices. The number of new mega pig farms in China is growing, many of which incorporate the worst elements of western intensive systems – namely sow stalls and farrowing crates, barren environments and routine mutilations.

Dr Tracey Jones, Compassion’s Director of Food Business, says: “We are delighted to work with ICCAW to launch the Good Pig Production Awards in China. They represent a first step at tackling the welfare issues and standards for pigs in China, to help ebb the flow towards the highly intensive systems and practices that many producers and food companies are turning away from in places like Western Europe, Australia and the US. The award is also an opportunity for winners to lead by example and encourage better care for the millions of pigs on China’s small scale farms.”

To be eligible for an award, producers need to meet five basic requirements which focus on: group housing of sows in the gestation period, providing pigs with a suitable environment (including temperature control and hygiene), as well as meeting several stipulated food safety requirements. The awards are scored from 1 (basic requirements met) to 5 Stars, depending on the number of additional welfare criteria met, either as a current policy or commitment within 5 years, and include: no tail docking, no teeth clipping, no confinement of sows throughout life (including farrowing crates), and the provision of manipulable material and bedding throughout life.

Tracey continues: “China has a long way to go to raise its standards of animal welfare, but the interest in the awards, the number of winners, and the will to find sustainable solutions for China, are highly encouraging signals for change. In time we want to engage with the very largest pig operations and connect food companies with producers doing the right thing for welfare, to raise baseline standards from ‘farm to fork’ in China. With that in mind, we look forward to continuing and developing our productive partnership with ICCAW.”

Fisheries conference casts net wide on innovation

More than 80 delegates from seven countries recently attended North Sea Fish – Innovation from Catch to Plate at Hull University Business School.

The culmination of a two and a half-year EU-funded research project, involving the University and partners from four European countries, the event considered the challenges and opportunities facing the North Sea fisheries in the 21st century.

Specialist guest speakers from the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium addressed a broad range of issues – from branding to sustainability and supply chains – with the aim of building a more economically viable fishing industry.

In a busy morning session, keynote presentations looked at how consumers could be persuaded to buy more fish and the challenges in helping traditional fishing communities to work more closely with the other links in the supply chain.

Notable ‘good news’ stories were also highlighted, including how small fishing ports in Belgium and the Netherlands are re-branding themselves as ‘fish tourism’ destinations and Grimsby’s success in reinventing itself as a centre for fish processing in the UK.

Delegates, including fishermen, fish processors, buyers and academics, then had the opportunity to compare notes and question speakers during a networking lunch before being given an insight into several aspects of the North Sea Fish project’s work.

The packed afternoon agenda included an introduction to a new comprehensive tool for measuring and displaying sustainability of seafood catches, developed by the Belgian Fisheries and Agriculture Authority, ILVO. Nicholas Riley of the University’s School of Engineering also explained how technological innovation, correctly applied, could improve traceability and help to build consumer confidence in the fisheries supply chain.

Roos Galjaard, project manager for the Interreg IVB North Sea Region, which funded the research and the conference, reflected on a highly successful event.

“This has been one of the best conferences I’ve been involved in,” she says.

“The speakers have looked at the complex issues facing the North Sea fishing industry from many different angles and given us all considerable food for thought.

“I’m particularly happy that we managed to attract delegates from such a diversity of backgrounds. A project like this can be very inward looking, so it was very pleasing to see so many stakeholders from the supply chain engaging with it: fishermen, processors, consumers and everything in between. The more mixed your audience is, the more likely you are to spread the word and share the lessons of the work done in such a project.”

Event organiser, Pam Jackson, research and enterprise manager at Hull University Business School, adds: “I’m delighted with both the success of the conference and the project that preceded it. The audience really engaged with the complex issues they were presented with, asking challenging and intelligent questions.

“At the University of Hull, we have excellent connections with the fisheries industry both in the Humber region and beyond and we have been able to use that to assemble a world-class line-up of speakers and stakeholders for the event.

“Our research has made a significant contribution to the success of the North Sea Fish project, applying technological and logistical expertise to this very complex supply chain.”

Supermarket milk squeeze blamed for 261 Dairy Crest job losses, says...

The supermarkets’ price ‘squeeze’ on dairy producers have been blamed for the announcement that 261 jobs will go at Dairy Crest’s plants at Hanworth, south west London and in Chard, Somerset.

Unite, the country’s largest union, said that Dairy Crest was caught between the unrelenting pressure of the supermarkets to drive down prices for customers and the legitimate desire of farmers to get a decent price for their milk.

Unite said that 202 jobs were under threat at the milk bottling site at Hanworth and 59 at Chard, which makes flavoured creams, such as brandy butter.

Unite national officer Matt Draper says: “We will be working closely with Dairy Crest to mitigate the job losses that are a severe blow to our hard working and dedicated members and their families. We will be investigating whether employees can be relocated to other Dairy Crest plants.

“As doorstep delivery moves over to the use of plastic bottles, what we are seeing here is the death knell of the traditional milkman delivering bottled milk to the doorstep as the nation sleeps.

“The reason for this is that supermarkets are selling four pints for £1, while dairy companies’ delivery prices are 79 pence a pint – they just can’t compete.

“Companies, such as Dairy Crest, are being squeezed by highly competitive supermarkets and dairy farmers seeking a decent return for the milk they produce.”

The company will now start the consultation process with the trade unions on the closures.

Goplasticboxes.com releases new super strength dolly

Goplasticboxes.com has introduced a new colourful transport dolly to its expanding range of box accessories.

Designed to facilitate the safe and easy movement of stacked crates, our new colourful transport dollies are lightweight, hygienic and suitable for use in cold stores, clean rooms and all types of retail spaces.

Superior in strength to other versions available on the market, this new transport dolly is manufactured from virgin, fully recyclable ABS – recognised for its toughness and impact-resistance.

The dolly’s wide-set base measures 607mm x 407mm and lips around the perimeter ensure easy, secure stacking for boxes of various sizes from shallow trays to taller-sided crates. A twist and turn feature means the dolly can be turned and stacked at 90 degrees in stacks up to 25 dolly’s high when empty, taking up minimal storage space.

Weighing just over 3kg, the dolly can tolerate loads of up to 300kg – 50kg more than other dollies of a similar size – and is fully tested to ensure both reliability and operational safety.

The dolly is supported by four revolving run-silent castors which glide with ease over flat surfaces and up and down ramps.

Keeping the dolly clean is easy, as it can be washed in temperatures of up to 100 degrees Celsius – making it a desirable choice for food and pharmaceutical industries.

Red and yellow dollies are currently in stock for next day delivery and other colours and branding options are available upon request.

Artisanal gelato now possible on industrial scale

ROKK Processing has continued its tradition of evolving ice cream production techniques with the launch of the new Veloce-Freeze barrel which, with its ability to freeze an entering ice cream mix in mere seconds, allows manufacturers to produce artisanal, gelato quality ice cream on an industrial scale.

Available with all of ROKK’s RFE range of continuous freezers, the Veloce-Freeze barrel utilises new design technologies to ensure that the quality and flavour of the mix ingredients is maximised in a luxurious, hard and dry gelato style end product.

Phil Darvell, Managing Director of ROKK Processing, says: “Ensuring a quick freeze is essential for producing a high-quality ice cream. Failure to do so allows ice crystals to form within the product leaving it with that ‘opened and refrozen’ texture from new, not to mention the negative, watering down effect on the flavour.”

In addition to an improved texture and flavour, the speed at which the new barrel is able to freeze the mix also heavily reduces the common problem of start-up wastage and unusually considering its freezing power, cooling water usage.

Phil adds: “Traditionally when starting a new production run, there is a delay between start-up and the production of a sellable product. The result is wasted mix. It may not be exponential amount but it’s unquestionably a daily occurrence, and if measured over the course of a year, or even a month, it’s a loss that shouldn’t, and no longer has to be, considered ‘acceptable’.

“The Veloce-Freeze barrel’s freezing power negates this wastage, allowing for profit margins to be increased. What’s more, with reduced cooling water usage and the subsequent reduction in bills, companies can expect these margins to be increased even further.”

As with all ROKK machines, the RFE range hosting the new Veloce-Freeze barrel have been designed and manufactured around ROKK’s core principles of being ‘simple, solid and dependable’, resulting in only the very best, industry-recognised, components being used to ensure each machine is of the highest quality, versatile and extremely reliable.

The over-sized chassis’ used to construct the RFE series are built entirely out of premium stainless steel to maximise performance and reduce vibrations and sound pollution.

“Getting the best results from these machines is extremely simple,” says Phil, “as the components already work in union to create a high-quality, luxurious end-product there’s no need for a complicated PLC system. As such the RFE range utilises easy-to-use switches which eradicates the unreliability that can be associated with continuous freezers fitted with touch-screen controls, as well as the cost of repair or replacement should they fail.”

“Despite all the positives the freezing barrel and RFE series brings to the table, its standout feature is its most important one, and that’s its ability to produce an end product that consumers will desire. After all, without demand, there’s no need for supply, and in the current marketplace many consumers want a quality ice cream that they can consider a ‘treat’, and they don’t mind paying a little more for it.”

The RFE continuous freezer range comes in three sizes, the RFE 600 which offers up to 620 litres per hour, the RFE 800 which offers 840 litres per hour and, the largest of the current range, the RFE 1200 which offers up to 1250 litres per hour.

Eagle breaks through fat analysis entry barriers with AIS

Eagle Product Inspection, has partnered with Advanced Inspection Services Ltd (AIS), a European x-ray product inspection and recovery provider, to provide meat manufacturers access to fat analysis technology on a contract basis.

The strategic alliance allows small to large meat producers to outsource the inspection of raw products so that the fat content can be accurately determined and also for the detection and removal of any products that may contain a contaminant.

With the installation of the Eagle FA720 PACK, AIS can now determine the precise chemical lean (CL) content in packaged beef, lamb and pork products to within just +/- one CL in real-time. This high level of accuracy ensures that both meat suppliers and customers can be confident that the meat they either buy or sell, is of the correct fat to lean ratio. As such, manufacturers can be certain that they will adhere to retailer meat content percentage specifications.

Thereby avoiding costly and business-damaging fat claims, preventing meat product giveaway, improving profits and potentially winning more business through compliance with retailer guidelines.

In addition to precision fat analysis, the technology offers simultaneous inspection for a range of foreign bodies, including metal or glass shards, bones or stones, and dense plastics or rubber. An automated reject system removes all non-conforming products from the production line, minimizing the risk of contaminated product reaching end consumers. This allows compliance with food safety standards, such as the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Standards Version 6 and International Featured Standard (IFS) Version 6, safeguarding consumer wellbeing.

The Eagle FA720 PACK also boosts productivity for AIS, allowing the company to inspect a high number of cardboard cartons and vacuum-packaged frozen blocks without compromising on detection sensitivity. Manufacturers seeking independent confirmation of product quality and who require first-rate product inspection, but do not yet have the resources to integrate systems on their own production lines, can now benefit from this alliance.

Michael Stuart, Product Manager Fat Analysis, Eagle Product Inspection says: “Challenges, such as compliance with retailer fat/lean percentage requirements and food safety regulations, plus production line efficiency affect all meat producers, regardless of the size of their business. With AIS, we can now provide even the smallest manufacturer’s access to the technology that allows them to accurately monitor and assess the quality of the meat they use in their own production. Meat producers can now guarantee that they will only supply contaminant-free meat products at the correct fat to lean ratio to suppliers, therefore improving their growth potential and safeguarding their bottom-line costs. It is a win, win situation.”

Nigel King, Owner, AIS explains:“Eagle’s pedigree to design innovative quality product inspection technologies solutions is highly respected in the meat industry. As such, we partnered with them to break the barriers to entry to adopt product inspection for large to small manufacturers. Meat companies now have unlimited access to the most innovative and sensitive product inspection technology in the marketplace to help them meet the challenges faced by the industry not just today, but tomorrow as well.”

Marc Evans appointed to lead global refrigeration company

Innovative refrigeration technology firm, The Sure Chill Company, has appointed Marc Evans as its new CEO as it expands its commercial offering and moves to its next phase of international development.

Marc brings a wealth of financial, commercial and legal experience to The Sure Chill Company, which will be instrumental to its continued growth. In his previous role he was Commercial Director for the investments division of Balfour Beatty, and prior to that worked at multinational law firm, DLA Piper.

The appointment comes at a pivotal time in The Sure Chill Company’s development. Its pioneering work in the medical field addressing the global challenges in the vaccine cold chain continues apace, supported by a recent $1.4m grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It is also forging ahead in the domestic and beverage sectors, building on existing licensing and manufacturing agreements for its unique cooling technology across the globe with market leaders such as India’s Godrej & Boyce. A major element of Marc’s role will be to guide this diversification and ensure The Sure Chill Company realises its full potential in these exciting new sectors.

Marc Evans, CEO of The Sure Chill Company, says: “Sure Chill is a game changer, a unique technology that is already proven to have the power not just to change lives but to save lives - whether that’s safeguarding vaccines and drugs, ensuring safe and sustainable food storage, or enabling us to make more efficient use of our limited energy resources.

"So accepting the position of CEO at The Sure Chill Company and being part of such an important and exciting company, was one of the easiest choices I’ve ever made. I’m looking forward to using my commercial experience to help Sure Chill’s technology realise its potential.”

Peter Saunders, Chairman of The Sure Chill Company, adds: “Having someone of Marc’s calibre join the Sure Chill team is a real coup. His business and financial acumen will be a great asset and central to our global expansion over the coming years. His role is to seek out and build the right partnerships with the right parties, and I am confident that he will do this with a clear vision and with great energy.”

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