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JBT and LARCE: an ongoing success story in Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is the leading producer of MD2 pineapples for export worldwide, accounting for an estimated 75% of the market. Although not a native fruit to the Central American country, Costa Rica has built up a formidable reputation as a pineapple producer and exporter since the 1970s; a success that has since been repeated in a variety of other sectors, both fresh and processed. But perhaps what fewer people are aware of is JBT’s role in the Costa Rican pineapple story and the strong connection with the country that endures to this day.

LARCE Distribution, a Costa Rica-based importer, distributor and servicer of specialist systems and equipment across a range of sectors, has been part of the JBT story in Costa Rica almost since the beginning, aiding and assisting the development of the JBT brand in industries as diverse as fresh fruits, dairy and tomato sauces.

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(l-r) Roberto Arce Jr; Laura Arce; Roberto Arce Sr

First pineapples
LARCE is a third generation family business founded by Alberto L Arce in 1949. His son, Roberto L Arce senior, managed the company until 2017 when Roberto Arce Jr took the position of managing director. The relationship with JBT – then known as FMC – started a few short years later when JBT assisted LARCE in the fight against the invasive Mediterranean fruit fly. The relationship also came to the fore in 1965 when the eruption of the Irazú volcano covered much of Costa Rica’s capital, San José, in ash. JBT-supplied equipment helped clean the streets and airports.

By the 1970s, fast growing industrialisation created opportunities for LARCE and JBT with a variety of companies processing dairy, tomato for juice and sauces, and water-based ice pops.

However, arguably the most significant development was the range of coatings supplied by JBT through LARCE, which coincided with the entry of Del Monte in Costa Rica and the arrival of the first pineapples for production in the country. “FMC helped Del Monte bring the first pineapple plants to Costa Rica, and also supplied them with natural waxes, which we are still supplying to producers to present day,” says Roberto Arce Sr.

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Ongoing success
Today managed by siblings Roberto Arce Jr and Laura Arce, LARCE supplies JBT solutions to customers including TicoFrut, an orange and pineapple processor based in Alajuela region north of the capital, and Del Oro, a juice and concentrate specialist located in north-western Guanacaste province. 

TicoFrut was responsible for the first industrial juicing plant in Costa Rica; a facility LARCE contributed to with the company’s first juice extractors, and later an ASEPTIC filler. “There arose a need for an ASEPTIC filler at the TicoFrut plant and it has been a real success,” explains Arce. “The operating costs are far lower than any other piece of machinery from our competitors.”

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JBT’s Fresh’n Squeeze® range of juicers – spearheaded by the recently-launched version of the successful Multi-Fruit Juicer – has also found favor in the country with large grocery retailers and small juice producers alike, according to Arce.

As a company that sells, rents and services equipment and machinery, Arce is in no doubt that LARCE will continue to benefit from its close relationship with JBT; a relationship which he says has enabled LARCE to add value to the products it supplies.

“Our purpose is added value and professionalism, from the moment the equipment or machinery is developed through to ongoing post-sales support and servicing,” adds Arce. “This approach has helped us gain the trust of our customers.”

Learn more about LARCE

JBT y LARCE: una historia de éxito en Costa Rica

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Costa Rica es el mayor productor a nivel mundial de piñas MD2 destinadas a la exportación, y es el responsable de aproximadamente 75% del mercado. Aunque no es un fruto nativo del país centroamericano, Costa Rica se ha construido una magnífica reputación como productor y exportador de piña desde la década de 1970, un éxito que ha sido capaz de replicar en una amplia gama de sectores, tanto de productos frescos como procesados. Pero lo que quizás muy pocas personas conocen es el papel que desempeñó JBT en la historia de la piña costarricense y el fuerte lazo que la une al país y que sigue vigente hasta el día de hoy.

Distribuidora LARCE, empresa importadora, distribuidora y proveedora de sistemas y equipos especializados para una amplia gama de sectores, asentada en Costa Rica, ha sido pieza fundamental en la historia que tiene JBT con esa nación prácticamente desde el inicio, al contribuir y apoyar en el desarrollo de la marca JBT en industrias tan diversas como frutos frescos, lácteos y salsas de tomate.

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Las primeras piñas
LARCE es un negocio familiar de tres generaciones, fundado en 1949 por Alberto L Arce. Su hijo, Roberto L Arce Sr., estuvo al mando de la empresa hasta 2017, cuando Roberto Arce Jr. asumió el puesto de director general. La relación con JBT – entonces denominada FMC – comenzó unos años después cuando JBT prestó ayuda a LARCE en el combate contra la plaga de mosca de la fruta del Mediterráneo. Esta relación pasó a primer plano cuando, en 1965, la erupción del volcán Irazú cubrió de cenizas buena parte de la ciudad de San José. JBT proporcionó equipo que se utilizó en la limpieza de las calles y aeropuertos de la capital costarricense.

Para la década de 1970, la rápida industrialización dio pie a que LARCE y JBT se abrieran puertas a oportunidades de negocio con una diversidad de empresas dedicadas al procesamiento de jugo y salsas de tomate, productos lácteos, y paletas heladas a base de agua.

No obstante, se puede afirmar que el parteaguas fue la introduccción de la gama de recubrimientos de JBT distribuidos a través de LARCE, acontecimiento que coincidió con la entrada de Del Monte a Costa Rica y la llegada de piñas al país para su cultivo. «FMC ayudó a Del Monte a traer las primeras plantas de piña a Costa Rica y también le abasteció ceras naturales, las cuales seguimos proveyendo a los productores hasta el día de hoy», afirma Roberto Arce Sr.

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(i-d) Roberto Arce Jr; Laura Arce; Roberto Arce Sr

Éxito continuo
Actualmente bajo el mando de los hermanos Roberto Arce Jr. y Laura Arce, LARCE distribuye las soluciones de JBT a clientes como TicoFrut –procesadora de piña y naranja ubicada en la región de Alajuela, al norte de la capital– y Del Oro– especialista en jugos y concentrados ubicado en la provincia noroccidental de Gunacaste. 

TicoFruit abrió la primera planta industrial de extracción de jugo en Costa Rica; LARCE contribuyó a esta fábrica con los primeros extractores de jugo de la empresa y, más adelante, con una llenadora ASEPTIC. «Surgió la necesidad de tener una llenadora ASEPTIC en la planta de TicoFruit, y ha sido un rotundo éxito», detalló Arce. «Los costos de operación son mucho menores que los de cualquier otra máquina de nuestros competidores».

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De acuerdo con Arce, la gama de extractores Fresh’n Squeeze® de JBT, encabezada por la versión recién lanzada del exitoso Multi Fruit Juicer, también se ha visto favorecida en el país, tanto entre los grandes supermercados como con los pequeños productores de jugo.

Por tratarse de una empresa que vende, renta y da servicio al equipo y maquinaria, a Arce no le cabe duda de que LARCE seguirá beneficiándose de su vínculo tan cercano con JBT, relación que, él afirma, ha permitido a LARCE agregar valor a los productos que ofrece.

«Nuestro objetivo es brindar valor añadido y profesionalismo, desde el momento en que el equipo o la máquina está en desarrollo, hasta el servicio y la atención continuas durante la posventa», añadió Arce. «Esta estrategia nos ha permitido ganarnos la confianza de nuestra clientela».

Leer más información sobre LARCE

JBT’s PRoCARE®: working to eliminate downtime from the equation

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Downtime, for many processors and producers, is an inevitable part of the production process, which – in addition to cutting into productivity, scheduling and labor hours, to say nothing of the expense – is viewed as a phenomenon that has to be endured. But what if there were a means of limiting downtime to an absolute minimum or, better still, eliminating it almost completely? This was the objective JBT Customer Care had in mind when they set about launching PRoCARE; an ambitious initiative that aims to make downtime a problem of the past for JBT customers.

Irrespective of the pedigree of systems or equipment, the need for maintenance, regular or irregular, is a fact of life. With the best will in the world, it is unavoidable that parts become worn, equipment becomes damaged, or machinery does not always perform as expected. Such occurrences often result in downtime, with production being shifted, reduced or even halted completely while the problem is fixed. 

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JBT’s PRoCARE Program is focused on taking the unpredictability of maintenance difficulties out of the equation. Instead of waiting for problems to occur, JBT Field Service Engineers take preventative action as part of the program, visiting customer facilities on a scheduled basis to tackle any weak spots before they develop into a problem.

Relieving the burden
As an annual, auto-renewal program, PRoCARE offers levels of service specifically suited to the needs and wants of each plant. With features ranging from inspections, documentation and recommendations in Level 1; up to Level 5 which includes preventative maintenance, 24/7 monitoring, guaranteed response times, training and an annual pool of service and/or automation hours to use at their discretion, there is a great solution for any budget, explains Emily Lossman, Customer Care Manager at JBT’s A&B Process Systems.

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“The PRoCARE Program takes some of the burden off maintenance staff and removes the need to keep as many components on the shelf,” she says. “It also means customers will suffer fewer unexpected downtime issues and benefit from a longer equipment life.”

As well as new customers, Lossman says, JBT is reaching out to existing and previous customers, and letting them know that this is a program that can be implemented at their facilities.

Preserving reputations
The practice of preventative maintenance becomes even more important when viewed against the considerable threat posed by involuntary lapses in food safety, lapses that can lead to product recalls and potentially damaged reputations and lost clients. “Older equipment and machinery can suffer wear that can lead to potentially harmful contamination issues,” says Lossman. “Stainless steel surfaces can get scratched and these crevices can harbor bacteria that can be missing during Clean-In-Place (CIP) procedures. 

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JBT can provide riboflavin testing to verify cleaning efficacy and hydrostatic or dye penetrant testing to identify flaws. They will also provide recommendations on how to maintain that level of cleanliness. 

“We also check and calibrate instrumentation, which has positive implications for product consistency: we make sure instruments are correctly calibrated, so customers achieve a consistent product every time.”

In short, Lossman says the PRoCARE Program offers headache-free ownership. With JBT effectively taking care of systems and equipment during their entire active life, customers avoid the need to pull resources off key projects, help safeguard their reputation and, as much as possible, eliminate costly, avoidable downtime. 

Learn more about JBT’s PRoCARE Program

JBT launches breakthrough solution 
for pouch packaging

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JBT has announced the launch of a new solution for filling flexible pouches commonly used in the infant nutrition and sports drinks categories, which could spark further market growth for the sector. The JBT AsepFlex™ Linear Pouch Filler has been developed to overcome problems associated with current pouch packaging, including a high rejection rate and low capacity.

The market of flexible packaging is growing, with pouches becoming the preferred option for processors and consumers thanks to their non-breakable, lightweight, easy to open, and easy to empty (squeezable) characteristics. In the infant nutrition category, the market share for flexible pouches is expected to grow by 10% each year.

However, growth in the category has been restricted by limits to current pouch filling technology. The two existing shelf stable pouch solutions both suffer from significant drawbacks. Solutions using an aseptic form fill seal typically have a low capacity and a high Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) due to a high rejection rate. Hot fill with retort sterilization solutions, meanwhile, often have low (120 ppm) capacity and low product quality.

The JBT AsepFlex Linear Pouch Filler has been developed to solve the problems with these existing solutions by substantially improving capacity and operational performance. With a capacity as high as 500 ppm – or 30,000 pouches per hour – the fully aseptic solution is designed in accordance with the FDA guidelines for low acid aseptically filled food products and can achieve an impressive operational performance, with a 95% efficiency rate and a typical reject rate of only 0.5%. 

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“Apart from capacity and aseptic integrity, the AsepFlex Filler offers flexibility,” explains JBT Product Manager, Bert Krakers. “Pouch formats and sizes can be changed on the fly without the necessity to change parts.”

The AsepFlex system, he says, can fill a wide range of products from water-like liquids through to high viscous products, such as smoothies with particulates. It can also be equipped with a nitrogen dosing system to reduce the oxygen in the headspace of the pouch, which limits the chemical deterioration (oxidation) of the product, helping maximize product shelf life in the process. 

The JBT AsepFlex Filler has been designed for use with infant nutrition products, such as fruit and vegetable purees, and ready-to-drink baby food, as well as sports and breakfast drinks ‘on-the-go’, and nutraceutical products. A first AsepFlex filling unit in Europe has recently been supplied to a leading specialist in infant nutrition.

Learn more about the JBT AsepFlex Linear Pouch Filler

Powder Technology Day to provide 360° view of industry

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Renowned packing experts and high-profile existing customers will be among the speakers delivering presentations at the upcoming, Powder Technology Day from JBT’s PLF International business on June 12, which is expected to attract delegates from across the globe.

Taking place at PLF’s facility in Harwich, UK – just two hours’ drive from London – the event will give visitors the opportunity to see two vacuum powder filling lines and a SeamTec closer, but will also feature a look at ancillary equipment, from XVision x-ray systems to labelers.

Significantly, Powder Technology Day will also mark the first time that non-JBT speakers have delivered presentations at a JBT event, with the confirmed agenda including a speaker from Nestlé who will give ‘Nestlé’s view on the metal can as a package for powdered food’. An expert on the packing and powder industry from analyst GlobalData will also be on hand to detail ‘Global Market Trends & Prospects in Powdered Food Packaging’.

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Ben Verbeeck, Business Development, Marketing EMENA and Global CRM Coordinator, Liquid Foods, said: “There will be presentations, not just from JBT, but also from Nestlé who will be talking about their experience with the application, and from a packing expert from GlobalData who will be talking about the powder industry in general and where it is heading.”

Following the morning sessions, delegates will receive an exclusive tour of PLF’s manufacturing facility where they will have the chance to view a pre-gassing powder filling and closing line for cans.

Request more details about Powder Technology Day

JBT takes forklift automation forward with Crown and Hyster-Yale

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JBT, a leading global solutions provider of technologically sophisticated systems and products, has solidified deals with Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc. and Crown Equipment, two of the world’s largest material handling companies, to help customers maximize the benefits of material handling automation.

JBT’s automation expertise and insight will be harnessed to deliver vehicles that can switch between manual and automated operation. By providing automation expertise, JBT will amplify and complement both companies’ ongoing research and development related to automation technologies.

The Crown DualMode T tow tractor, which offers manual and automated options, is an early result of the collaboration with Crown and is currently being piloted through Crown’s early adopter release initiative.

Meanwhile, the Hyster-Yale robotic reach truck, a pantograph truck capable of picking double-deep at heights up to 30’, has also been developed and installed at customer sites. The vehicle can also operate in manual and automated modes. 

Leveraging strengths
Laura McConney, Marketing Specialist at JBT’s Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) division, says the collaboration, which will see vehicles cobranded with the JBT and Crown/Hyster-Yale logos, will leverage the strengths of both companies. “JBT has been automating vehicles for over 30 years, while Crown and Hyster-Yale, which are among the globe’s largest forklift supply companies, produce well-designed, versatile vehicles,” she says. 

“We established relationships with Crown and Hyster-Yale because we were thinking about the way market trends are moving: forklift companies are collaborating, and we think that’s a good trend.”

Delivering vehicles that operate in both manual and automated settings, McConney continues, will help companies that are hesitant about abandoning manual operations by easing the transition between manual and automated operations.

Learn more about JBT’s Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) range

JBT vai apresentar soluções exclusivas de embalagens no Brasil

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O enorme potencial oferecido pelas soluções de preservação e esterilização da JBT para os setores de processamento de laticínios, tomates, verduras e frutas do Brasil (do aquecimento eficiente ao enchimento asséptico) será apresentado em um seminário de um dia, que ocorrerá no Centro de Pesquisa e Tecnologia da JBT, em Araraquara, no estado de São Paulo.

Esse evento exibirá a série de soluções Sterideal® da SF&DS para esterilização e pasteurização eficazes (que preserva, ao mesmo tempo, o sabor e a cor dos laticínios), mas também apresentará sistemas inovadores para o enchimento de sacos e latas e a esterilização eficiente de frutas, verduras e tomates processados.

A ser realizado em 16 de maio, o seminário “Tecnologias para Esterilização e Envase de Alimentos” detalhará as vantagens da utilização dos equipamentos de processamento dentro de recipientes da JBT, incluindo o Unifiller, Hydromatic® Hydrostatic Sterilizer, Batch Retort Sterilizers e Rotary Pressure Sterilizers.

De acordo com Januário Soligon, Diretor de Vendas e Serviços da América do Sul da JBT Liquid Foods, o seminário apresentará várias soluções (como o Hydromatic Hydrostatic Sterilizer para latas e sacos) que estão sendo lançadas no mercado brasileiro.

Esterilização eficaz
Em relação a laticínios, o evento apresentará soluções da SF&DS (antiga Stork Food & Dairy Systems), incluindo o Sterideal® HX Coil, cujo design exclusivo oferece a máxima transferência de calor e permite o aquecimento e resfriamento de produtos com extrema rapidez. O resultado, segundo Soligon, é uma esterilização eficaz combinada com uma excelente preservação do sabor e da cor.

Enquanto isso, o Sterideal HX SteriCompact UHT Sterilizer, que se baseia no sistema Sterideal HX UHT da JBT, um sucesso em todo o mundo, possui uma configuração helicoidal exclusiva de tubos concêntricos que asseguram um tratamento térmico eficaz combinado com uma recuperação de calor eficiente e um manuseio ideal dos produtos. O conceito do JBT UHT, prossegue Soligon, foi adotados por produtores de laticínios de todo o mundo devido à sua robustez, qualidade do produto final, facilidade de operação e Custo Total de Propriedade (Total Cost of Ownership – TCO) favorável.

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O sistema “Fog-In-Place”

Tecnologias inovadoras
Incluindo uma apresentação do Diretor Administrativo para a América do Sul da JBT, Miguel Ruiz, sobre tendências dentro do setor de bebidas, o seminário também terá uma introdução ao Fog-in-Place®, um inovador sistema de esterilização da empresa parceira da JBT, a Aurratech, para tanques de armazenamento, equipamentos e salas de processamento. Esse sistema utiliza apenas uma fração da água e dos produtos químicos das técnicas tradicionais de esterilização. Além disso, o evento incluirá um tour na instalação de Araraquara e uma visão daquilo que a JBT está realizando em termos de pesquisa e desenvolvimento.

Solicitar mais informações sobre o Seminário de Laticínios da JBT

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