JBT Corporation brought renewed energy and focus to its presence at this year’s Foodpro trade exhibition, emphasising the significant strides forward that the company has been making in Australia’s multi-billion food and beverage processing industry.
A triennial event, Foodpro 2017, which took place from 16-19 July in Sydney, is dedicated to Australia’s food processing sector, the country’s largest manufacturing industry, which employs some 300,000 people and has a turnover in excess of A$120 billion.
Patrick Tan, JBT’s Regional Strategy and Market Communications Director, Asia Pacific, says JBT brought a renewed energy and enthusiasm for Australia’s food processing industry, highlighting many of the innovative solutions that JBT has available for the sector.
“Participation at this exhibition showed the energy and enthusiasm of JBT focusing in the food and beverage processing industries in Australia,” he said.
“With this renewed focus on the Australia food and beverage industries, JBT Australia is now making headways into the key industries with major customers, such as Inghams, Coles, Comgroup, Simplot, Jewel Fine Foods, Top Hats Baiada, Fonterra, Beak and Johnson on the protein side, and with Groves, Heinz, Harvey Fresh, Nippy Fruits and Kagome on the liquid foods side.”
What links Quaker Oats®, Gatorade® and Lurpak® butter to Scottish hospitals? The unexpected answer might be that the companies behind them are now benefiting from substantial efficiency savings through JBT’s automated guided vehicle (AGV) systems. Manufactured in the US – as well as the UK for Europe and Asia – the AGV units remove repetitive and wasteful work practices enabling companies to redeploy resources more effectively.
However, the system is not just benefitting big players in the market. More affordable AGV units are now available in the form of the JBT JayBoT™, which can aid companies seeking to remove costly, labor-intensive tasks from the production and supply process.
As Mark Longacre, JBT’s marketing manager for automated systems, explains, the JayBoT and other units in the range are operator-free, robotic forklift trucks that are being successfully used in manufacturing plants and warehouses to automate the routine movement of materials.
“More affordable AGV units are now available in the form of the JBT JayBoT, which can aid companies seeking to remove costly, labor-intensive tasks”
“Typically we have AGVs doing the work, guided by system management software which gives the commands while talking to customers’ inventory management software, meaning we know what orders have to processed that day and what material movements to make,” he says.
“Sometimes the infrastructure required in an AGV system can be costly and we often have customers who just want to try automating a small part of their plant with one or two vehicles. “The JayBot takes some of the intelligence out of the software and puts it in the vehicle, so they can operate standalone on simpler applications, which makes them more affordable as an entry point into automation and for smaller companies who require simpler, A-B movements.”
“We’re looking to deliver a return on investment – a quick and substantial payback – in typically under two years.”
Labor savings JBT has successfully supplied AGV solutions to PepsiCo Group’s Quaker, Tropicana and Gatorade division, as well as the world’s largest supplier of organic dairy products, Arla Foods. Outside of beverage and food processing, JBT has delivered AGV solutions to the automotive industry, pharmaceutical facilities, general manufacturing and warehousing, while it also made headlines when it supplied units to the Forth Valley NHS hospital in Scotland.
The JBT PepsiCo installation
Longacre explains that JBT aims to deliver a quick and substantial payback on investment in under two years, primarily through helping companies redeploy labor to where it can better add value to manufacturing processes.
“We deliver labor savings, allowing customers to redeploy labor to where they can add value”
“Most of what we’re delivering to customers is labor savings,” he says. “We think of that as allowing them to redeploy labor to where they can create more value in their process. Having people on a forklift moving products from one end of the plant to the other all day does not add value to the product. In reality, it can affect safety and often does. People get bored and careless and make mistakes, which can create accidents and personal injury, as well as plant and product damage.”
One of JBT’s biggest installations to date was with the PepsiCo group, focusing on automatic trailer loading after the product has been bottled, case-packed and stretch-wrapped.
JBT also has a special vehicle type designed to work with the JBT batch retort sterilizer, loading and unloading trays for in-can sterilization. “We take products after they have been filled and sealed and deliver them to the sterilizer and pick them up after they have completed the process,” adds Longacre.
JBT has completed the successful installation of a T-Series Bin Scrubber system at Setton Farms, a California-based pistachio processor. The T-Series is a high capacity model designed to clean tall, non-vented bins.
Now operational at the company’s 80-acre pistachio processing facility in Terra Bella, California, the T-Series Bin Scrubber is a new variation on JBT’s original Bin Scrubber; a system that provides efficient bin cleaning with a smaller footprint than alternative systems.
Most tall bins are currently cleaned by hand which is expensive and inconsistent. The JBT T-Series Bin Scrubber System provides a means to achieve fast and effective cleaning for processors that use field bins.
In addition to other proven benefits of the original model, including mechanical scrubbing and adjustable cleaning cycles, the T-Series Bin Scrubber features a telescoping brush, which ensures all internal surfaces are cleaned. Included on this new design is a rinse feature for non-vented bins and manifolds which sprays water directly into the bin during cleaning. Customers also have the option of adding blowers for rapid drying of the interior of bins after rinsing.
As Hassan Khan explains, the Bin Scrubber System also allows companies to make long-term utility costs savings due to its use of recycled chlorinated water. This means the customer uses less water, which adds to the equipment’s already low energy consumption.
Khan says the feedback received from Setton Farms has been immensely positive, with the collaboration likely to continue going forward. “They love the system,” he says. “It’s working well for them. They are thinking of adding another unit because they have such a large plant, but that is still in the works.”
“This new equipment has allowed us to open our market to the tree nut industry, whether that is almonds, pistachios or walnuts,” he adds. The T-Series Bin Scrubber will likely be presented at the upcoming trade shows.