JBT Corporation has announced the acquisition of UK-based PLF International (PLF), a specialist manufacturer of filling machines and complete turnkey line project management for the fast-growing global powder product market. With demand increasing worldwide for powdered products, especially for powdered infant formula and nutraceuticals, the acquisition will enable JBT to bring PLF fillers – which combine with JBT’s own seamers – to a much wider marketplace.

Since 1994, PLF International has designed and manufactured what is considered to be one of the most flexible, user-friendly powder filling machines in the world. PLF’s range of filling machines are all built to facilitate the stringent demands of the food, beverage, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, being easy to clean with minimum giveaway and gentle product handling. They can be semi or fully automatic and are built so performance can be enhanced to meet production demands.

“JBT and PLF have collaborated on numerous, successful projects over the past ten years,” said Tom Giacomini, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Specifically, customers have purchased PLF fillers and JBT closers as part of an integrated solution. Adding PLF’s expertise and complementary products to Liquid Foods provides a valuable extension to our portfolio. Additionally, we can expand PLF’s business geographically and strengthen its aftermarket opportunities.”

“PLF provides a unique filler that is an improvement on most of the competition as there is very little product breakdown and giveaway,” explained Carlos Fernandez, President and Managing Director of JBT’s Liquid Foods business. “PLF’s filler and ancillary products can be used in conjunction with JBT’s closer to complete an integrated line solution, so this is a very complementary acquisition for us, which will also give us access to the fast-developing powdered product market.”

PLF Managing Director Mark Emond commented: “We were seeking a long-term steward for PLF going forward and feel comfortable that in JBT we have the ideal partner given that we have worked so well together in the past. With JBT’s focus on innovation, technology and customer care, we are leaving our business in the best possible hands.”

As well as powdered infant milk, the integration of PLF will also open the door for JBT to enter the powdered nutraceutical and added vitamin drink segment; a market that will again complement JBT’s existing business, Fernandez added.

PLF International was founded in Harwich, Essex in 1994, and has progressed and grown into the leading global supplier of vacuum and volumetric filling machinery and complete turnkey lines for the powder product market. With a multinational, blue chip customer base, PLF has become the technology of choice for infant formula and nutraceuticals as well as other high value products. With no augers in the filling process, product integrity is assured and dust minimized. PLF employs 60 people and is based in the south east of England.