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From residue-free fruit labels to automatic scrubbers that can clean fruit bins vertically, JBT has introduced a wide range of Fresh Produce Technology innovations over recent months that will be highlighted at upcoming trade events, including Fruit Logistica 2019 in Berlin, Germany from February 6-8. 

The range has also been significantly expanded over the past 12 months following the acquisition of FTNON, a specialist in equipment for preparing fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.

Christina Campos, JBT’s General Manager for Fresh Produce Technologies (FPT), explains that JBT focuses on three principal product lines: preservation; produce identification; and equipment and aftermarket parts. On the preservation side, she says JBT provides a range of solutions, including food-grade waxes, both conventional and organic, which can boost yield and flavor, as well as aesthetics by improving the appearance. JBT also supplies mechanical and technical services that support the customer and ensure products are applied properly and consistently.

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Labeling solutions
Produce identification is a fast-developing area for JBT, encompassed by the recent launch of the Flex-ID labeling system, a print and apply solution which features print heads on each applicator so information can be added right before the label is applied. 

A particular characteristic that sets JBT label printing and application apart from competitors, Campos continues, is its use of flexible film labels which help avoid many of the difficulties associated with traditional paper labels. “You still see a lot of paper labels as a consumer and it can be frustrating to tear the label off and all the bottom layer and the adhesive stays on the fruit,” she explains. “In contrast, our labels come off the fruit very easily and leave no residue behind.”

Upright cleaning
Another recent addition is the V Series Bin Scrubber, adding to JBT’s existing range for produce growers and packers. Adding to JBT’s standard Bin Scrubber for the citrus industry and T Bin Scrubber for tall bins typically used by the nut industry, the V Series – standing for vertical – offers a unique solution to produce bin cleaning. “Usually the bins enter the scrubber and are dropped onto brushes, but with the V Series they remain upright and the brush moves up and down,” explains Campos. “The horizontal footprint of the V Series unit is narrower, so it’s a great solution for customers who are challenged with space constraints.”

The JBT FTNON Sweet Pepper Decorer

The JBT FTNON Sweet Pepper Decorer

New horizons
Perhaps the most exciting recent addition came with JBT’s acquisition of FTNON in July 2018. Marking JBT’s first venture into the fresh-cut market, FTNON specializes in preparation of fruits and vegetables for the fast growing ready-to-eat segment. “We wanted to get into the fresh-cut market and FTNON has allowed us to do that,” says Campos. “There’s a lot to learn, but it’s something we’re excited about.”

She adds: “There’s a lot to be gained because we have a global footprint, with sales and service in many parts of the world, whereas FTNON was limited in terms of its market access. There’s also a lot of synergies with JBT in terms of the pet food and ready meals markets.”

JBT and FTNON will be exhibiting in Hall 3.1, Stand D-03 at Fruit Logistica 2019 from February 6-8 in Berlin, Germany.