JBT’S innovative XVision™ system, whose unique modular design has helped make x-ray technology more affordable for food processors, is now available for the first time to customers in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East after finalising EU CE certification. The technology, which has already achieved considerable success in the US where over 250 units have been sold, has been installed in JBT’s Helsingborg, Sweden Research & Technology Center where customers can view the system in an active production environment.
XVision’s European debut comes ahead of the launch of a new version of the machine later this year for wet foods, amid growing interest across the international food and beverage processing industries in the multiple applications of x-ray technology and it’s ability to safeguard against costly recalls or even lawsuits.
Key advantages Dino Carbone, Division Product Manager for JBT XVision, says Low Cost of Ownership as a result of the innovative modular design is one of the advantages offered by the system. “Customers are able to replace key components of the machine, so there’s no need for expensive technical support,” he says. “It’s completely plug-in and go.”
However, cost is far from XVision’s only advantage. The system, continues Carbone, delivers excellent detection performance being capable of identifying stainless steel – the most common metal contaminant found in production facilities – with three times more accuracy than standard metal detectors.
The XVision CCPX Clean and Bulk
Crucially, XVision is also simple to operate, with the emphasis on making it as straightforward to use as possible. “We’ve really taken a lot of the complexity out of the operation,” says Carbone. “Once the machine is trained, it’s less likely the end user will have problems with the settings.”
Reputation protection XVision is capable of identifying metals, stones, calcified bone, glass and other contaminants across a wide range of products from bagged and pouched foods through to ready meals, protein bars, candies, nutraceuticals, and fruits and vegetables. The system can also be used to carry out process quality checks by accurately measuring the weight of objects and filled pouches to within 2-3% of the optimum fill level.
“We are seeing an increasing level of interest from customers in XVision because of both it’s versatility as a technology and it’s ability to protect brands against recalls or even lawsuits, which can be very costly and damaging to reputations,” adds Carbone.
JBT FTNON has announced the full commercial introduction of the CoreTakr CTI Series 3, an innovative robotic system that uses advanced 3D camera technology to accurately and speedily remove unwanted cores from lettuce heads used in the fresh-cut and ready-to-eat segments. The Series 3 CoreTakr units are the first to be made widely commercially available following extensive production testing with customers in the Netherlands and the UK.
Capable of handling 1500 heads of lettuce per hour, the CoreTakr, which decores automatically with no employee interaction necessary other than a single operator, typically increases yield by between 3-9%, while at the same time significantly improving factory safety and forming an extra barrier against diseased produce.
“The machine works by using 3D cameras and advanced robotic technology,” explained Wilco Fauth, Global Product Line Director for JBT FTNON. “Iceberg lettuces drop automatically into the system with no people involved. A 3D camera will take a look at the lettuce and determine where the core is and it’s size. The lettuce then moves into the decorer which is extremely accurate in removing the core.”
Improved safety Consistently accurate, each lettuce head receives an additional visual check before being inserted into the decorer. Once inside the machine, the system uses two sharp clinical knives to make sure only the undesired part of the lettuce is removed.
Hygiene is another key element of the CoreTakr, with the machinery designed for daily cleaning in accordance with stringent food safety standards (CE 2004/1935).
A further advantage, according to Fauth, is the CoreTakr’s capacity to identify and remove diseased products. “The moment the CoreTakr encounters a lettuce that is diseased, this is removed to prevent it going through the system,” he said. “This enormously improves food safety across the whole factory and allows customers to build up a full picture across the whole year, enabling them to provide feedback to the grower or seed company.” This, continued Fauth, is particularly important for safe, fresh-cut bagged or boxed salads, destined for sale in the chilled section of supermarkets.
Ongoing commitment However, JBT FTNON’s commitment to CoreTakr does not end with the purchase of the system, but remains ongoing during the life of the machinery. FTNON remotely monitors CoreTakr units to plan timely service and maintenance, and make sure the machinery is running effectively. The vast amounts of data that the CoreTakr produces – up to one terabyte per unit each day – is collected remotely by FTNON before being analyzed and shared with the customer.
The first examples of the Series 3 CoreTakr CTI have now been installed with customers in the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Austria.
Minimizing unnecessary labor costs and maximizing yield are two key concerns for any company processing vegetables, fruits and other produce for further consumption, but when it comes to onions one major processor found a workable means of achieving this aim to be strangely lacking. Gills Onions, an Oxnard, California-based company and one of the biggest suppliers of pre-sliced onions to the US foodservice and restaurant sectors, set JBT’s FTNON the task of coming up with a workable solution to these challenges.
The result of several years’ hard work between Gills Onions and FTNON was the Magnetic Onion Peeler, a solution that has enabled the California business to both maximize yield and solve the difficulty of having an easy-to-clean, hygienic onion peeling system. The story behind the successful end result is a testament to how effective close collaboration between a customer and a manufacturer can be.
Cross-country coverage Gills Onions’ beginnings can be traced back to 1976 when Steve and David Gill, brothers with a family background in agriculture, purchased 200 acres for onion and vegetable production in Monterey County. Three years later in 1979, a further 200 acres were added and in 1983, the Gill Brothers opened a sustainable onion processing plant, establishing Gills Onions in the process.
Today, the company farms more than 20,000 acres of diversified vegetable farming, producing two crops a year on a site where the company’s first beginning were established.
“Anybody that peels onions in the world knows us and knows what we do,” says Steve Gill. “At Gills, we produce onions for all the foodservice channels and broadline distributors in the US and Canada, including many of the main restaurant chains.
Gills Onions’ co-founder Steve Gill
The company grows more than 2,000 acres of onions in California that provides a year-round supply of fresh onions to their Oxnard fresh-cut processing facility. They supply to foodservice, industrial and retail customers throughout the US and Canada.
Gills’ onion products notably also have an 18-day shelf life; an achievement which significantly sets the company apart from the competition. “The growing process, and how process the onions, results in an additional 10-12 days of shelf-life on average,” adds Gill.
Mutual understanding According to co-founder Steve Gill, Gills Onions relationship with JBT can be traced back some 35 years, during which time a mutual understanding of trust and reliability has developed between the two companies. “I’ve been dealing with a single engineer from JBT called Pedro Salcedo for 35 years now,” he explains. “The relationship has been one that’s personal and technology-wise they have always adapted to our needs.”
This relationship of trust formed the basis for Gills Onions setting JBT and its specialist fresh vegetable processing subsidiary FTNON a challenge: to develop an onion peeling solution that could overcome the hygiene and cleaning challenges associated with processing onions.
“Nobody likes to peel onions, so as a result onion operations don’t get the attention to shelf life and quality that they need,” explains Gill.
“When we were looking for an onion peeler, we couldn’t find anything out there that we were able to clean, so that’s what took so long,” he continues. “There’s a lot of peelers in the world, but none of them could meet our expectations. Many of these machines couldn’t be cleaned properly and we found the manufacturers reluctant to work on a more hygienic design. This is part of the reason why the relationship we have with the JBT-FTNON team is so valuable – they wanted to work closely with us to develop the design we needed.”
Yield increase However, the unveiling of the onion peeling solution was not immediate. In fact, it took six years’ hard work for the FTNON team to achieve the hygiene, easy-to-clean design that Gills was seeking; work which Steve Gill says has more than paid off.
The result is the FTNON Magnetic Onion Peeler 200, a solution whose design, components and materials have been specially developed to ensure it delivers high marks when it comes to yield, hygiene and convenience. To do this, FTNON employs a technology that uses permanent super magnetism, which eliminates the need for wires, tubes, belts and springs, and results in a machine with frictionless components, tremendously reducing the costs of maintenance.
The JBT FTNON Magnetic Onion Peeler
“FTNON has done a great job – it’s a hygienic, easy-to-clean machine which has a food-safe onion peeler,” says Gill. “The magnetic part really simplifies it and makes it easier to clean.”
Crucially, Gill says the MOP 200 also helps achieve a 10-15% increase in yield, which he attributes to the ability of the equipment to deliver extremely precise levels of peeling.
“There’s going to be less labor and a higher yield: our two big costs and that’s going to add a lot to the bottom line,” Gill concludes.
JBT has announced completion of the acquisition of Proseal UK, an innovator in environmentally-friendly packaging systems with a manufacturing presence in Europe, the US and Australia. The purchase price for Proseal was £220 million, before customary post-closing adjustments.
Proseal is the leading manufacturer of tray sealing equipment for a range of protein food products including categories such as Red Meat, Pork, Poultry, Fish, Seafood, Ready Meals and produce categories such as Soft Fruit, Fresh Produce, Prepared Produce, Sandwiches, and Snack Foods. Proseal has been at the forefront of developing systems that improve product shelf life whilst minimizing the use of plastic at the same time.
With machines capable of handling 240 packs a minute, the Adlington, UK-based company has experienced strong growth in export markets through the design, manufacture, assembly and servicing of high-quality tray sealing systems and turnkey production line solutions. Used predominantly for food packaging applications, Proseal is continuing to drive growth by developing systems that deliver important sustainability benefits through food preservation techniques and reduced energy consumption.
Carlos Fernandez, JBT’s Executive Vice President and President, Liquid Foods, said: “The Proseal acquisition provides JBT with a significant platform in the packaging space adding complementary solutions and value adding technologies to many existing customers across JBT’s Liquid Foods and Protein business segments.
“Tray sealing contributes to JBT’s efforts to provide greater sustainability as well as extending the shelf-life of foods, providing more labeling space on the package and enhancing product appearance. In particular, Proseal’s tray sealing technology pairs extremely well with current initiatives in the fresh-cut produce and case ready protein markets.”
As well as its UK site, Proseal operates manufacturing facilities through its Proseal America subsidiary in Richmond, Virginia, and a further site in Melbourne, Australia operated by Proseal Australia.