JBT has announced the shipment of seven more SeamTec high-speed closers for powder to serve the Global Infant Formula Powder industry, further strengthening JBT’s leadership position in the infant formula key growth areas of Europe and Asia Pacific.
Requested by three new customers, the SeamTec seamers, which feature line speeds ranging from 150 to 550 cans per minute (cpm), have been developed and manufactured at JBT’s Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, site.
Since its introduction some 10 years ago, JBT’s SeamTec for Powder Seamer has led the market for medium-to-high speed clinchers and closers for the infant formula powder industry. SeamTec seamers set new standards in terms of hygienic design, can and cover format change-over, reliability and cleanability.
“Recently three new customers confirmed their confidence in JBT and the JBT SeamTec seamer technology by placing orders for a total of seven new machines with JBT Sint-Niklaas, Belgium,” says JBT’s Produce Line Director for Filling & Closing, Bart Mertens. “All three customers are currently using non-JBT clinching and closing technology.”
Three of the machines are being supplied to a leading player in the infant formula can making industry, while two more are being shipped to a global market leader in the infant formula filling industry. During August 2020, a further two SeamTec seamers successfully passed the Factory Acceptance Test and have been made ready for shipment to Asia.
“These new machine shipments to Europe and Asia-Pacific further strengthen JBT’s leadership position in these key growth regions for the infant formula industry,” adds Mertens.
JBT’s Proseal tray sealing technology is enabling pet food manufacturers meet growing demand for high quality products and packaging, as well as providing mass customization solutions that can help businesses diversify and introduce online ordering for home delivery services.
A recent report from Transparency Market Research has predicted a CAGR of 6% in the global pet food market over the next decade, reaching an expected value of US$168.3 billion by 2029. Increasing consumer demand for premium quality products has led manufacturers to use high quality materials and ingredients while streamlining production techniques and processes, with the corresponding need for appropriate quality packaging to reflect this premium image.
The comprehensive Proseal tray sealer range has the flexibility to perform in a wide range of disciplines, including Gas Flush Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP), Vacuum MAP with lid control and Skin Packaging. In particular, the company’s advanced sealing systems ensure absolute control and integrity of the seal between the lid and the tray, a vital requirement for applications that incorporate a substantial controlled-retortion-process or other High Pressure sterilization processes after sealing.
The tray sealers also include several Proseal-developed features that help to maximize performance, reliability and efficiency, such as the company’s pioneering Eseal® energy saving technology, ifilm™ intelligent film monitoring, and ProTect™ RFID access login system that provides full audit trail visibility and layered security.
Among the system’s many features, the length and width of the indexing conveyor can be customized to accommodate de-nesting and filling requirements. Full or partial vacuum systems can be incorporated to enable post seal processes such as retort or High Pressure Processing (HPP), and X-ray inspection systems and checkweighers can be included after sealing for enhanced quality control. The AP60 also offers seamless integration with third party process equipment including depositors, multihead weighing applications and CIP systems with sealing speeds of up to 240 packs per minute.
Furthermore, Proseal’s AP60 benefits from shared technology across the Proseal machinery range. Options can be specified and retro-engineered, allowing a more flexible approach to each distinct application.All Proseal machines offer a user-friendly interface and easy to maintain design, with a rugged and hygienic food industry approved construction geared to full washdown protection.
“As the pet food market continues to expand, we are keen to provide solutions for companies requiring a significant upscale in their production of core products in new packaging formats, which can be met on one machinery platform,” says Tony Burgess, Head of Sales and Control Systems, Proseal.“The flexibility of our technology and the wide variety of machines available, including fully integrated conveyor systems, mean we can offer a full turnkey production line solution which is key for this particular market.We are delighted that our expertise can help companies to achieve a point of differentiation in the competitive pet food sector.”
Among the many consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps one most keenly felt by the global food industry has been pressure on traditional labor sources. Worker absences due to illness or localized outbreaks can play havoc with the supply chain, increasing pressure on processors. One growing area offering a practical, cost-effective solution is JBT’s innovative AGV (Automatic Guided Vehicle) range; a solution that is enabling companies to savelabor for higher value tasks and increase social distancing.
More than simple robotic systems, JBT AGVs feature an advanced navigation system which creates a virtual map of the surroundings in which it operates, allowing it to safety move around the working area. Further, JBT AGVs now come with 2D and 3D cameras for safe positioning and vertical stacking of pallets above the level of the AGV.
Different applications According to Mark Longacre, Application Engineering Manager for JBT’s AGV division, such innovations are helping spark an expansion in the use of AGVs from manufacturing areas – where the vehicles would be used to move raw materials or finished goods – to warehousing and distribution. “In the past, AGVs were more of a horizontal transport solution and now they are getting much more vertical where we are storing in warehouses, in some cases quite high,” he says. “It’s not to say that those manufacturing applications have gone away. They really haven’t, but now we are also seeing this growth in the warehousing side.”
As demand for different applications has grown, so has the advancement on what Longacre describes as natural environment navigation, where the AGVs create a baseline map by sensing the features and contours of the surrounding environment. “As the AGVs operate, they compare what they see with their sensors to that baseline map, and accurately navigate in that environment,” explains Longacre. “By recognizing the natural environment and not adding special navigation aids or markers , it makes installation quicker and less costly.”
Strong ROI Longacre believes much of the recent increase in interest in JBT AGVs can be put down to pressure on the labor market as well as greater awareness of the strong ROI offered by the solution. “Companies in the past were looking at it purely as a financial equation where they looked at how many forklift operators they had and how much labor they were going to save, but now I think they are starting to understand some of the risks associated with the labor force,” he says.
“I don’t think they are going to abandon the financial models, but I think they are going to weigh things a little differently. You want to save labor for the highest value added task and driving forklifts is not something where you have to use labor.”