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JBT & AutoCoding Systems: the story behind the acquisition

JBT’s recent acquisition of AutoCoding Systems has brought on board a company with a unique skillset into the JBT family. Ensuring the correct labelling and coding is applied to packaging is a hugely important final step on many production lines but achieving this can often lead to downtime for manual inspections and line configuration. Instead, AutoCoding’s process acts as a “virtual assistant” to the line operator and can all but eliminate the danger of misprinting, miscoding and missed QA checks.

Providing software and hardware solutions for the automated set-up and control of complete packaging lines, AutoCoding’s solution integrates and automates multiple systems, covering all devices within a packaging processing line. As well as virtually removing the risk of error, the solution feeds back valuable production data to the operators and factory management.

Proactive approach 
But how did the acquisition take place? Eddie Holmes, Head of Business Development at JBT Proseal, who was closely involved with the process, says that the initial impetus behind the acquisition came from JBT’s desire to bring on board label and line verification technologies to complement broad JBT and specific Proseal solutions.

As Holmes explains, Proseal had previously worked with AutoCoding Systems on several projects including an installation for a major poultry processor, and he recalls being impressed not just by the technologies, but also by the positive, proactive outlook of the company. “We have done a number of installations with AutoCoding and we loved working with them,” says Holmes. “They are a ‘run to the fire’ type of company, meaning that they run towards and proactively solve a problem.”

Continuous improvement
From an initial approach in late 2020, the acquisition was completed on March 1, 2021. “The AutoCoding solution manages the workflow and device interaction of the whole packaging line whilst integrating disparate data sources such as ERP and Planning. The automated set-up of the key equipment eliminates the risk of human error and saves time, whilst automated verification ensures all packaging is correct for a production order.” says Holmes.

In this sense, AutoCoding Systems’ technologies act as a “virtual assistant” to the operator, while also gathering performance data which can be used for real time management and continuous improvement. “In addition to the core AutoCoding product, value add modules such as Paperless Quality and LPR (Line Performance Reporting) deliver improved quality checks and real-time data to measure performance leading to improvements in productivity.” explains Holmes. “As a result, the chances of missing a quality check, or incorrectly coding a product are reduced dramatically, whilst companies also benefit from receiving valuable, meaningful data back from their production lines.”

From AutoCoding Systems’ point of view, being part of JBT will enable the company to scale-up globally, taking full advantage of the strength and international presence of a worldwide corporation. “AutoCoding Systems is already a global company with its Head Office in the UK and subsidiaries in Melbourne, Australia and Chicago, US. Being part of the JBT family provides extensive opportunities for AutoCoding to extend into previously unexplored markets for factory automation software,” Holmes adds.

Learn more about AutoCoding Systems’ solutions

Tray sealing test center strengthens JBT Proseal’s presence in Italy

JBT’s tray sealing specialist Proseal is increasing its support for the important Italian market with the appointment of Giovanni-Paolo as Regional Sales Manager for the country.

Giovanni will be based at Proseal’s parent company JBT’s Center for Excellence in Parma. The facility includes JBT’s Technology Center for fruit and vegetable processing, protein, aseptic and HPP systems, which enables customers to assess a wide range of aseptic processing and packaging technologies and provides full testing facilities to trial solutions for their products, both remotely and in person.

As part of the Proseal customer offer, one of the company’s tray sealing machines has now been added to the test equipment at the center. This will allow customers to experience first-hand the effectiveness of Proseal’s tray sealing technology for the fast, efficient and hygienic sealing of a wide range of products from fresh berries and other produce, meat, poultry and fish, to sandwiches, snack foods, ready meals and fresh pasta.

JBT’s Center for Excellence in Parma Italy

Using customer supplied raw material, Proseal experts will also be able to help carry out feasibility studies on new products and processes.

“Italy is an important market for us, and Giovanni’s appointment means we now have a dedicated specialist to provide comprehensive support to our Italian customers and those in neighbouring countries,” says Tony Burgess, Sales Director of Proseal. “Equally important, the introduction of tray sealing technology to the Center of Excellence offers a valuable addition to JBT’s extensive food processing and packaging solutions.”

Founded in 1998 and part of the JBT family since 2019, Proseal is a world leader in the design and manufacture of high-quality tray sealing machines, conveyor systems and sealing tools for the food industry, with manufacturing facilities in the UK, the US and Australia. JBT is a leading global technology solutions provider to high-value segments of the food processing industry, committed to delivering a service that surpasses customer expectations.

Fresh solutions: how JBT allies developed an innovative system for Grove Fruit Juice

Australia’s Grove Fruit Juice is one of the country’s leading citrus juice producers and manufacturers, with a range of juices sold in grocery retail outlets and food services businesses nationwide and overseas. But when the company was looking for a new, higher-capacity filling and storage solution it turned to JBT ally TORR Industries for assistance.

Already one of the world’s leading suppliers for squeezing and processing equipment for citrus juice producers, not least in the important Australian market, JBT’s operations are now complemented by TORR and its Australia-based partner Engi-O, who worked together to develop a multi-faceted system to meet Grove’s requirements.

One of the largest Australian family-owned fresh fruit processors in the juice category today, Grove Fruit Juice has been producing fresh juices for over 50 years, and currently squeezes some 833,000 oranges every day, as well as pressing over 160,000 fresh apples and 87,000 fresh pears. 

The solution TORR developed brought together an A5 Aseptic Filler from partner Engi-O, combined with 1,500 liter Goodpack Storage Containers and 1,500 liter Aseptic Hi Barrier liner bags from Entapack, explains TORR’s Chris Rutter.

TORR Engi-o Twin A5 filler Image at Grove Fruit Juice

Gold Standard
The Engi-O double-membrane closed aseptic filling system, which is validated by the FDA, is capable of filling 2-1500 liter containers for shipping and guarantees sterile products like fruit juices are not exposed to the outside atmosphere at any stage. This, says Rutter, means the juice can be stored and transported without refrigeration whilst maintaining its shelf-life and complying with food safety requirements.

“It’s a very simple system and less complicated from a machinery point of view,” he continues. “So while JBT does the processing, we do the aseptic bag filling in the 1500 liter storage containers.”

According to former Entapack general manager Trevor Stevens, the high temperature sterilization process that was put in place as part of the installation – together with the bolt-on Engi-O Aseptic Filler – was critical to the project’s success. “TORR and Engi-O has gotten the Gold Standard of processing and packaging for this application,” says Stevens. “Grove has had exceptional success with the process from what I have been told by them. It really is a great story of cooperation between a number of suppliers and a very thoughtful company management.”

Learn more about TORR Engi-O solutions

PRoSIGHT™️ Smart Glasses: the PPE of the future

Wearable technology is among the most exciting recent developments in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), with smart glass in particular becoming an integral part of PPE thanks to their numerous advantages and ability to enhance existing safety functions. At the same time, there are increasing restrictions on travel, meaning new solutions are needed to provide expert technical support to local engineers at customers worldwide.

JBT’s PRoSIGHT safety certified smart glasses have been developed to both enhance safety functions by vastly reducing the risk of human error and deliver support from JBT experts to technicians across the globe. Acting as a PPE of the future, PRoSIGHT enables equipment to be serviced far more quickly while removing the need for travel and is set to become an essential part of a technician’s toolbox.

Smart PPE
PPE protective gear – including clothing, helmets and glasses – is designed to protect the wearer in dangerous working environments. With digital innovation, has come the challenge of increasing worker efficiency and productivity levels, while decreasing the number of human errors. With that in mind, traditional PPE has been advanced with cameras, microphones, sensors, and other built-in intelligent features to assist frontline workers. Moreover, PPE is being designed in such a way that innovation and technology become an integral part of it. What used to be a single functional piece of protective equipment is being transformed into digitally enhanced protective gear designed to deliver another layer of knowledge and information. With the JBT PRoSIGHT certified (ANSI Z.87.1, CE- EN166) smart glasses, what used to be a hype, is now a reality. 

Informed protection
Besides acting as a barrier between the wearer and the working environment, smart safety glasses can add another layer of insight, knowledge, and information to the situation. What used to be a single piece of protective equipment, has transformed into a multifunctional device with multiple advantages. With digital innovation within the wearable tech industry, another dimension of shared knowledge and connectivity is added next to enhanced safety and protection.

PRoSIGHT smart glasses hold several unique advantages over mobile technology (smartphones and tablets) in an industrial context:

  • The embedded cameras perfectly capture the wearer’s perspective when establishing a video streaming session for remote assistance. ‘You-see-what-I-see’ is not a marketing slogan but a reality, in which the expert sees exactly what the glasses wearer is seeing. 
  • The smart glasses not only protect the eye area but also serve as a multi-functional smart and interactive technological device, unlike other reactive PPE.
  • Smart glasses allows engineers to maintain both hands free to do the job, supported by remote experts with the most natural view possible of the situation.

Real-time support
Imagine a JBT field service engineer performing a complex maintenance task while having a real-time streaming session with a highly trained expert in the back office. 

The FSE can communicate with the expert who’s using PRoSIGHT’s augmented remote assistance software platform via the built-in microphones and video camera, he can zoom in on details, using voice commands and at the same time perform certain actions on the equipment he is maintaining. The PRoSIGHT augmented remote assistance software platform makes it possible to show step-by-step instructions on the display of the smart glasses, in order to guide the FSE in complex maintenance or technical problems. 

With his eyes focused on the job and both hands available to do the job, his safety is guaranteed to the maximum. PRoSIGHT™ is the safest way for field technicians to work hands-free in real-time with a remote expert and will become a standard element of the PPE uniform.

JBT acquires leading label inspection and verification tech provider AutoCoding Systems

JBT has announced the acquisition of UK-based AutoCoding Systems Ltd, a leading provider of software solutions for the automated set-up and control of end-of-line packaging devices. AutoCoding extends JBT’s capabilities in packaging line equipment and associated devices, including coding and label inspection and verification.

Headquartered near Runcorn, UK, with additional operations in the US and Australia, AutoCoding’s central command software solution integrates and automates the use of in-line packaging devices, such as coders, scanners, labelers, and checkweighers, reducing manual inspection and downtime for line configuration. While AutoCoding is scalable across JBT FoodTech’s diverse end markets, it provides a particularly strategic fit with JBT’s Proseal business where its tray sealing equipment begins the end-of-line process.

“AutoCoding’s offering embodies JBT’s broader mission to make better use of the world’s precious resources by providing a solution that substantially enhances our customers’ success. AutoCoding helps its customers reduce food waste, ensure complete and accurate food packaging information, and facilitate traceability and food safety,” commented Brian Deck, JBT’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

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