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JBT boosts sustainability credentials with ambitious solar project

JBT solar panels_small

JBT’s Sint Niklaas, Belgium facility is close to completing of one of the company’s most ambitious sustainability projects, with the installation of over 1,000 solar panels that will – once in operation – account for 25% of the 260,000 sq ft center’s total energy usage. The culmination of months of careful planning, the project is part of a large scale move to bring Sint Niklaas, and other, older JBT facilities, in line with JBT’s overall Sustainability strategy for 2020.

JBT’s internal Energy Action Plan falls within the Sustainability strategy and includes substantial work undertaken to reduce heating, fuel and electricity usage at locations such as Sint Niklaas. As part of the plan, older roofing at the site is also being replaced and improved insulation added; an effort which has so far helped bring down Sint Niklaas’ heating costs by approximately $150,000 per year.

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Solar panels at JBT Sint Niklaas, Belgium

“At Sint Niklaas, we are in a very big, but old facility, so over recent years we have been renovating the shell and the roofing, and this has given us the opportunity to also install solar panels,” explains HSE and Facility Manager Jan Vangansbeke. “Here in Sint Niklaas, we are located in a residential area and in that context, we want to carefully consider the surrounding environment and our Corporate Social Responsibility.”

Putting in place a total of 1,048 solar panels, capable of generating a total of 330 KWp or around a quarter of the facility’s total energy consumption per year, involved close communication between all partners from the beginning which ultimately helped deliver extremely good results, according to Vangansbeke. 

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View of JBT Sint Niklaas’ recently-installed solar panels

However, the project was not without its challenges. “We have insulated, steel deck roofs with connecting flexi-panels in between to allow for more natural light, but these posed a danger during installation,” he explains. “What we did was to put in place galvanized mesh wire – as they use in concrete – which was fixed to the roof so the solar panels could be installed and maintained safely.”

Looking ahead, Vangansbeke says JBT will continue to work on the building shell in Sint Niklaas with the remaining, older roofing gradually replaced as part of the overall drive to achieve more sustainable heating and electricity usage at the site. Other future initiatives include the installation of charging stations for electrical vehicles.

Learn more about JBT and Sustainability


JBT puts sustainability at heart of 2020 goals

Green plant in light bulb silhouette on soil background

Improving and promoting sustainable practices is a key focus for JBT going into 2020, with initiatives to improve sustainability in the processed food and beverage segment as well as internally within JBT facilities. From assisting customers in the reduction of their energy footprint to improving JBT’s own internal practices, sustainability is moving to the forefront and will feature strongly over the coming 12 months.

“There are four key areas in which JBT is involved in sustainability,” explains Douglas Woodruff, JBT’s Director of Research & Development for Liquid Foods. “Firstly, we provide our customers with solutions that reduce the total cost of ownership in terms of energy, water, and steam, enabling their operations to become more sustainable. Secondly, we have a number of new product offerings that help our customers reduce food waste in food production and the delivery chain.”

JBT solar panels_small

A third area, he continues, is that of adapting highly efficient solutions to the plant-based beverage and food segment. The fourth, in contrast, is concentrated on improving sustainable practices within JBT facilities worldwide, an effort that has included simple changes to grander undertakings. “Our internal initiatives have included everything from putting in light sensors that switch off if there is no-one in the area, installing new heating systems that significantly reduce consumption of heating oil and reduce corresponding emissions, and installing solar panel systems at some of our larger manufacturing sites,” says Woodruff.

“JBT is focused on improving operational efficiencies, for both our customers and ourselves. These improvements often lead to more sustainable operating conditions while also providing financial value,” he adds. “Another bonus is that these developments help our customers – large and small – fulfill their own sustainability objectives, whether that be reducing resources required for production of safe food, reducing food waste, or efficient production of plant-based beverages and/or foods.”

JBT alliance strategy delivers ‘win, win’ for customers and collaborators

Laser Food_examples

Alliances have formed a key part of JBT’s expansion strategy over the past six years, helping bring major innovators such as Laser Food, Ice Gen and Aurratech to the JBT portfolio and providing these companies, in turn, with access to sales, service, manufacturing and sourcing operations that span 25 countries. 

Under the leadership of Carlos Fernandez, JBT Liquid Foods has pursued a strategy of expansion through acquisitions, but also – equally importantly – through strategic alliances with well placed, global innovators.

“We have had a clear growth strategy under Carlos as JBT Liquid Foods President, whether through new product development, acquisitions or by working with companies that either have solutions that complement our existing core technologies, can help us get into a new area, or explore the edges,” explains Sam Mudgal, JBT’s Alliance Coordinator for Liquid Foods. 


The ‘Fog-In-Place’ system from JBT and Aurratech

Alliances, he says, provide JBT with a faster means of entering new markets than new product development. “We do both renovation of our existing product line and innovation, and that requires a significant investment of finances, resources and time,” continues Mudgal. “Alliances are a really quick way of bringing new technologies to our customers in a shorter space of time.”

Profitable relationships
Such arrangements, he says, have a clear strategic objective of supporting JBT’s aim of market expansion by providing valuable exposure to new markets and customers, while helping expose JBT customers to the latest market trends. Alliances, explains Mudgal, enable JBT to become a major distributor – generating potential financial rewards in the process – of a cutting-edge technology, and at the same time allowing the allied company to benefit from worldwide sales network, marketing potential and, when applicable, manufacturing capabilities.

“It’s a win, win, win,” says Mudgal. “A win for JBT, a win for participating companies and a win for our customers.” Of course, such arrangements are not purely altruistic, but rather have a very solid financial justification. According to JBT data, alliance-sourced commissions increased by 60% year-on-year in 2018, proving they are not just viable arrangements, but profitable ones too.

Mudgal says JBT alliances can take many different, multi-faceted forms, from co-manufacturing, joint product development to a joint sales strategy. “An alliance relationship can provide an easy, quick, less risky, and adaptable access to a technological solution or a product offering,” he adds.

JBT aims to deliver solutions to tuna industry challenges

Today’s global tuna industry is faced with multiple challenges, from the need to minimize environmental impact to the challenge of how to meet retailer and consumer demand with a limited stock of fish. Albert-Frans Brouwer, JBT’s Global Product Line Manager for Tuna, here examines the challenges the sector faces and explains what JBT is doing to help tuna processors overcome them.

If you look at the global tuna industry as it stands today, it is clear that it is a sector which faces multiple challenges. To maintain a healthy population of tuna in the world’s oceans the number of fish we can catch is limited and that’s not going to change. So if you want to be successful in the industry, the key focus has to be on improving the yield, turning as much of the catch into product that can be consumed by people. Next to this the tuna industry is increasingly focused on minimizing the environmental impact of processing.

Where can improvements be made? To do that we need to examine how tuna is processed from the fresh catch to eventually becoming the finished tuna product in a package, ready for consumption.

Along the way, there are a number of essential steps. After being caught, tuna typically comes frozen into port. The fish is pre-cooked, cleaned and cut into smaller pieces before going to a filler, which fills the pre-cooked tuna into cans. From there, the canned tuna goes to a filler-closer where oil or brine is accurately added on top of the tuna cake and the can is closed. In a final step the closed container is sterilized again after which the finished product is ready to go out to retailers.

Learn more about JBT’s Vacuum Pre-Cooker Cooler for Tuna

JBT has a full range of product solutions for all the key process steps that serve tuna processors around the world. In recent years we have been very successful in the marketing of our filler portfolio in the Mediterranean region, with the focus on improving the efficiency of our solutions.

The JBT Tuna Filler series, which is designed to automatically add pre-cooked tuna into open-topped cans at high speed, has recently been augmented by a model that can fill three, 3 oz cans simultaneously, surpassing the industry-standards.

Learn more about JBT’s Tuna Filler

On top of that, for many years JBT has developed software that optimizes pre-cooking and sterilization parameters during processing, making sure the production potential of each of these stages is maximized. We evaluate the type of fish that comes in to make sure customers receive the best possible product after the process is completed.

Our focus at JBT is on the product quality and the environmental impact because that is going to be key to the future of the business. In particular we want to take a closer look at the pre-cooking stages because that’s where we believe we can offer new solutions to substantially reduce water consumption and a more sophisticated determination of processing conditions. We are also looking at ways in which we can we can integrate processing innovations from similar industries, such as poultry or meat.

I think it’s safe to say that although big challenges exist for today’s tuna industry, processors can be confident JBT will be working side-by-side to help meet them.

La importancia de contacto personal en la edad electrónica


Jorge Brito de JBT México aquí explica, a pesar de los beneficios que ha traído la época del internet, establecer y mantener contacto directo con clientes es clave para el éxito de cualquier negocio. JBT México está presente esta semana en el Expo Pack 2017 en Guadalajara, México del 13 al 15 de Junio en stand 1106.

Si uno analiza como ha cambiado la manera de hacer negocios en los últimos 20 ó 30 años es inevitable que la llegada del internet en nuestra vida cotidiana fuera uno de los puntos principales. Desde las páginas web hasta las redes sociales, pareciera que cada vez más el mundo de los negocios y las comunicaciones se mezclan alrededor del internet.

Este fenómeno ha traído sus beneficios tanto para proveedores como para clientes. Por ejemplo, los correos electrónicos – el email – se ha convertido en una herramienta útil e importante que ha facilitado que el contacto entre personas sea mucho mas fácil que antes. Si experimentaste trabajar en los años 80 ó 90, ¿quién no recuerde la dificultad de enviar cartas por fax, y a veces el problema para entender el borrado mensaje que llegó, o el desafío de localizar personas por teléfono?

Aún así, la importancia de tener contacto directo en persona con clientes actuales y clientes potenciales es sumamente importante para cualquier negocio. Sobre todo para poner una cara o una voz a un nombre, para crear/desarrollar una relación más cercana y fomentar la confianza.

El stand de JBT México en el Expo Pack 2016

Mayor presencia
Como profesional de la industria alimentaria, yo empecé mi carrera hace 12 años con John Bean Technologies de México, la filial mexicana de JBT Corporation, después de 15 años de trabajar en el sector de alimentos. Empezando con los portafolios de maquinaria para preservar y enlatar comida procesada, tenía la responsabilidad no sólo para el mercado mexicano, sino para todo América Latina, incluyendo países productores como Chile, Argentina, Perú, Colombia y Ecuador.

Hoy en día, desde mi oficina en León, Guanajuato, estoy a cargo de la promoción de la línea de productos JBT de la división “Liquid Foods” que incluye sectores de preservación o enlatado, atún, procesamiento de frutas y lácteos. Anteriormente también el portafolio de JBT para la industria de proteínas, que incluye sectores importantes como la carne procesada y frutas y hortalizas congeladas. Desde León y con nuestras instalaciones en Puebla donde contamos con una planta piloto, estamos bien posicionados para servir – en cuanto a México – todo el país, desde la región Bajío hasta las fronteras con Centroamérica y los Estados Unidos. Fuera de México, ofrecemos nuestro amplio portafolio de productos a clientes desde Centroamérica hasta la región Andina donde mantenemos una gran presencia en países a nivel de Colombia, Perú, Ecuador y Venezuela.

En todos los casos, el hecho de establecer y mantener contacto en persona ha sido un factor clave en el éxito de JBT y nuestra gama de productos en todo Latinoamérica.

Para JBT como empresa, la relación cara a cara es fundamental para lograr buenos negocios porque, a pesar de la revolución tecnológica de las comunicaciones de los últimos años, el poder establecer una relación comercial con un cliente en persona no tiene precio.

The importance of personal contact in the electronic age


JBT Mexico’s Jorge Brito – who will be present at this week’s Expo Pack event in Guadalajara, Mexico from June 13-15 on stand 1106 – here explains why maintaining face-to-face contact with clients is vital, even in the modern, internet age.

For anyone analyzing how the way we do business has changed over the past 20 or 30 years, it is almost inevitable that the arrival of the internet into our daily lives will be one of the principal findings. From web pages to social media, it seems that the world of business and communications between companies revolves around the internet.

This phenomenon has delivered benefits for both suppliers and clients. For example, email has become a useful and important tool that makes contacting vastly easier than before. For those of us who experienced working in the 80s or 90s, who doesn’t remember the difficulties involved in sending letters by fax or the problems reading blurry messages when they arrived via the same machine? Or indeed the challenge of getting hold of people by telephone?

Even so, the importance of direct, personal contact with current and potential clients is hugely important for any business. Being able to put a face to a name can help develop a business relationship and engenders confidence.

Jorge Brito (center) with the JBT Mexico team at Expo Pack 2016

Major presence
As a food processing industry professional, I started my career with JBT Mexico 12 years ago following 15 years in the food sector. Beginning with the portfolio for preservation and canning technologies, I had responsibility not just for the Mexican market, but for the whole of Latin America.

Today, from my office in León, Guanajuato, I oversee the promotion of JBT’s Liquid Foods product line, covering fruit, dairy and tuna processing, as well as canning and preservation products. From León and our facilities in Puebla, where we have a pilot plant, we are well placed to serve the whole of Mexico, while also covering clients from Central America to the Andean region where we maintain a major presence in countries such as Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela.

In every case, establishing and maintaining personal contact has been a key factor in the success of JBT and our line of products across the whole of Latin America. As a company, face-to-face contact with clients has been fundamentally important to doing good business for JBT because, in spite of the technological revolution of recent decades, being able to establish a commercial relationship with a client in person remains priceless.

A landmark year for Liquid Foods


Carlos Fernandez, President and Managing Director of JBT’s Liquid Foods business, reflects a busy 12 months for the company and what’s in store in the year ahead.

The last 12 months marked the first full year of life for JBT’s Liquid Foods, which was created by bringing together two notable JBT businesses – Fruit & Juice Solutions and Preservation Solutions.

Fruit & Juice is a business where we produce equipment and complete lines for primary processing of citrus, tomatoes, and other fruits, while Preservation focuses on in-container sterilization, as well as filling and closing metal cans. In 2015 we merged these two businesses together while, at the same time, making two key acquisitions.

Carlos Fernandez

Carlos Fernandez

The acquisition of Stork Food & Dairy Systems in Amsterdam brought innovative continuous helical coil sterilization technology – which complemented our existing in-flow sterilization systems – plus an ability to carry out aseptic filling of end products.

This technology can be applied not only to dairy, but also to juices and many other types of beverages, whether that will be yoghurt or mixed tea drinks.

We needed a company to bring this all together and we found this in A&B Process Systems.

Based in Stratford, Wisconsin, A&B specializes in mixing, batching, and blending skids, CIP (Clean-In-Place) for lines of equipment, process piping, control panels, tank and vessel fabrication and installation resources for a wide variety of projects. A&B is capable of taking JBT equipment and offering complete solutions using all of those systems. Now we are able to offer customers broader solutions, whether those be a complete line, part of a line or a single piece of equipment.

Future expansion
Food processors are increasingly looking for suppliers to provide more than just a piece of equipment, but expertise in products and applications. If they want a particular product or line, we can provide it, but we can also provide expertise in juices, dairy and much, much more.

This is where we are with Liquid Foods today with a greater scale, a presence in all the important global geographic regions, and a very strong foundation in service. Our focus is to be able to provide solutions and service to customers in the most efficient way possible, with a network of global research and technology centers where we help processors test and develop products.

The next stage for Liquid Foods as a business will be to capitalize on these synergies and reorganize to deliver more of a regional focus, so customers have a single point of contact in each region. We will also have a globalized team in charge of product development that supports regional operations with product expertise.

The vision for Liquid Foods is to continue growing organically through internal development of new products, greater investment in the technology centers, and an expansion of our capacity to manufacture in each of the regions where we have a presence. We will also seek to make further acquisitions of companies or technologies that add value for our customers.