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JBT Proseal: boosting safety and productivity through innovation

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Keeping production and packaging lines moving in these challenging times has become a key consideration for companies across the food processing industry, with worker illnesses and absences placing pressure on supply chains. Add to this the need to minimize downtime and the continuing growth of internet shopping and companies have a lot to think about.

JBT Proseal, which has a strong record in packaging innovation, is rising to meet these challenges with new developments in automation and data analysis, which have been designed to improve both productivity and food safety.

Limiting downtime
Focused on making life easier for processing companies, ProVision is a downtime analyser which gives managers a dashboard providing an overall view of all production lines and pinpoints any problems that might be occur. “If you are the CEO of a business and you have 10 production lines and one of those has failed for a day, you will want to know about it,” says Proseal’s Head of Sales & Control Systems, Tony Burgess. “If, in all your 10 production lines, for one minute of every hour the line stops because of a failing piece of equipment, in a month’s time that will could have added up to one day’s lost production.

“ProVision will capture all of these micro instances and build a series of data. It will tell you exactly the downtime and cause of downtime over the last 24 hours. It allows the user to focus attention on the piece of equipment on the production line that is causing the downtime and do something about it, so it has an enormous productivity benefit.”

Dynamic growth
A further area where Proseal sees an opportunity is in the booming online market for food ingredients and ready meals driven by increasing consumer interest in cooking at home. Proseal, Burgess reveals, is supplying eco-friendly Halo tray forming equipment to Dineamic, an Australian company which delivers chef-cooked meals to consumers across the country. “Dineamic produces their own foods, seals them with Halo pack trays made in house with a Proseal tray sealer and then sends them mail-order,” says Burgess. “Similar work is being done in tother geographic locations.”

However, such developments are not just taking place in the food industry. Proseal, Burgess adds, is currently working on a project in the Netherlands for online flower orders by designing packaging options suitable for sending flowers by mail-order.

Learn more about Proseal solutions

JBT AGVs: the automated solution to labor problems

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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 save labor 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.”

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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.”

Learn more about JBT AGVs

JBT’s READYGo™ LIQUIFUSION™: the single solution to make complex systems simple

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JBT’s READYGo LiquiFusion Tanks present an innovative solution for combining multiple operations into a single tank processing system, saving money and delivering a smaller footprint in the process. Dan Wolff, Technical Sales Manager for Sales, Engineering and Estimating at JBT’s A&B Process Systems, explains how the concept works.

When a process professional starts to consider purchasing new equipment, a whole array of questions and issues come to mind. What if I need to perform multiple operations? How will I protect my product from contamination? How can I fit this equipment into the space I have?

To address these common concerns, experts across many industries are moving towards single tank processing where a single piece of equipment is used for blending, dispersion, emulsification, heating, and cooling operations. This is the concept behind JBT’s READYGo LiquiFusion Tanks; a solution which delivers a lower capital cost, reduced material handling and product transfer, and a smaller system footprint. 

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READYGo LiquiFusion Tanks are available in six standard volumes and can be customized to handle a broad range of products and processes, including four separate agitator options that can be combined to create ideal mixing for almost any application and can handle viscosities up to 100,000+ cPs. 

The optional ASME dimple jacket provides efficient heating and cooling compatible with a variety of heat transfer media. This system has been used for products such as gums, flours, cocoa, yeast, powdered egg, caseinates, condiments, juices, purees, whey, slurries, cheese, lotion, gel, shampoo, toothpaste, and more.

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In addition to all its other benefits, the LiquiFusion system offers superior low-level mixing, reduced batch time, elimination of agglomerated powders, a more homogenous blend, and increased batch uniformity. Furthermore, if the customer is interested in automating their system, a full range of optional instrumentation can be included to reduce manual processing and further protect their product from damage due to human error.

While the user should be excited that combining these processes results in less equipment to clean, they can also rest assured that the LiquiFusion is designed to be fully CIP (Clean-In-Place) ready. Our sanitary design is extremely versatile and is ready for installation in any food, dairy, confectionary, cosmetic, personal care, or pharmaceutical plant.

Dan Wolff has worked at A&B Process Systems for seven years as a Mechanical Engineer in the Tank and Vessel Group, specializing in pressure vessel engineering, agitator design, structural analysis, and standard product development. Recently, Dan moved into the role of Technical Sales Manager supporting A&B’s Sales, Engineering, and Estimating teams.

Learn more about READYGo LiquiFusion Tanks

JBT’s Unifiller innovations reduce Total Cost of Ownership

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JBT has introduced new, unique features for the JBT Unifiller, the volumetric piston filler for high value products, with key attributes such as a unique seal-less and self-draining fill station concept, which substantially differentiates the Unifiller from conventional piston filling technology.

A new Configure to Order (CTO) option and in-line check weighting are now being included with the Unifiller as a means of significantly enhancing existing processes, enhancing safety and minimising giveaway.

The two innovations will help further boost the three key benefits of the Unifiller: Clean In Place (CIP) without fill station disassembly; unmatched fill accuracy; and high product particle quality. These also make the Unifiller an even better solution for filling high-value segments, including sauces, jams and sweet spreads, ready meals, cream and condensed milk in metal or glass containers.

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Configure to Order
JBT has recently completed a Configure to Order (CTO) exercise on the Unifiller with the objective of reducing the cost and delivery time, says Bart Mertens, JBT’s Product Line Director for Filling and Closing Equipment. 

The CTO exercise also includes an upgrade of the basic machine with features that were previously optional, including: sealed upper guarding with standard safety glass for enhanced operator safety and chemical resistance; a stainless steel central column for longer life, lower risk of blockage and improved hygienic; easy-to-clean, hygienic electropolished fill stations; and a single point container height adjustment for more convenient can format change-over.

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How the JBT Unifiller valve filling principle works

Minimize giveaway
To further reduce the Total Cost of Ownership, JBT is also now offering optional in-line check weighing technology, for speeds of up to 700 cpm (containers per minute). “The use of this technology in combination with the Unifiller allows for the monitoring of the fill accuracy performance of each individual fill station and features automatic on-the-fly fill volume adjustment to minimize giveaway,” explains Mertens.

Additionally, the Unifiller, ensures E-mark compliance by rejecting under- and over-filled containers that fail to comply with the standard in order to protect downstream sterilization equipment.

Learn more about the new JBT Unifiller

JBT’s Gentle Can Handling: minimizing metal can damage during sterilization

JBT Gentle Can Handling

JBT has introduced a new breakthrough for Continuous Rotary Sterilizers called Gentle Can Handling (GCH) which reduces damage to food containers as they run through the sterilization process. GCH has the potential to enable customers to achieve higher speeds and more throughput or run lighter weight cans which may provide significant cost savings. 

For over 100 years, food processors have utilized the Rotary Pressure Sterilizer (RPS) to agitate and sterilize food products in hermetically sealed metal cans. However, over time, in the relentless effort to reduce cost and increase efficiency, processors have requested higher speeds from JBT and lighter weight cans from their suppliers. 

The early days of 25 cans per minute has evolved into speeds in excess of 1000 cans per minute for the modern RPS, but a combination of the higher speeds, lighter weight cans and new can geometries has, at times, resulted in unacceptable damage to cans. However, that has all changed thanks to a global team, consisting of JBT engineers from South Africa, Belgium and the US, who collaborated to design a new technology called Gentle Can Handling. This technology can be applied to both new RPS equipment and retrofitted to existing RPS equipment.

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Andrew Prins, JBT Technical Product Manager for Retort & Rotary, said: “After a can is filled and seamed, that sealed container goes into a rotary cooker in a continuous manner, entering the pressure cooker through a valve that works like a revolving hotel door on its side, and exiting in the same manner as a sterile product. But when you make contact with the can with the ejector that pushes it out of the reel and into the valve, you may cause damage to the container. We have come up with a new shape for the ejector and modified the other transfer components so that the can is removed from the reel and enters the valve in a more stable and controlled manner which reduces the impact forces the can experiences and thus can damage is greatly reduced.”

GCH, continued Prins, allows for much greater control the whole way through the process, so there is a gentler movement of the containers from one shell to the next. And because it is much smoother, it can also potentially run faster. With a maximum speed of about 600 cans a minute per lane, JBT customers are able to process up to 1200 cans a minute over two lanes.

“Gentle Can Handling provides processors with an improved technology to reduce can damage and potentially use lighter weight cans that may provide significant cost savings.” Prins added.

Learn more about Gentle Can Handling

JBT iOPS® Gateway: a technological solution for a changing world

2020 is likely to be the year in which JBT’s Internet of Things (IoT) offering, the Intelligent Operations or iOPS Platform, takes centerstage across the food and beverage industry, thanks to the roll-out of the virtual technology across multiple JBT solutions and the consequences of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Working by collecting and learning from data in real time from systems and machinery, the iOPS system can detect potential issues before they become problems and even improve the overall efficiency of operations.

JBT’s iOPS Gateway makes use of real-time data so customers can have a better view of when machines require preventative maintenance based on numbers instead of time, explains Auke Bouwense, JBT’s Global Internet of Things (IoT) Commercial Manager for Liquid Foods.

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The technology, he continues, also enables customers to gain a far clearer idea of the true state of their Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). “Customers might have the idea they are running very well, but if you compare the amount of production the machine is running with other machines, you often find it is capable of doing a lot more,” he says. “The iOPS system can make operations more efficient and, therefore, our machines more effective, and ultimately make our customers more profitable. It will also enable JBT itself to better make further improvements to our solutions.”

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JBT’s iOPS Gateway can help improve the efficiency of systems across a facility

Greater efficiencies
One area of JBT where the iOPS platform is already very much present is with JBT’s fresh-cut processing solutions provider, FTNON. The Netherlands-based unit has the technology installed in a number of its systems and Bouwense says customers often find they could be achieving greater efficiencies. “What FTNON has very much found is that although their own customers often think their machines are running well, when they engage an iOPS system and look at the effectiveness of the total line they sometimes find they are running not even at a third of the total,” he says.

The iOPS system, Bouwense explains, looks at what is going on inside the machines and what products are going through them, identifying whether there is unnecessary wastage during the process, or whether leaks or misconfigurations are leading to higher utility bills. “JBT’s iOPS technology can help reduce losses and also provide better insight into where customers are losing time,” he says.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and greater numbers of companies moving to remote working as a result, Bouwense adds that an iOPS integration can provide an overall, accurate picture of food and beverage processing operations without always having to be there in person.

Find out more about JBT’s iOPS solution

JBT Europe offers Augmented Remote Assistance for customers & technicians in Covid-19 quarantine areas

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With the outbreak of Covid-19 (Corona), companies are now faced with quarantine challenges and as a result the need to reduce direct contact between employees and service providers due to imposed travel restrictions. Therefore, many companies are now looking for a solution to keep their production operational without traveling for on-site support. 

The Customer Care team of JBT’s Sint-Niklaas Belgium location has developed remote assistance enabled by smart glasses as a creative solution to combine high quality maintenance with the current quarantine restrictions.

Moreover, remote assistance smart glasses will facilitate service and maintenance operations:

  • In remote, dangerous conflict-zone areas.
  • In countries where time consuming entry visa and vaccination requirements are needed prior to entry.
  • To reduce the CO2 impact and environmental cost of travel, contributing to JBT’s and its customers’ sustainability goals. 


JBT will also use the technology to train regional Field Service Engineers on the job.

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The solution will be used for the first time this week with a customer in northern Italy, where a local maintenance team will get hands-free remote assistance from experts based in Belgium during the start-up of a two-shell Rotary Pressure Sterilizer (pictured below).

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JBT Sint-Niklaas has partnered with two Belgian companies for this solution to supply the smart glasses and accompanying software platform suite. 

The lightweight smart safety glasses are ruggedized, certified safety glasses equipped with two cameras and a powerful optical zoom lens, barcode scanner, voice commands, laser pointer, microphone and speaker, unrestricted field of view and ‘full-shift’ battery capacity, all combined in a unique and comfortable design. They are tethered to a smartphone for maximum processing power. 

The Remote Support Platform also allows on-site technicians to get directly in touch with the right back-office supporting expert. The calls, activities and log can be integrated with Salesforce and JBT’s Field Service Management Program.

Request more information about the smart glasses solution

Blow Molding Controls Upgrade brings old technology into modern era

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JBT Food & Dairy Systems has been producing high quality blow holding machines for over 100 years under the SF&DS brand. Their reliability is such that machines produced in 1971 are still in service today, but the very fact of their age – with many installed over 50 years ago – means they typically contain obsolete hardware and software. However, JBT has introduced a new solution which will enable customers to continue to benefit from the machines’ quality and reliability, while bringing them into the modern age.

The Blow Molding Controls Upgrade replaces essential parts of the machinery as an interesting alternative to replacement, which resolves many of the problems encountered when using old systems, including lengthy breakdowns due to a lack of spare parts.

To overcome such challenges, the Blow Molding Controls Upgrade introduces a new controls system using state-of-the-art software, trending and remote support. By replacing the HMI terminal, processing computer, mold control boxes and IO modules, an old machine is brought up to a modern standard. The new controls system significantly reduces the risk of breakdowns, but should one take place, JBT can swiftly supply spare parts to limit downtime.

JBT’s BottleTec™: the modern version of the Extrusion Blow-Molder.

Cost-effective solution
“Many of these machines are still out in the field and are being used by companies to produce sterile plastic bottles, but because the control system is obsolete, the possibilities to repair them and keep them running are becoming fewer,” explains Auke Bouwense, JBT’s Customer Care Manager for Blow Molding and Filling Systems.

“There is trade-off between investment in repair and investment in a new machine. Replacing the control system is a very invasive operation, so we have developed the Blow Molding Controls Upgrade to manage that risk.”

JBT carried out its first installation of the new controls system during the summer months of 2019 and it has proven to be both cost-effective and efficient. “The system is up and running and has become a very good example of a successful development project,” says Bouwense. The customer now has a year-over-year strategy to convert the rest of their blow molding machines.”

“The Blow Molding Controls Upgrade makes an old system relevant again and the investment is a lot lower than if they had bought a new machine,” he adds.

Learn more about the Blow Molding Controls Upgrade

JBT launches superior organic fruit coating

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JBT has introduced Sta-Fresh 2850 OR, a new, certified coating for organic fruits, offering superior shine, blush and moisture-loss control than most other organic coatings. Approved for use in both the US and the EU, the solution also provides significantly improved defect resistance compared with previous JBT organic coatings as well as much improved storage performance.

Developed by experts who have helped JBT lead the postharvest market for 90 years, Sta-Fresh 2850 OR has been specially formulated to help minimize moisture loss and maximize flavor preservation, while maintaining a fresh, natural appearance and enduring high shine from the packhouse to the export market destination. 

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John Siddle, JBT’s Global Product Line Director for Fresh Produce Technologies, says the coating delivers a significant advantage over JBT’s previous organic coating line, from both a practical and an aesthetic point of view. “Sta-Fresh 2850 OR is a lot shinier so it has a much better appearance, and it also has much better defect control, which means that it doesn’t blush as much as other organic coatings and it holds up better during storage.  The result is that the fruit should arrive at market in much better condition,” Siddle explains. 

“Having better shine, blush and defect resistance will provide our customers with much better value with regard to appearance, moisture-loss control and fruit taste.”

All ingredients used in Sta-Fresh 2850 OR are verified compliant with USDA National Organic Standards and the European Union’s approved list for fruit coatings.

Learn more about Sta-Fresh 2850 OR

JBT and SmartWash alliance to take fresh-cut food safety technology into Europe

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JBT and food safety technology specialist SmartWash Solutions™ have announced the start of a new European alliance between the two companies, which has been developed to bring an innovative combination of science, technology and engineering to fresh-cut produce processors within Europe.

Originally launched in the US in 2009, SmartWash Solutions’ patented SmartWash delivers Pinpoint Process Control™ to food processing wash water systems, mitigating cross contamination while improving food safety. The system has proven so effective in curbing cross contamination that it is now used by over 50% of the US fresh-cut produce industry, leading to expansion to Europe with the opening of SmartWash Solutions BV in the Netherlands.

Ewoud Buter, General Manager of SmartWash Solutions BV, said that with the announcement of the alliance, the company anticipates further expansion with the leveraging of JBT resources in Europe and beyond, which will enable it to significantly scale-up its activities. He said: “Through our alliance with JBT, we will be able to make many more people in the industry aware of the benefits of SmartWash by leveraging the resources of JBT worldwide.”

Carlos Fernandez, JBT’s Executive Vice President and President, Liquid Foods, said: “Food safety is a mega-trend that will transform the marketplace over the next generation. We’re thrilled to partner with SmartWash Solutions and offer this breakthrough to our customers.”

Alleviate challenges
Buter explained that the solution is designed to increase and maximize the effectiveness of the most powerful anti-microbial weapon in existence – chlorine – by combining chlorine-based washes with patented SmartWash chemistry. 

“The components of our patented SmartWash solution help to alleviate the challenges associated with fresh-cut produce, comprising a high level of pathogen control that allows us to mitigate the risk of cross contamination and in the process reduce the probability of outbreaks occurring,” he said. “The wash water used in fresh-cut processing can get extremely dirty, due to soils and other contaminants entering the system.”

SmartWash Solutions’ process control systems provide high process control while also withstanding the challenges of working in a wet and cold environment, common in fresh-cut processing. Additionally, SmartWash Solutions has helped customers realize cost savings in labor, productivity and utilities by improving the efficiency of wash systems and increasing the process control to levels previously impossible in the industry. 

So successful has the technology been that SmartWash systems now treat an estimated five billion pounds worth of fresh-cut produce in the US every year, as well as significant volumes in Canada, Australia, China and Spain. 

Learn more about SmartWash Solutions

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