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Why custom agitation systems add value to the mix

Brian Gehrke, Director – National Accounts, A&B Process Systems writes exclusively for the JBT Liquid Foods Blog on why having effective mixing and blending systems is hugely important for many in the liquid foods industry. 

For many liquid foods processors, having the right mixing and blending systems in place is a crucial component in being able to produce a high quality product at a cost effective price. A&B Process Systems – together with our parent company JBT Corporation – provides a wide variety of engineered agitation solutions for food and beverage mixing and blending that both create efficiencies and add value for customers.

These solutions include but are not limited to: Anchor (Slow Speed) agitation for “Swept Surface” or “Scraped Surface” designs to handle a wide range of products/viscosities; Pitched blade turbine agitators to promote axial flow, increase solids suspension, and reduce liquid blending time and when coupled with customized tank baffling, increase turbulence and eliminate troublesome, bulk product rotation; and “High Shear” high speed agitation solutions.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT A&B’S CUSTOM MIXER AND AGITATOR SYSTEMS

A&B also offers Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis that allows us to simulate fluid motion using numerical approaches and help insure that the agitator design meets the required mixing objectives. Our CFD analysis software interfaces with our Finite Element Analysis (FEA) mechanical software that enables us to do a full structural analysis of the agitator system as well.

Mixing technology
A&B continues to explore more unique agitator designs including our Helical Swept Surface & Scrape Surface mixing technology, a design which offers more efficient pumping/turbulence during the mixing process, especially when applied to medium to high viscosity solutions. We continue to provide a multitude of combination mix systems with both anchor (Slow Speed Agitation) and High Shear mixers providing an expanded range of mix system solutions. Our latest development is our bottom entry high shear “Liquifusion” systems which are also being offered in a multitude of tank designs and combination mixer applications.

Extensive testing
Along with value added engineering, A&B’s test center allows us to provide our customers with extensive preliminary testing for these mixing applications as well as comprehensive Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) before shipment. This can include incorporation of multiple liquids and particulates, heating and cooling with tank jackets and/or steam injectors and more.

We also offer our Vacuum Powder Mix System that provides for vacuum integration of a bulk solids/powders sub-surface directly to a high or low shear mix system. These systems can convey single or multiple bulk solid ingredients to the mix tank without the problem of excessive dust and safety risks. These systems can also be applied to a wide variety of products and viscosities.

JBT to showcase latest Fresh’n Squeeze innovation at Fruit Attraction

Spain’s Fruit Attraction trade fair, which takes place in Madrid from October 18-20, is one of the globe’s most important exhibitions for fruit and vegetable producers, traders and processors, with a particular emphasis – for obvious reasons – on companies from Spain and Latin America. For JBT, the show offers the opportunity to meet potential customers from around Europe and Latin America, especially those in the retail, foodservice and fruit production sectors.

This year, however, JBT will be giving special focus to its Multi-Fruit Juicer, which will feature a new modification developed by JBT’s Lakeland, Florida engineers, which has turned the unit’s standalone reservoir juicer into a self-service juicer.

As Ignacio Elosua, JBT’s head of sales for Fresh’n Squeeze® point-of-sale juicer line in Europe, explains, the innovation will help JBT reach a wider market than ever before, as the Multi-Fruit Juicer is now suitable for use in supermarkets and grocery outlets.

“In Europe, the demand for fresh orange juice machines in every supermarket is growing and there’s tough competition to cover this segment, but we believe the new version of the Multi-Fruit Juicer will give JBT a competitive edge,” he says.

Fresh solutions
But it’s not just Fresh’n Squeeze. JBT will be highlighting all of its liquid foods solutions for the fruit sector to visitors, which are designed to help producers to handle or process fruit more efficiently. “We have received many enquiries from customers concerned about the amount of fruit they have to handle or seeking to take advantage of lesser-quality products,” explains Elosua. “We believe that our fruit and vegetable solutions can help these customers deal effectively with these challenges.”

Looking at Fruit Attraction as a whole, Elosua says the show – one of the most important in the fresh produce sector – provides a great opportunity for JBT to expand beyond its core businesses and create new leads and opportunities.

“It’s commonly said that Spain is the pantry of Europe, meaning that many of the fruits and vegetables consumed in Europe come from Spain – we can say that is one of the most important markets for selling JBT solutions,” he adds.

JBT will be exhibiting at Fruit Attraction 2017 in Hall 6, Stand 6A02D from October 18-20 in Madrid’s Feria de Madrid (IFEMA) conference center.

JBT Liquid Foods launches ambitious goal

JBT Liquid Foods 2020 Strategy from JBT on Vimeo.

JBT Corporation has launched a new video outlining an ambitious growth strategy for its liquid foods business over the next three years. The video explains how JBT will continue to develop in the liquid foods segment by expanding globally, providing service excellence and making targeted acquisitions, with the aim of doubling revenue by 2020.

The liquid foods business unit, which has experienced impressive growth over the last decade, operates ten manufacturing sites and eight Technology Centers worldwide, and has nearly 2,000 employees who help generate approximately US$500M in revenue.

JBT Liquid Foods products process fruits and vegetables, and provide solutions for filling, closing and sterilizing juices, soups, baby food, dairy, pet food and much, much more.

With the acquisition of ICS Solutions, Stork Food and Dairy Systems, A&B Process Systems and, most recently, PLF International, JBT Liquid Foods has added significant capabilities in: sterilization; dairy and juice processing; and, customized, skidded systems that can be used in a wide array of industries, including pharma and the energy sector.

A renewed vision
However, the Liquid Foods business is not resting on its laurels, but instead is moving forward with an aggressive growth strategy by striving to become the world’s most-valued supplier of preservation, processing and packaging solutions.

JBT aims to grow its liquid foods business through the development and acquisition of complementary companies and technologies, focusing in particular on “green box” technologies, that is, key products and technologies that influence who becomes supplier of choice for broader, integrated solutions.

By owning these key technologies, JBT Liquid Foods can offer customers a complete solution that delivers the desired combination of highest yield, quality and throughput with the optimal food safety level, shelf life, and lowest cost per unit.

Strategic imperatives
The JBT Liquid Foods plan will focus on three strategic imperatives: Fortify the Core, Expand the Franchise, and Explore the Edges.

JBT will fortify its core businesses by continuing investments in citrus processing, aseptic processing and in-container sterilization. To expand the franchise the Liquid Foods business will seek to grow areas such as flexible packaging, filling and seaming in attractive segments, while continuing to increase its presence in regional markets. JBT will further explore the edges by investigating alternative sterilization and extended shelf life technologies, while moving into new sectors such as water, prepared foods and pharma.

The stated strategy is already being successfully implemented as evidenced by the February 2017 acquisition of Avure Technologies, Inc., a leader in the growing High Pressure Processing (HPP) equipment market, as well as July 2017 acquisition of PLF International, the global leader in powder filling and handling technology.

As the video states, the road will not be easy, but JBT has the people, the expertise and the capabilities to grow the Liquid Foods business for years to come.

To access the video please click: https://vimeo.com/230889889

JBT’s A&B to launch READYGo CIP line at Process Expo

JBT Corporation’s A&B Process Systems is to use its appearance at Process Expo 2017 to launch its new READYGo™Clean-In-Place (CIP) Systems line, which will feature among a full range of processing solutions for food and beverage companies. As A&B’s new standard line of skidded systems, READYGo CIP provides compact, easy-to-install solutions that reduce labor and save time during system installation and start-up.

The new launch is part of the complete line of processing solutions that A&B offers, covering the design, fabrication, automation and installation of stainless steel process systems used in a variety of industries.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT READYGO™ CIP SYSTEMS

“From stainless steel process tanks and vessels, to process modules and skidded systems, A&B provides custom turnkey solutions that will help our customers meet or exceed their production goals,” explains A&B’s Product Line Director Jim Larsen.

Process Expo 2017, which takes place from September 19-22 at Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center, is an important show for all of JBT, providing visitors with an opportunity to see the full product line offered by the company. “From protein processing to automated guided vehicles to beverage and juice processing, Process Expo is a great avenue for our customers to see the full product line offered from JBT,” says Larsen.

“We enjoy learning about all of our potential customers at the show – typically in the food, beverage, dairy and pharmaceutical markets. Customers can see first-hand how JBT is with them all the way down the line.”

JBT will be exhibiting at Process Expo 2017 at Booth 1824, North Hall, McCormick Place Convention Center, Chicago from September 19-22.

JBT & Aquaporin work on novel system that could boost food taste and flavor

JBT has begun collaborating with Aquaporin, a Danish clean-tech specialist that has developed an innovative system for achieving more sustainable water usage in food and beverage processing, while at the same time reducing energy consumption and boosting product flavor.

The food industry is one of the world’s biggest water consumers. As of 2015, food production accounted for around 30% of total global energy consumption, as well as a large proportion of overall water consumption, according to the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO). As such, the industry has a huge potential to become more sustainable by reusing and cleaning water.

This is one of the goals behind the Joint Development Agreement that Aquaporin recently signed with JBT.

The company – together with JBT – is looking to develop new applications for food and beverage processing using Aquaporin’s novel forward osmosis membrane; an innovation that departs significantly from reverse osmosis, the traditional means of desalinating water.

Aquaporin’s pilot system, set-up with Denmark’s Arla Foods

Unlike the traditional system, forward osmosis – featuring biomimetic membranes – uses the osmotic pressure difference between a feed water stream and a draw solution as a driving force, making it highly energy efficient, explains Sylvie Braekevelt, Project Manager for Applications at Aquaporin.

As well as significantly reducing energy consumption, Braekevelt says forward osmosis can help achieve higher food quality during dry food production by luring water out naturally rather than forcing it out; until now the typical system used by processors.

Above: how the forward osmosis process works

“Liquid foods is a very promising application for us because we believe very strongly that the technology can make a difference to the taste and the quality of the product,” she says. “Most taste compounds are volatile and easily evaporated – as soon as you start running at high temperatures to get water out, the compounds that escape from the liquid foods first are the ones that are more volatile than water, which are the aromatic compounds. Forward osmosis, which uses low temperature water flows, makes sure the aromatic compounds are kept in the foods.”

Braekevelt adds that the system is currently going through pilot testing to determine which food and beverages would be best suited to forward osmosis.

PLF International joins JBT family

JBT Corporation has announced the acquisition of UK-based PLF International (PLF), a specialist manufacturer of filling machines and complete turnkey line project management for the fast-growing global powder product market. With demand increasing worldwide for powdered products, especially for powdered infant formula and nutraceuticals, the acquisition will enable JBT to bring PLF fillers – which combine with JBT’s own seamers – to a much wider marketplace.

Since 1994, PLF International has designed and manufactured what is considered to be one of the most flexible, user-friendly powder filling machines in the world. PLF’s range of filling machines are all built to facilitate the stringent demands of the food, beverage, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries, being easy to clean with minimum giveaway and gentle product handling. They can be semi or fully automatic and are built so performance can be enhanced to meet production demands.

“JBT and PLF have collaborated on numerous, successful projects over the past ten years,” said Tom Giacomini, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Specifically, customers have purchased PLF fillers and JBT closers as part of an integrated solution. Adding PLF’s expertise and complementary products to Liquid Foods provides a valuable extension to our portfolio. Additionally, we can expand PLF’s business geographically and strengthen its aftermarket opportunities.”

“PLF provides a unique filler that is an improvement on most of the competition as there is very little product breakdown and giveaway,” explained Carlos Fernandez, President and Managing Director of JBT’s Liquid Foods business. “PLF’s filler and ancillary products can be used in conjunction with JBT’s closer to complete an integrated line solution, so this is a very complementary acquisition for us, which will also give us access to the fast-developing powdered product market.”

PLF Managing Director Mark Emond commented: “We were seeking a long-term steward for PLF going forward and feel comfortable that in JBT we have the ideal partner given that we have worked so well together in the past. With JBT’s focus on innovation, technology and customer care, we are leaving our business in the best possible hands.”

As well as powdered infant milk, the integration of PLF will also open the door for JBT to enter the powdered nutraceutical and added vitamin drink segment; a market that will again complement JBT’s existing business, Fernandez added.

PLF International was founded in Harwich, Essex in 1994, and has progressed and grown into the leading global supplier of vacuum and volumetric filling machinery and complete turnkey lines for the powder product market. With a multinational, blue chip customer base, PLF has become the technology of choice for infant formula and nutraceuticals as well as other high value products. With no augers in the filling process, product integrity is assured and dust minimized. PLF employs 60 people and is based in the south east of England.

JBT’s JayBoT: the inexpensive automation solution

What links Quaker Oats®, Gatorade® and Lurpak® butter to Scottish hospitals? The unexpected answer might be that the companies behind them are now benefiting from substantial efficiency savings through JBT’s automated guided vehicle (AGV) systems. Manufactured in the US – as well as the UK for Europe and Asia – the AGV units remove repetitive and wasteful work practices enabling companies to redeploy resources more effectively.

However, the system is not just benefitting big players in the market. More affordable AGV units are now available in the form of the JBT JayBoT™, which can aid companies seeking to remove costly, labor-intensive tasks from the production and supply process.

Click here to learn more about the JBT JayBoT™

As Mark Longacre, JBT’s marketing manager for automated systems, explains, the JayBoT and other units in the range are operator-free, robotic forklift trucks that are being successfully used in manufacturing plants and warehouses to automate the routine movement of materials.

“More affordable AGV units are now available in the form of the JBT JayBoT, which can aid companies seeking to remove costly, labor-intensive tasks”

“Typically we have AGVs doing the work, guided by system management software which gives the commands while talking to customers’ inventory management software, meaning we know what orders have to processed that day and what material movements to make,” he says.

Click here to read more about Arla Foods & JBT automated vehicles

“Sometimes the infrastructure required in an AGV system can be costly and we often have customers who just want to try automating a small part of their plant with one or two vehicles. “The JayBot takes some of the intelligence out of the software and puts it in the vehicle, so they can operate standalone on simpler applications, which makes them more affordable as an entry point into automation and for smaller companies who require simpler, A-B movements.”

“We’re looking to deliver a return on investment – a quick and substantial payback – in typically under two years.”

Labor savings
JBT has successfully supplied AGV solutions to PepsiCo Group’s Quaker, Tropicana and Gatorade division, as well as the world’s largest supplier of organic dairy products, Arla Foods. Outside of beverage and food processing, JBT has delivered AGV solutions to the automotive industry, pharmaceutical facilities, general manufacturing and warehousing, while it also made headlines when it supplied units to the Forth Valley NHS hospital in Scotland.

The JBT PepsiCo installation

Longacre explains that JBT aims to deliver a quick and substantial payback on investment in under two years, primarily through helping companies redeploy labor to where it can better add value to manufacturing processes.

“We deliver labor savings, allowing customers to redeploy labor to where they can add value”

“Most of what we’re delivering to customers is labor savings,” he says. “We think of that as allowing them to redeploy labor to where they can create more value in their process. Having people on a forklift moving products from one end of the plant to the other all day does not add value to the product. In reality, it can affect safety and often does. People get bored and careless and make mistakes, which can create accidents and personal injury, as well as plant and product damage.”

One of JBT’s biggest installations to date was with the PepsiCo group, focusing on automatic trailer loading after the product has been bottled, case-packed and stretch-wrapped.

JBT also has a special vehicle type designed to work with the JBT batch retort sterilizer, loading and unloading trays for in-can sterilization. “We take products after they have been filled and sealed and deliver them to the sterilizer and pick them up after they have completed the process,” adds Longacre.

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