Skip to content

JBT: a commitment to investment

Despite the threat of greening to Florida’s citrus industry – as well as the recent impact of Hurricane Irma – JBT remains committed to continuing to invest in its Florida facilities and business, Carlos Saavedra, global marketing manager for JBT’s liquid foods business unit tells the Business Observer.

In an in-depth interview, Saavedra (pictured above) explains JBT’s thinking behind its $13 million investment in a major renovation of the Lakeland citrus-processing equipment plant, detailing why JBT remains committed to maintaining its links with both the local area and the citrus sector.

Saavedra also outlines why JBT’s global mindset – demonstrated by the recent $36 million acquisition of the UK-based PLF International Limited – is the best way to sustain both JBT and its Lakeland plant.

CLICK HERE to read the full interview.

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.

JBT Food & Dairy Systems moves into new markets

A version of this article was previously published by Dairy

JBT Food & Dairy Systems (JBT F&DS) has maintained a presence in the global dairy sector for over four decades, whether as a standalone business or as part of its former parent company Stork, working as a major supplier of sterilization and filling equipment to the European dairy industry. But following its acquisition by JBT in 2015, the Amsterdam-based company is preparing for a huge expansion in its activities, moving into new markets and integrating its technology into systems across the broader JBT business.

JBT F&DS has multiple product lines from processing – specifically sterilizing and pasteurizing dairy and juice products – to filling and blow molding systems. Products are sterilized using Sterideal®-branded UHT equipment, following which they can be stored in aseptic tanks before going on to aseptic fillers. JBT F&DS’s sterilization options run from 2,000 liters per hour up to 25,000 liters per hour, while tanks go from 10,000 liters up to 50,000 liters.

“It’s all about aseptic,” says Richard Groenendijk, JBT F&DS’s Director of Operations in Amsterdam. “Long-life products must be produced to commercially sterile conditions, so we’re focused on making all-aseptic equipment.”

Dairy – from long-life milk through to puddings, creams and dairy sauces – as well as high-end juices are the principal aims, although Groenendijk says JBT F&DS has also supplied equipment for a range of food products, including sauces containing beans, tomato sauce products and soups, and even nutraceuticals (low acid products with high protein and vitamin content).

JBT F&DS can supply shelf stable solutions for juices as well as dairy

Larger network
Traditionally, JBT F&DS’s client base has been concentrated in Europe and in particular on long-life milk countries in the south, such as Spain, Portugal and Italy, which Groenendijk describes as classic UHT dairy countries – although puddings and other dairy products also have a strong market in Northern Europe.

“The origin of UHT equipment dates back to the 1960s, so we have a large installed base with many of our customers making repeat orders because they know us and the equipment,” he says.

For the last 20-30 years, JBT F&DS has also had a strong presence in Latin America – principally Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, all of which are growth markets for the company. Over the last 10 years, JBT F&DS has also invested in South East Asia and is growing strongly there.

Being part of JBT means the company has the added advantage of now having access to a larger and wider worldwide sales network with more sales people on the ground, which is expected to lead to JBT F&DS having a better spread of products throughout the world.

“We have a very strong Customer Care business in dairy, mainly from UHT equipment – about 30-40% of our turnover is post sales Customer Care – but being integrated into JBT will make us even stronger and give us a greater presence worldwide with far more field service engineers,” says Groenendijk.

JBT F&DS’s Richard Groenendijk

Technology integration
JBT F&DS’s integration into JBT will progress further during the course of 2017, with the company’s technology set to be introduced into equipment supplied by A&B Process Systems, the US-based stainless steel process system specialist also acquired by JBT in 2015.

“A&B Process Systems is strong in the mixing and blending of products – their clients, for example, use a milk base to which is added a strawberry or chocolate flavor, then sent to a UHT to be sterilized, so we are working on product integration with A&B,” explains Groenendijk.

The advantage here, he continues, is that JBT will be able to supply a far broader range of solutions, including A&B mixing and blending technology combined with F&DS sterilization and aseptic tank systems.

Another important F&DS product that is being integrated into existing JBT systems is the company’s coupling-free heat exchange technology.

“We make heat exchange technology that has no couplings in it – our competitors have tube-in-tube heat exchanges which typically use a six meter-long tube, a coupling, and then another six meter-long tube,” explains Groenendijk.

Learn more about JBT’s Heat Exchangers for aseptic systems

“This is important because each coupling is an aseptic risk – a coupling can leak and if they leak you can have bacteria entering your product, so having long tubes without couplings is an advantage when it comes to building heat exchangers.”

In conjunction with JBT’s operation in Parma, Italy, the F&DS technology is being integrated into existing JBT systems, meaning that it could soon be in practice in sectors where the former company has not previously had a notable presence, including fruit and juice sterilization.

Expansion focus
JBT F&DS’s ambitions for its processing systems business are echoed in its other principal area of business, filling and blow molding, where it is expanding beyond its original focus into new markets under the leadership of Patrick de Groot, Aseptic Systems Product Line Manager.

JBT F&DS (formerly Stork Food & Dairy Systems) has been a major supplier of sterilization and filling equipment to the European dairy industry since the 1960s. In fact, de Groot comments that taking one market as an example, in this case the UK, an estimated 80% of milk bottles in the country are filled using SFDS equipment.

Patrick de Groot

Over the course of the years, with the advent of new technology, JBT F&DS has moved into aseptic technology – the technique whereby liquids are subjected to a high temperature for a few seconds to kill potentially harmful bacteria before cooling and filling into retail packaging – and is now a leading supplier of the systems to dairy companies.

UHT sterilizers and aseptic filling equipment are also used, de Groot explains, to sterilize empty containers – typically bottles – before they are filled and closed.

Through such approaches, he says JBT F&DS is able to supply long life, shelf stable solutions for dairy and juice makers, with the advantage that the products can be subsequently stored almost anywhere for a relatively long period of time.

An estimated 80% of glass milk bottles in the UK are filled using JBT F&DS equipment

Safety a priority
De Groot, who has a background in mechanical engineering, originally joined F&DS after writing his graduate thesis on the company, starting in the marketing department before moving into business operations. Since assuming responsibility for JBT F&DS’s sterilization business, de Groot has concentrated on areas where the company’s technology could be applied outside its traditional dairy business.

JBT F&DS is now studying how such technologies can be across sectors in other parts of the world. In the case of the US, he says JBT F&DS is already well established with US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its aseptic filling equipment. “In the US we’re looking for a way to support that process and work with US dairy farmers,” he says.

However, the approach JBT F&DS takes to this and other new markets is likely to be different to the past. Over the course of the past two years, de Groot says JBT F&DS has moved from being an engineering company to a build-to-order specialist, which configures specific machines for specific customers using proven technology.

Ensuring food safety, he says, is also of crucial importance to the company, explaining that JBT F&DS follows rules and regulations that are very much in line with FDA principles. “We are one of the only companies in the world that is able to offer sterility rates that are far beyond those that are typically seen in the industry,” de Groot says.

JBT F&DS’s UHT systems could soon be in action worldwide

Change in emphasis
In terms of markets, de Groot says there are virtually no limitations on where JBT F&DS is able to supply, although he says the US, China, Thailand and Indonesia have assumed particular importance over recent years.

Although still important, de Groot says demand in Europe has slowed during the past decade, while JBT F&DS now receives orders from as far afield as Zimbabwe, Australia and New Zealand. This change in emphasis, he explains, is partly down to JBT F&DS’s effort on long-life dairy and juice products, meaning demand tends to be greater in countries where such products are typically consumed such as Spain and Italy, rather than the likes of the UK where fresh remains dominant.

So what has changed at F&DS since being acquired by JBT Corporation in summer 2015? According to de Groot, being part of JBT is giving F&DS access to an established international sales network. “We are a company based in Amsterdam that was part of the Stork industrial group, and as such it was a challenge to service our customers throughout the world – with JBT, we have access to a larger footprint worldwide with sales and service that is close to our customers,” he explains.

Although it remains strong in the dairy sector, JBT F&DS has moved into the juice market in a major way over the last few years to the extent that 30-40% of the aseptic fillers that it manufactures are now destined for juice processors. JBT’s years of working with the juice sector have served JBT F&DS well, adds de Groot, who explains that its new parent company’s knowledge, expertise and contacts within the industry have been of huge benefit to JBT F&DS.

JBT showcases solutions for Baby Food in new White Paper

Baby food is a fast-growing, rapidly developing category where product quality and safety are crucially important, meaning that processors need to have the best possible packaging and sterilization solutions to meet market expectations. This is precisely what JBT is able to deliver through its filling and sterilization technology for glass jars; innovative systems that are showcased in JBT’s newly released White Paper for the baby food business.

Worth over US$53 billion in 2015 and expected to top more than US$76 billion by 2021, baby food is a rapidly developing category worldwide for infants (4-12 months) and toddlers (12-36 months). With many new mothers returning to work shortly after giving birth, prepared baby foods provide a nutritious, convenient substitute, with packaged foods such as baby rice, fruit or vegetable purees delivering quick and easy alternatives to home-cooked meals.

Safe solutions
JBT’s latest White Paper focuses on filling and sterilization technologies for baby food packed in glass jars, examining how JBT supports processors to market high quality, safe baby food products while at the same time producing at the lowest cost per glass jar. Not only the most transparent way to showcase contents, glass jars are also associated by consumers with high quality baby food products – adding an extra touch of class to purees and other foods.

JBT’s Unifiller is a product that is ideally suited to the baby food market’s needs. Every baby food product has its own requirements when it comes to filling, whether it be a liquid, smooth or viscous recipe containing sensitive particles. With a design and parts that are customized according to processors’ needs, the Unifiller is capable of ensuring accurate filling for whatever the baby food might be, making it the perfect solution for this high-value category.

Learn more about JBT’s Unifiller in the latest White Paper

Consistent quality
Food safety and product quality are essential factors in the baby food industry and the need to achieve this without compromising nutritional and sensory characteristics are of huge importance.

Ensuring food safety while at the same time minimizing any impact on product quality is a challenge for effective in-container thermal sterilization, but it is one that JBT has perfected in the Hydromatic® high-capacity hydrostatic sterilizer and in batch retort units. Through limited-time, high temperature cooking and rapid, efficient cooling, these systems ensure products receive exactly the same thermal process for consistent quality, while at the same time preventing under or over-processing. The reduced processing time also helps preserve the product’s natural flavor, nutrients and appearance.

The JBT Hydromatic® sterilizer and JBT batch retorts are flexible sterilization systems that can be easily adjusted to suit different recipes and packaging sizes, meaning they can comfortably handle a whole range of baby food products.

Learn more about JBT’s Hydromatic sterilizer in the White Paper

A&B looks ahead to global expansion through JBT

JBT Corporation’s acquisition of Wisconsin-based A&B Process Systems in October 2015 will surely come to be viewed as a major step forward for both companies. The integration of the business has not only helped JBT offer a more complete, one-stop product solution, it has also enabled A&B to expand globally.

Troy Weik, A&B’s Director of Operations, who began his career as a process engineer, and advanced through the organization into his current position, explains how the changes undergone by the company are revolutionizing the way A&B works.

In what ways has A&B changed since it became part of JBT?

Troy Weik: The biggest change has been the ability to take A&B globally, which was a long-time goal of ours. A&B had been primarily a domestic supplier, especially in engineering, installation and automation services, with some manufactured goods being shipped overseas by US customers including Nestlé and General Mills.

Troy Weik

A&B’s Troy Weik

The acquisition has brought the ability to grow and expand our offerings. Over the last year, we’ve been getting connected with the different JBT facilities around the world for us to understand their capabilities and, they, our capabilities. In the past, A&B has been limited up to the point of further processing, packaging and filling. We didn’t have the expertise, but now combined with JBT’s product offerings, we are able to bring a total solution to our customers.

What synergies is A&B benefitting from with other JBT businesses?

We’ve gained good traction in that area. We have several opportunities right now where we have batch retorts that we want to combine with our product line, as well as the packaging and filling applications, so we can propose it as a complete solution to customers.

A&B has engineering expertise on anything that’s pumpable, whether that be in food, dairy, confectionery or pharmaceuticals, we have experience in those areas. Clean In Place (CIP) is also an area where we’re very strong that we’re trying to integrate with other JBT products.

“Combined with JBT’s product offerings, we are able to bring a total solution to our customers”

Whereas in the past, JBT sold specific products like fillers and retorts, getting the processed ingredients to those points and cleaning the systems was beyond the scope of supply. These are areas of expertise for A&B so now we can provide CIP equipment, engineering and design, and automation systems to integrate the facilities in order to provide a one-stop shopping experience to our customers.

A&B machinery in plant

What further opportunities do you see for A&B in liquid foods?

We’re looking at different opportunities within the tomato market, which is a strong area for JBT. Additionally, we’re looking to pursue opportunities in aseptic processing, another strong JBT product line – they have the sterilization expertise and we have the vessels, process piping, mixing and blending systems, which are utilized to provide a complete process solution.

“Over the next 12 months, we expect to see more of an expanded global integration for A&B”

We’re also exploring more in terms of juicing systems, which is where our association with JBT began. The reason JBT found A&B is we worked on a sweet potato juice processing facility with them – the first one either of us had ever done. That’s a new market and there are more ready-to-drink opportunities they are pursuing that we can assist with.

Looking ahead, how might A&B’s role within JBT develop further?

We’re in central Wisconsin, which is the hub of dairy processing, and we’ve been working in that market for several years. Similar to JBT, we are also well established in the food, beverage, and meat industries. We are looking forward to introducing JBT to the pharmaceutical industry by continuing to be a key partner for our customers – providing our modular skidded systems and vessels, as well as installation capabilities, to the marketplace.

Over the next 12 months, we expect to see more of an expanded global integration for A&B with JBT facilities worldwide, taking more of our product lines to global markets and expanding our installation capabilities beyond US borders. That’s a major priority for us, as well as insourcing more JBT products from a manufacturing standpoint.

JBT’s equipment business: fresh solutions for new sectors


Over the last decade JBT’s juice processing business has undergone a transformation that has taken the company from principally being a technology provider to the citrus processing industry to a global leader in the liquid foods field, offering solutions across the juice sector into dairy, canned foods, nutraceuticals and beyond.

Donn Sabato, JBT’s US Liquid Foods Sales Manager, is well qualified to speak about the radical changes that the company has undergone over recent years, having helped oversee much of JBT’s development in its domestic market.

Juice extraction leader
For much of its history, citrus processing has been at the core of JBT’s business, with the company leasing juice extraction equipment to businesses across the globe; in fact, Sabato estimates that JBT’s juice extractor accounts for approximately 75% of the world’s citrus juice production.

“We’re in all the countries – the US, Mexico, Brazil, Egypt, Spain – wherever there is citrus, there is JBT citrus extraction technology,” he says.

“What that entails is a machine that is never purchased by the customer – it’s a lease where we retain the asset, and we provide both service and the parts. That was, and continues to be, one of our core product lines.”

Orange juice generic

JBT also manufactures the ancillary equipment that goes around the extractor, from belt conveyors, bucket elevators, graders and sizers through to fruit handling equipment that feeds the extractors. And once the citrus has been juiced, JBT provides by-product recovery systems for pulp, valuable d-Limonene oil and other key ingredients.

But while such technologies remain among JBT’s core competencies, the onset of the citrus greening disease and its negative impact in particular on Florida’s citrus industry encouraged the company to look beyond citrus into other fruit and vegetable juice processing opportunities.

The application of related technology for fruit and vegetable purees ultimately led to the building of a new sweet potato juice plant in North Carolina in 2015.

New markets
With the appointment of Tom Giacomini as JBT CEO and President in 2013, the company began adding complementary businesses to its portfolio, including ICS, A&B Process Systems and Stork Food & Dairy Systems, while also integrating with JBT’s previously separate filling, closing, and in-container sterilization businesses based in Madera, California and Sint-Niklaas, Belgium.

The consequence of these actions, says Sabato, meant that JBT now offers far more than it has previously in terms of liquid and other foods, adding blending systems, installations, tank manufacturing, and enabling entry into the dairy industry through Stork Food & Dairy.

“We are growing both vertically and horizontally, not just in the juice sector, but also in markets other than those which we have historically served,” he explains.

While protecting its core market – citrus – Sabato says JBT has been exploring other liquid foods, fruit and vegetables, and increasingly dairy solutions and nutraceuticals.


He says JBT’s move into non-citrus fruit and vegetable juice markets was partly influenced by negative press coverage that affected orange juice sales.

“There have been a lot of attacks against carbonated beverages because of their high sugar content – orange juice has a high, natural sugar content as well as a lot more vitamins and minerals – but the press has lumped all sugary beverages together and negatively affected the amount of orange juice people are drinking,” explains Sabato. “This has opened up the doors to other fruits and vegetables as well as alternative beverages.”

Expansion plans
With the mergers and acquisitions, Sabato says the Liquid Foods business is now able to offer a more comprehensive package, adding that the company will continue to add to its portfolio, while also aiming to grow both organically and through new additions.

“We now offer pasteurizers, sterilization equipment, blending systems and skid mounted tank systems, which control, for example, how much cranberry juice is metered in to make a drink.

“Prior to merging with Stork Food & Dairy we only supplied bulk aseptic filling systems, meaning either in a 55 gallon drum or a 300 gallon aseptic bag-in-box, but now we can also fill individual retail bottles. The consolidation with our filling, closing, in-container sterilization business means we are also now in retorts, rotaries and hydrostatic sterilizers. In fact, over 50% of canned foods globally are processed through JBT’s sterilization technology.”

He adds: “We’re keeping our eyes on all of the new technologies for juice products and other liquid and canned food segments – where is the next generation of retail product? Is it going to be a pouch? Will it continue to be in cans or will it be in plastics? And, what is the best technology to make sure that product is safe for the marketplace? Where is the next piece of the puzzle that will fit in with what we’ve been building?

“Three to four years ago, the juice processing business of JBT had sales shy of US$150 million but through organic growth and acquisition our Liquid Foods portfolio has now trebled – so we’ve got a good track record and we feel good about the future.”

JBT Sterilization seminar wins plaudits from Thai food & drink sector

JBT Thai seminar 1

JBT Corporation has won praise from leading food and drink processors from across Thailand following its latest Sterilization Technical Seminar, which examined the ways in which JBT’s products and support network can effectively benefit manufacturers in the country.

Titled ‘Complete Solutions to an Optimized Sterilization Process’, the workshop covered a variety of JBT sterilization solutions for processors including batch, continuous rotary and continuous hydromatic systems, as well looking at the company’s process technology service.

JBT, which works closely with coffee, dairy, non-carbonated beverage and tuna processors in the country, used the seminar to focus on JBT’s Hydrostatic and Rotary Pressure sterilizers, as well as its fillers and seamers, and Automatic Batch Retort system.

Julien Vidus, preservation systems – manager of sales, JBT Asia Pacific, said: “Thailand is a very important market for JBT in South East Asia where we have a very strong local presence.

“Compared with our competitors, JBT has a far greater variety of sterilization technology available, thermal process expertise, and the capability to support our customers when it comes to FDA (US Food & Drug Administration) filing.”

Teerachart Yongmunkongkul, sales manager, JBT Thailand, added: “We would like to build awareness that we, JBT, are at the forefront of sterilization solutions through this marketing event. “We believe that the best technology brings you the best quality.”

JBT Thai seminar 2

Positive feedback
The seminar certainly found favour among attendees. Abdul Rahman Abd Aziz, a quality control executive from Etika Dairies who travelled from Malaysia to take part in the workshop, said he hoped JBT technology could help the company improve its productivity levels.

“As an evaporated cream manufacturer, we face some heat distribution during the sterilization process – although this does not affect the safety of the product, we would like to solve it to enhance our productivity,” he said.

“I flew directly from Malaysia to join the seminar because I would like to know more about the sterilization technology and I know I can learn a lot from JBT.”

Sanchai Nitheekulawat, procurement division manager at Green Spot Company, said: “The sterilization system is key to producing sterile soy milk products and JBT’s machine lets us produce safe food. The machine and parts are durable and the technology is reliable They are one of the key value elements of our supply chain.”

Watcharapong Boonnam, production manager at F&N Dairies (Thailand), added: “Hi-technology fillers, closers, the continuous sterilizer and the steam water spray from JBT helps us produce milk and beverages effectively. The critical issue for the thermal process is controlling the temperature.

“JBT’s temperature control technology complies with USFDA regulations and in the 15 years we have worked with them we have never had a single food safety issue during in the process.”


ProPak Asia
JBT’s Thailand team will be participating in forthcoming ProPak Asia exhibition, which takes place in the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre (BITEC) from June 15-18, where they will feature a Fresh’n Squeeze citrus juice demonstration.

Located in Hall 104, stand 4×32 (Singapore Pavilion), JBT will be focusing on highlighting its solutions for the fast-expanding Asian processed food and drink market.

JBT will also be staging two technology update talks for ProPak delegates on July 15 and 17 in meeting room 220 (level 2), which will cover JBT continuous in-container sterilization technology and frozen food equipment technologies respectively.

For more information, please contact Ni at: