JBT level fillers, weight fillers, Unifillers, can closers and cappers have a solid record for long-running performance, sometimes stretching back over decades, covering both new builds and second-hand machines. But even the best-performing equipment requires updating and upgrading after years of service, and this is where JBT Retrofit Kits come in, offering a solution that can bring filler and closer machines into the 21st century.
“We have a lot of these machines in the field that are 20-30 years’ old and are still running quite well,” explains JBT’s Ben Verbeeck. “However, after such a length of time, improvements are often needed in terms of both hygiene and filling accuracy, and we have developed solutions for that in the form of different kits.”
JBT Retrofit kits are not only capable of bringing hygiene to 2020 levels, but they can also boost filling accuracy, making sure any wastage is kept to a bare minimum. They can further improve product handling, upgrade machine hygiene and replacing obsolete OEM components, updating software programs and improving maintenance in the process. “These are solutions for machines that are still operating well, but it’s all about bringing them into the 21st century,” says Verbeeck.
Tailored packages JBT Retrofit Kits are part of a long-term commitment to customers by ensuring that even well-seasoned equipment receives the high quality maintenance and machine upgrades that enable companies to get the most value out of solutions and realize more operational savings.
The kits offer tailored original component packages that deliver cost-effective, quality results, including effective installation, commissioning and operator training by JBT’s skilled service teams to help maximize the return on investment.
2020 has been a year for change at JBT in Brazil, but for positive reasons rather than anything to do with the Covid-19 pandemic. Far from being deterred by the challenging circumstances, JBT is continuing to support processors and exporters by making a major investment in the expansion of its manufacturing and training facility.
Inaugurated in May 2020, the Araraquara, São Paolo-based facility has added an extra 1,7934 m2 to the existing 11,0421 m2 site (including an 1,0160 m2 expansion of the manufacturing center). JBT has also separately been investing in technologies to support customers in Brazil during the ongoing pandemic, including adding internet (iOPS Gateway) connectivity to existing JBT equipment to enable remote assistance, as well as introducing innovative PRoSIGHT smart glasses to the country to help JBT technicians diagnose problems from a distance.
Technological solutions Speaking at the opening of the Araraquara expansion earlier this year, JBT FoodTech Southern Hemisphere president J. Miguel Ruiz described the investment as an example of JBT’s “commitment to Brazil.” “The current changing situation favors companies that export and with that food exports have increased and become more profitable,” said Ruiz, who explained the new facility would meet customer demand for new technologies and investment plans during and following the pandemic.
“The investment in our Brazil manufacturing facility is a recognition of our competitiveness and the good work carried out by our team in Brazil over recent years,” he added.
Customers attend a workshop at the JBT Araraquara facility
Safety protocols Currently, the Araraquara site host both virtual tours of the facility and a limited number of in-person visits, providing a concise update of the latest JBT developments and a chance to see new JBT solutions and technologies in action. The facility has helped implement social distancing protocols, including a thermal camera for both employees and visitors. However, JBT is also preparing for post-pandemic life by bringing in new UHT sterilization solutions for Brazil’s expanding dairy sector, while making sure that customers are more connected with JBT than ever before.
As pressure on food processors to switch to sustainable packaging has grown, so a trend has emerged in the pouch industry to find viable alternatives to the layers of non-recyclable plastic used to safely store baby foods, purees, soups and other products. JBT has been supporting these efforts through innovative aseptic filling systems, which allow the safe filling of recyclable pouches without damaging their integrity by subjecting them to high temperatures.
“The pouch market is changing rapidly driven by the sustainability movement,” explains Patrick de Groot, JBT President for Liquid Foods in the EMENA region. “For aseptic this is a huge opportunity as these recyclable polypropylene (PP and PE) materials are sensitive to heat, therefore the hot fill and retort process requires thick and expensive multilayers. With aseptic technology, the process is mild with only a short sterilization cycle, followed by ambient processing and filling.”
Viable alternatives “We’ve had multiple types of packaging in the world for many years: rigid, flexible and carton,” continues de Groot. “Sustainability is gaining a lot of attention with all the big players these days, but it is not always a straightforward process to recycle these materials.”
Although pouches have been around for a number of years, their typical composition – multiple layers with aluminum, PET on the outside and a further PE layer on the inside to protect the product – meant recycling was not a realistic option.
With awareness of sustainability continuing to grow and companies across the food industry investing in more sustainable packaging, so the pouch sector has also tried to find viable alternatives. However, de Groot explains that the problem up until now is that fully recyclable PP or PE material is unable to withstand the high temperatures used for hot filling, which has traditionally been the norm in the industry.
Aseptic filling Here is where JBT enters the story. JBT’s innovative AsepFlex Linear Pouch Filler system is now providing customers with the means of switching to fully PP or PE pouches without suffering the detrimental effects of hot filling on the material.
“A PP or PE pouch is not as rigid as one with aluminium or Oriented Polypropylene (OPP), and therefore is not able to withstand high temperatures used to fill most pouches on the market,” says de Groot. “With aseptic technology, you don’t need to do a hot fill or go through a retort, you can sterilize the pouch without having to expose it to high temperatures, therefore aseptic technology is attracting lots of interest as it also brings the ability to process high quality natural low acid products.
“Aseptic technology is an add-on not only from a product quality perspective, but the technology also allows you to treat fully-recyclable PP or PE pouches with thin layers.”
When looking for innovative laser labelling for fresh produce, beware imitations! This is the message from Laser Food, the pioneer and undisputed leader of laser labelling technology, which has more than a decade’s experience providing European Union-supported eco-solutions for achieving the safe, permanent identification of fresh produce.
More than technology Laser Food’s Natural Branding solution was first conceived in 2006 when company founder and agro-sector professional Jaime Sanfelix became aware of the problem that non-labeling and mislabeling of produce presented for retailers. Back then, there was no way to achieve permanent identification on fresh produce and the Laser Mark was the solution to this problem.
Sanfelix explains that laser labelling is now recognized by increasing numbers of consumers first and foremost as Natural Branding. “As the leaders and the creators of the technology, it’s very satisfying to see how the Natural Branding brand name is now recognized by consumers across Europe, and how more and more people are acknowledging the great benefits it has for the environment,” he says.
“On the other hand it is very concerning to see how opportunists that appeared recently on the market have made inappropriate and fraudulent use of a technology that has taken years of work, experience, research and effort. The bad faith use of the technology by these ‘me too’ players gives it a poor image.”
Greater awareness In recent years growth of worldwide opinion against the use of plastic has increased the profile of Natural Branding by helping both producers and retailers improve their environmental reputations. “The world has finally realized that we cannot continue producing and rejecting insane amounts of plastic that we use only once, but which will take centuries to degrade,” says Sanfelix. “Natural Branding can help improve environmental credentials and it’s cheap for the simple reason that the system eliminates the need for wasteful paper labels, inks, glue and only uses light.”
Flexible labelling Furthermore, continues Sanfelix, Natural Branding is a very flexible system: the latest innovation introduced allows customers to mark their products however they want, whenever they want. This new Natural Branding software now allows customers to create their own logos and recipes, and upload them themselves on their machines.
Natural Branding also has the advantage of being a permanent label. With Natural Branding, food becomes identifiable through its entire commercial life to the end consumers’ table. Full traceability of products allows growers and retailers to trace their products until they are consumed, as well as giving consumers a full guarantee about what they buy.
How it works Laser Food is a pioneer and leader in the safe, damage-free marking of fruits and vegetables. Unlike laser-burning techniques which compromise product quality and shelf life, Laser Food’s patented Laser Mark system works by removing a minuscule area of fruit skin. An eco-friendly means of branding fruits and vegetables by creating an image on the peel through a contactless marking solution with natural light, Natural Branding can be applied to practically all fruits and vegetables with zero negative impact on taste, aroma or shelf-life.
The technology has been approved by food safety authorities in the US (here) and the EU (here), while laser labels were approved by the European Union in 2013.
Laser Food’s global expansion has been made possible thanks to its global marketing agreement with JBT Corporation, which builds and promotes Laser Food’s Laser Mark technology worldwide. JBT also promotes Laser Food via jbtc.com and the @JBTLaserFood social media accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
JBT’s innovative Intelligent Operations or iOPS® Platform collects data from across a facility in real-time. Having up-to-the-second data means companies can detect potential issues before they become problems and even improve the overall efficiency of operations. Netherlands-based High-Pressure Processing (HPP) toller Pascal Processing is one such company that has recorded real, definable dividends from the analysis through iOPS.
Based in the small city of Helmond in the east of the country, Pascal Processing provides HPP services to companies across the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, covering a huge range of products from cold-pressed juices to meat products, guacamole, vegetable spreads, baby food, raw dog food, to smoked fish.
“We handle everything that can be HPP treated,” explains Pascal site manager, Willem van de Ven (pictured above), who says demand for the company’s HPP services has experienced strong growth as awareness of the technology’s benefits has steadily increased. “We are now seeing a far broader range of products: a few years ago it was cold-pressed juices and meats, but now we are handling all sorts of products.”
Complete overview A key component in the company’s recent development has been the implementation of an iOPS system – designed in close cooperation with JBT engineers – covering Pascal’s entire facility. Instead of having to rely on workers reporting problems after they had already occurred, the JBT iOPS system focuses on providing customers with tools to detect delays in the process and machinery failures. As van de Ven explains, a virtual dashboard provides an overview of the equipment and individual operator effectiveness, as well as displaying accurate information if and when components begin to fail.
“The dashboard enables you to have the right information quickly whereas before we had to go back and revise the old data we had on the machine,” he says. “It gives us a good picture of how efficiently we are working with a machine and how efficient individual operators are.
“We found for example that we were losing time by manually filling machines and by changing that we have been able to save 45 minutes per week between four-five people increasing productivity with almost four hours per week.”
Data-based decisions By having access to accurate production data, van de Ven says Pascal is now able to make more decisions based on facts. “Before when a machine wasn’t working, the operator would come to us and say they had been having problems for a few days,” he recalls. “Sometimes there are problems that aren’t seen by the operators. Before it was done on feeling but now, we make decisions based on data.”
Van de Ven says the fact of having more data on how machines are performing has helped eliminate apparently minor problems, resulting in time and money savings. “Maybe saving 15 seconds per cycle doesn’t sound significant, but between cycles this can add up to almost an hour of time saved per day,” he adds.
From faux-meat veggie burgers to healthy snacking options, plant-based foods have very much stepped into the limelight over the last 12 months, with meat-replacement meals that aim to look, cook and taste like beef garnering reams of media coverage. High-Pressure Processing (HPP) systems from JBT that can extend the shelf-life and preserve the flavor of plant-based foods will be the subject of a free JBT webinar taking place on October 16.
Developed for customers in the Asia-Pacific region, the 30 minute, live HPP Plant-Based Food Trends webinar will deliver an overview of trends within the plant-based food sector, looking at how the phenomenon has spread across the food and beverage industry, and giving examples of success stories.
The webinar will also examine how HPP systems from JBT Avure can benefit plant-based foods by extending product shelf-life through the use of cold pasteurizationtechnology. Attendees will get the chance to learn how the technology ensures food safety without the use of heat or preservatives, while maintaining fresh food characteristics such as flavor and nutritional value.
The JBT HPP Plant-Based Food Trends Webinar will take place on October 16 2020 at the following local times:
Like most activities across the food processing industry, the testing of new products and processes has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, with previously routine visits by customers to JBT testing centers or JBT visits to customers restricted by the ongoing situation. However, virtual monitoring and remote support are providing JBT customers with innovative solutions that are helping avoid delays to the implementation of new systems.
Like most international companies, JBT has had to find alternatives to travelling to meet customers and this includes JBT’s Tech Centers, among them the JBT Research Technology Center for In-Container Sterilization in Madera, CA, where the emphasis is on continuing to provide thorough support. “Even during these challenging times, we have been open and fully active, and are here to help customers,” says Narsi Ponagandla, JBT’s Madera-based RTC Manager for Liquid Foods.
The Madera center, he says, establishes processes for customers by performing tests and supplying the data to customers. It further has the added assurance of having FDA process authority-approved team members on hand to make sure all testing is up-to-date and compliant with current standards.
Decreasing exposure One such example of support provided to a customer was a canned coffee processor with a steam-water spray pilot retort used for establishing commercially sterile processes. With JBT process engineers unable to travel to the facility to conduct thermal studies and train personnel, the customer opted to ship ingredients to JBT’s Madera Process Technologies Laboratory to carry out thermal studies and design thermal processes without the need to travel.
“The customer chose to do this to decrease exposure of both the JBT process engineer as well as their personnel,” explains Ponagandla. “Heat penetration tests are conducted in the Madera Lab and processes established and sent to the customer. We have batch and continuous retort simulation systems and can run the test depending on what the customer needs.”
Wide-ranging support The Madera Process Technologies Laboratory, which is recognized by both the FDA and the USDA, provides a wide range of process authority services including in-container and aseptic processing expertise provided by a team of highly experienced thermal processing experts. The 8,000 ft² pilot plant and laboratory facility specializes in process establishment and consulting for batch or continuous in-container systems as well as aseptic systems, covering areas such as sterilization and thermobacteriology.
Process authority consulting services cover the validation of newly installed sterilization equipment and the re-validation of existing installed equipment, both JBT and non-JBT. The facility also works with customers to develop thermal processes for product-container combinations for every type of packaging from cans and glass to plastic and pouches.
The Tech Center further provides an Aseptic Processing Course covering continuous flow and filling technologies, as well as a five-day Thermal Processing Academy, which includes one day’s hands-on pilot plant experience and gives an overview of thermal processing from sterilization concepts to process calculation methods.
JBT Avure has announced the first in a series of free webinars for the Asia-Pacific region examining the benefits of using High Pressure Processing (HPP) for extending product shelf-life without compromising on flavor or nutritional value. Taking place on October 2, the 30-minute HPP Fruit Juice and Health-Based Beverage webinar will take a look at the principle behind HPP and examine the latest trends in its use for beverages worldwide.
Presented by Dr. Errol V. Rahubeer, Ph. D from JBT Avure Technologies USA and Alexis Leduc, Regional Sales Manager Avure for the APAC region, it will be divided into three key sections: What is HPP; Global Trends in HPP beverages; and an Update on HPP for coconut water.
The session on HPP Fruit Juices and Health-Based Beverages, the first in a series of three webinars, presents a perfect opportunity to learn about how HPP technologies can be applied in the juice and beverage industry, and how processors can benefit from using them.
JBT Avure is a leading provider of High Pressure Processing (HPP) Systems, a cold pasteurization technology and nutritional value, while extending shelf life that ensures food safety without heat or preservatives, maintaining fresh food characteristics such as flavor and nutritional value, while extending shelf life.
The JBT Avure HPP Fruit Juice and Health-Based Beverage webinar will take place on October 2 2020 at the following local times:
1 PM Sydney
12 Noon Seoul, Tokyo
11 AM Singapore, Shanghai, Manila, Kuala Lumpur
10 AM Bangkok, Jakarta
8.30 AM Pune
Carlos Fernandez, JBT Executive Vice President and President, Liquid Foods, outlines why he believes that in spite of some significant challenges and undoubted changes to the ways we live and work, there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic for the future of the global food industry.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact across most industries worldwide, and the food sector has not been immune to its consequences. In particular, for foodservice operators – and the restaurants, cafes and bars they supply – the spread of the Coronavirus has been quite challenging. Despite this – and although it is clear there will be important changes to the ways we live and work – I believe there are reasons to be optimistic about the future of the food industry. While impossible to say that it is 100% recession-proof, it is a critical, essential industry for everyone. But at the same time, the industry will change and evolve.
In the short-to-medium term, the pandemic will bring about significant changes to the food processing industry, the supply chain and consumption. On the consumer side, I think the trend towards cooking and eating at home will stay with us for the foreseeable future, along with consumer trends toward healthy food options. Health and nutrition will continue to grow in importance and will influence the decisions consumers make in choosing food and beverage products. On the retail front I also expect to see changes in packaging formats from larger bulk sizes to smaller packs.
“The trend towards cooking at home will continue for the foreseeable future”
Across the food supply chain, we are likely to see significant changes to the IT, sanitation, and automation infrastructures with the goal of creating greater efficiencies and improvements in hygiene and food safety. Uncertainty over short- and long-term sustainability issues is likely to lead to more replacement investment, and we at JBT believe this will take on the form of additional capital spend on new factories. Achieving efficiency is not just a question of generating more savings, it also has to do with finding the right balance of people and skills. If this was difficult before, it will become even more of a challenge as the levels of contagion in many food processing facilities are potentially very high.
And, of course, food safety will be of fundamental importance. There will be an even greater focus on traceability, while cleaning systems and hygiene will be critical. At JBT, we are focusing on all three areas with dedicated laboratories and scientists, as well as continuous testing verified by the FDA.
JBT Proseal offers sustainable packaging options
To reduce the amount of human contact with food products there are going to be a lot more individual packages and a large-scale shift from bulk packaging to grab-and-go. JBT is well positioned to participate in this trend with automated solutionsfrom our Proseal branded tray sealing technology. Proseal is a leader and an innovator in environmentally friendly packaging systems manufacturing in Europe, the US and Australia.
“There will be an even greater focus on traceability. Cleaning systems will be critical.”
Other important trends can be seen when we look at product categories such as shelf-stable foods and orange juice. Both have experienced a widespread revival and I believe this is a trend which is here to stay. Shelf stable foods provide safe, processed products that can be stored at home for extended periods of time, while orange juice is benefiting from increased consumer awareness of its nutritional and health benefits. Orange juice, of course, also contains high levels of vitamin C, and consumers are becoming more aware of the fact that instead of taking a vitamin supplement, they can receive the same benefits through a natural product.
Sustainability Related to all the above is the topic of sustainability. I believe we are going to see further movement towards improving energy-efficient technologies and decreasing water consumption in food processing, supporting more sustainable packaging alternatives, as well as developing more sustainable detergent and cleaning solutions for end-products and equipment.
At JBT we find ourselves at the center of this area in terms of equipment, solutions, and systems that support food processors’ ambitious environmental goals. Throughout the pandemic JBT’s product development and production facilities have continued to work continuously, with a particular focus on remote service and local assistance. This has included the launch of solutions such as our PRoSIGHT™ Augmented Remote Assistance platform which makes use of smart glasses and mobile devices to enable expert JBT technicians to inspect machinery and equipment from afar.
“At JBT, we find ourselves at the centre of sustainable alternatives in terms of solutions that support ambitious environmental goals.”
This is critical during pandemic-driven travel restrictions, but instrumental in driving greater travel-related emission reductions in the future. Remote support and operational efficiency are also the focus of JBT’s own Internet of Things solution, the iOPS® Gateway, and we expect to see a lot more demand for the iOPS solution and in the whole area of improving connectivity with customers moving forward.
Additionally, plant-based drinks and foods will continue to increase in market share, thanks to their perceived health and sustainability benefits, and JBT participates broadly with customers on meeting this growing consumer demand. There will also be more, smaller processing and packaging facilities focused on maximizing flexibility, lowering throughput and distributing local products within a particular region.
In summary, though our world has been rocked by the pandemic, people still need to eat! I still feel strongly that the food industry in general, and JBT, are well positioned to withstand the challenges we are faced with and will continue to weather the storm.”
JBT’s tray sealing machinery specialist Proseal America was one of the key companies involved in an innovative project in North America to move berry packaging from clamshells to film-sealed thermoforms; a move which forms part of an industry-wide North American berry producer strategy to use 100% recycle-ready packaging by 2025.
Since 2014, Proseal, along with other industry partners, has been assisting Salinas, CA-based Naturipe Farms to replace plastic clamshell packaging with heat-film-sealed thermoforms, in the process reducing per-pack plastic by 33%, reports Plastics Today.
According to the report, Naturipe Farms is now using the heat-seal technology for both fresh and value-added products, including snacking lines Bliss Bentos and Boost Bentos. However, Naturipe Farms’ VP of Marketing, CarrieAnn Arias, told the publication that the biggest benefit was for sustainability, with the change helping the company remove 24 metric tons of plastic from the waste stream in 2019, thanks to its Heat Seal Program.
Berry packing using a JBT Proseal tray sealer
According to Tony Burgess, Proseal’s Head of Sales & Control Systems, “moving to a top sealed product allows growth into shelf life extension methods with the use of modified atmosphere top seal film, thereby future proofing the change.”
Valuable support Janis McIntosh, director of marketing innovation and sustainability at Naturipe Farms, said the program was part of an overall strategy by the company and its associated growers to reduce its environmental footprint in all areas of the business particularly in packaging reduction and recyclability.
The project originated through Costco Canada in 2013 who wanted to replicate the success of White Heat Sealing in the UK and the expansion of theroform packaging across Europe, but had to accommodate both larger North American pack sizes and the need to find the right heat sealing equipment supplier.
Proseal’s top-sealed packs using modified atmosphere film are already commonplace in the UK
“Without the support from tray-sealing machinery supplier Proseal America, Accolade, MasterPack Spa, Infia, and Penninsula Pack (acquired by Sonoco in 2017), we would never have gotten off the ground in 2014,” said McIntosh.
“Also, we cannot thank the Costco staff enough for their support and patience through the development. Today there are many more packaging choices for companies wanting to get into heat sealing, better film structures, and improved access to thermoforms are helping move the technology forward. It’s tough being the first to develop a product, but heat seal has been a great direction for us and the industry in terms of sustainability.”