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JBT wins strategic Unifiller orders for sweetened condensed milk in Asia

Ever since the production of sweetened condensed milk started in Asia, JBT has been present to support the industry with state-of-the-art filling and closing technology and complete packaging lines. An indication of the importance of this ongoing support has come with confirmation of strategic orders for two new JBT Unifillers for major Asia-Pacific sweetened condensed milk customers; systems which can handle up to 500 cans per minute (cpm).

Product demand
Especially in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Thailand, sweetened condensed milk remains popular and demand is continuing to grow, explains JBT’s Sales Support Engineer for Filling and Closing, Ronald Annendijck, who says a number of Asian producers already export their products to other parts of the world.

“JBT Sint-Niklaas has a 70+ year history of building and servicing rotary fillers and closers for cans, jars and bottles and is JBT’s global center of excellence for non aseptic filling technology,” he says. “Since the early 50’s Asia-Pacific has been a key market for JBT’s rotary fillers, mainly driven by the rapid growth of the dairy industry in this part of the world.”

A High Capacity Unifiller being tested at JBT’s Sint-Niklaas, Belgium facility

To support the large installed base in the region, JBT has built a strong service network with central hub in Bangkok, Thailand.

Unifiller orders
JBT is proud to announce that two more Asian customers have awarded JBT the order for a Unifiller/Closer group for SCM in cans. “Both customers selected JBT’s Unifiller technology based on the lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO),” says Annendijck. “The Unifiller delivers lowest TCO mainly through its superior fill accuracy, which translates into less giveaway; in addition, downtime is minimized by fully automatic Clean-In-Place (CIP) without the need to disassemble the fill stations.”

Factory Acceptance Test of both filling/closing groups at JBT Sint-Niklaas is planned in Q3 2021, for installation in Q4 2021.

JBT & AutoCoding Systems: the story behind the acquisition

JBT’s recent acquisition of AutoCoding Systems has brought on board a company with a unique skillset into the JBT family. Ensuring the correct labelling and coding is applied to packaging is a hugely important final step on many production lines but achieving this can often lead to downtime for manual inspections and line configuration. Instead, AutoCoding’s process acts as a “virtual assistant” to the line operator and can all but eliminate the danger of misprinting, miscoding and missed QA checks.

Providing software and hardware solutions for the automated set-up and control of complete packaging lines, AutoCoding’s solution integrates and automates multiple systems, covering all devices within a packaging processing line. As well as virtually removing the risk of error, the solution feeds back valuable production data to the operators and factory management.

Proactive approach 
But how did the acquisition take place? Eddie Holmes, Head of Business Development at JBT Proseal, who was closely involved with the process, says that the initial impetus behind the acquisition came from JBT’s desire to bring on board label and line verification technologies to complement broad JBT and specific Proseal solutions.

As Holmes explains, Proseal had previously worked with AutoCoding Systems on several projects including an installation for a major poultry processor, and he recalls being impressed not just by the technologies, but also by the positive, proactive outlook of the company. “We have done a number of installations with AutoCoding and we loved working with them,” says Holmes. “They are a ‘run to the fire’ type of company, meaning that they run towards and proactively solve a problem.”

Continuous improvement
From an initial approach in late 2020, the acquisition was completed on March 1, 2021. “The AutoCoding solution manages the workflow and device interaction of the whole packaging line whilst integrating disparate data sources such as ERP and Planning. The automated set-up of the key equipment eliminates the risk of human error and saves time, whilst automated verification ensures all packaging is correct for a production order.” says Holmes.

In this sense, AutoCoding Systems’ technologies act as a “virtual assistant” to the operator, while also gathering performance data which can be used for real time management and continuous improvement. “In addition to the core AutoCoding product, value add modules such as Paperless Quality and LPR (Line Performance Reporting) deliver improved quality checks and real-time data to measure performance leading to improvements in productivity.” explains Holmes. “As a result, the chances of missing a quality check, or incorrectly coding a product are reduced dramatically, whilst companies also benefit from receiving valuable, meaningful data back from their production lines.”

From AutoCoding Systems’ point of view, being part of JBT will enable the company to scale-up globally, taking full advantage of the strength and international presence of a worldwide corporation. “AutoCoding Systems is already a global company with its Head Office in the UK and subsidiaries in Melbourne, Australia and Chicago, US. Being part of the JBT family provides extensive opportunities for AutoCoding to extend into previously unexplored markets for factory automation software,” Holmes adds.

Learn more about AutoCoding Systems’ solutions

Fresh solutions: how JBT allies developed an innovative system for Grove Fruit Juice

Australia’s Grove Fruit Juice is one of the country’s leading citrus juice producers and manufacturers, with a range of juices sold in grocery retail outlets and food services businesses nationwide and overseas. But when the company was looking for a new, higher-capacity filling and storage solution it turned to JBT ally TORR Industries for assistance.

Already one of the world’s leading suppliers for squeezing and processing equipment for citrus juice producers, not least in the important Australian market, JBT’s operations are now complemented by TORR and its Australia-based partner Engi-O, who worked together to develop a multi-faceted system to meet Grove’s requirements.

One of the largest Australian family-owned fresh fruit processors in the juice category today, Grove Fruit Juice has been producing fresh juices for over 50 years, and currently squeezes some 833,000 oranges every day, as well as pressing over 160,000 fresh apples and 87,000 fresh pears. 

The solution TORR developed brought together an A5 Aseptic Filler from partner Engi-O, combined with 1,500 liter Goodpack Storage Containers and 1,500 liter Aseptic Hi Barrier liner bags from Entapack, explains TORR’s Chris Rutter.

TORR Engi-o Twin A5 filler Image at Grove Fruit Juice

Gold Standard
The Engi-O double-membrane closed aseptic filling system, which is validated by the FDA, is capable of filling 2-1500 liter containers for shipping and guarantees sterile products like fruit juices are not exposed to the outside atmosphere at any stage. This, says Rutter, means the juice can be stored and transported without refrigeration whilst maintaining its shelf-life and complying with food safety requirements.

“It’s a very simple system and less complicated from a machinery point of view,” he continues. “So while JBT does the processing, we do the aseptic bag filling in the 1500 liter storage containers.”

According to former Entapack general manager Trevor Stevens, the high temperature sterilization process that was put in place as part of the installation – together with the bolt-on Engi-O Aseptic Filler – was critical to the project’s success. “TORR and Engi-O has gotten the Gold Standard of processing and packaging for this application,” says Stevens. “Grove has had exceptional success with the process from what I have been told by them. It really is a great story of cooperation between a number of suppliers and a very thoughtful company management.”

Learn more about TORR Engi-O solutions

PRoSIGHT™️ Smart Glasses: the PPE of the future

Wearable technology is among the most exciting recent developments in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), with smart glass in particular becoming an integral part of PPE thanks to their numerous advantages and ability to enhance existing safety functions. At the same time, there are increasing restrictions on travel, meaning new solutions are needed to provide expert technical support to local engineers at customers worldwide.

JBT’s PRoSIGHT safety certified smart glasses have been developed to both enhance safety functions by vastly reducing the risk of human error and deliver support from JBT experts to technicians across the globe. Acting as a PPE of the future, PRoSIGHT enables equipment to be serviced far more quickly while removing the need for travel and is set to become an essential part of a technician’s toolbox.

Smart PPE
PPE protective gear – including clothing, helmets and glasses – is designed to protect the wearer in dangerous working environments. With digital innovation, has come the challenge of increasing worker efficiency and productivity levels, while decreasing the number of human errors. With that in mind, traditional PPE has been advanced with cameras, microphones, sensors, and other built-in intelligent features to assist frontline workers. Moreover, PPE is being designed in such a way that innovation and technology become an integral part of it. What used to be a single functional piece of protective equipment is being transformed into digitally enhanced protective gear designed to deliver another layer of knowledge and information. With the JBT PRoSIGHT certified (ANSI Z.87.1, CE- EN166) smart glasses, what used to be a hype, is now a reality. 

Informed protection
Besides acting as a barrier between the wearer and the working environment, smart safety glasses can add another layer of insight, knowledge, and information to the situation. What used to be a single piece of protective equipment, has transformed into a multifunctional device with multiple advantages. With digital innovation within the wearable tech industry, another dimension of shared knowledge and connectivity is added next to enhanced safety and protection.

PRoSIGHT smart glasses hold several unique advantages over mobile technology (smartphones and tablets) in an industrial context:

  • The embedded cameras perfectly capture the wearer’s perspective when establishing a video streaming session for remote assistance. ‘You-see-what-I-see’ is not a marketing slogan but a reality, in which the expert sees exactly what the glasses wearer is seeing. 
  • The smart glasses not only protect the eye area but also serve as a multi-functional smart and interactive technological device, unlike other reactive PPE.
  • Smart glasses allows engineers to maintain both hands free to do the job, supported by remote experts with the most natural view possible of the situation.

Real-time support
Imagine a JBT field service engineer performing a complex maintenance task while having a real-time streaming session with a highly trained expert in the back office. 

The FSE can communicate with the expert who’s using PRoSIGHT’s augmented remote assistance software platform via the built-in microphones and video camera, he can zoom in on details, using voice commands and at the same time perform certain actions on the equipment he is maintaining. The PRoSIGHT augmented remote assistance software platform makes it possible to show step-by-step instructions on the display of the smart glasses, in order to guide the FSE in complex maintenance or technical problems. 

With his eyes focused on the job and both hands available to do the job, his safety is guaranteed to the maximum. PRoSIGHT™ is the safest way for field technicians to work hands-free in real-time with a remote expert and will become a standard element of the PPE uniform.

JBT acquires leading label inspection and verification tech provider AutoCoding Systems

JBT has announced the acquisition of UK-based AutoCoding Systems Ltd, a leading provider of software solutions for the automated set-up and control of end-of-line packaging devices. AutoCoding extends JBT’s capabilities in packaging line equipment and associated devices, including coding and label inspection and verification.

Headquartered near Runcorn, UK, with additional operations in the US and Australia, AutoCoding’s central command software solution integrates and automates the use of in-line packaging devices, such as coders, scanners, labelers, and checkweighers, reducing manual inspection and downtime for line configuration. While AutoCoding is scalable across JBT FoodTech’s diverse end markets, it provides a particularly strategic fit with JBT’s Proseal business where its tray sealing equipment begins the end-of-line process.

“AutoCoding’s offering embodies JBT’s broader mission to make better use of the world’s precious resources by providing a solution that substantially enhances our customers’ success. AutoCoding helps its customers reduce food waste, ensure complete and accurate food packaging information, and facilitate traceability and food safety,” commented Brian Deck, JBT’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

Click HERE to read the full article

Proseal solutions help deliver soft fruit sustainability

JBT Proseal’s advanced tray sealing machines are helping berry growers in the UK meet ever-increasing demand for soft fruit – which has been strong during the pandemic – by providing high quality, flexible sealing solutions that also deliver on sustainability.

As soft fruit volumes continue to climb, and with the market for UK-grown fruit now estimated at over US$944 million (£670 million) a year, packaging manufacturers are seeking flexible solutions to meet demanding high-speed requirements. Equally important is the need to minimize packaging materials without impacting their effectiveness to provide product protection.

Proseal offers manual, semi-automatic and fully automatic tray sealers, designed to be both flexible and maximize speeds and efficiencies. In addition, Proseal’s two-minute rapid-tool-change means a wide range of tray formats, materials and sizes can be sealed on one machine, allowing customers to quickly switch from one tray type to another.

“Our tray sealing machines offer fruit growers greater flexibility to seal different designs and sizes of trays with efficiency and accuracy,” explains Proseal sales director Tony Burgess. “This, combined with our innovative technologies and production lead times, make us a world leader in tray sealing soft fruits.

ProMotion™ our continuous infeed technology, for example, has the potential to increase the speed of a tray sealer by up to 30%, while creating calm machine operations which ensure a smoother, more stable journey to the sealing station. This is particularly beneficial to delicate produce, such as soft fruit.”

Proseal also manufactures a diverse and customisable line of intelligent conveyor systems, designed to create ultimate line control and optimisation and therefore perfect for the fast-moving soft fruit industry.

The company has pioneered several important sustainability initiatives throughout its 23 years. Proseal was the driving force behind the replacement of traditional clam-shell punnets with top film sealed varieties, which has now become commonplace in soft fruit markets across Europe and now North America, helping to minimize plastic usage by 45% in most cases. More recently, the company has been at the forefront of introducing new recyclable, compostable trays and film for fruit that can further reduce plastic usage by as much as 96%.

“Proseal continues to strive to develop the most effective and sustainable sealing solutions for its customers,” concludes Tony Burgess. “We are proud of the many innovations we have developed for the effective and efficient tray sealing of soft fruit. And we will continue to develop the appropriate technologies to help support sustainable solutions that deliver quality.”

Learn more about JBT Proseal solutions

JBT Avure’s Tilt Basket Unload Station: fast, efficient HPP unloading

JBT Avure has introduced an innovative new basket unloading system – the Avure Tilt Basket Unload Station – for customers using its High-Pressure Processing (HPP) technologies that has been designed to boost processing speeds while at the same time reducing labor costs and improving workplace safety. 

With an estimated average labor savings of 59 hours per week, the Tilt Basket Unload Station tilts up to 45 degrees for easy unload following HPP processing, which assists the efficient and easy removal of product from the HPP basket.

Main benefits
According to JBT Avure’s Tim Boyle, the system has two main benefits: it will reduce labor costs by speeding up the unloading of baskets, while its use of ergonomic unloading means there is less chance of workplace injuries.

As Boyle explains, after the basket leaves the vessel, it moves to the end point before being tilted so that the product empties onto a conveyor for downstream processing. This has the result, he says, of both making unloading faster and improving overall productivity, while the system’s design will save valuable floorspace. 

Learn more about the JBT Avure Tilt Basket Unload Station

JBT PRoDOSE brings safety and efficiency to post-harvest process

The preparation and application of post-harvest treatments and waxes has long been a time-consuming, labor-intensive process for fresh citrus producers, and one that typically means workers have to handle large quantities of chemicals. JBT’s new PRoDOSE system has been designed to tackle all of these concerns, bringing an extra dose of safety and efficiency to the post-harvest process.

For producers of primarily fresh citrus, a wax-based food coating is conventionally mixed with one containing fungicide properties, before being pumped through an application system. However, the measurement of the chemicals – and the mixing itself – is typically done by hand, meaning that the whole process can take hours at a time.

“It’s very labor-intensive,” explains JBT California citrus specialist Dana Dillard. “The wax coating has to be measured out by hand and mixed in a 300-500 gallon tank, which can take a person two-three hours, and this process is carried out every day or every other day.”

Cost reduction
PRoDOSE takes the full-strength fungicides and meters them into the food grade coating with extreme accuracy through connecting valves and piping; a blending process which can be carried out at a rate of 25-30 gallons at a time, which allows for faster chemical changes based on market trends and decay pressures.

“PRoDOSE reduces the safety hazard of blending the chemicals, cuts down the burden of a very labor-intensive task, and reduces the overall time needed for the blending process,” says Dillard. 

Learn more about JBT’s PRoDOSE system

iOPS Dashboard: the remote support tool that can reduce downtime

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact across all sections of industry, changing working methods and practices, including in food and beverage processing. Although vaccines are slowly being distributed, the ‘new normal’ remains in place, meaning that new maintenance and analysis solutions are also necessary.

One such highly-effective solution is JBT’s Internet of Things (IoT) platform iOPS, which has recently introduced the iOPS Dashboard for the JBT Lubricator for the Hydrostatic Sterilizer, working in conjunction with customers. A remote analysis, monitoring and support tool, the iOPS Dashboard helps to improve support, aid maintenance, reduce downtime, isolate alarms, prevent delays and keep factories running efficiently.

Consolidated view
The iOPS Dashboard provides customers – at a safe, remote distance – with a consolidated view of points of concern, including all alarm points, production rates, run-time efficiencies, upcoming and past schedules, and the current status. This provides vital information such as both actual running production speed, and real-time utilization rates of the Hydrostatic Sterilizer, explains JBT Software & Project Engineer, Rick Ripley.

“Customers can optimize their maintenance load by studying information provided by the iOPS Dashboard, including how many revolutions have taken place since the last lubrication,” says Ripley. “This almost gives them intuition and acts like an early warning system for failures.”

First year free
The iOPS Dashboard, which is available free for the first year and then on an annual subscription basis, provides the data needed to carry out a qualitative analysis of the last cycle, alongside alarms that tell managers if any area is in risk of failure, and a series of widgets that give an overall picture of how the machinery is running.

“The report gives managers all the information they would want to know,” says Ripley. “This includes information such as when was the last time the system ran, how many pins have been lubricated, along with the history. It tells a manager how their maintenance is going on a machine.”

He adds: “People can monitor their machines without having to be at the factory. For now and into the near future, remote working will continue to be the new normal and plants are feeling it too.”

Learn more about the JBT iOPS Dashboard

JBT wins strategic order for Precifill Weight Filler in Asia Pacific

JBT has won a strategic order for the high-accuracy PrecifillTM Weight Filler in the Asia Pacific region, underlining the importance of the technology to companies in the dairy, juices and infant formula industries. In this particular instance, the Precifill will fill juices and dairy alternatives in glass bottles at 36,000 cph.

A non-contact weight filling system, the Precifill is an extremely accurate solution which minimizes product give-away. The filler, which is equipped with effective Clean-in-Place provisions, handles plastic and glass bottles, plastic cups, glass jars and cans, and can be equipped with a conditioned filling space to meet hygienic filling requirements.

Historical success
In 1990, JBT SFDS – then known as Stork – installed its first Precifill Weight Filler for white milk in bottles. Since that time, Stork and JBT have built hundreds of weight fillers, the majority of which have been installed in the dairy, juices and infant formula industry.

Following JBT’s acquisition of Stork in 2015, production of the rotary weight filling product line was transferred to the JBT St Niklaas plant in Belgium. JBT Sint-Niklaas has a 70+ year history of building and servicing rotary fillers and closers for cans, jars and bottles and is JBT’s global center of excellence for non aseptic rotary filling technology.

Industry growth
Since the early 1950’s Asia Pacific has been a key market for JBT’s rotary fillers, largely driven by the growth of the dairy industry in the region, according to Bart Mertens, JBT Product Line Director for Filling and Closing technologies. 

As well as the Precifill Weight Filler, JBT’s range includes the rinser and capper – in monobloc configuration together with the weight filler – the integrity checking and reject system, and the CIP (Clean-In-Place) kitchen.

The Factory Acceptance Test for the Precifill at JBT Sint-Niklaas is planned for Q2 2021, with installation projected to follow in Q3 2021.

Learn more about the Precifill Weight Filler 

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