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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.

Time-consuming
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 

Fresh opportunities ahead for TORR’s Engi-O system

The growth of new coffee products, such as Cold Brew, and consumer demand for fresh orange juice are likely to present increased opportunities for innovative bag-in-box filling systems from one of JBT’s newest alliance partners, TORR Industries. The company’s simple-to-operate solutions complement existing JBT technologies and are expected to help support the growth of innovative projects in the retail and foodservice sectors.

A design and manufacturing business based in Redding, California, TORR, which also markets aseptic filling machines under the Engi-O brand in Australia, specializes in bag and box packaging systems, and has grown to become one of the major vendors of filling machines for 1.5 to 5 liter packs worldwide. 

TORR technologies at customer BEL-OBST’s Belarus facility

Secure system
As TORR Sales Director Chris Rutter explains, TORR’s low acid aseptic Bag-in-Box filling system complements JBT’s portfolio of aseptic bag filling technologies, covering a wide range of products from wine to milk, cream and soups. 

TORR’s Engi-O double-membrane aseptic filling process utilizes steam and high temperatures to ensure a sterility assurance level validated by the FDA. Capable of filling 2-1500 liter containers for shipping, the closed system guarantees that sterile products like milk, cream, coconut water or vegetable pulps are not exposed to the outside atmosphere at any stage. “Any sterile liquids can safely and securely packed, meaning they can be transported without refrigeration whilst maintaining their shelf-life and complying with food safety requirements,” says Rutter. 

Emerging opportunities
“This is a very simple system and way less complicated from a machinery point of view,” he continues. “We can take the bags and put them into the boxes, so while JBT does the processing, we do the aseptic bag filling and can do also the boxing.”

Rutter views Cold Brew coffee and fresh fruit juice as being two of the most significant emerging opportunities for the technology. In the former case, Cold Brew – which provides the coffee taste without much of the bitterness – is a low-acid product that requires aseptic filling to be shelf stable. In the case of fruit juices, Rutter says being able to fill aseptically will enable retailers to be able to sell more fresh orange juice instead of the hot fill product present on most store shelves. Significant opportunities also exist on the foodservice side for ice cream mixers and fruit juices found in many fast-food outlets.

JBT Alliances
Liquid Foods Alliance Program is a growth platform allowing JBT to bring cutting-edge technological solutions to JBT customers. These solutions are typically sustainable, cost-effective, commercially viable, and complementary to the core JBT products. TORR and Engi-O alliance products are helping JBT offer a versatile solution for both low-acid and high-acid food products in a variety of packaging formats. Since the formation of alliance, JBT has received interest from customers for juice, dairy, coffee, and plant-based beverages. The TORR alliance has provided an excellent opportunity to the JBT team to engage with its customers at a deeper level, helping JBT close the technological gap and develop a thorough understanding of the customer value proposition in the aseptic filling market segment.

Learn more about TORR Industries’ solutions

More information about BEL-OBST can be found here

JBT keeps focus on sustainability with energy-saving systems

Sustainability has always been a key focus for JBT, and throughout 2020 there has been a large emphasis on improving and promoting sustainable practices both within JBT and externally across the food and beverage industry. JBT has continued to innovate, offering new and existing technology that can significantly boost customers’ sustainability credentials.

JBT’s sustainability drive is focused on four central pillars: providing solutions that reduce the total cost of ownership by enabling companies to become more sustainable in the use of energy, water and steam; solutions to reduce food waste in the production and supply chain; adapting highly-efficient solutions for the food and beverage segment; and improving sustainable practices within JBT facilities worldwide.

Substantial savings
One of the ways JBT is helping customers improve sustainability at the production level is through the Heat Recovery System (HRS) for the Continuous Rotary Pressure Sterilizer. Offered as an upgrade package for customers with existing and new (yet-to-be installed) Continuous Rotary Pressure Sterilizers. The HRS is focused on achieving optimum savings during the sterilization process for products requiring a pre-heater. 

Among its key benefits, the HRS can deliver a reduction in steam usage of up to 40% and decrease the overall thermal load of the cooling tower, resulting in substantial energy savings. In fact, the system offers a high return on investment, with a payback within two-three years based only on steam reduction costs.

Energy reduction
A further valuable sustainable solution from JBT is the Energy Recovery System for Retort Sterilizers (ERS), which makes use of a Hot and Cold water tank that acts as a battery to transfer energy between the Come-up and Cooling portions of a retort’s thermal process. The system collects energy from hot process water and transfers this energy to the cold-process water during the come-up phase. The system also improves energy recovery by using minimum steam during this phase.

The ERS can additionally be combined with JBT’s Low Energy Suction System (LESS) for Static Retorts, a passive suction system which draws in water evenly along the length of a retort. This allows less water to be used in the retort during the thermal process resulting in less steam being required to heat and less water to cool.

Ensuring savings
Other energy-savings options available from JBT include indirect heating utilizing a shell-and-tube heat exchanger, which provides energy, water and chemical savings by recovering steam condensate.

Additionally, JBT’s Rotary Pressure Sterilizer includes an Eco-Mode that enables customers to reduce steam energy consumption when the machine is operating without cans by reducing the temperature until cans are reintroduced into the sterilizer.

By continuing to assist customers in reducing their energy, JBT has helped bring sustainability to the forefront of the food and beverage industry agenda and will strive to ensure the topic gains greater prominence over the months ahead.

Learn more about JBT’s commitment to sustainability

A long-term commitment: JBT’s Retrofit Kits

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.”

Person installing JBT Retrofit 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.

Learn more about JBT Retrofit Kits for Filler & Closer Equipment

JBT’s AsepFlex™ Aseptic Pouch Filling helping customers achieve sustainability

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.”

Learn more about the JBT AsepFlex Linear Pouch Filler

Natural Branding© by Laser Food: the one and only supported by the EU

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.

Registered as a brand name for the technology in 2016, Natural Branding© has proven to be a hit with consumers, receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from shoppers and media coverage across Europe. Thanks to Laserfood’s Natural Branding technology, Laserfood’s customer Eosta won the prize in the Sustainability Category at the 2018 Packaging Awards.

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.”

“That’s why only Laser Food received the support of the European Union’s eco-innovation program from 2010 to 2013.”

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.

Click HERE to learn more about Natural Branding

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