Charlottetown, PEI – Students at the University of Prince Edward Island have developed a piece of equipment that will make oyster growing a whole lot less labour intensive.
In a story on the university’s website (“SSDE students flip oyster problem into a business opportunity,” on Oct. 4, 2017), UPEI explains that “farmed oysters, which are grown in cages weighing up to 200 pounds each, need to be turned once to twice per week during the growing months for an average of five years.”
Some farms may have anywhere from 200 cages to thousands of them. So growers look for employees strong enough to handle the job for up to 10 hours per day, says the story. The job of cage turning helps to “discourage mussels, barnacles and algae build-up, which lets water circulate better and more food reach the oysters. This results in more appealing oysters that can garner higher prices.”
The students in the School of Sustainable Design and Engineering (SSDE) at UPEI developed “specially designed equipment that gently guides the oyster cage in a roller coaster-like flip,” says UPEI. The students are Jordan Sampson, Brett McDermott and Dylan MacIssac.
According to UPEI, the industry has welcomed the news of the invention. It removed the “back-breaking labour” from the job; saves time and money; and will help address staff shortages.
An independent PEI-based company, Synapse Inc., has stepped up to help the students turn their invention into a marketable product. The company helps transfer expertise and knowledge from the UPEI into products, services, and insights that offer benefits beyond the university.
The students have filed for patent, start-up funds and will soon incorporate their company.
Frozen Foods: Key Considerations To Optimize The Packaging Process
Global interest in frozen foods has soared in recent years, resulting in numerous growth opportunities for manufacturers. Expected to reach close to $9 billion (USD) by 2019, the global frozen food packaging market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 5 percent during the period 2016-2020.
Worldwide economic growth and rising incomes, as well as consumers’ increasingly busy lifestyles, mean that more and more people are looking for convenient meal options that fit within their busy lives. Technological advancements have also played a central role, with new film types and improved packaging designs coming to the forefront. Vertical form, fill and seal (VFFS) systems are widely used to package frozen produce due to their flexibility, high sealing performance, hygienic design and reliability in harsh environments. However, there are several considerations for manufacturers when specifying a frozen food packaging system.
The frozen food industry has some of the highest safety standards, particularly concerning sanitation and cleaning procedures. Food packaging machinery in this industry needs to withstand some of the most demanding sanitation requirements and cleaning procedures. Ingress Protection (IP) ratings are commonly used across the food industry to measure the protection level of equipment against solid objects, liquids and mechanical parts. Frozen food packaging technology should typically be IP65 protected. Such machinery offers total protection from dust ingress and harsh washdown procedures, including low pressure water jets (from any direction).
Individual components of the packaging system are also required to meet regulatory requirements. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association’s NEMA 4x rating, for instance, stipulates that control systems must be protected against the ingress of solid foreign objects such as windblown dust, as well as harmful effects on the equipment caused by water or ice. Typically more corrosive-resistant than standard NEMA 4 units, NEMA 4x enclosures are regularly used in food processing facilities to offer protection for controls systems, where total washdowns with disinfectants occur frequently.
A hygienically designed packaging system is one of the best ways to optimize food safety and quality. VFFS systems are a popular choice as they are designed to leverage the benefits of gravity to transport products, and their sloping surfaces make it is easier to prevent food residues from accumulating on the equipment. Easier access to machine parts further simplifies cleaning procedures. Ideally, cleaning should be possible without removing components; but if components need to be removed, it should have a tool-less design with no loose parts. In addition, crevices, corners and other areas where food can build up are open invitations to cross-contamination. The packaging system design should therefore be free of features that create recesses, gaps and areas that are typically hard to clean.
Product application and the type of cleaning procedure often determine the best construction materials for the packaging system. When using harsh cleaning agents or frequent high-pressure washdowns, stainless steel is a must. It offers a smooth, defect-free surface to prevent product residue build-up, as well as easier cleaning. Alternatively, if dry cleaning is applied, food producers can consider other alternatives, such as aluminum.
The technological and social revolutions of the past few decades have completely reshaped industry. The food packaging and palletizing industry is no exception. In fact, the last ten years alone has seen the adoption of advanced technologies at an unprecedented rate. Alan Spreckley, robotics food and beverage segment manager, and palletizing robotics expert at ABB, explains how digitalization is repackaging the future of food palletizing.
Spreckly explains that this growing trend places a higher demand for single-portion servings of pre-prepared and pre-packaged food on the food industry, which makes the packaging and palletizing processes less linear than they have previously been. Similarly, the unstable economy of recent years has nurtured a generation of savvy customers, eager for the special offers and deals that retailers regularly provide, further complicating the palletizing process. This leads to scenarios where manufacturers will be required to change palletizing patterns quickly and cost-efficiently.
Robotics is taking over the palletizing industry. In the past decade, robot pricing has come down making this a cost-effective choice for palletizing applications. Robots are more flexible and require less maintenance and floor space. Our sister company (Advance Millwrights Inc.), provides equipment for bag filling/handling, bag sealing and robotic palletizing.
Produced by FPSA, PROCESS EXPO is the nation’s largest trade show dedicated to bringing the latest technology and integrated solutions to all segments of the food and beverage industry. Processors gain a competitive advantage with the innovative technology on the show floor, where food processing and packaging experts demonstrate their machines and products. Both veterans and those new to food and beverage processing get training on food safety, trends, leadership, and more.
Food and beverage processors from small to large companies across the globe attend PROCESS EXPO in Chicago, USA. Attendees cover a range of food production and manufacturing responsibilities including CEO, owner, corporate management, sales and marketing, production, operations, sanitation, maintenance, research and development, quality assurance, engineering, chefs, contract manufacturers, and more.
Tri-Mach Group Inc. is attending this year’s PROCESS EXPO. The expo runs from September 19–22, 2017 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL USA
Check out what the attendees are saying about the PROCESS EXPO:
Guelph, ON — NSF International launched www.nsfcanada.ca to give Canada’s growing and complex food and beverage industry easy access to the global public health organization’s expertise and services in Canada. The website combines information on the depth, experience and capabilities of the NSF International Canadian office with access to NSF International’s global services dedicated to food safety and quality. Evolving regulations across countries and increasing complexities associated with a globalized food supply network present challenges for NSF International clients in Canada and around the world. The new Canadian website offers expertise and services to help companies navigate these challenges, including certification and auditing, consulting, technical services, training and education, food and label compliance, packaging, and product and process development.
NSF International’s Canadian website provides information on the following services:
Certification & Auditing
Training & Education
Additionally, the website includes information about management system registrations for the food, automotive, environmental, information security, medical devices, aerospace and chemical industries, as well as for Ontario drinking water programs.
Now in its 24th year, Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show features 750 exhibitors showcasing the latest in agricultural science, technology and innovation through interactive displays, demonstrations and exhibits. As a business-to-business show dedicated solely to agricultural products, Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show delivers agricultural advancements that will help Canadian farmers continue to produce high-quality and safe food competitively.
The Outdoor Farm Show is running from September 12-14 from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm at Canada’s Outdoor Park in Woodstock, Ontario.
With expansion plans underway at the Coaldale plant, McCain Foods says it has spent over $1B adding capacity to plants around the world. McCain Foods says the plant was built in 2000 and is a “key plant within the McCain North American supply network.” Today it has more than 200 employees and acquires its potato supply “from 28 potato growers in the Southern Alberta region.”
Click here to learn more about the McCain Foods expansion.
Amazon is going to start selling its own brands of snacks, diapers and detergent — a move lots of traditional retailers have already made. But Amazon isn’t a traditional retailer, so this move could be very meaningful for Amazon and its competitors.
The e-commerce powerhouse will soon begin selling its own packaged goods exclusively to Amazon Prime members under brands like Happy Belly and Mama Bear, the Wall Street Journal reports. Recode reported in February that Amazon was testing out the Mama Bear brand name.
Amazon already sells things like electronic accessories, office supplies and even clothing under a variety of its own brand names. Now it’s going all in on groceries and household products.
While some people will point out that so-called “private labeling” is nothing new — grocery stores and big-box retailers have been increasingly pushing their in-house brands — this is a much bigger deal. That’s because the growth in retail is all going to be online, and Amazon owns online. It already accounts for half of all sales growth in U.S. e-commerce.
Food and Beverage Ontario has released two reports on innovation in the Ontario food and beverage processing industry. Reports have indicated that there are several value-creating physical and on-line innovation resources available in Ontario to processor businesses across the province but coordination and communication continue to be key to uptake.
Complementary on-line innovation resources are also available and are largely concerned with information on government programs and funding and advisory services for businesses. Report highlights:
Processors cite product innovation as their top innovation priority, however they rank innovation technology and methods as the overall industry priority.
The greatest challenge limiting a company’s ability to innovate was identified by over 50 per cent of the respondents as financial resources and time.
Companies that seek out external support equally prefer both in-person contact and websites.
Processors are asking for innovation resources to be better coordinated, easy to navigate and to access.
“We have been working hard for the last year mapping resources and building a provincial innovation network with key stakeholders,” said Norm Beal, CEO, Food and Beverage Ontario. “Now it’s time for FBO to implement a coordinated plan that will make it easy for Ontario’s 3,000 plus processor businesses to locate exactly the innovation support they need to be more competitive.”
The growing adoption of process spectroscopy is driving growth in the global market for spectroscopy equipment. BCC Research reveals in its new report that spectroscopy, especially process spectroscopy, is increasingly meeting the need for more analytical manufacturing techniques in industries such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, petroleum refining and semiconductors.
Process spectroscopy is defined as any use of spectroscopy to obtain real-time data to monitor and optimize a manufacturing process. The report includes UV and visible process spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, infrared (IR) and NIR process spectroscopy, FTIR, Raman spectroscopy, hyperspectral imaging technology and process spectroscopy computer systems.
The global market for process spectroscopy equipment is projected to total $1.2 billion and $1.5 billion in 2015 and 2020, respectively, reflecting a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.5%. The segment ROW (Rest of World), which includes Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and North and South America (excluding the United States), should demonstrate the highest CAGR at 7.6%.