With the UK food and drink manufacturing industry worth £110bn, it’s crucial production lines are as efficient as possible to ensure it continues to thrive. Fortunately for food and drink professionals, Foodex will return to the NEC, Birmingham this month to put the spotlight on the latest production trends and showcase cutting-edge machinery from 500 processing, packaging and logistics suppliers.

Big names arrive

Addmaster, Europe’s leading supplier of technically innovative additives and Foodex Great New Idea winner 2016, will bring its range of antimicrobial Biomaster protected items designed specifically for the food industry to Birmingham.

The Biomaster additive is incorporated into products at the manufacturing stage and continuously inhibits the growth of dangerous bacteria, fungi and moulds, reducing opportunities for cross-contamination. The innovative technology is currently used by several of the UK’s leading supermarkets in their reusable shopping bags.

Addmaster will also be challenging Foodex visitors to an on-stand ‘guest the scent’ test using its sophisticated fragrance technology, Scentmaster.

After exhibiting at Foodex for the past three decades, Handtmann is gearing up for a milestone show this year, with the stand set to feature more systems running live product demonstrations than ever before.

Foodex 2018 will also provide a platform for the UK debut of the filling and portioning equipment supplier’s latest innovation, the Handtmann FS520 Forming System. The FS520 offers a wide range of 3D shapes such as burgers, balls, sticks with an output of up to 250 cycles per minute. The system sets new standards for weight accuracy, product quality and efficiency, the likes of which have never before been seen in the UK food industry.

The industry-leading Ishida Europe will showcase its range of weighing, inspection and packing line solutions – proven to enhance productivity for food manufacturers across the EU. A prime example is the company’s recent success in Germany, the Ishida QX-775 traysealer has reportedly boosted process efficiency on potato processor Friweika eG’s fresh dumplings by 25%.

Ishida will also bring one of its latest innovations – its AirScan processor, which is up for a Great New Idea Award 2018. Using laser technology to identify leaks of CO2 from holes as small as 0.25mm in sealed MAP pack at speeds of up to 180 ppm, the system significantly reduces spoilage, complaints, returns and fines and increases shelf life and brand reputation.

Further technology vying for the ‘Great New Idea’ accolade is J&N Food Equipment, which has entered its brand new ABM F1000 food forming machine. Designed to support businesses committed to the use of cost-effective machinery, the F1000 also boasts a small footprint and requires only a 13A, single phase supply, making it ideal for busy specialist outlets including high street butchers, delis and farm shops. It can produce an impressive 1,400 burgers per hour.

Unparalleled insights

In addition to providing a platform for UK debuts, product launches and exclusive showcases of the latest technology, Foodex 2018 has recruited a dynamic line-up of industry experts for its most topical edition to date.

The BBC’s Steph McGovern will take to the event’s centre stage once again to host a panel of thought leaders who will discuss how to accelerate the growth of your business alongside addressing the hot topics and emerging trends.

Set to share their insights in this unmissable session will be Chris Sturman, Chief Executive, Food Storage & Distribution Federation; Ian Wright, Director General, Food & Drink Federation; Gavin Partington, Director General, British Soft Drinks Association; Mike Berthet, Market Development Manager EU, Global Agriculture Alliance; and Nigel Jenney, CEO, Fresh Produce Consortium.

With the digital revolution showing no signs of slowing down, a dedicated session led by Matthew Rayment, Technical Manager – Food and Beverage, FMCG, The Manufacturing Technologies Centre, will explore how food manufacturers can capitalise on Industry 4.0 to enhance their supply chain and meet the ever-evolving needs of their customers. Matthew will be joined by David Parkinson, Senior Engineering Leader, Royal Haskoning DHV; John Darlington, Head of Department, University of Buckingham; Sam Payne, Local Segment Manager, Weidmuller and Andrew Aitkin, COO Lanner. The panel will advise attendees on how to transition their business to an exciting new reality where digital technology will empower manufacturers to respond to customers’ needs in real-time.

Meanwhile, the of-the-moment topic of the impact of robots and automation on processes will be explored with Mike Wilson, UK & Ireland Business Development Manager, ABB Robotics and BARA President as part of the discussion around the ongoing skills crisis. He will be joined by Dr. Andrea Paoli, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader, School of Engineering, University of Lincoln; Simon Rune Sorensen, Chief Operating Officer, DAN-Palletiser; Alan Ellis, Engineering & Technology Director, Coca-Cola European Partners; Steve Barraclough, Chief Executive, Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors; and Terry Fennell, Chief Executive, Food and Drink Qualifications.

The Foodex Engage Lounge, in partnership with Teknomek, will also see more than 30 sessions over three days. Topics set for discussion include how to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination; hygiene strategies to manage the ‘human factor’; how plastic is enhancing hygienic routines; and balancing occupational health with hygiene.

Foodex takes place between 16th and 18th April and is co-located with Food & Drink Expo, National Convenience Show, Farm Shop & Deli Show, as well as William Reed’s brand-new event, The Ingredients Show.

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