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JBT acquires poultry solutions provider Prime Equipment Group

JBT Corporation announced it has purchased Prime Equipment Group Inc., for $65 million. Prime Equipment is a manufacturer of turnkey primary and water re-use solutions to the poultry industry, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

“The acquisition of Prime advances our goal of becoming the preferred provider of full-line solutions for poultry customers with the addition of Prime’s primary processing capabilities,” said JBT Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Tom Giacomini.

“Prime’s latest technologies address pressing needs in the poultry industry in the areas of automation and water re-use which will further strengthen our customer relationships,” said JBT Executive Vice President and President, Protein Paul Sternlieb. “Prime’s revenue is primarily concentrated in the U.S., and we look forward to leveraging JBT’s global reach to accelerate the deployment of the automation and water technology for growth outside the U.S.”

JBT has also announced completion of the previously announced acquisition of Proseal UK, a provider of tray sealing technology for the food industry, for about $280 million.

Learn more about Prime Equipment

 

JBT seals deal to acquire Proseal, an innovator in food tray technology

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JBT has announced completion of the acquisition of Proseal UK, an innovator in environmentally-friendly packaging systems with a manufacturing presence in Europe, the US and Australia. The purchase price for Proseal was £220 million, before customary post-closing adjustments.

Proseal is the leading manufacturer of tray sealing equipment for a range of protein food products including categories such as Red Meat, Pork, Poultry, Fish, Seafood, Ready Meals and produce categories such as Soft Fruit, Fresh Produce, Prepared Produce, Sandwiches, and Snack Foods. Proseal has been at the forefront of developing systems that improve product shelf life whilst minimizing the use of plastic at the same time.

With machines capable of handling 240 packs a minute, the Adlington, UK-based company has experienced strong growth in export markets through the design, manufacture, assembly and servicing of high-quality tray sealing systems and turnkey production line solutions. Used predominantly for food packaging applications, Proseal is continuing to drive growth by developing systems that deliver important sustainability benefits through food preservation techniques and reduced energy consumption.

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Carlos Fernandez, JBT’s Executive Vice President and President, Liquid Foods, said: “The Proseal acquisition provides JBT with a significant platform in the packaging space adding complementary solutions and value adding technologies to many existing customers across JBT’s Liquid Foods and Protein business segments. 

“Tray sealing contributes to JBT’s efforts to provide greater sustainability as well as extending the shelf-life of foods, providing more labeling space on the package and enhancing product appearance. In particular, Proseal’s tray sealing technology pairs extremely well with current initiatives in the fresh-cut produce and case ready protein markets.”

As well as its UK site, Proseal operates manufacturing facilities through its Proseal America subsidiary in Richmond, Virginia, and a further site in Melbourne, Australia operated by Proseal Australia.

Learn more about Proseal’s range of products

JBT’s ADVANTEC system makes thin slicing simple

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Being able to achieve thin slicing of meats without a resulting loss in yield is a key requirement for many processors serving the ready-to-eat market, but until recently this was not always simple to achieve. However the recent introduction of Surface Stabilizing technology as part of JBT’s ADVANTEC™ series of impingement freezers has gone a long way to making thin slicing a relatively straightforward – and speedy – process.

JBT has also launched the Super-Chilling application for the ADVANTEC range; an innovation that enables warm products to be cooled quickly without jeopardising product quality. 

According to Stefan Paulsson, JBT’s Director of Value Stream & Global Product Line for Cooking & Linear Freezers, both applications have been introduced to meet the needs of processors seeking practical, effective solutions for ready-to-eat products.

Surface Stabilizing can be used with products such as deli meat where you are looking to cut it into very thin slices,” explains Paulsson. “This can be quite hard, but if you freeze the surface around it, then you can cut it very thin without suffering any yield loss and you will get a much nicer slice surface as well.”

Likewise, Pausson says Super Chilling can be employed by processors who want to quickly cool warm products without freezing them. “Super Chilling freezes the surface of the product, before the temperature is evened out as a whole, resulting in a chilled product that has quickly been taken from warm to cold,” he says.

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Quick freezing
The story of the ADVANTEC Impingement Freezer range can be traced back to the Frigoscandia Flat Product Freezer (FPF), a system which was created in the 1990s to offer a more cost-effective solution than cryogenic freezing for meat patties. 

Launched in the year 2000, the Frigoscandia ADVANTEC Impingement Freezer was introduced with the aim of being more suitable for a broader market and a greater range of applications and products.

“Impingement freezers are good for quick freezing of thin products,” says Paulsson. “ADVANTEC uses impingement sheets, which are sheets of metal with multiple holes. Through this, a jetstream of air hits the products at high speed, so it cools and freezes really quickly. This compares to many competitors who use air-knives instead, where you only freeze the product when it’s actually underneath the air-knife. Using the ADVANTEC impingement system, products are continually exposed to cooling air.”

As well as being faster and more effective than an air-knife freezer, Paulsson adds that ADVANTEC’s metal sheets are also more hygienic and easier to clean a sheet than a series of air-knives.

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The JBT Frigoscandia ADVANTEC Impingement Freezer

Flexible solution
Now sold worldwide, ADVANTEC is available in two different belt widths – 1250mm and 1800mm – and one to four separate modules, meaning customers can have ADVANTEC in the length and width required for their needs.

JBT also markets the ADVANTEC Compact Chiller, a smaller unit, which is particularly suited to surface stabilization where companies are looking to freeze product surfaces to achieve thin slices.

Learn more about JBT ADVANTEC freezers

From demonstrations to innovations: JBT’s Food Technology Centers

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JBT’s Food Technology Centers (FTC) provide a resource where customers can view JBT equipment and solutions first-hand, see how they work, and even run their own products through the system to experience the kinds of results that can be achieved. One of the longest-established is the JBT FTC in Helsingborg, Sweden, which has served as a popular destination for hundreds of food processors for more than 40 years.

The Helsingborg FTC gives customers the opportunity to test, simulate production, conduct research, as well as optimizing and developing new applications and products using JBT’s latest processing solutions. 

“We can demonstrate equipment to customers, show them how it works, and also run their products in the machine, so it’s possible to see the results they will get,” explains Martin Andersson, JBT’s Application Manager of Value Stream Spiral Freezers and head of the Helsingborg facility.

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“If a customer is hoping to achieve a certain color with a grilled chicken piece or wants to see if it’s possible to achieve a certain coating, texture or quality on a battered and breaded product, they can visit the Food Technology Centre and we can show them what’s possible with our machines.”

Complete solution
The Helsingborg FTC started life in the 1970s as a laboratory for measuring freezing times, but as the facility has grown and added more equipment over the years, it has evolved into a resource where JBT not only showcases solutions, but also refines applications and assists customers with food product development.

The 2000m² test area is now equipped with fully functioning JBT processing equipment in order to provide customers with a complete food processing plant.

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“We are now up to a facility with the ability to run a full TwinDrum Oven, we have a Double D Revoband cooker, we have Formcook Contact cookers, coating lines, a full GYRoCOMPACT Spiral freezer and a complete Advantec impingement freezer,” says Andersson. “We can also show FloFREEZE freezers in our assembly facility, plus we have a full-size Stein TFF fryer there for demonstration, as well as a smaller FA5 fryer.”

Although it might not always be possible to replicate precisely the same pre-processing of products in Helsingborg compared with a customer’s own facility, Andersson says technicians at the FTC are relentless in trying to achieve exactly the correct taste, finish and texture.

But if the exact product cannot be reproduced at the FTC, technicians can bring equipment to the customer’s site for testing in their own environment. “We are not satisfied until the customer is,” Andersson adds.

JBT also has FTCs near Edinburgh in the UK, Sandusky, Ohio in the US, and an Innovation Center in Kunshan, China. 

Learn more about the JBT Food Technology Centers

JBT’s PRoCARE®: working to eliminate downtime from the equation

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Downtime, for many processors and producers, is an inevitable part of the production process, which – in addition to cutting into productivity, scheduling and labor hours, to say nothing of the expense – is viewed as a phenomenon that has to be endured. But what if there were a means of limiting downtime to an absolute minimum or, better still, eliminating it almost completely? This was the objective JBT Customer Care had in mind when they set about launching PRoCARE; an ambitious initiative that aims to make downtime a problem of the past for JBT customers.

Irrespective of the pedigree of systems or equipment, the need for maintenance, regular or irregular, is a fact of life. With the best will in the world, it is unavoidable that parts become worn, equipment becomes damaged, or machinery does not always perform as expected. Such occurrences often result in downtime, with production being shifted, reduced or even halted completely while the problem is fixed.

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JBT’s PRoCARE Program is focused on taking the unpredictability of maintenance difficulties out of the equation. Instead of waiting for problems to occur, JBT Field Service Engineers take preventative action as part of the program, visiting customer facilities on a scheduled basis to tackle any weak spots before they develop into a problem.

Relieving the burden
As an annual, auto-renewal program, PRoCARE offers levels of service specifically suited to the needs and wants of each plant. With features ranging from inspections, documentation and recommendations in Level 1; up to Level 5 which includes preventative maintenance, 24/7 monitoring, guaranteed response times, training and an annual pool of service and/or automation hours to use at their discretion, there is a great solution for any budget, explains Emily Lossman, Customer Care Manager at JBT’s A&B Process Systems.

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“The PRoCARE Program takes some of the burden off maintenance staff and removes the need to keep as many components on the shelf,” she says. “It also means customers will suffer fewer unexpected downtime issues and benefit from a longer equipment life.”

As well as new customers, Lossman says, JBT is reaching out to existing and previous customers, and letting them know that this is a program that can be implemented at their facilities.

Preserving reputations
The practice of preventative maintenance becomes even more important when viewed against the considerable threat posed by involuntary lapses in food safety, lapses that can lead to product recalls and potentially damaged reputations and lost clients. “Older equipment and machinery can suffer wear that can lead to potentially harmful contamination issues,” says Lossman. “Stainless steel surfaces can get scratched and these crevices can harbor bacteria that can be missing during Clean-In-Place (CIP) procedures.

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JBT can provide riboflavin testing to verify cleaning efficacy and hydrostatic or dye penetrant testing to identify flaws. They will also provide recommendations on how to maintain that level of cleanliness.

“We also check and calibrate instrumentation, which has positive implications for product consistency: we make sure instruments are correctly calibrated, so customers achieve a consistent product every time.”

In short, Lossman says the PRoCARE Program offers headache-free ownership. With JBT effectively taking care of systems and equipment during their entire active life, customers avoid the need to pull resources off key projects, help safeguard their reputation and, as much as possible, eliminate costly, avoidable downtime.

Learn more about JBT’s PRoCARE Program

JBT to highlight frozen produce solutions for Thai processors

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JBT will be hosting a special Fruit & Vegetable Processing Seminar for processed produce exporters from northern Thailand this week to highlight how JBT’s solutions can improve systems and working practices. Taking place in the Hotel Dusit D2 on May 16, the event will highlight the potential offered by solutions such as washing systems from JBT FTNON that can be combined with effective JBT freezing technologies.

Featuring contributions from FTNON experts on produce processing, the one-day seminar will highlight the JBT portfolio and its customer care program to customers in a region – covering Chiang Mai, Chiangrai, Lumpoon and Lumpang – where most of Thailand’s fruit and vegetable processors are located, explains JBT’s Sorayut Ujjaphuree.

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Processed and frozen produce exported from the region includes edamame, okra, strawberries and sweetcorn, with countries including Japan among the main recipients.

“We can see the potential for FTNON and JBT freezing technologies here in Thailand,” says Sorayat. “That is why we set up the seminar in Chiang Mai to promote and investigate what customers are really looking for and how we can fulfill the market.”

The JBT Fruit & Vegetable Processing Seminar will take place at the Hotel Dusit D2, Chang Mai on May 16. 

Request more details about the seminar

JBT takes forklift automation forward with Crown and Hyster-Yale

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JBT, a leading global solutions provider of technologically sophisticated systems and products, has solidified deals with Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc. and Crown Equipment, two of the world’s largest material handling companies, to help customers maximize the benefits of material handling automation.

JBT’s automation expertise and insight will be harnessed to deliver vehicles that can switch between manual and automated operation. By providing automation expertise, JBT will amplify and complement both companies’ ongoing research and development related to automation technologies.

The Crown DualMode T tow tractor, which offers manual and automated options, is an early result of the collaboration with Crown and is currently being piloted through Crown’s early adopter release initiative.

Meanwhile, the Hyster-Yale robotic reach truck, a pantograph truck capable of picking double-deep at heights up to 30’, has also been developed and installed at customer sites. The vehicle can also operate in manual and automated modes.

Leveraging strengths
Laura McConney, Marketing Specialist at JBT’s Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) division, says the collaboration, which will see vehicles cobranded with the JBT and Crown/Hyster-Yale logos, will leverage the strengths of both companies. “JBT has been automating vehicles for over 30 years, while Crown and Hyster-Yale, which are among the globe’s largest forklift supply companies, produce well-designed, versatile vehicles,” she says.

“We established relationships with Crown and Hyster-Yale because we were thinking about the way market trends are moving: forklift companies are collaborating, and we think that’s a good trend.”

Delivering vehicles that operate in both manual and automated settings, McConney continues, will help companies that are hesitant about abandoning manual operations by easing the transition between manual and automated operations.

Learn more about JBT’s Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) range

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