ASK THE EXPERT
Dean Willis, product expert and Sales Director of Adelphi Manufacturing, addresses the biggest challenges faced by Food & Beverage industry manufacturers, and solves the most frequent questions being asked…
Dean, you’ve been in the industry for over 30 years – what advice would you give to food and beverage manufacturers looking to invest in filling machinery?
For businesses of all sizes – artisan to multi-national – compliance is key! Increased regional and international legislation has come hand-in-hand with tighter interrogation of hygiene practices. It’s never too early to cover yourself, and your machinery supplier is a good place to start.
You mentioned that hygiene is an area coming under particular scrutiny. How does this relate to the filling process, and what advice would you give to manufacturers?
When manufacturing ingestibles, it’s essential to invest in filling machinery constructed from hygienic, durable material such as stainless steel. Some suppliers use cheaper construction, and although the initial price difference can trick you into thinking you’re getting a bargain, in the long run this will prove to be false economy.
The machine parts which come into contact with your product (known as ‘wetted’ parts) should be made of 316L pharmaceutical grade stainless steel, PTFE and Viton, to guarantee no contamination occurs.
Also, make sure to factor-in time for thorough machine cleaning as often as required – filling machines which are quick and easy to strip-down will give you an advantage, as the longer the cleaning process takes, the more money is being lost in production downtime.
What would you say to businesses who are looking to increase production, without overstretching their resources?
As a result of the pandemic, the food and beverage industry has been experiencing exponential growth worldwide, and this is putting pressure on manufacturers to quickly increase their production throughput. However, upscaling the filling process from semi to fully automated can be a daunting prospect, with many automated filling lines costing in excess of £60,000 upfront!
At Adelphi Manufacturing we developed our scalable ‘Response’ range of machinery to solve this very problem. The entry-level Benchtop Filler fits into automated solutions from the same range, so you can increase your capacity as needed, without making the initial investment obsolete. You can also separate the Benchtop Filler at any time, should you need to return to the convenience of smaller batch production.
What about artisanal food manufacturers who operate out of smaller premises – is there a viable growth option for them too, which can overcome space restrictions?
Absolutely! In the same way as we saw with mobile phone technology in the Noughties, filling technology has increased in sophistication whilst decreasing in size. A great example is our Monobloc solution – part of the scalable ‘Response’ range – which incorporates both a filler and a capper, in a compact footprint (just 112cm wide x 81cm deep).
Maximising the achievable output from your production space is essential in any size of business, to generate the highest revenue possible. Fully processing up to 16,000 containers per 8 hour shift, the Monobloc proves that limited space certainly doesn’t have to mean limited output!
With sustainable manufacturing at the forefront of everyones’ minds, what advice would you give to Food & Beverage manufactureres looking to source equipment responsibly?
I would stress that environmentally conscious investment has never been more important; for the survival of both the planet and your business. The internet makes product comparisons quick and efficient, so consumers can interrogate every aspect of your product and processes before deciding to make a purchase. Sustainability credentials are now a primary decision making factor.
Who you choose as your equipment supplier will give a loud, clear message about your company’s commitment to sustainability; this can either help or harm your reputation, and therefore your profits.
Often we hear from businesses who want to become more sustainable themselves, but don’t know where to begin. What first steps would you recommend?
For business of all sizes, improving resource use and efficiency is a great place to start. This will reduce waste and improve your environmental impact, and has the added benefit of improving your return on investment! I always recommend investing in stainless steel equipment for manufacturing and distributing products such as food and beverages. Many of our customers transport their products around the world in these vessels, and the vessels can then either be shipped back for re-use, or re-used at the second site. Stainless steel is one of the most environmentally efficient raw materials, because of its durability and ability to be recycled. Vessels last an extremely long time, and even once their service life is over, they should never enter the waste stream.
How can businesses investigate a supplier’s sustainability credentials before they make a purchase?
A simple search of the company’s website will often tell you all you need to know! Type ‘Sustainability’ into their search bar, and the results will speak for themselves. You’re looking for press releases about the supplier’s green innovations; relationships between the supplier and trusted organisations such as the Sustainable Business Partnership; and evidence of the local and global impacts of the supplier’s eco-friendly initiatives.
Suppliers who have won awards for their environmental initiatives are the cream of the crop; they can be a real asset to your business and will often collaborate on sustainability-themed social content, which is really valuable to get in front of your customers.
In the challenging post-COVID, post-Brexit financial climate, do you have any advice for businesses considering taking the plunge and increasing their capacity?
In the late 2021 government budget, a new incentive was announced to help stimulate business investment in the UK. The ‘Super-Deduction’ scheme effectively reduces the purchase price of your new equipment by up to 130%, through additional corporation tax relief. You can reach me using the contact details below if you’d like to find out more.
In the aftermath of lockdown, how can businesses be sure that machinery suppliers aren’t simply looking for a quick sale, but will recommend equipment responsibly?
This is a completely valid concern – thankfully there are a wealth of resources available to back-up your purchasing decision. Case studies, word of mouth recommendations and Trustpilot reviews are among the resources which you can ask suppliers to provide.
Buying locally from UK manufacturers is another great way to guarantee high quality after-sale care, so you won’t ever be left high and dry.
And lastly, I would urge businesses to invest wisely – avoid purchasing the cheapest machinery on the market, as this can often turn out to be false economy in the long run.
Adelphi Manufacturing (part of the Adelphi Group of Companies), is an ISO 9001:2015 certified, award-winning, leading machinery and equipment supplier worldwide.