Starting with small scale at Anuga Foodtec 2022 in Cologne

Machinery for product development and market entry

Anuga Foodtec 2022 in Cologne Photo Susanne Bluml
Anuga Foodtec 2022 in Cologne Photo Susanne Blueml

Top theme – process technology and equipment for food industries – this is how Anuga Foodtec 2022 in Cologne, Germany, presented itself again for the first time in a reactivated trade fair landscape. This was visible, for example, in the fact that the exhibition center of the Cologne Trade Fair was not completely fully booked – as one might remember from previous events. According to information from the organizer, 1,034 suppliers from 44 countries took part in Anuga FoodTec 2022 – of these, 416 exhibitors came from Germany and 617 from abroad. The number of visitors was around 25,000 trade visitors. At the previous event in 2018, the organizer counted 1,657 exhibitors and over 50,000 trade visitors (from 152 countries) to the fair.

GEAs R&D pilot-scale Mobile Test Center

How to do the step from R&D-scale to industrial production scale? This question was covered by GEA who showcased for the first time its Mobile Test Center (MTC) for new food applications. Available for customers to rent or purchase for use on their own or GEA’s premises, this fully equipped, pilot-scale process line for cell cultivation or fermentation can be individually configured.

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“While laboratory setups alone are enough to provide experimental evidence that a particular formula or cell growth might work for a specific end product, it is only possible to evaluate those results and develop a viable concept for industrial scaling with a pilot line. Our MTC turns concepts into reproducible processes,” says Heinz-Jürgen Kroner, senior vice president Liquid & Filling Technologies at GEA. In a word, with the Mobile Test Center, GEA aims to bridge the gap between laboratory work and demo plants.

Using the test center, customers are able to not only determine parameters ranging from cell viability through mass balance to yield but also to efficiently design processes and develop a future-proof business model for subsequent commercial production. The MTC comprises eight industry-approved, food-grade technologies, including the GEA multifunctional fermenters or bioreactors as well as equipment for mixing, heat treatment, homogenization, separation and filtration. With the freedom to alter the sequence of the various steps and add or repeat process stages, customers are empowered to test cultivation and fermentation strategies as well as product recovery. Thanks to the test center’s flexible process architecture, GEA can individually configure, install and commission the plant on site.

GEA mobile test center
Available for customers to purchase, rent or use on GEA’s premises, the GEA Mobile Test Center (MTC) is a fully equipped, pilot-scale process line for manufacturing cellular and acellular new foods.
Photo GEA

Dosing in small output range

 An interesting focus on users for the dosing and filling of products in the low output range is the Canadian supplier Unifiller, whose European branch Unifiller Europe showed a modular Mini Filling Line: the automated filling of bottles, the weight-accurate filling of sauces or ready meals into containers, or the filling of desserts into bowls or jars are individual application examples. As advantages, the trade fair team informs on an automated process for product detection and dosing as well as the consistently high quality of the end products, which is made possible by continuous operation. Containers can be placed anywhere on the infeed conveyor, and guide rails are used to arrange them for dosing. At the end of the line, the containers can be closed manually on a buffer table or a decorating step can be carried out.

Canadian Unifiller’s mini-filling line for cups, jars and other containers Photo Unifiller

Multivacs new fully automatic tray sealer

With its compact and fully automatic T 305, Multivac launched its new traysealer – the versatile all-rounder builds on the success of the proven T 300 traysealer, and it is designed for packing small and medium-sized batches in the food sector, as well as for quick product changes. The new model is suitable for use not only in the food industry, but also in supermarkets and large kitchens, such as for example at caterers, hospitals or educational facilities, and it was shown to the public for the first time at Anuga FoodTec.

The compact tray sealer – at Anuga Foodtec part of a a highly flexible portioning line for retail packs Photo Multivac
The compact tray sealer – at Anuga Foodtec part of a highly flexible portioning line for retail packs Photo Multivac

It has been developed to produce attractive MAP and vacuum skin packs in small to medium-sized batches, and it can be used for the widest range of applications, whether ready meals, convenience foods and snacks, meat, sausage products, cheese, fish and seafood, fruit or vegetables. In terms of pack shape and materials – there are practically no limits to the T 305. Using a maximum format width of 420 x 300 mm, it can run a wide variety of trays made of paper fiber or board, plastic, aluminum or foamed materials, and a large range of upper webs can also be run. Sustainable packaging materials, such as mono films or the companies’ own PaperBoard material, can also be used on the traysealer.

Until 30 June, visitors have the opportunity to network with exhibitors, watch missed lectures from the congress program and pick up a wealth of other information from the industry on the digital extension Anuga FoodTec @home. Visitors to Anuga FoodTec can use the platform free of charge; the content is available to others after free registration.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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