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£11m Up For Grabs In Improving Food Supply Chain Efficiency Competition
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) welcomes the announcement from Innovate UK (formerly Technology Strategy Board), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), who will invest up to £11 million into new business projects to improve the resource efficiency and resilience of the UK food and drink supply chain.
The competition “Improving food supply chain efficiency” for collaborative research and development projects opens on 13 October.
With the increasing pressures the industry faces to produce more from less with less resource, this new competition fund will enable the industry to be in the driving seat of delivering improvements throughout the supply chain e.g. through the reduction of waste, using resources such as energy, water and raw materials more efficiently or improving the productivity of food manufacturing and processing operations.
This new fund provides an opportunity to grow the UK’s food engineering capability, through the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering (NCEFE) at Sheffield Hallam University, by bring together industry and academia to research and develop new and improved resource efficient solutions for the sector.
The competition is open for applications from 13 October until noon on 3 December and a webinar for potential applications will be held on 15 October.
Gavin Darby CEO of Premier Foods and Chairman of the Industry Advisory Board for the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University said: "Access to this fund will support new and innovative engineering solutions that will help improve the industry's competitiveness and ultimately deliver better resource efficiency. The Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering will play an important role as a hub for industry collaboration to address a range of industry-wide challenges."
Melanie Leech, Director General at Food and Drink Federation said: “I am delighted the importance of the food industry has been recognised through this major new investment, which will allow businesses to collaborate to find industry-wide innovative engineering solutions, creating a more resilient and resource-efficient food and drink manufacturing supply chain. Through initiatives such as this fund and the development of the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University, industry will be able to unlock its growth potential and drive competitive advantage.”
Reducing Supply Chain Costs With New Plastic Pallet
Polymer Logistics next generation of produce pallets has just been launched and is set to challenge its wooden pallet rival head on.
Targeted to be a real alternative to wood, Polymer Logistics have engineered the new pallet to deliver not only flexibility in load carrying and space saving, but also cost savings in the supply chain.
Manufactured from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is well known for its large strength to density ratio, the Produce Pallet is tough enough to cope with the rigours of the supply chain such as mishandling. As it is manufactured from HDPE, the Produce Pallet is washable thus making it more hygienic than the wood alternative.
Available in 1200x1000x162, the Produce Pallet really comes into its own when it comes to nesting capabilities. Essentially the produce pallets fit inside each other thus they are nestable. This means that more can be stacked in one space compared to the wood equivalent, which sit upon each other rather than in. This is vital in today’s backroom space-limited retail environments.
When it comes to the return of empty produce pallets, the nestable feature again has a significant benefit. As retailers seek to reduce transport costs due to the price of fuel, it’s essential that the space inside the lorry be optimised. In reality the more that can be accommodated on one load the lower the fuel costs. It’s possible to accommodate up to 3 times more produce pallets on one lorry compared to the wood alternative. This delivers that much needed saving in fuel costs.
The new pallet deck features marked moulded locations with recessed grooves for Maxinest produce crates. This helps with the stability of the load when stacked, thus reducing damages and spoilt costs! What’s more the new pallet is half the weight of the wood equivalent thus enabling just one person to lift. This helps with reducing work related injuries.
New Mitsubishi EDiA EX Forklift Truck Delivers Both Agility And Power
Warehouse managers could soon find it easier to move large loads in tight spaces, after Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks unveiled its new 80V electric forklift: EDiA EX.
Launched to much fanfare at Valencia's City of Arts and Science, EDiA EX could – according to Mitsubishi – make a significant difference to storage arrangements where space is at a premium.
The main reason is the truck's impressive lifting capacity for its size. Visibly smaller than others in its 2.5-3.5 tonne capacity range, EDiA EX nonetheless boasts market-leading residual performance, with the strength and stability to bear large loads smoothly up to heights of seven metres.
As a result, warehouse managers could soon use the new truck to make more efficient use of space, taking larger loads further and higher.
As well as its compact dimensions, EDiA EX excels in tight spaces because of its unique steering configuration.
Rear steering wheels turn to an angle of more than 100 degrees, with individual drive motors counter-rotating the front wheels, effectively giving the truck four wheel steering, and the ability to pivot within its own length.
The resulting lack of rolling resistance also reduces tyre wear, and makes EDiA EX's steering agile, responsive and precise – protecting racking and stock.
Having given the operator agility and precision, EDiA EX is designed to ensure they're used to the full.
From the placement of the counterweight to the angle of the dashboard and even the streamlined steering column, every aspect has been carefully thought-out to give the best possible view of the forks, load and reversing angles.
The driver can clearly see every obstacle, knows instantly where to go, and the truck's precise steering puts it there with safety and confidence.
Meanwhile, a spacious, well-designed cabin, optimised pedals and utterly intuitive controls means the operator is never distracted from the job in hand – making them fast, safe and productive.
But tight warehouse aisles are not the only place where EDiA EX breaks new ground.
IPX4 water protection makes this an electric truck than can safely deliver in the wet. That means emission-controlled sites no longer need a separate IC-engine truck for outdoor loading and unloading duties.
Likewise, clean operations with wash-down zones or wet produce like fish are now able to take full advantage of the hygiene and air quality benefits of an electric forklift truck, without fear.
This combination of cleanliness and rugged practicality is also reflected in EDiA EX's zero-maintenance sealed brakes. Protected against dust and water, the brake enclosure also eliminates metallic brake dust contamination of the truck's surroundings.
For many sites, however, Mitsubishi believes EDiA EX's main strength may simply be the way it drives.
Poised and stable, the whole truck is designed to make the operator feel instantly at home, inspiring confidence and encouraging maximum productivity from the first minute.
The pioneering Sensitive Drive System intelligently adapts the truck's response to the nature of the operator's movements – smoothing stop and start and interpreting the pressure applied – while touch-sensitivity take the optional fingertip controls to a new level, with gentler movements allowing finer control.
What's more, EDiA EX offers a flexible choice of practical drive modes, allowing managers to emphasise economy and safety for inexperienced users or long shifts, or boost performance in PRO mode, for expert operators when the pressure's on.
Mast-mounted LED lighting, automatic parking brake with hill-hold and full-colour LCD display – giving full information on all the truck's functions – complete an impressive package.
It is easy to understand why Mitsubishi believes EDiA EX could change the game for larger electric forklifts, and see more companies trading in their engine-powered trucks to join the electric revolution.