The foodstuffs and feed industry must constantly adapt to accommodate the changing requirements of its customers and nutritional trends among end consumers. Key factors are not only how effectively marketing and product development can pick up on new trends, but especially whether production can implement these trends with the necessary flexibility, efficiency and quality. POWTECH 2017 (Nuremberg, 26-28 September), the leading trade fair for processing, analysis, and handling of powder and bulk solids, offers heads of production and users the latest technical solutions covering everything from sorting, grinding and mixing to agglomerating and filling. Another important topic for exhibitors, reflected in the supporting programme for POWTECH, is digital solutions for process control, automation and in-line measurement.
The foodstuffs industry is clearly a pioneer in the digital transformation of the process industry. Marijke Vreugdenhil, Marketing Manager at Dutch POWTECH exhibitor KSE Process Technology B.V., describes the demands that plant operators currently place on process control systems: “The biggest challenge is the ever-increasing flexibility that plants, and therefore also the control systems, are expected to offer. It’s a consequence of increasing product individualisation. So, for example, farmers demand their own specially formulated feed mixes, and feed producers respond by flexibly changing their recipes.
On this basis we can assume that every farm animal will soon have its own specially formulated food, a phenomenon we can already see in the pet food industry. Another hot topic, of course, will be the need for absolute traceability (i.e. tracking and tracing) in future, from seed through to the final meat product.”
SMEs: expect specialisation and differentiation
Specialisation and differentiation are a particular challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises. Vreugdenhil observes a lot of consolidation in the market, and adds that “it will be difficult for the Davids in the market to stand up to the Goliaths. Small and medium-sized enterprises therefore have to offer a highly specialised response – whether it involves the product, the service or the price.”
Automation for flexible production
As a response to these constantly increasing demands for greater flexibility in production, KSE will exhibit a solution for the in-house transportation of raw materials at POWTECH 2017: the ALFRA Automatic Container Transport. “This new system is an almost universally applicable solution to deal with the demand for maximum flexibility in production and also ensures contamination free production,” says Vreugdenhil. “We will also be exhibiting an innovative automation program that includes tracking and tracing, a reporting module and other functions.”
Trade visitors at POWTECH will get to experience technologies covering the entire process chain of feed and foodstuff production. Including KSE, almost 400 of the approximately 900 exhibitors have a focus on the food/feed sector. Many of these companies will provide live demonstrations of their latest systems and plant at POWTECH, which will give potential buyers plenty of opportunity to inspect them thoroughly. Anyone seeking to take their knowledge of process technology to a new level should be sure to take a look at the POWTECH supporting programme. The expert forum in exhibition hall 2 will host non-stop presentations on topics relating to bulk solids and production.
In the outdoor area, the programme will also include moderated live demonstrations showing the huge amount of energy that a dust and oxygen explosion can release, and the options available to protect against them. Please visit www.powtech.de/en for a current list of exhibitors and additional information on the event.