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Industry Insight: Stepping up the pace

Posted: 4 September 2007 | Mike Rodd, Segment Manager Hygienic Processing, Bürkert Fluid Control Systems | No comments yet

The automation industry is constantly changing, and the pressure is stepping up for Bürkert Fluid Control Systems. The past year has been very busy for the company as they strive to keep ahead of the major trends in the food industry. Mike Rodd, Segment Manager Process Control, tells Suzanna Bailey of the latest trends in the food industry and innovative company developments.

The automation industry is constantly changing, and the pressure is stepping up for Bürkert Fluid Control Systems. The past year has been very busy for the company as they strive to keep ahead of the major trends in the food industry. Mike Rodd, Segment Manager Process Control, tells Suzanna Bailey of the latest trends in the food industry and innovative company developments.

The automation industry is constantly changing, and the pressure is stepping up for Bürkert Fluid Control Systems. The past year has been very busy for the company as they strive to keep ahead of the major trends in the food industry. Mike Rodd, Segment Manager Process Control, tells Suzanna Bailey of the latest trends in the food industry and innovative company developments.

“The fast pace continues to get faster” states Mike Rodd. He is talking about the changes in the industry in the last year. “More automation to accommodate demand and increased vigilance over performance and optimisation seem to be the key factors we are responding to on a daily basis. Traditional systems are being challenged to increase efficiency and flexibility is being incorporated earlier in concept and design. Our consultancy and engineering services are in full swing and the advantages we offer through systems and solutions capabilities are being stretched to new boundaries.”

“There are two main food trends that we would pick up on,” he continues. “Firstly, the development and advance of neutraceuticals and secondly the increasing needs for longer preservation times of foods. These are significant areas for Bürkert as they break down into different and new ingredients and handling methods. There are often higher pressures and temperatures as well as sensor and material capability challenges. It means that our consultancy expertise and engineering capabilities are really required to turn concept into reality in the processing plants. Whether it is handling, batching, mixing, or filling control, this means constantly learning and adapting.”

The company has certainly been busy adapting to customer demand this year. “One of the most exciting new products we have recently launched is our type 8645 FreeLINE. It is a modular electrical and pneumatic automation system which does not need to be mounted inside a control cabinet due to exceptional weather protection-rated IP65/IP67. It is compact and very flexible combining various pneumatic and electrical modules with either multipole of fieldbus functionality. It is designed to work at the heart of either a centralised or decentralised control system and is extremely cost effective. It was designed with the food and beverage production environment in mind so it’s what we like to call our “rugged off road” system.”

Another development in the company this year has been the introduction of a new “Systemhaus” in Ingelfingen, Germany. “This is really exciting, as it means we can offer even more support to our customers and we can reduce response times for their requests. We have dedicated teams located there who are focused on developing customer-specific system solutions. The team handles all the phases from design through to manufacture.

“The impact is positive for everyone. Our Systemhaus concept signifies to strengthen our capabilities in consulting and engineering as well as demonstrate our willingness to invest for the benefit of our customers, offering integrated system solutions.”

So how does Bürkert stand out from its competitors? “It is through our qualified and empowered people. They are our biggest asset and they make the difference to our customer’s successes. We have system capabilities in virtually every market sector and a wide range of technologies and products. Our customers also value us as an experienced system solution provider. Through our customer orientated market segment approach we are able to understand and communicate with each of our customers on a very close level: a local partner with the resources of a global company. When we combine this with experience and courage, we realise our core values which is why we are leaders in Fluid Control Systems.”

Mike Rodd, Segment Manager Hygienic Processing, Bürkert Fluid Control Systems

Mike joined Bürkert in 2001 and was responsible for the UK team and business, after working for WIKA Instruments Ltd. for 10 years. Bürkert is a private, family owned company with its HQ in Ingelfingen, Germany and over 35 subsidiaries globally. Since the summer of 2006, Mike has been working for Segment Management Hygienic Processing, a customer-oriented concept focusing the Bürkert expertise and knowledge on systems and solutions for applications which traverse a spectrum of processing industries from pharmaceutical, cosmetic, brewery, beverage and dairy. Mike has over 15 years of industry experience, including mechanical and electrical engineering, and sales and product management for hygienic processing covering pressure, temperature, level, flow and some analyses measurements. He is currently studying for his MBA in International Business and will finish in September 2007.

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