Industry giants converge on NEC, Birmingham to showcase disruptive and cutting-edge technologies, set to transform the ‘smart factories’ of the future

With the industry’s leading players embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution, setting a path to realise the ‘smart factory’ of the future, manufacturing professionals will once again converge on the NEC, Birmingham to explore the latest technologies already beginning to make an impact on the sector at Foodex 2018.

Taking place over three days (16-18 April 2018), Foodex 2018 will welcome more than 400 suppliers including Busch UK, Bizerba (UK) Ltd, Addmaster UK, ULMA Packaging, Multivac, Handtmann, Reiser, Stephan UK as well as a raft of new exhibitors lined up to showcase their latest innovations.

Demonstrating how to streamline processes, minimise waste and boost profits in the bakery sector, Cybake – Britain’s number one bakery management software specialist – will introduce its new, cloud-based version of its bakery management system. Giving operators full control over all bakery operations, Cybake provides improved insight into the bottom-line, with modernised orders, invoicing, recipe management, stock control traceability and compliance.

The company will also showcase Cybake Instore – a proven forecasting solution that cuts waste by around 20% as well as increasing sales, by analysing sales data from EPOS tills to forecast future orders; and BakePlan – a cloud-based, production forecasting system that advises on the best combination of products to bake at the right time, via tablet or mobile.

Offering a complete handling solution from production through to merchandising, K. Hartwall’s Modular Beverage Solution combines logistics with merchandising to reduce the need for manual handling, maximising supply chain efficiency and in-store display value. With a focus on lean manufacturing, the modular, easily integrated wheeled system is an efficient solution for beverage handling, reducing the need for secondary packaging, in-store handling while driving the promotional value of stock and resulting in efficient reverse logistics. It is estimated to result in cost savings of up to 40%, productivity increases of up to 55% while reducing manual handling operations by 3-4 times per tote.

Further demonstrating how to reduce costs and maximise efficiency, JBC Industrial Services Limited will showcase its HALO real time remote monitoring system. The boilerhouse monitoring system uses analogue, digital and mod bus outputs to provide a critical overview into asset performance. Helping to deliver cost savings through optimal performance, the HALO system also improves fault response times with instant alerts on failures, helping to determine both maintenance and investment strategies. The monitoring system, which enables effortless predictive maintenance, helps to prolong equipment life, minimise downtime and increase revenue for improved efficiency, reliability and availability.

Minimising the damage of costly downtime, Idhammar Systems Ltd’s World Class Manufacturing (WCM) System is designed to help manufacturing and maintenance teams re-start production as quickly as possible, accurately analysing the cause of breakdowns and supporting engineers by preventing unnecessary downtime in the future. Central to the WCM System is the ‘concept of zero’ targeting zero waste, defects, breakdowns and inventory for improved transparency, communication and productivity.

Leading industry figures debate future strategy for manufacturing excellence

As well as providing the opportunity for buyers to discover the latest technologies and connect with potential suppliers, Foodex will also play host to an extensive programme of interactive events, discussions and debates.

In the seminar theatre, visitors are invited to join the likes of the Campden BRI Group, Food Storage & Distribution Federation (FSDF), Fresh Produce Consortium and the British Standards Institution (BSI) who will take to the stage to discuss the latest sector-specific trends and topics impacting the bakery, beverage, dairy, fresh, ingredients, logistics, meat and seafood sectors.

Among the speakers will be Richard Werran, EMEA Director for Food, British Standards Institution who will explore the evolving risk of cyberattacks and the smart ways to neutralise them. With the rise of the ‘smart factory’ and Industry 4.0, Werran will encourage attendees to consider the ramifications of a potential cyberattack on food & beverage logistics operations. Werran will provide insights on how staff and the efficient use of the Internet of Things could be the best line of defence, and will de-code confusing IT jargon to ensure all attendees leave with a greater understanding into the evolving risks of cyber crime and the impact it has on the global manufacturing industry.

Danny Bayliss, New Technology Specialist, ‎Campden BRI will also feature on this year’s programme. He will discuss how new technology is empowering the industry to perfect processes and create innovative products like never before. His session will reveal how attendees can harness new technologies to improve product quality, extend shelf-life and reduce waste while boosting profitability through efficiency.

The Foodex seminar theatre will feature more than eight sessions each day, covering business growth, technology trends and the Internet of Things, hygienic processing and supply chain security. Among those confirmed to speak Mike Wilson, General Industry Sales Manager for the UK and Ireland, ABB Robotics; Simon Rune Sorensen, Chief Operating Officer, DAN-Palletiser; Rachel Gwinn, Product Development Scientist, ‎Campden BRI; Debra Smith, Global Hygiene Specialist, Vikan and Christine Tacon CBE, Groceries Code Adjudicator will lead sessions over the course of the three-day exhibition.

Driving sustainability in the manufacturing sector

With a growing importance on industry collaboration to achieve a tangible circular economy that is both profitable and sustainable, visitors can meet and learn from suppliers offering the latest ‘green’ solutions for the UK’s food and drink manufacturing industries. From energy saving machinery, heating and lighting through to waste reduction and disposal, visitors will be able to find the complete solution to improve their environmental performance.

Speaking about the importance of sustainability, Richard Gueterbock, MD, Clearfleau, said: “"Foodex offers a good opportunity to present renewables technology to a technical audience from the food industry and we regard it as one of the more useful shows we attend.”

Awarding excellence

As Foodex opens its doors to manufacturing professionals from across the globe, the search for the next Premier Young Butcher will begin once again. Staged on the show floor on Monday 16th April, the four-hour, six-category competition will invite 18-23-year-old butcher apprentices to demonstrate their craft skills and prove their innovative, good working practices, precision and ability to prepare a variety of products in Ready to Eat, Stuffed Roast, Seam Butchery, Barbecue, Kitchen Ready and Display.

Foodex will also once again play host to the National Meat Products competition. The National Federation of Meat & Food Traders (NFMTF) will present the one-day National Meat Products Competition on Tuesday 17th April. The competition will include 22 categories ranging from standard favourites of sausages, bacon, burgers, ready meals and pies through to charcuterie and kitchen ready products.

With an exciting range of competitions and seminars taking place at the show, visitors can also join the Food Storage & Distribution Federation, on Tuesday 17th April from 9am until the show doors open at 10.30am, to hear more about the Federation’s efforts to ensure its members’ voices are head in the negotiations to leave the EU, new initiatives and key events that are in place for 2018.  Entry to the breakfast briefing is by invite only, so visitors wishing to attend should contact the FSDF team for further information.

Speaking about Foodex 2018, Event Director, Dan Dixon, said: “The manufacturing industry is on the edge of a potential precipice, with the circular economy and the growing pressure to improve sustainability set to dramatically transform the industry. Combined with the uncertainty of Brexit that has resulted in the slowest growth rate since June last year, it is a critical time for manufacturing professionals to explore the latest trends and technologies to enhance their business operations. We look forward to welcoming attendees to the NEC this April to discover the future of the manufacturing industry.”

Foodex is co-located with Food & Drink Expo, National Convenience Show, Farm Shop & Deli Show, as well as William Reed’s brand-new event The Ingredients Show. Registration for any one of the events will ensure access to the other shows, which cover the whole spectrum of the £96 billion UK food supply chain – from farm to fork. Throughout the three days, organisers expect to welcome over 30,000 visitors, 1,500 exhibitors and 250 industry speakers across a series of live events.

To register for Foodex at the NEC, please visit 


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