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15 December, 2013 - 22:32 By Tony Quested

Olympus Automation targets US food market

The installation at Larco Foods which produces 9000 kg of healthier soup an hour

Olympus Automation from Peterborough is looking to target the US food market with revolutionary industrial cooking technology that reduces the salt content in processed foods by 20 per cent and hugely decreases processing times.

The company is working with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to attack new markets in America and Europe.

Olympus has taken core technology from the food, beverage and brewing business of PDX (Pursuit Dynamics) – which it acquired from the stricken company in May 2013 – and has developed it for UK and export markets.

The technology is one of five winners of a Government export-related competition and has won £4,000 of prizes designed to accelerate and develop their growth plans, including an easyJet flight to the market of their choice.

Jake Norman, head of strategy & marketing development for Olympus, said the PDX deal was a calculated risk but looked like paying off handsomely. “We have refined the core technology specifically for the soups and sauces market which we believe holds the most value. We have industry professionals with at least 20 years’ experience in food & beverages and they have finessed and developed the PDX technology to a point where we know it will deliver real value to customers in the US and other global markets.

“Up until now our business has mainly been within the UK but marketing help from UKTI is taking us across the Atlantic and we are very confident of success there. The soups and sauces market in the States is 10-15 times that of the UK.”

The Government’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, has awarded Olympus Automation a major grant as part of a £1m project to explore other potential applications for the science behind the technology.Olympus is also enjoying success with other refined PDX projects – chiefly the PDX Batchmate, which has already been adopted by three of the big bakeries in the UK.

PDX Batchmate is a highly accurate liquid dosing system that allows a faster flow of ingredients. The technology brings more accurate dosing which results in shorter production times, a more consistent and higher quality product with less ingredient waste.

PDX Batchmate can be retrofitted onto current installations or included in new dosing lines.

Olympus is also commercialising 3D scanning of food factories; with PDX 3D Scanning, a factory can be scanned and the pointcloud viewed in the Cave (3D point cloud projection room) at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry.

Users are able to walk through their factories and even add CAD machinery and objects to their factory.

Norman added: “3D scanning will reduce factory downtime on projects because the majority of pre planning can now be conducted off site. Factory managers can now remodel and optimise factory areas with unprecedented understanding and accuracy.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: The installation at Larco Foods which produces 9000 kg of healthier soup an hour

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