Ken Tinnell, VP & General Manager and Jason Rolleston, Marketing Manager
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the industries worldwide, its effect on the food and beverage industry has been a mixed bag. While the restaurants and cafes have taken a big hit in the wake of the pandemic and the subsequent social distancing norms, packaged and canned food products have stayed resilient, even soared, in this crisis. Nonetheless, to outlive the catastrophe, both these sides of the business now need to optimize their operations. For packaged food companies, it means supporting their workforce with robust technology to meet the increasing demand efficiently. And, for restaurants and food outlets, the need is to facilitate more contactless and automated food delivery methods. And catering to both these needs, the solution is one and the same—automation.
However, only giving a digital makeover with conventional off-the-shelf conveyor systems will not provide the necessary optimization that the food and beverage industry is looking for. As every business has its unique needs, automated solutions need to consider those particular needs and create a context. And, that is where Shuttleworth comes into the picture.
“We design and create a tailored, automated solution for the food and beverage industry. We are perfectly suited to tackle all food handling challenges, and particularly in this time of COVID-19 pandemic, we are the food and beverage industry’s ‘automation vaccine,’” says Ken Tinnell, the VP and general manager of Shuttleworth.
The company is touted as one of the best strategic partners in the food and beverage industry when it comes to automated product handling solutions. To cite an example, an urban indoor vertical farming company that has reimagined agriculture with Shuttleworth’s automation solutions. Thanks to the company’s strategic partnership with Shuttleworth, their smart farms can replicate the ideal growing conditions for crops inside industrial spaces, ensuring the perfect balance of sunlight, humidity, nutrients, and so on.
Shuttleworth is able to bring such innovation for its clients because of its nearly six decades of experience in delivering robust and integrated automation solutions to various industries, including food and beverage, automotive, e-commerce, electronics and technology, medical and pharma, personal care, printing and binding, and solar industry. This vast cross-vertical expertise makes them particularly well-suited for delivering automated product handling solutions in the food and beverage industry. A case in point, in this regard, would be Shuttleworth’s recent partnership with a bakery. The client approached Shuttleworth for a customized vertical buffer for cooling their newly-baked biscuits. The Shuttleworth team found out that a vertical buffer that they had recently developed for an energy client could be the right fit for this unique requirement, and so they adapted the very idea, molded it, and made a vertical biscuit buffer that would serve the needs of the bakery.
However, this success barely scratches the surface of what Shuttleworth can really offer to its clients. Tinnell highlights that the company provides a wide array of product handling solutions that cater to a variety of application needs. The scopes of application include accumulators, blade stops and brakes, combiners, custom devices, diverters, rotators, stackers, and vision systems, among others. Besides, the company’s in-house engineering design, fabrication, and assembly teams bring in their decades of experience to develop durable, reliable, and tailor-made conveyor equipment that can operate even in the harshest environments.
Notably, Shuttleworth’s Slip-Torque® roller technology is exemplary for gentle product handling and known for offering the highest level of safety in the industry. Also, the Slip-Torque® surface is covered with segmented, loose-fit rollers that can be customized for various applications. “We have over 200 different types of rollers, which allows our engineering design team the needed flexibility to customize the conveyor systems,” says Jason Rolleston, marketing manager of Shuttleworth. “While catalog conveyor systems offer predetermined solutions with zero flexibility, we can fine-tune and dial it into the minute details based on our client’s particular requirements.”
Shuttleworth also offers a complete line of automated in-feed conveyors for packaging machinery, SMARTFEED®. And, new products and unique solutions keep on coming from their product pipeline, like Dynamic Accumulation by Shuttleworth (DASH) or high-speed laners, thanks to the financial resources they can leverage because of their association with ProMach, one of the largest global players in the packaging spectrum.
Imbued with such provisions, Shuttleworth’s automated solutions provide more than just start-stop functionality. For instance, Shuttleworth’s multi-lane accumulator accepts the build-up of product flow from the upstream equipment allowing production to continue even if the down line packaging machines fail. Such flexibility and innovation are continually helping Shuttleworth carve its niche in the food and beverage industry. According to Rolleston, positive word of mouth has always been their go-to advertisement strategy.
With such cutting-edge solutions and pioneering engineering approaches, Shuttleworth indeed has a significant edge over others in terms of higher throughput, lesser product damage, and minimal maintenance requirements. On that note, Rolleston shares, “We always make sure that our equipment is working the way they should, and unless we achieve that, we never leave the project.” Through these nuanced efforts, Shuttleworth is poised to help its clients “differentiate the world of food manufacturing and handling processes,” concludes Tinnell.