Organisers of Foodex Meatex are confident that this year's show will be the most successful yet.
"As the date of the show approaches, the sales office always gets increasingly busy but this is the busiest I've ever seen it at this time of year," said Foodex sales and exhibitor relations manager Linda Moore. "There has already been a great deal of interest in the various promotional options so exhibitors will need to be quick if they want to maximise their presence at Foodex Meatex."
New exhibitors include Heathpak, a Wales-based company that specialises in packaging for the food industry. The firm will be launching two new machines for the UK market at the exhibition, which it claims offer innovative solutions for tray erecting and filling.
Another new name is Ireland-based Food Design Applications, a company manufacturing industrial cooking and chilling equipment. The firm plans to introduce two new products at the show: an all-in-one oven that can roast, steam, cook, sear and grill, and a unique colour monitor that continually monitors not only the temperature but the colour of food both inside and out.
The monitor, which the company believes represents a huge step forward for achieving traceability and quality control, has been developed in conjunction with the Universities of Limerick and Cork, which both specialise in food science.
Another company new to Foodex is CSM Food Processing, which was recently formed by parent company Combustion Systems to take its combustion expertise into the food processing industry. The firm, which has developed equipment that can heat food quicker, plans to demonstrate the new equipment for the first time at the 2004 show.
A new meat-forming machine is also being launched at the Foodex Meatex exhibition. Manufacturer Formax claims that the new Maxum700 series introduces a number of interesting features - there are no offset linkages for example, or stress points in the machine drive system.
These innovations are made possible by two mechanically independent servomotors powering programmable mold plate and knockout drive systems. Unlike other types of motors, servomotors utilise feedback in combination with a servo drive to control torque and speed. They also minimise backlash and operating variations that occur over time due to wear on mechanical components, such as belts, bearings and gears.
As a result, the Maxum700 forming system can operate at speeds up to 120 strokes per minute.
Formax also claims that the forming system's one-piece pump box is easier to clean and maintain, resulting in lower operating costs. It also provides a flatter, truer running surface that gives the machine greater structural integrity and streamlines the forming process. The one-piece design decreases mold plate drive loads while minimising opportunities for product leakage.
These products suggest that there is a great deal of innovation in meat processing. "We are delighted to have so many new exhibitors this year," said Foodex chief executive Steve Bax. "With the wealth of new products being launched, visitors are sure to find their journey invaluable. In addition, the new feature areas will help those with specific business needs, such as food safety or recruitment."
Foodex Meatex will take place 14 to 17 March 2004 at Birmingham's NEC, UK.