Supplying the brewing, food and beverage industry.

Automating food and drink production during lockdown

LB Foster vertical debander removing straps at Britvic Rugby

Since the UK government announced its lockdown on the economy back in March, the team at L.B. Foster Automation & Materials Handling has continued to operate safely, whilst fulfilling its order book commitments for a wide range of customers across the brewing, food and beverage sector.

Food and drink manufacturers have had to respond to an unprecedented surge in demand from UK consumers as panic buying took hold. Producers able to gear up production quickly have benefited most from this surge in demand, with automation playing a key role behind the scenes in keeping the supermarket shelves stocked.

L.B. Foster Automation & Materials Handling’s range of innovative automated solutions include debanders, arctic pallet stackers specifically for cold storage applications, palletisers and depalletisers. In addition, the company’s flexible conveyor solutions for heavy and awkward loads includes applications in the whiskey industry for barrel drain and fill lines.


                     Conveyor                                                                         Vertical Debander

Dr Matt Stephenson is Head of Projects at L.B. Foster Automation & Materials Handling. He explains: “Being located at the centre of the UK, our business is able to respond quickly and efficiently to project demands all over the country. During the current crisis, that has been of particular benefit because we have been able to respond to demand from a wide range of customers requiring our solutions to increase speed and efficiency in both manufacturing and logistics applications.

“We are in a unique position to offer design, manufacturing and production of integrated and autonomous automation and conveyor solutions all under one roof. That’s because we bring together the experience and expertise of L.B. Foster Europe’s East Midlands-based Industrial Automation and Materials Handling businesses into a single, design, manufacturing and production ‘Centre of Excellence’ in Nottingham.”

The company is part of L.B. Foster, the global NASDAQ listed engineering solutions business. Its core focus is automatic mechanisation, mechanised handling systems and bringing together automatic mechanisation and mechanised handling systems in class-leading continuous automatic solutions.

Solutions include ATEX compliant conveyor systems with integrated robotic barrel handling for the premium drinks sector, including Diageo and William Grant & Sons. Horizontal and vertical debanders automatically remove plastic retaining straps from storage pallets in the food and drink sectors for clients, including Britvic.

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Ruth Evans

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