IndustrySearch talks with A&D Australasia to hear why businesses should adapt to new food weighing technology as well as share their vision of where they see the food processing industry heading.
Can you tell us a bit about A&D Weighing?
A&D Weighing started about 40 years ago by a team of engineers in Tokyo who specialise in analogue and digital technologies, which is what the name A&D means. Analogue is a physical movement, while digital is electronic. It is the art of converting physical movement into digital results and that is reflected in our technologies whether it is in the medical field or blood pressure monitors etc. What we showcase mainly in Australia is weighing technology, ranging from basic scales to hi-tech equipment such as what we call dynamic weighing, which is the most popular thing we feature for exhibitions like this (foodpro). The technology is for weighing packets of products that are moving at the same time and rejecting the ones that are underweight so the consumer will not end up with an underweight product and the manufacturer does not end up with a loss.
What advice would you give to businesses who have not adapted to technology like yours?
They need to look at this technology quickly because technology is becoming more affordable, the price of technology is coming down, and simultaneously the price of labour is increasing, more importantly, the return of investment on technology is now really tangible. People are looking at ways of reducing labour cost and (adopting) automation in many ways. And when it comes to our business, automatically weighing every product you make without having someone to write down a weight report into an excel spreadsheet is (you will surprised how many companies do this) becoming obsolete and the ones that automate are the ones that are leading the way.
Where do you see Food Technology headed in the next 5 years?
In our space we find out that the big driver that is making manufacturers adopt technology are the big supermarkets. As they are following a lot of the European quality structures (companies like Tesco and others), we find that the approaches of the systems and measurement systems that we make such as metal detectors, checkweighers, x-rays machines etc. are being driven by the supermarkets, so if you want to tune in to what these supermarkets' requirements are, you will be putting your business in a really good position in the next five, ten years. That (to me) is the real driver in the fresh food space. As more food gets packaged, it gets weighed, measured, checked and that is what is driven by supermarkets more than anything else. For businesses (small or large) that want to remain relevant, they need to look at this space and see how to get involved and put themselves in a really strong position.