Claus Thorsen, Director of Systems Technology
Food manufacturers are constantly pursuing more cost effective process engineering solutions for the production of high quality, innovative products. To assist SPX food and beverage customers in these efforts, the company operates two Innovation Centres located in Soeborg and Silkeborg, Denmark. Within these state-of-the-art test facilities, customers can conduct fully scalable trials to further refine and perfect new food processing systems. Director of Systems Technology Claus Thorsen explains.
What is the main purpose behind SPX’s Innovation Centres in Denmark?
Many of the world's leading food and beverage producers utilize our Innovation Centres as test labs where they can conduct product trials and help mitigate the risks associated with investing in new product development. In our facilities, customers can leverage our technology, along with our engineering expertise and consultative services, to further refine and perfect new food processing systems before making any large capital investments in launching new formulas and products.
We also conduct our own R&D efforts and utilize the centres to train SPX personnel as well as our customers’ personnel in the best ways to use our equipment. Finally, we also use these facilities to help our customers trouble-shoot an issue, explore ways to make their operations more flexible, cut energy costs, increase production volumes or meet new environmental regulations without sacrificing the quality of the final product.
How do you keep your Innovation Centres at the forefront of technology developments?
We are fortunate in that SPX is one of the world’s leading providers of food processing equipment and systems, and we regularly upgrade our facilities to ensure they are equipped with the latest equipment and technologies.
What kinds of food processing tests can be conducted at your Innovation Centres?
In 2011-2012, we established a newly-integrated food and beverage processing Innovation Centre in Soeborg, Denmark. This facility now features equipment from our APV, Anhydro and Gerstenberg Schroder lines of food processing equipment and systems, and is a full-scale customer testing and lab facility where testing and production trials, ranging from fats and oils to drying and evaporation, can be conducted. Likewise, our Silkeborg Innovation Centre is one of the most comprehensive of its kind in the world, offering engineering and application expertise in the field of heat treatment, membrane filtration, heat exchange, homogenizing, mixing, butter, blending, soymilk, bag-in-box filling and advanced process monitoring and control systems.
Do your customers appreciate the ability to leverage your Innovation Centres for their testing needs?
Yes, in fact, most of our customers view SPX as an extension of their research and development teams because we can deliver the equipment, engineering expertise and test facilities they need to help realize their strategic visions. The fact that we can offer our customers the use of these facilities further enhances our collaborative working relationships, and also helps us attract new customers who are seeking this kind of a close, full-service partnership.
What kind of training do you provide at these centres?
We typically arrange courses for our customers on a variety of topics and provide all the teaching materials. Our customers appreciate that we have the capability to train their operators, production managers and engineers on how to best use our equipment, and that we can do so in our facilities, in an off-line environment, away from the pressures of day-to-day production. In each case, a tailored training program is developed, and the courses are often structured around practical trials in our process hall.