On the lookout to gain a competitive edge
Mar 13 2012, 10:28 | By Infomedia18
Machinery manufacturers need to solutions that cater to market needs.
Image: SME Mentor
The market for food processing machinery in India has witnessed interesting changes in the last few years, mainly due to the growing acceptance of processed food among wider sections of people. The processed food includes a large number of categories for meeting different taste preferences. To fulfil the demands of end-consumers, technology plays an important role. It is because every process has a distinct role in the production activity and impacts the final product, in terms of quality and taste. Naturally, the market in the recent past has witnessed a number of new products in the machinery category. And every company practises distinct marketing strategies to effectively sell its products. Perhaps, the food processing machinery market in India has not seen such a flurry of activities before.
Adopting smart strategies
Strategies vary as per individual companies. For Buhler, the focus is on clear and concise marketing strategies that drive sales and in turn propel the company towards achieving higher market share and gain an edge over competition. Brand-building is a continuous activity for Buhler, as it operates in a niche market. “We concentrate on brand-building by being present wherever our target customers are present. We mainly do it by organising technical seminars and sponsoring various industry events. Expert speakers make presentation on the latest innovations at the various food processing events. We also participate in reputed exhibitions nationally and internationally,” said Mallikarjuna S, senior manager (marketing & business development) of Buhler India Pvt Ltd.
HRS Process Systems Ltd focuses on providing customised solution, which ultimately offers technological edge to its customers. Similarly, Heat and Control’s specific strategy has been to offer the latest technology adapted for the Indian conditions, and products with excellent local support.
According to Ganesh Prabhu, general manager (factory automation) of Pepperl+Fuchs (India) Pvt Ltd, the company’s global presence enables us to offer the best of both the worlds—high engineering and service standards combined with flexible manufacturing capabilities. “We offer what food-processing and packaging industries needed to make their systems efficient, rugged and reliable,” he said.
Recently, the food processing machinery market has witnessed the launch of few new products by various companies in the market. Even Indian companies have also joined the race. Such phenomenon only indicates the vibrancy and maturity of the market. Let’s take a look at some of these products and their outstanding features.
Lately, Buhler has launched Sortex E that delivers innovative sorting solutions to the food processing industry. The product is primarily designed for the packing line, detecting and removing process foreign materials such as wood, plastic and cardboard. It can also be used in the process line as a colour and shape sorter to efficiently reduce the level of gross and subtle colour blemishes. The high detection efficiency of this sorter ensures clean and safe product with the maximum yield.
Coffee Roastmaster 20 is another product offered by Buhler and is designed to provide small- and medium-sized companies with a flexible high-quality coffee roasting solution.
Similarly, Heat and Control launched Namkeen Line, which is a total solution for all namkeen products, and this line comes in different capacities ranging from 250 kg per hour to 2,000 kg per hour. “The market has accepted this line and almost all the major players in the organised segment have adopted this technology,” claimed Manoj Paul, country manager of Heat and Control (South Asia) Pvt Ltd.
Atlas is another product, which the company claims is the world’s fastest Form Fill Seal (FFS) packaging machine. “These machines have been well-received in the market and several customers have replaced their old machines with the Atlas,” he said.
There is no dearth of products in the Indian market now. Pepperl+Fuchs developed first metal face ultrasonic sensor in accordance with EHEDG guidelines, which is robust and impermeable IP68/69K designed for pharmaceutical and food industries for level detection.
“This product can be used in product contact zone. We have also developed photoelectric sensors series MLE for product contact and splash zones. These products include food grade steel smooth housing (without threads or any sharp angles/edges) to avoid contaminations,” explained Prabhu.
Domestic companies are also not far behind. Take the example of Kanchan Metals, which has recently launched an automated solution for large-scale production of namkeens. “Our solution is well-accepted by large players in the market. The solution has reduced manpower requirement considerably and increased productivity by manifold along with providing a better product,” claimed Sanjeev Gupta, director of Kanchan Metals Pvt Ltd.
The next biggest challenge is to come out with solution-specific products. These should suit the needs of food processors. Global food processing equipment manufacturers try to bring products, which are well-accepted in other countries. This may not happen here in India. Their focus should be on developing products to suit local needs. Buhler could be an example in this direction. The hulling of pulses was highly complex and sophisticated. Pulses are considered trickier to process than rice. This is because their seed coat is firmly attached to the cotyledons due to the high lignin and gum content lodge between the seed coat and the cotyledons.
Taking due cognisance of the fact, the engineers from Buhler in Bengaluru, with the technological expertise and the knowledge of local needs, have been able to solve those problems, which to date have been bothering many Indian processors. It is time for the machinery manufacturers to understand what the market needs and come out with solutions accordingly. This will not only help them grow their business but also enable the food processing industry to reach new heights of growth.
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