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Specialisation and dedication - the Arcall route to worldwide success.

Specialisation and Dedication - the Arcall Route to Worldwide Success

While the Soviet Union is hardly ever out of the headlines these days, it is not exactly noted for its consumption of such seemingly bourgeois products as cocktail biscuits! That, apparently, is about to change.

Leading British spray equipment manufacturer, Arcall Ltd, has completed a 900,000[pounds] contract to supply 20 of its Arcall 660 biscuit oilers as part of a Soviet programme to increase biscuit consumption tenfold from 40 to 400g per person per year. This will hardly put it in the major biscuit consumption league. By comparison, current industry estimates put German consumption at between 8 and 9kg a year, the UK is at least 15kg, and the Dutch and Finns at around 20kg. Nevertheless it is a major expansion programme involving the commissioning of 40 new plants.

Thirteen of the installations are in factories in the Russian Republic, while the remainder have gone to the newly independent countries of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakstan. They are to be used to spray edible oils, glazes and preservatives on to the top and bottom of biscuits including cream crackers, soda crackers, Graham crackers and cheese crackers, in addition to the cocktail biscuits.

Built on Success

This is another success for Arcall's 660 unit, which was originally developed in the mid 1970's to spray Ritz crackers, and its consistently accurate application of oil spray across the full width of a band, particularly at reduced oil levels, was a significant factor in clinching another major export order. This time the customer was food giant Nabisco, and 25 of the 660 machines are now being installed in cracker production lines throughout the USA.

Standard oil application rates for products such as Ritz crackers are around 16 percent. Their machine can achieve this rate accurately across the band and consistently over time. All these machines are capable of any application rate between 5 and 20 percent. At low levels, many machines on the market fail as the spray nozzle orifice diameter has to be reduced to such a degree that it causes a fine oil mist and hence poor coverage. Arcall claims that its 660 unit is the only machine currently available that will consistently achieve this oil level.

In fact, the general ease of maintenance and cleaning, which has been designed into all of Arcall's machines, is claimed as another major factor in winning the order from Nabisco. This followed a detailed evaluation by the American company into oil applicator machines currently available on the market.

To date over a hundred of 660's have been installed across the globe. A success story that recently appointed marketing director, David Woollard, attributes to the company's policy of specializing and becoming expert in one field of food preparation - notably spraying.

A Policy that is Paying Off

"When you have a reputation like Arcall's, it is tempting to start diversifying into other areas," he said. "Frequently this leads to diluting your expertise to a point where your core business is at serious risk. We know spraying, and equally important, the market knows that we know spraying."

Last year, exports accounted for 70 percent of the company's sales and the 1991 figures are likely to show an even greater level of international trade. Currently, turnover is around the 2.5m.[pounds] mark and Mr Woollard confidently predicts that this will grow to 5m.[pounds] in the next few years.

While the UK will undoubtedly remain an important market for Arcall's equipment, recent years have seen North America grow in importance to the company. In 1990 Arcall opened its own sales, service and customer support organisation, Arcall Inc, in Richmond, Virginia.

Europe and the Far East are also fast becoming key markets for the company's products, and sales to both regions are expected to grow over the coming years.

Although the company originally started trading in the early years of this century, it was not until the early 1960's that it started developing its own spray machines. Initially, these were introduced to the company's oil and release agent customers as a way of developing what was then the company's core business. In 1972 Croda Plc acquired Arcall's oil interests and the company has since then concentrated on the development of state-of-the-art spraying equipment. Significantly, Croda was one of the first customers, through a spray machinery deal, which is still going strong today.

Every machine is made to order and tailored to meet the specific customer's precise needs. The current product range includes machines for continuous band spraying, moisture barrier spraying, biscuit glazing, confectionery mould greasing, high throughput biscuit and cracker oiling and flavouring, bakery greasing and general purpose spraying.

A high proportion of the workforce is engaged in design - the company has invested heavily over the years in CAD. Few of the machines are truly standard. It was this commitment to designing the best spraying equipment that David Woollard believes was a major consideration in winning both the Russian and Nabisco orders. "Main contractor for the Russian order, German- based Werner and Pfleiderer placed the order with us, and we won it against international competition. In total, the contracts for this project came to over DM300m., and I believe that Arcall was the only significant UK-based supplier."

New Dedicated Slurry Sprayer

It was the same level of commitment that led to the recent launching of what the company believes is the world's first truly dedicated slurry spraying machine.

Called the 660S, it is a departure from other machines currently available on the market, which were originally designed to spray oil and then adapted to spray slurry. It will spray a tonne of finished product an hour, with up to 20 percent of slurry. A typical application would be the spraying of hard fat containing up to 40 percent of powdered flavour at temperatures of between 35 and 40C.

Slurry is mixed in a specially developed agitator tank, and unused slurry is recycled back to the tank. An even spread of flavours over the full width of the 1200mm band is achieved through multiple disc heads, and the 660S incorporates an integral clean-in-place system as standard.

One of the advantages of Arcall's new spinning disc system is negligible misting. However, in order to eliminate misting totally, a filtering system can be fitted to draw in air at both ends of the machine and return any captured slurry to the tank.

A comprehensive twin back-up system cuts out unscheduled stoppages. This includes dual top and bottom disc heads and dual pumps. The flow of slurry can be redirected and, if necessary, a single pump will feed all four heads.

As slurries settle-out quickly once sprayed, flat surfaces and slurry traps have been designed-out and care has been taken in the engineering to ensure that all surfaces have proper drainage angles.

The launch of this new product follows what the company has described as an 'extensive and lengthy' R and D programme, and the first production machine has recently been completed for a European customer.

Readers wanting more information should contact the company at Westminster Road, Wareham, Dorset, tel: 0929 554884.

PHOTO : Traypacker for cartons of soup

PHOTO : An Arcall 660 spraying machine seen in use

PHOTO : Product seen leaving an Arcall spray unit
COPYRIGHT 1991 Food Trade Press Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Arcall Ltd., food processing machinery manufacturer specializing in spray equipment
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Nov 1, 1991
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