November 2017 News

Bringing Reality into the Virtual World

Foodstream engineers have formed a collaboration with local Building Information Modelling (BIM) firm BIMTek to enable the latest laser scanning to capture an accurate 3D image of food manufacturing facilities. This real world image can be imported into the virtual 3D solid modelling world to enable the design of modifications and improvements to structures, processes and equipment. See

The 3D image is produced by laser scanning a “point cloud” and overlaying information using a visual image. The point cloud can be measured to an accuracy better than +-5mm. Accuracy may be increased in areas where the new virtual world needs to interface with the real world. The laser scan model can be stitched together from multiple positions to capture large complex multilevel  factories enabling you to accurately record the whole factory including the building and structural steelwork, pipes, cabinets and cables, machines and supports, lighting and ventilation, access platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders, tanks, valves, penetrations, ceilings, floors and drainage. The scan can be carried out while the plant is in operation and can scan overhead and in remote, inaccessible and dangerous areas.

This level of defining the real world in detail and with accuracy was previously impossible to achieve.

The ability to design modifications and improvements with this reference model of the real world in place will lead to major cost savings by: minimising errors in interfacing with the real world, enabling factory fabrication to accurately interface with reality, minimise site clashes and installation time, enable accurate site layout before installation….

As if this was not ground breaking enough we can now take the new 3D design and project this onto the real world to ensure the site layout is spot on.  Never before have designers/engineers had the ability to close the loop. The ability to take reality into the virtual world for measurement and reference, design a solution and then taking the solution back out into the real world is revolutionary.

Finally a quick preview of work we are carrying out with an associate to automate the design of stairways, platforms and walkways with handrails…keep an eye on this space for an update.

If you are interested in using this technology to save major time and expense in your next project please contact:

David Lewis: phone 040 205 4575 or

Ian Brightman: phone 045 207 0372


Interesting diversification Story

The Qld AIFST recently organised a tour of the Gelita gelatine plant near Beaudesert. It was an excellent tour, from an engineering, science and market diversification perspective. Not that long ago, key markets for gelatine were photographic negatives and x-ray films. Then of course along came digital photography and the medical profession sending x-ray etc images via email and not printing films. This would have left a big hole in Gelita’s market.

However the company now produces a range of 10 different bioactive peptides from gelatine that are good for bone and joint health, in people and pets, and skin health, plus a whole lot more see Gelita also make 15 different gelatin and cellulose absorbable hemostats for absorbing blood during surgery. Diversification worked for Gelita!

FoodStream can assist your company develop a diversification strategy, contact us at   

Of course, Kodak developed digital photography first but its Board refused to allow it to be commercialised as it would affect their profitable photography business. Section 11 Bankruptcy followed……

AIFST and Food Agility

The AIFST has organised a presentation on the new FoodAgility CRC on 6 February. This will be at the QUT Gardens Point, in the Brisbane CBD, at 7 30 pm.

For more details, see the AIFST website closer to the date.

For more on the FoodAgility CRC see This is an exciting venture, with widespread industry backing.

Changes in retail continue

The Australian and international retail scene continues to change, with implications for the food industry.  For example:

  • David Jones has opened Food Halls at six locations,   Looks impressive.
  • The family owned food company Kaufland, part of the Schwarz family company, and owner of Lidl, is opening a Costco type warehouse supermarket in Adelaide.    Kaufman has just passed Carrefour as the biggest supermarket chain in Europe.   The company also plans to open Lidl supermarkets across Australia.    Lidl is a limited range supermarket broadly similar to Aldi.
  • Aldi is planning a big expansion in the USA.    Aldi already has 10 000 stores across 18 countries with a turnover of US$105B.   Aldi stores typically have 1 300 to 1 600 SKUs as compared to 20 000 to 50 000 for a ‘standard’ supermarket, which allows much lower costs.   It plans to be the number three supermarket in the US, after WalMart and Kroger.
  • Aldi is growing in Australia by taking market share from smaller operators such as notably IGA owner MetCash, SPAR and Foodworks owner Australian United Retailers Limited.   Aldi seems not to be taking market share from Coles and Woolworths.
  • Amazon is continuing with its plans to launch in Australia and is fitting out a new centre on the outskirts of Melbourne,   It will launch in 2018 if not by Christmas.   Amazon continues to grow internationally.   
  • Django Davidson of the UK based Hosking Partners ( said in the Weekend Australian, p9, 7-8 October 2017, that Big brand Inc has had its day.    He suggested that the big brands (he cited Kellogs, Campbells and Gillette) have been fleecing customers for ages.   He illustrated this by comparing Kellogs cornflakes and Aldi corn flakes.    The Kellogs cost 2.7 times as much and he claimed not to be able to tell the difference.    Going too far??

Tax changes

Political leaders and economics commentators continue to discuss major tax changes.   These include the following:

  • The Labor Party plans major changes to negative gearing and capital gains tax for housing.
  • The ALP also has raised possible changes to trusts.
  • The journalist Alan Kohler, writing in The Australian,  has suggested major changes to;
    • The three day rule whereby Australian superannuation funds can only invest in assets that can be liquidated in three days
    • Dividend imputation, which he suggests is limiting entrepreneurial management by our big companies, and leading them to focus on safe dividends not growth.
  • The journalist Terry McCrann, writing in The Australian pointed out that 90% of tax revenue comes from 10% of taxes and that we should therefore drop the 90% of taxes that give only 10% of revenue to remove compliance costs.   

Yet more change.

The Australian and international retail scene and other areas continues to change, with implications for the food industry.     Does your company have a change strategy?  Some recent changes follow;

  • The Australian Food and Grocery Council has just released its State of the Industry Report.    Exports are down and turnover is flat while employment has risen by 7 300.   However, rising input costs and a low capital investment of $2.7B, on an industry turnover of $127B, could mean that not enough are planning for the future.   
  • The Obesity Coalition has just launched its eight point plan to tackle obesity, see    This includes reformulating food, making Health Stars mandatory, public education and a 20% tax on sugary drinks.    At present this is Victorian based and its founders are the Victorian Cancer Council and Diabetes Australia and it is part funded by the Victorian Government.    There is also the Australian Sugar Alliance Nutrition Team, which aims to counter these ideas, see   The Australian Food and Grocery Council does not support a sugar tax.   The obesity issue won’t go away.
  • The ‘naturally sugar free’ soft drink company Nexba (  ) has just done deals with Coles and Woolworths.   It says it uses no added sugar or artificial sweeteners.    It uses stevia, erythritol and fruit extracts with the sugar removed.    The Qld based probiotic soft drink company Perkii,, seems to be doing well and has just been awarded a  $1.53 million investment from the Palaszczuk Government’s Business Development Fund to increase production and expand sales across Australia and internationally.   Perkii uses stevia and some cloudy apple juice as sweeteners.
  • Cargill is launching new software applications for agriculture from its Digital Insights Division.   
  • Algae anyone? After gaining “superfood” status, the market for algae could reach up to $44.7 billion by 2023, according to a new report from Fish 2.0, a business competition designed to increase investment in sustainable seafood startups.    This year, the competition has seen a marked increase in the number of algae-focused startups applying to take part, with more than 10 of the 80 startups making it through to phase three (of four) of the competition working directly with algae.    The new free report explains that algae could transform industries if propagation and distribution are able to mature. The report argues that market demand is already in place and coming from many different industries.


  • Automation for protected agriculture ie greenhouses is proceeding fast.   Indoor farm management and automation software firm Agrilyst and automation and IoT hardware and software provider Motorleaf have partnered up to facilitate increased automation for indoor, hydroponic growers. According to the companies, growers will now be able to connect Motorleaf devices to Agrilyst’s platform and visualize all of their climate and nutrient information in real-time alongside their crop yield data. Read more from Agrylist here. Read more from Motorleaf here. Read more about the partnership here.
  • A new food cryptocurrency will launch soon, FoodCoin, through an ICO (initial coin offering), see   NOTE: this is NOT financial advice!! Caution is strongly recommended!
  • Mogul’s billions to build steel empire, p2, Weekend Australian Sept 30 to 1 Oct 2017.   British businessman Sanjeev Gupta, who has just bought the Whyalla steel plant, has moved to Sydney as he plans up to five major projects in Australia, in steel, aluminium, power generation, magnetite mining and infrastructure including ports.   He acknowledges our high costs but said this was over-rated, and that technology and productivity were the key.   He saw energy as a key opportunity.    A one GW power plant at Whyalla is planned.   He said that the world had to move to renewables and that Australia was drifting.   He has bought the renewables company Zen Energy,    Gupta plans solar panels for all of its 150 buildings throughout Australia.   


Training opportunities

As this newsletter goes out we are presenting our thermal processing program – the “Retort Supervisor’s Course” in Qld. And the following week we are presenting the course at the Golden Circle (KraftHeinz) cannery.  We are also expecting to run a program in Victoria in coming months – on-site for a small retorting company – but they are open to external participation.  Please contact Gordon Young at if you may be interested.

Registrations are now open our Food Drying Technology course in cooperation with CSIRO Werribee (14 & 15 March). Registration is via the CSIRO webpage – see or link from

The courses are organised through Food Industry Engineering (FiE) – Direct links to coming programs:

ADDITIONAL EXTRUSION SEMINAR IN EUROPE: Our co-operators in Switzerland – HES-SO Valais – are organising a specialist workshop/seminar on 8 Feb following our short course, on “Latest Technology for Producing Meat Analogues“. Information on this event can be downloaded from our course webpage at


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