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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Technical Advisory Group ensures bright future for CenFRA
Article Type: News From: Industrial Robot: An International Journal, Volume 36, Issue 6
Europe's first centre for food robotics and automation, CenFRA Ltd, has enlisted the help of a team of top industry specialists and academic professionals to provide the food sector with access to the latest technical knowledge and support.
The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) has been set up by the Doncaster knowledge-based business so it can ensure it has access to the latest information on market and technology trends in automation and robotics.
The Group is chaired by Mike Wilson, President of the British Automation and Robotics Association (BARA), who is one of a cross-section of industry professionals, ranging from representatives of the major suppliers, from both BARA and the PPMA to leading academics, who make up TAG. The group members provide their time free of charge, and will be rotated every two years to maintain CenFRA's independence.
TAG will also provide vital assistance in linking collaborative research programmes, help raise CenFRA's profile and arrange for key speakers to attend seminars organised by the Yorkshire Forward backed company.
CenFRA Chairman Michael Taylor is convinced the new group will boost the company's aim to help food and beverage companies maximise their productivity and profits, through impartial, quality advice on automation.
He said: “TAG can help keep us abreast of the latest technical developments in automation and robotics, which may influence what sort of advice and direction CenFRA gives to its customers.”
However, the passing of information will be a two-way affair, with CenFRA in turn providing TAG members, who will meet around four times a year, with feedback from the food industry.
Commercial Director David Cheeseman explained: “TAG is looking for CenFRA to be a conduit of industry trends and issues by following them up with the group, who can then formulate a strategy on how those problems might be resolved. It is that collective technical expertise and experience that we're looking for to work for the good of the food and beverage industry.”
Mike Wilson agrees that through TAG, CenFRA can provide a vital communications link between equipment suppliers and end-users.
He said: “Our main role is to make CenFRA aware of the latest developments in automation and robotics both in the UK and overseas. This includes arranging for its staff to visit each member of the group to ensure their industry knowledge is absolutely up to date. In return, we can take on board issues raised by the food sector and come back with a collective agreement on possible solutions.”
Improving the factory floor environment and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the UK's food and beverage industry is all part of the impartial support and guidance CenFRA can offer companies, including free audits depending on location.
The company launched its new facility in May this year and has a combined investment of almost £two million. Yorkshire Forward is the principal funding agency with additional support from the North West and North East development agencies, known collectively as the Northern Way.