PDX Reactor targets US after scooping $1.6m grant

By Jenny Eagle contact

- Last updated on GMT

The PDX Reactor can reduce the time of soup processing
The PDX Reactor can reduce the time of soup processing

Related tags: Baker perkins, Management

Olympus Automation has won a £1m ($1.6m) grant from the UK’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) for its PDX technology, just weeks after a former Baker Perkins chief joined the company.

Mark Beaver, who was business director at Baker Perkins for 14 years, joined the company as managing director three weeks ago and will look to export its technology to other markets including the US and Europe.

Beaver told FoodProductionDaily it was a great time to move to Olympus Automation because it is a dynamic firm, going through an interesting stage of growth.

Soup processing

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Its PDX Reactor is an industrial steam cooker​ which can heat, mix and cook liquid based foods, such as soup and sauces in half the production time of traditional machines.

“It’s an exciting time to come onboard. I have experience from a larger organization in terms of systems and processes but Olympus Automation is growing very rapidly and organically. We’re in a position now where we need a strong business platform to move forward​,” said Beaver.

“The company just got a grant from the TSB to develop a range of applications for the PDX Reactor, for example in soup processing and sauces, and we are currently working with Lincoln University in the UK at the implementation stage​.”

InterPack 2014 debut

He added entering the export sector was a new area for the company to invest in and it was looking to take its technology overseas to the US and across Europe.

It will showcase its products including its PDX Reactor, Autocoding and Batchmate at InterPack from May 8-14, in Dusseldorf, Germany, for the first time next year. 

Speaking about his time at Baker Perkins, Beaver said he joined the firm when it was still part of the Invensys group and he was responsible for the company restructure when it was sold in 2006 and changed its name back to Baker Perkins.

"When I joined the firm it was part of Invensys but broke off from them seven years ago​,” he said.

Total portfolio

Baker Perkins didn’t fit into their business model so we went into private ownership and I was part of restructuring the managerial team. I was responsible for the confectionery, cereal and snack foods sectors delivering its technology on a global basis​.

We had a strong business process in terms of how we sold the equipment, including the final product, the machinery and technology and we spent a lot of time visiting companies to see how we could work together​.

We made alliances with flavor and ingredient suppliers for example to offer a total portfolio that went with the machinery and a full level of service and support. A lot of business came from SME’s that didn’t have a large infrastructure and we helped them to put those in place​.

The pressures nowadays are driven by the retailer with continuous price demands. Our customers are always looking at ways to reduce costs, maximize efficiency, coupled with demand on product traceability, ie knowing where the product has come from​.”

Beaver takes over from former managing director, Harry Norman, who has become CEO.

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