Fabcon Food Systems upgrades crisp packaging machines in South Africa

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Former sub-contractor Fabcon Projects to expand

Related tags Potato chip

Fabcon Food Systems (FFS) has developed a range of packaging machines with NPS (National Packaging Systems) in South Africa, which can replace old bag makers on Wright Machinery with the same footprint, at higher speeds.

The former sub-contractor, Fabcon Projects (Fabcon Engineering Holding Company) rebranded in September last year to become FFS to design and build equipment including batch frying, slice feeding, vibratory conveyors and cereal seasoning systems.

Factory expansion

Trevor Howard, director, FFS, told FoodProductionDaily, the challenge is finding the time to build equipment and turn it around in a fast pace of time.

FFS is very much a new company. Not that we are learning our trade, but at this stage it’s about being accepted by the industry​,” he said.

Fabcon Projects has been making conveyors and processing equipment for 20 years. Historically, as a sub-contractor for other companies but now they have branched out on their own as FFS, which I formed together with the owner of Fabcon Projects, otherwise known as Fabcon Engineering Holding Company​.

A lot of our rivals deliver machines in a 16-20 week timeframe. We are doing six-10 weeks delivery time which is a huge difference, but we are stretched. Eventually, we will have to move to bigger facilities, to build our equipment. We currently have three industrial units in Norwich, and there is space on the industrial estate to rent out to assemble a line if we need to​.”

PPM, Allen, FMC

Howard has 40 years’ experience in food Processing and handling in sectors such as french fries and potato crisps (chips) as well as snacks, frozen foods and fresh corn and formerly worked with PPM, Allen, FMC and Wright Machinery.

He said NPS based in Durban, South Africa, has a lot of experience in bag makers and the two companies partnered to install two retrofit upgrades at a factory there as part of a six-month trial.

He said more than 3,000 Wrights Machinery bag makers were installed across India, China and Russia, 30 years ago and they need to be upgraded.

The company has now launched the Fabcon HCFS 220 batch fryer, which uses at least 40% less energy and produces up to 220kgs of finished product per hour.


The energy saving is achieved by utilizing a high velocity, modulating gas burner with a potential 10-1 turndown ratio with an immersion tube heat exchanger for heat transfer and fuel efficiencies.

The combustion rates allied with low Co2 ratios, gives a maximum flue temperature of 295°C, less than conventional systems​,” said Howard.

One of the first contracts FFS won under its newly-established brand is Weetabix where it installed a seasoning drum to put a glaze on its mini Weetabix cereal in January this year.

The company can also supply spare parts for vibratory and mechanical conveyors including controllers, leaf springs and rubbers, drive units, buckets, belts and bearings, sourced from OEM suppliers and works with Layton Food Systems and American Extrusion, in the US.

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