Kevin O’Brien, formerly of Conveyor Belt Engineering, will be based in Yorkshire, to grow the bakery and snack sector claiming more processors are focusing on hygiene and want to convert from plastic to stainless steel belts to avoid contamination issues caused by bacteria and broken parts.
Dedicated agent 24/7
Mike Truitt, international sales director, Cambridge Engineered Solutions, told FoodProductionDaily while its metal conveyor belts have been available through select OEMs and direct sales, this is the first time UK and Ireland-based companies will have a full-time, dedicated agent available 24/7.
“Europe has always been a strong market for Cambridge belts but the opportunity to expand within Great Britain and Ireland is an important step in our global growth plan,” he said.
O’Brien started his career with German-based Forbo Seigling and was a former manager of Ashworth Europe. For the past seven years, he has operated Conveyor Belt Engineering, in Yorkshire, UK.
He said his initial focus will be on baking and snack foods but the company wants to expand into other food industry sectors such as meat, poultry and frozen food.
“There are big opportunities for growth. I have been involved with plastic modular belts previously. Companies that use these products now see that hygiene is a difficult area for them to address,” he said.
“Most plastic belts have some form of bug trap. And, the increasing cleansing regimes create many issues and cause the belts to fail. Delaminating/plastic particles and plastic dust is common from these products.
“If you examine a plastic belt, quite often you see many broken parts. Unlike stainless steel, a metal detector does not detect these parts. While there is a premium plastic product that can be obtained, only larger pieces can be detected. So there is a strong argument for companies to revert to a long-term technology of steel and wire in their processing to avoid contamination issues.
“During my time within the plastics industry, I have known several food processing plants to remove all plastic belts that are in direct contact with food for this very reason.”
Truitt added the British Isles has been one of its strongest territories internationally over the years. But with current growth plans in place, it realized the UK and Ireland would require a more focused sales approach to effectively serve the market.
“The food production industry in the UK and Ireland is extremely large and spread out across the region,” he added.
“Previously we sold direct to OEMs or the end-user from the States. Outside of occasional visits, we had no representative on the ground that called on clients and managed accounts. We are looking forward to having Kevin be the face of Cambridge in the region as our first full-time sales representative.”
Cambridge designs and fabricates metal conveyor belts for companies around the world in food processing (baking, beverage, meat, poultry and snack foods), agriculture, packaging and industrial manufacturing (automotive, building products, carpeting, chemicals, electronics, glass, high temperature environments, protein and solar energy).