VANCOUVER, B.C., Feb 19, 2020 -- Great Little Box Company Ltd. (GLBC) announced today that it has been recognized as one of BC’s Top Employers for the 15th time. This annual competition organized by the editors of Canada’s Top 100 employers has selected GLBC as one of the companies to be recognized for this coveted award.  This special designation recognizes the British Columbia Employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work.

“Great Little Box Company is honoured to be considered one of BC’s Top Employers. We have always believed our success is attributed to the amazing employees on our team” said Christine Tindall, Vice President, Human Resources of Great Little Box Company.

Headquartered in Richmond, B.C., GLBC has established itself as a one source location for innovative and custom packaging and label solutions. Founded 38 years ago, the company is now comprised of a diverse workforce of 300 employees and growing. GLBC’s unique approach to supporting and valuing their employees includes everything from wellness programs and birthdays off to a company wide goal that when reached takes all employees on a “BOX GOAL” trip.


ATHENS, Ga., Feb. 17, 2020 – Three new models have been added to Carrier Transicold’s next-generation Supra® series of diesel-powered truck refrigeration units, providing more powerful cooling choices for small to large box trucks. Carrier Transicold <> is a part of Carrier, a leading global provider of innovative HVAC, refrigeration, fire, security and building automation technologies.

“These next-generation Supra units deliver improved capacities more efficiently, while using less fuel and refrigerant,” said Scott Parker, product manager, truck products, Carrier Transicold. “The new design reduces sound output by as much as 3 decibels relative to earlier models, making the new Supra series especially well-suited for nighttime urban deliveries. It also trims weight, resulting in units that weigh 5-9% less than comparable competitive units.”

Joining the Supra S6 model, which was introduced in 2019, are the S7, S8 and S9 models, providing solutions for trucks ranging from 10 to 28 feet in length. Using about 50% less refrigerant, all four models provide greater cooling capacity* than prior models – up to 20% more, depending on model and operating conditions.

“Improved efficiency means fuel economy is significantly improved,” Parker said. “For example, a Supra S7 unit consumes about 37% less fuel than its predecessor. When parked and operating on electric standby power, models in the new Supra series deliver refrigeration capacities* that approach or are equal to their capacities when engine-driven, surpassing some competitive products, which can lose up to a quarter of their capacity when running on electric standby.”

The platform’s new architecture streamlines the refrigeration system into a configuration using 42% fewer unique components than earlier models. To reduce service requirements, the series includes design enhancements, such as the use of maintenance-free fans and upgrades that enabled the oil-service interval to be extended by 33% to 2,000 hours, among other improvements.

A wrap-around honeycomb grille provides a more contemporary appearance and is removable for easy access to internal components.

The Supra series now features Carrier Transicold’s sophisticated APX™ control technology, providing intelligent performance optimization, automatic trip data recording and enhanced system diagnostics. Drivers can conveniently tap into the APX system’s functionality through the dash-mounted Cab Command™ control interface.

The new Supra series seamlessly integrates with Carrier Transicold’s eSolutions™ telematics offering, enabling remote monitoring and control of the refrigeration system, GPS location data, geofencing and many more capabilities.


February 11, 2020

SASKATOON & WINNIPEG– Scientists from the University of Manitoba (UM) used the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) to analyze the bubbles in dough and help create healthier bread.

Ever since early humans discovered how to grind grain, the art of breadmaking has flourished and today bread is the most widely consumed food in the world. The apron has now been replaced by the lab coat as scientists seek to understand the intricacies of creating healthier, more consistent commercial bread products that meet changing consumer demands.

“Breadmaking is part art and part science,” said Dr. Filiz Koksel, an assistant professor of food and nutritional sciences at UM. The art stems from the bakers’ deft touch with dough, but the science is “about what’s happening with ingredients.”

Along with a team of colleagues, Koksel used the CLS synchrotron to explore how a call for reduced sodium in bakery products affects the billions of tiny bubbles that help make bread such an appealing food. Their work was recently published Food Research International.

Her research stems from Health Canada recommendations that Canadians reduce the amount of sodium in their diets, “and among all foods, bread and bread products contribute about 30 per cent of this excess consumption,” she said. Building on the PhD work of Dr. Xinyang Sun of Nanjing University of Finance and Economics in China, Koksel’s team, which included UM colleague Dr. Martin Scanlon and Dr. Michael Nickerson from USask, set out “to see if it’s easy to reduce sodium and to identify processing challenges related to using less salt.”

The key to commercially produced bread is the crumb or texture that is created by an even distribution of uniform-sized bubbles throughout the dough, Koksel explained. Consumers of commercial breads like consistency, meaning no big holes. In contrast, bakers of artisan breads like French baguettes strive for bubbles of varying size. Bubbles are an important consideration given “bread can be up to 80 per cent air by volume.”

At the CLS, the researchers prepared simple non-yeast doughs to assess how varying the salt content affects bubble formation and dough-handling properties. They created a wide range of samples using two different wheat cultivars popular in bread making, various water and salt contents, and a number of dough-mixing times. Then, X-ray microtomography recorded real-time changes in the bubble size and distribution in the samples. Using the non-destructive X-ray technique was critical to the study, said Koksel, because the delicate bubble structures would be destroyed if the samples were cut open for observation.

The scientists found that reduced salt created a stickier dough, which has implications in large-scale processing when dough sticks to machinery. There were also fewer bubbles in the dough samples prepared using stronger wheat cultivars, higher water contents and shorter mixing times.

In the end, all the variables tested require adjustment when salt is reduced to ensure a good-quality non-yeast low-sodium bread, but using the optimal mixing time was of particular interest.

“During mixing, three critically important tasks are taking place,” said Koksel. “First, mixing blends and hydrates the ingredients. It’s also critical to developing gluten proteins in the wheat, and to incorporating air bubbles into the dough. Mixing also affects the dough handling properties. Reducing sodium can end with a good result if water, the wheat cultivar and mixing are all optimized.”

Additional changes to bread formulations such as increasing fiber or reducing other additives will require similar evaluations, she said, “because with each change we’re facing new processing and product quality challenges.”

This research had joint funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) as well as investment from the Saskatchewan Agricultural Development Fund.


February 10, 2020

How robots are changing the brewing industry

Munch’s most famous work, The Scream has four versions in three different mediums. Each variant is unique yet unmistakably recognizable. Historically, brewing has been a mix of art and science, but with beer in high demand, optimizing the brewing process for a consistent product is key to meeting customer requirements. Here, Tatjana Milenovic, Group Vice President for ABB’s Food and Beverage division explores the application of robotics in a brewery setting.

Craft beer has seen a surge in popularity and helped boost the overall UK beer market, which saw a growth of 2.6 per cent in 2018. This is the biggest increase for 45 years. The US beer market also saw a growth of 1.8 per cent in the same period, while total volume of sales fell by 0.4 per cent. With apps making it possible for consumers to access updated tap lists for watering holes worldwide, it’s clear that consumers are willing to pay more, or wander further afield for a quality or artisan product.

Savvy breweries are increasingly turning to intelligent automation to increase productivity, flexibility and boost profits. Adopting robotics in keg picking and packing applications can reap multiple benefits for breweries supplying the catering sector.

For smaller craft breweries robotics can offer the opportunity to scale up operations to reach a wider pool of consumers. While some breweries may be reluctant to move away from traditional practices, automating select processes can achieve consistent high quality. It can also remove brewery staff from repetitive or labor-intensive tasks to focus on managing process efficiency.

Keg processing is a crucial area where robots can help. An increasing number of keg types exist, so a system that can grasp all shapes and sizes, without the need to change the robot or the gripper, is a flexible solution that can adapt to future keg designs. This low maintenance and adaptable system can reduce business costs dramatically, mitigating the need for frequent equipment upgrades.

ABB’s IRB 6640 robot is ideal for brewery applications. The robot features upper arm extenders and different wrist modules for easy customization, and can bend fully backwards, allowing it to fit into dense production lines. Once the stacked pallets arrive on a conventional stacker, the pallets are isolated and moved to the unloading station. The robot grasps each keg, with a maximum payload of 235kg, rotates it through 180 degrees and places it on a conveyor belt. Another robot then loads the kegs back on to empty pallets for distribution.

These robots can be used with ABB’s RobotStudio software,  which checks the residue in the keg, capacity and pressure conditions as well as the correct temperature for cleaning and rinsing agents. The system can be used while the robot is operational and records data relating to the life cycle of kegs.

Consumer preferences are changing, and breweries must adapt, using technological innovations such as robots to help. While inconsistencies add value to artwork, automation solutions allow beer that is crafted with 100 per cent consistency.

To explore how ABB’s robots have been integrated in a world-famous German brewery, visit the website.


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