• Foodmach laser cutter operator Keegan Phillips, Foodmach director Malcolm Nurse, Nationals leader and member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, Foodmach CEO Earle Roberts, and directors Phil Biggs and Dallas Coote.
    Foodmach laser cutter operator Keegan Phillips, Foodmach director Malcolm Nurse, Nationals leader and member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, Foodmach CEO Earle Roberts, and directors Phil Biggs and Dallas Coote.

Australian packaging machinery manufacturer Foodmach has splashed out more than half a million dollars on a laser cutting system for its 5200 square metre factory in Echuca, Victoria.

Laser cutters are not generally part of a packaging machinery manufacturer’s tool kit, which makes this investment a bold decision by the business, according to Foodmach CEO Earle Roberts. He said it is another “significant step onwards and upwards”  for a regional business now making its mark on the global stage.

The machine purchased is a Fiber LME from Italian company Cutlite Penta. Roberts said having ready access to a laser of this quality – instead of being forced to outsource – is a cornerstone of the company’s strategy to maintain independence and control over project timelines.

“It has been our ability to guarantee delivery times because we control every stage of production in-house at Echuca which has seen us secure major contracts against bids by some of the world’s leading manufacturing brand names, particularly out of Germany,” Roberts said.

“We took a gamble on our first laser in 2014, and while it proved dependable, it also taught us if we wanted to be ahead of the pack we needed to really invest in next-generation technology,” he said.

“And that’s what we have now – this Fiber LME from Cutlite Penta uses a 4.0kW laser source to boost Foodmach’s in-house capabilities to a new level.

“It cuts up to eight times faster, handles a broader range of materials with more accuracy while using less energy and air, and produces cleaner cuts that don’t require deburring.

“The speed at which it operates results in less stress and work-hardening of the materials, from aluminium to mild and stainless steel, while its automatic lift pallet exchanger virtually eliminates loading and unloading times.

Roberts said that the investment into the new laser reinforces how vital it is that Foodmach maintains as much control as it can over quality and timing.

“Covid  has laid bare the dangers of too much exposure to supplier production and freight delays, so we’re actively working to minimise those risks.”

The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, officially launched the laser with a ribbon-cutting ceremony – at which traditional scissors filled in for the laser – to celebrate turning on this spectacular piece of precision engineering.

Walsh told attendees that “this remarkable local business” is one of Echuca’s and Victoria’s best-kept secrets but also one of its “most amazing success stories”.

“You could drive past Foodmach in Darling Street, Echuca and never realise the true size of the complex, not be aware it employs 110 people and be forgiven for not knowing its national and international reputation,” Walsh said.

“Which is why I was delighted to be invited to declare it officially open, as part of the production line in this over-achieving Victorian business, which is taking on, and beating, some of the world’s leading brands.

“And having seen its team in action, it’s no surprise to see a big part of its success comes from the commitment and enthusiasm of them all,” he said. “A fantastic step forward for a fantastic local success story.”

Pernod Ricard – the second-largest wine, spirits and champagne company in the world – appointed Foodmach to design and install a multi-purpose glass and canning line at the centre of its Pacific operations in the Barossa Valley.
It can fill, pack, case pack and load onto pallets around 24,000 containers per hour.

And Foodmach is delivering state-of-the-art filling lines to natural beauty business BWX Limited, whose portfolio includes skincare brands Sukin, Andalou Naturals, USPA and Mineral Fusion. The $33m project includes Foodmach line control.

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