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CenFRa appoints independent board of equity holding directors

12 August 2011

Changes at the Centre for Food Robotics and Automation (CenFRA), the UK's food and beverage automation consultancy, has resulted in the establishment of an independent board of equity holding directors from within the industry, which will allow the business to operate autonomously in the future. The change in status allows CenFRA to expand its remit and provide manufacturing advice to food and beverage manufacturers across the UK and internationally.

Originally established as a not for profit business by Yorkshire Forward in 2007 with a vision to promote food industry automation, recent Government policy changes, brought about the disengagement of the regional development agency earlier this year. Since then, CenFRA has been progressing through the extremely complex move from the public to private sector.

CenFRA's new found independence will open up significant new market opportunities with more businesses able to take advantage of its independent advice and automation expertise and the company itself able to concentrate on the best interest of its clients.

In a further boost to the Doncaster based business, it has just received outline approval to manage a £2.1 million European Regional Development Funded programme, which if fully approved, will enable the Yorkshire and Humber food and drink SME businesses it works with, to viably consider investment in automation and robotic solutions.

Confidence in CenFRA's future, as a vital driving force behind the increased uptake of automation and robotics in food and drink manufacturing, is demonstrated by a number of directors and senior executives investing in the business and now working proactively to ensure that it continues to win new work from a cross-section of SME's and larger companies.

Soeren Vonsild CenFRA's Chairman, believes that under the new incorporation arrangements the business will continue to go from 'strength to strength'. He said: "Our new commercial focus allows us the flexibility to reach out to an international audience which is very exciting for us."

A further major benefit of the new incorporation is that the company is now able to work in partnership with outside corporate and individual investors to further grow the business, to potentially open up opportunities in new geographic markets and other connected industries.

CenFRA will continue to build on its strong foundations of technical engineering excellence, in-depth industry knowledge and unbiased advice and is currently working on projects in a multitude of different sectors including fresh produce, meat and bakery. The company is at the forefront of emerging technologies, offering up to the minute advice and guidance on new automation and robotic equipment, state-of-the-art simulation design, bespoke tender preparation and custom-built machinery design.

In addition to providing support to all sectors of the food and drink industry, CenFRA has also developed a unique automation related e-learning course, in close collaboration with the National Skills Academy (NSA).

Mr Vonsild concluded: "I believe that it is now more important than ever for businesses to understand the long term benefits of investing in new automation and robotic technologies. The entire UK food industry is having to continually explore efficiencies, and manufacturers must invest in removing costs if they are to stay ahead of competitors. A large number of food sectors, including fresh produce, bakeries, ready meal producers, meat packers and breweries, have already benefited from CenFRA's expertise and, thanks to the incorporation changes, its directors are confident that even more will now have that opportunity."


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