Food manufacturers in Saudi Arabia have been attracted by unique leak detection technology developed by Aztech Engineering Solutions, based near Warrenpoint. The equipment is used to pinpoint leaks in a wide range of sealed, flexible food packaging.
Following extensive trials, Aztech is currently engaged in detailed negotiations with key Saudi food processing companies and is excited by the business prospects there and in other parts of the Middle East.
Invest Northern Ireland has helped Aztech’s innovation focus on a range of leak detection equipment through marketing support, including the Export Start Programme and R&D assistance. Aztech has also taken part in Invest NI’s ‘Going Dutch’ programme that helps companies explore business opportunities in the Netherlands.
“Our patented Flexicheck machines are used at the end of a manufacturing line to detect leaks in the packaging,” said John Rooney, Aztech’s Chief Executive. “The machines are designed by us to meet the specific requirements of manufacturers. Proven benefits include cost savings and higher standards of quality control in an industry where product quality is key.
“Current test methods on end-of-line packaging can be slow, inaccurate, labour intensive and destructive. Certain test procedures also pose a potential contamination risk. The Flexicheck range is non-destructive, allowing good food to re-enter the production line and leaking packs to be re-packed thus eliminating waste. Testing is also designed to be non-subjective thus negating human error and leading to consistent product quality,” he adds.
Welcoming Aztech’s success in Saudi Arabia, Mark Bleakney, Manager of Invest NI’s Southern Regional Office, said: “Aztech is an enterprising company committed to innovation for global markets. It has identified and is now exploiting a significant market opportunity for its expertise in mechanical engineering and has developed an innovative solution for food manufacturers seeking to ensure the integrity of packaging.
“We are working closely with this company to help it to develop its business outside Northern Ireland,” he adds.
Aztech has developed three machine types, all bespoke builds:
- Flexicheck In-line leak tester for 100% inspection;
- Flexicheck Random sampler for automatic sampling directly from the production line; and
- Flexicheck Offline.
“Current leak testing technologies available in the world marketplace do not offer the same advantages as the Flexicheck range, which we developed following requests from local food manufacturers. We are now exploring export markets and have already successfully introduced to the highly competitive Dutch food industry,” adds Mr Rooney.
The leak detection machines also have applications within the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
Aztech Engineering Solutions was formed by Mr Rooney, a qualified mechanical engineer with 20 years’ experience, in industries such as pharmaceuticals and electronics.