Ask the Expert: Lyn Pitt

Lyn Pitt, Director of DT&G speaks with International Confectionery to highlight the hygiene aspect of their machines, easy operation, sustainability practices and customer/machine service and support. 

Finn equipment from DT&G is built to the most rigorous standard allows client to meet and exceeds international food safety standards, hygiene, sanitation, and protection from allergen transfer are imperative. All benefits of production and quality are lost with excessive downtime for cleaning and sanitation, we moved from the modular belts to Intralox ThermoDrive, which are lightweight and easy to install with better cleanability, better performance, less maintenance, and longer product shelf life – ThermoDrive was the right choice for us and is for our clients. Avoiding hygiene risks posed by fabric belts or exposed fabric or yarn re-enforcements and overcoming time consuming cleaning sanitation processes. The belt is very easy clean, taking under five minutes to remove chocolate, reducing product loss and offering greater energy efficiency. 

A complete wash down of the machine or a product changeover has seen the utilisation of efficient design and components, the design team from the early days when our Founder Frank Finn set the standard to current innovative design, has always been to offer the best of quality engineering and design with no compromise. 

Now more than ever, consumers are focused on the environment in which their food is produced so we ensure our machines go above and beyond expectations in support of our clients. 
 

What hygiene challenges are there with coating and polishing solutions?  

The challenges of bacteria and allergen build up within the modular coating belt, having joints and hinges is a real challenge as they requiring cleaning and sanitising using water, which is never a promising idea in chocolate production and are labour intensive, creating costs and excessive down time. The ThermoDrive belt has removed these challenges as it is far more efficient and food safe as well as reliable and predictable. 

Why is easy operation a crucial factor for DT&G machinery and confectionery coating solutions more generally? 

Machines are simple to use and tailored to client production, either operated manually or with complete automation, data reporting and Dashboard capability. Secure remote access with download capabilities for production analysis make life easier for production managers. For most efficient production we supply de-humidification and air colling equipment, specially engineered by our DST supplier and conveyor systems to transfer between Finn Coater and Polisher, from storage areas and to packing if needed. 

The latest machines allow inclusion such as chopped nuts and fruits to be added, also powders such as cocoa or fruit. This can be manual or by automated dispensers specifically designed and integrated into the PLC.   

Making our equipment flexible and easy to use, whatever the product centre, coating, or finish required.  

How do you offer easy operation of belt coating technology like your Finn Coater or finishing treatments like the Finn Polishers?  

Allen Bradley, Rockwell technology, has been developed alongside our hardware and innovative design. The reliability and easy process has allowed for customer requirements to always be the reason for our development. From manual operation to automated we are always on hand for support due to the remote access. The optional benefits reducing manual labour and streamlining process are due to industrial modular gateways that allows universal communication with varied field equipment regardless of the protocol used. 

The high-level security protocols with a preconfigured web browser dashboard interface can be viewed from any computer, tablet, or smartphone. 

Data acquisition and data logging are configured within the device which allows the end user to monitor and later review (historical logging) or to analyse recent trends (real-time logging). 

Daily reports that include, process trends and alarms are generated daily. These reports will therefore be emailed out to each email address that has been preconfigured. 

These developments guarantee the best of traditional engineering with advanced technology applications.  

Is sustainability important to DT&G, why? 

 It is important, we believe, to build lasting relationships with our customers and provide the best possible confectionary equipment. People, our stakeholders and the planet go hand-in-hand. We have always built our machines to last and fulfil the customers’ needs, ensuring the best return on the investment. This long-life cycle parallels with the long-lasting relationships with our customers, as many of our machines have been used through generations of chocolate producers. We currently have machines in daily use after thirty years of operation and at the end of their life they can be fully recycled.  

We are also very aware of the challenges that the confectionary industry faces, with climate change threatening the production of raw materials at the start of the supply chain. We believe it is our responsibility to work on sustainable solutions and support the systems that make up the industry.  

What practices are DT&G implementing to become more sustainable? 

We have always worked on sustainable and ethical production and recently with the University of Liverpool’s Low Carbon Eco-Innovatory to devise a plan for reducing our carbon footprint and improving our environmental practices. We are now working on a new set of Environmental and Ethics policies that will help us achieve the long-term goal of net-zero carbon emissions and will use annual sustainability reporting to ensure we keep on track.  

Making the machines efficient has and always will be a focus as we create the best coating and polishing solutions we can for the customer, but this time, it is also to benefit the planet. Our remote access control solution was of great benefit during covid, but it also acts as an alternative to excessive flying if the customer opts for that course of action.   

 
What customer/machine service and support do you offer? Why is this important to the company? 

Our customers’ satisfaction is of the utmost importance. We do this with constant engagement and communication throughout the process so that all needs and requirements are met. Our team of specialist engineers are always on hand to support our customers, whether that is remotely or face to face. The engineers will attend site and commission the equipment, training engineers and operators to ensure customer satisfaction and save time. We offer replacement parts and machine support, still supplying machines over 30 years old and in daily operation, the plan is to be doing the same 30 years from now for the equipment currently leaving the factory. It is so important that are client have trust and respect for the Finn brand, we want our equipment to be supporting the next generation of our customers  

What do you see for the future of the company? 

We are a family-owned company with many very long-standing employees and wish to continue to evolve and improve according to confectionary trends and customer needs. We love the industry we are in, the technology being developed, the focus on cocoa farmers, sustainability and the growth in awareness of different tastes.      

To optimise design and digital innovation we have historic design records and specialist innovative engineering team along with the support of the MTC, Liverpool region, drawing on extensive resources to address our practical, technical, and strategic manufacturing challenges, offering complete project overview and recommendations for the whole of the production process.  

We are very aware of our environmental impact, the Earthshot Awards have given empowerment to those leading in the change of industrial and commercial management and hope to a generation that the next ten years every opportunity will be taken to ensure the future. We will continue to design and build the best equipment, to deliver the best products, with the highest hygiene standards while allowing ourselves and our clients to We have registered with B Corp and are implementing strategies to win the accreditation and show our commitment. 

Our connection with Utah State University, Aggies Chocolate Facility is proof that Cocoa discovered by the Aztecs in 600AD is still so relevant and exciting today. For the benefit of future generations, we will take responsibility for our impact on planet and people and ensure that Finn’s are still the most relevant and best investment in chocolate coating and polishing production, it is within this facility that the relationship between all food production and engineering is experienced by students. We look forward to being part of new confectioner’s journeys in the USA and throughout the world. 

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Media contact
Roshini Bains,
Editor, International Confectionery

Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922
Email: editor@in-confectionery.com

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