King’s Lynn firm awarded almost £20,000 to develop machines for food manufacturing industry

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Lynn engineering firm Dodman Ltd has been awarded almost £20,000 to help develop more efficient machinery for the food manufacturing industry.

Dodman, based on North Lynn Industrial Estate, is a market leader in the design and manufacture of equipment for the food industry. It focuses on providing bespoke and specialist equipment and services to the processed vegetables and fruit, fresh-cut vegetables and leafy products, frozen food, ready meals, snacks/cereals and canning sectors. It has been awarded £19,627 from the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative.

Currently, 150,000 tonnes of vining peas are grown and processed every year by a network of UK farmers and processors. At the heart of the process is a “Tr value” which defines the tenderness of the crop and ultimately its commercial value. The Tr value is measured with tenderometer machines located on farms and in the processing factories.

With the funding, Dodman will research and develop a more robust calibration method for these instruments which doesn’t rely on fresh produce. If successful, the machinery will help develop the food industry by producing more accurate ‘tenderness’ results and less food waste.

Mark Reeve, chairman of the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative, said: “Dodman came to us with an innovative project proposal to make current calibration methods more robust and reduce the level of fresh produce wasted as part of the process.

“If successful, the new machinery will provide more accurate results and help the food industry become more efficient. I am pleased to be able to offer Dodman funding and look forward to seeing the results of their research.”

Tim Skerritt, managing director of Dodman Ltd, said: “The current method for calibrating tenderometer’s is time consuming and utilises organic samples. In response to a call from key industry partners, Dodman Ltd is researching a method to provide robust calibration of our Tr400 tenderometers which can be used industry wide. Grant funding from the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative will allow us to develop hardware and work with the industry to deliver a robust future solution.”

The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative is run by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) with support from New Anglia LEP, Norfolk County Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, and the local authorities covering this area.

Grants are available to organisations looking to invest in specialist equipment, new market and supply chain development, ways to improve productivity and efficiency, and the application and commercialisation of Research and Development.

To find out how the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative could help to grow your business, visit www.agritechgrants.co.uk or call the LEP on 01480 277180.