One of the interesting exhibitors at Gulfood Manufacturing next week, is UFT who are promoting a Factory in a Box. While this seems to be an extension of UFT’s normal turnkey factory offering, it makes me think of a time in the late nineties in South Africa when container based “factories” were very popular.
This was driven in South Africa by an excess of used containers, Corporate Responsibility’s responses to the new South Africa and arguments of low cost, simplicity and portability allowing units to be relocated in the event of failure.
In my experience this didn’t work out as the excess of used containers was soon depleted, the costs of installation and modification where higher than predicted and relocation turned out to be expensive because of transport and service connection costs. Containers have fared better as retail or service outlets than as food processing facilities.
Research shows that the principle of an “instant”, prefabricated or modular factory that can be quickly installed on site is attractive. There are still many examples, including those developed by multinationals. This definitely needs to be borne in mind and investigated when new processing is being evaluated.
Click the images below to be directed to sites explaining the different concepts.
Researching this has been an eye opener for me and it surely needs some research and evaluation to make sure we are not missing something by “going it alone”.