Dantech UK

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Dantech UK's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Dantech UK is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Managing Director Colin Turner
DanTech’s UK facilites
Celebrating 20 years in business, the DanTech Group has
refocussed itself to keep astride of innovation time and
time again. As a result, it has experienced strong organic
growth as a cutting-edge technology manufacturer and a global
exporter of British-built machinery for use in the food industry.
Once an importer of foreign-made machinery, it is now an SME
manufacturer and exporter that employs 30 staff. Managing
Director Colin Turner discusses how the changes were made.
Food is the largest manufacturing sector within the UK, with probably the largest
unskilled workforce, and compared to the motor or pharmaceutical industries, it
has the lowest automation for the diverse processes it encompasses. Traditionally,
countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany have exported their
machinery and technology to Great Britain, while there is just a small proportion
of food processing machinery built in the UK. DanTech, although an SME, has
managed to position itself as a manufacturer and exporter to some of the world’s
largest processors.
Focusing on growth
Planning for growth came late to us, but we saw the opportunities of exporting
by engaging with the DTI “passport to export” and “global growth” programmes.
At the time, we had little in the way of products for export. Fortunately, we
were granted the opportunity to buy-out a supplier that faced bankruptcy. The
intellectual property rights were non-transferable, and staff feared for their jobs.
So, following a failed due diligence examination, we managed to bring the key
»Managing Director: Colin Turner
»Founded in 1999
»Based in Lancashire and
»Services: Food processing
»No. of employees: 30
»Privately owned company
»Colin Turner has been
honorary Danish Consul for 15
years and is a Freeman of the
City of London
DanTech UK
Highlighting best practice
design staff in to DanTech, and formed
a separate engineering company to
complete our manufacturing work.
Our sales, marketing and research
and development departments are
separated from manufacturing by
nearly 240 miles, but this works well
as neither company looks over the
shoulder of the other. Both companies
have their own profit centres while
remaining dependent on the other.
There is no cost disadvantage or
competition between us. Our main
competition, instead, comes from non-
EU countries such as Switzerland and
the USA, where manufacturing costs
are higher than ours. For that reason,
we work closely with international
distributors and often directly with the
end user.
Food for thought
We have adapted well to change
and have taken up research and
development opportunities. This has
led to a pilot plant manufacture, part
financed by the EU and its partners
such as the Fraunhofer Institute and a
number of other European co-partners.
The latest technology we are
pioneering is the use of high-power
microwave energy for cooking,
tempering and pre-heating of various
solid and liquid foodstuffs.
It is a very interesting science: simply
put, microwaves oscillate hydrogen
and oxygen molecules 896 million
times per second, causing friction and
hence heat. The processes are normally
contained in a tunnel or resonance
chamber and offer great advantages
for production, such as “just in time”
production planning, zero increase
in bacterial growth during tempering
meats or heating liquids homogenously
for pasteurisation and sterilisation.
Because microwaves are electrically
generated, green and renewable
energy sources can be utilised as
High-powered industrial
microwave system
designed and built by
Our sales,
marketing and
research and
are separated
by nearly 240
an alternative to fossil fuels for
In the meat industry there is a demand
for portion-controlled weights. Not
just to save packaging costs, but also
to allow consumers to control their
food intake and processors to gain
maximum yield of premium products.
To meet these demands, our designers
came up with a hydraulic meat press
for forming frozen and part-frozen
meat such as bacon, pork loins and
rib-eye steak.
The DanTech form press turns a
natural, randomly shaped product
such as bacon into a uniform profile;
hence every pack of bacon will have
the same shape and weight. The result
is extremely accurate, which shapes
and gives better presentation to the
consumer. Our designers decided to
rethink how a former could be made
and via clever engineering succeeded
in using “mechanical advantage”
to reduce energy requirements by
60 per cent. This great development
is now sold in China, South Africa
and across the EU, with the most
important marketplace being the USA.
More recently Chile has been our first
venture into Latin America.
Early on we started working with
the largest privately-owned US
bacon processor, we then took their
advice to customise our equipment
to suit the US market by following
principles of hygiene and sanitation
laid down by the American Institute
of Meat. Ideas were shared through
close collaboration in the UK, USA
and Europe and this has helped us
to capture a wide market in just
Challenges ahead
With full order books for the past three
years, the skill shortage concerns us as
it would make running an apprentice
scheme impossible. We have also
experienced skilled people from
Eastern Europe returning to their home
country, having initially benefited
economically from becoming member
states of the EU in 2004. We have
found that the competition for skilled
labour is significant and many people
on hourly rates will move between
jobs for small wage differences.
Furthermore, the modern workforce is
geographically mobile and more able
to move to marginally higher paid jobs,
while job security is seen as less of
Our success has been based on
innovation, seeking out niche markets,
meeting customers worldwide face
to face, tenacity, developing the right
product and searching out the suitable
marketplace. Getting there has been
through effective networking, online
research and above all listening to our
customers’ needs. Now that we have
achieved our current goals, we look
forward to innovating and developing
further lest we stand still or risk
With full order
books for the
past three
years, the skill
concerns us as
it would make
running an
DanTech is a
manufacturer and
exporter to some of
the world’s largest


This article was sponsored by Dantech UK. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster