A Food Mixer with Microcontroller Improvement
Additional Product Features at Lower Cost
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    15 Bacon, Ham and Poultry Meat Processing
    29 Machinery for Food, Beverage and Tobacco Processing
    31 Electric Equipment

Metcalfe Catering Equipment Ltd is one of the UK leading and longest established companies in the catering equipment manufacture and supply sector and has developed a portfolio of equipment for use throughout the food preparation industry. Established in 1928, Metcalfe Catering Equipment Ltd now employ 28 people in the design and manufacture of rugged commercial food preparation equipment, including potato peeling and chipping machines, vegetable preparation machines, food mixers and processors, bread and meat slicing equipment, and waste disposal units. It has a annual turnover of 2.3 MEuro.

The products produced by the company for this market were exclusively based on the use of simple mechanical or discrete analogue technology control systems. The company had not previously undertaken electronic design.

The functionality of the company's equipment has in the past been very limited and the objective of this application experiment was to introduce microcontroller technology into the company's EM20 food mixer to provide improved user features as well as advanced mixing control. The product feature improvements include:

  • A display to indicate programme number, mix, time, and speed settings.
  • Programme recall features to allow the user to select the commonly used mixing cycles for various operations (e.g. pizza, bread, light roll mixture, etc.).
  • Programme setting features to allow the user to define a maximum of four breakpoint values, enabling chefs to establish an easily recalled mixing cycle for the preparation of various batters, sauces or desserts.
  • Slow start facilities to ensure that the mixer does not splash the mixture.

These product enhancements represent a significant technical innovation in the food preparation equipment market, and will allow Metcalfe Catering Equipment Ltd to obtain a major competitive advantage as well as apply the technology to its wide range of products and generate further increases in product sales.

The application experiment's budget was 45 KEuro and the payback period is 15.3 months. The estimated return on investment is estimated to be 450% over the five year product life.

The project started in July 1998 with an 8 month schedule. It was completed on time in February, 1999.

The work programme adopted by the company indicates best practice that will be of interest to companies involved in the manufacture of electrical food processing equipment for the catering industry (Prodcom code 2953), small to medium sized companies whose current product range utilise speed control and user speed selection in a.c. motor powered products (Prodcom code 31), or companies who manufacture equipment for processing products other than food and which involve similar processing actions such as mixing or stirring (Prodcom code 2912 and 2971).


    Metcalfe Catering Equipment Ltd
    Haygarth Park
    Blaenau Ffestiniog
    North Wales
    LL41 3PF
    United Kingdom.

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontroller technology provided Metcalfe Catering Equipment Ltd. with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

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Univercity of Glamorgan
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