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
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
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).