A South Australian firm that is developing automated technology for the flavour and fragrance industry is moving to Tonsley Innovation District.

Worth more than US$24bn worldwide, the flavour and fragrance market involves the infusion of new products with specific smells and tastes in order to enhance the customer experience. Applications include anything from fine perfumes, shampoo, toilet paper, hand sanitiser, candles and cosmetics to laundry detergent, chocolate, beverages and car upholstery.

Accurate Dosing Systems manufactures purpose-built robots to accurately measure out thousands of aromatic oils that are used in the creation of formulas for specific flavours and fragrances. Currently based in Lonsdale, the company is relocating its operations to a brand new tailored facility at Tonsley. The idea is to utilise Tonsley’s collaborative, entrepreneurial culture and international network to grow the firm’s global reach and impact, while tapping into the extensive automation expertise within the district to elevate the business’ approach over time.

Masoud Bahmai, co-founder and Managing Director of Accurate Dosing Systems, says the move to Tonsley will enable his team of engineers to work alongside like-minded specialists in high-value manufacturing and partner with the higher education sector to innovate new designs for the company’s advanced range of ‘dosing’ robots.

“Our most high-end robot, Quanta, is the ‘Ferrari’ of our robot range and is able to generate a sample scent or flavour 30 times faster than a conventional dosing robot, allowing formulas to be created in seconds instead of hours,” says Bahmai. “This means we can help manufacturers batch-produce flavoured items and come up with new samples in a significantly condensed timeframe, which enables us to be the first to respond to a client briefing on a new flavour or fragrance and which is, quite simply, a game-changer for the industry as a whole.”

The appeal of Tonsley was compelling for the Accurate Dosing Systems team, given the opportunity to move into a custom facility that, once completed by March 2022, will provide a showroom, increased office space and an impressive welcome for clients.

“Having clients come and see us at Tonsley Innovation District will give us a wonderful customer interface, and one that says ‘We are part of networked innovation community and we make world-class products’,” says Bahmai. “Our Tonsley headquarters will also help us attract and retain talent in engineering and automation, as we are situated alongside global automation firms such as SAGE, Rockwell and ZEISS while also being co-located with Flinders University’s innovation hub. We hope to grow our team of five engineers to about 20 engineers over the next five years, so being located in a place where we can expand effectively over time will be crucial to our ongoing success.”

Vince Rigter, Renewal SA Project Director for Tonsley Innovation District, welcomes the arrival of Accurate Dosing Systems, the first of its kind to join the Tonsley community, and believes the ever-increasing number of automation experts on site will have a significant positive impact on SA’s competitive advantage in this sector.

“Once again Tonsley is demonstrating that a culture of community and shared access to infrastructure, talent and emerging knowledge across the innovation sector is what manufacturers want and need in order to accelerate the development of their products and grow the scale of their operations and output,” says Rigter. “Tonsley not only facilitates trust-based networks between organisations with common ground, but breaks down traditional barriers between industry, academia and the Government so that genuine cross-sector collaboration and innovation can co-occur more rapidly.

“The arrival of businesses such as Accurate Dosing Systems supports and expands the existing innovation ecosystem at Tonsley while providing the company with a fertile environment for sustainable growth, job creation, technological advancement and increased commercial success. That is great news for local manufacturing and for our state’s economy.”

Accurate Dosing Systems is Australia’s only manufacturer of dosing robots for the flavour and fragrance industry, with its nearest competitors based in Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands and France. Established four years ago by Bahmai and his two co-founders, Mark Pitcher and Andrew Fotheringham, the company began with a single prototype design for the original Quanta robot and found early success at the 2018 World Perfumery Congress in France. The firm now exports its dosing robots to food and fragrance manufacturers across the world.

The robots developed by the Accurate Dosing Systems team have helped transform a traditionally labour-intensive industry into one offering high accuracy, short manufacturing lead times, reduced cross-contamination and a small machine footprint.

“Unlike the robot designs of some of our international competitors, our Quanta robot is compact, attractive and light,” says Bahmai. “This means it can be assembled in a multitude of spaces, which is part of our commitment to providing flexible and practical dosing solutions. People may not realise that a fine fragrance can contain up to 120 different ingredients, so a superior level of automation is required to measure and dose raw materials in the right quantity, while protecting a client’s intellectual property and maintaining the highest product standards possible.

“Between us, the team has more than 50 years of accumulated knowledge of the flavour and fragrance industry and we are leveraging this to develop the best dosing technology in the world. We know that our new home at Tonsley will give us the platform we need to future-proof our business and take flavour design and production to a new level.”