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Industry says farewell to Bill Downie

The catering supply industry has given a fond farewell to retiring Meiko UK Managing Director Bill Downie.

The event was held at a celebratory lunch – and Meiko product launch preview – at the stunning headquarters of the Honourable Artillery Company in London.

Consultants, catering equipment distributors, project managers and installers, key Meiko UK customers and editors from the catering trade press, plus core staff from Meiko UK and Germany, all stood as one to give a round of rousing applause to the man who has led Meiko UK since its formation in 1993.

Meiko group CEO Stefan Scheringer, although absent due to the flu outbreak which has decimated Germany, provided a statement read by Meiko Chief Technical Officer Dr Thomas Peukert, which praised Bill Downie for his business vision and strategic thinking, but most of all for his overriding passion for plain and sincere speaking, whether dealing with customers or Meiko itself.

Dr Scheringer also credited Bill Downie for landing Meiko’s largest ever single order of warewashing equipment – over 1800 machines for high street pub giant Wetherspoon – and for subsequently donating more than 160 of the machines they replaced to charitable causes.

“For Bill, the customer always came first in his list of priorities,” he stated.

 

The chosen successor as Meiko UK Managing Director Paul Anderson added, “Bill is a true legend of the industry and I look forward to continuing his legacy.”

Bill Downie commented: “I know Paul will serve the business well and reflect its honest and responsible ethos.”

Bill then outlined his career and the history of Meiko UK to the audience.

He remembered well his first encounter with Meiko equipment.

“Prior to launching Meiko UK, I was running a company in the Middle East, representing Hobart, then the world’s largest manufacturer of warewashing equipment. We had bid on a major airline project and confidently expected to win the bid without question.

“But the client actually chose Meiko…and we had never even heard of the company! I resolved then, never to make the same mistake of underestimating my rivals.”

 

The audience were then treated to a presentation and product preview of Meiko’s latest dishwasher, unveiled for the first time outside of Germany.

The exclusive preview of the new M-iClean H dishwasher by Dr Peukert outlined four major benefits of the new Meiko technology.

Ergonomics – the hood can be activated fully automatically, lowering itself after the rack has been inserted and rising after the wash cycle. The control panel can also be located at eye-level with the operator. That means no more straining, lifting or pulling at an awkward angle for kitchen staff, or having to bend down to look at the controls, reducing risk of injury and strain.

Energy Savings – ‘Amortisation in just 1.8 years’ said Meiko Chief Technical Officer Thomas Peukert, who outlined that the new M-iClean H model has created major energy savings compared to the previous generation of Meiko dishwashers, at least 21 per cent.

Climate Savings – Also contributing to these major energy savings is the heat recycling system built into the machine, which cuts steam emissions in the dishwash area by up to 80 per cent.

The ‘Miraculous Shine Package’ describes Meiko’s fan-assisted drying innovation for glassware, designed to eliminate the industry-wide problem of condensation forming on cooling glassware; as racks of washed ware emerge from the dishwasher, they are placed over a clever cooling table, which blows cool air onto the glasses, forcing away the condensation.

Dr Peukert also explained that the new model’s opening and closing mechanism had been exhaustively tested in the laboratory – over 1.2 million openings tested without failure. The hood also features sensors to raise the hood and protect the operator’s hands and fingers if they are accidentally left underneath.

The machine has also been successfully trialled at 17 sites in Germany for more than six months, recording no more than minimum wear.

The Meiko M-iClean H model formally launches at the Internorga Exhibition running from 17-21 March in Hamburg.

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