Fox’s Biscuits, part of the 2 Sisters Food Group, has made a seven-figure investment in new flow wrapping, bagging and weighing equipment for its Rocky and Party Rings biscuits, as part of a strategy to drive efficiency by replacing legacy equipment.
The project, which includes six Vegatronic 6000 baggers, six Weightronic multi-head weighers, two Eagle flow wrappers and a Delta over-wrapper, consolidates ILAPAK and 2 Sisters’ strategic partnership.
Fox’s Rocky chocolate biscuit bar brand is a household name in the UK, listed with all the major multiples and enjoying a loyal following of consumers. To keep supermarket shelves fully stocked, the biscuit manufacturer has four lines operating 24/7 at speeds of 600 bars per minute at its factory in Kirkham, Lancashire.
Last year, the company identified a need to replace some of its equipment with new technology that would deliver greater flexibility and higher speeds.
ILAPAK was already one of 2 Sisters Food Group’s strategic partners, and had recently helped Fox’s Biscuits out of a potentially crippling downtime situation by airfreighting a flow wrapper from the US when one of the biscuit manufacturer’s flow wrappers succumbed. Therefore, when it came to making further planned investments, ILAPAK’s name was high on the list of potential suppliers.
“We try to work with partners who
understand the challenges we face with our customers. We have worked with ILAPAK elsewhere within the Group and like the way they operate as a packaging equipment supplier. We’d also been pleased with the performance of the Eagle flow wrapper – there are very few flow wrappers on the market that can be relied upon to deliver the speeds we require,” says Matt Soden, category manager, equipment and machinery, at 2 Sisters.
Smooth Flow Wrapping Solution
This time, Fox’s was looking for a complete line solution for flow wrapping individual 21g Rocky biscuit bars and then over-wrapping them in packs of eight. ILAPAK proposed a complete line solution comprising its US-built DSA Eagle flow wrapper, feeding into a sweep system for collating the bars and a Delta over-wrapping system.
Engineered for 24/7 production environments and speeds in excess of 1000ppm, the DSA Eagle incorporates features such as automatic splicing and expanded touchscreen diagnostics for efficiency excellence. Heavy duty construction and the design of its feeding system are also key to the flow wrapper’s exceptional performance at high speeds.
Flexible Multipack Production
As well as producing over 10 million Rocky bars every week, Fox’s Kirkham factory makes 10 million party rings each week, and Fox’s was keen to modernize the packaging process for bagging Party Ring Minis into both individual bags and multipacks.
Four Weightronic 16-10 multi-head weighers would feed four Vegatronic 6000 bagmakers with 21g weighments of Party Ring Mini biscuits to create portion sized pillow packs. These would then be collated and packed into multipacks containing 6 x 21g bag via two Weightronic 14-50 multi-head weighers linked to two further Vegatronic 6000 bagmakers.
Photo caption: Sales and Marketing Manager Tony McDonald (left), pictured sealing the deal with Matt Soden, Category Manager, Equipment and Machinery at 2 Sisters.