Vale of Mowbray has been baking a range of traditional pork pies in Yorkshire since 1928, available in Iceland, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Nisa. When the company needed to wrap over 5 million pies   in nine days it turned to KernPack to deliver the solution.

 The challenge

Vale of Mowbray had been experiencing steady growth and winning more business from national supermarkets, resulting in up to 700,000 pork pies being produced per day. Long-standing customer Iceland had been taking on more products and placed a major Christmas order, which prompted the bakery to conduct a review of its packaging capacity. It became clear that the existing set-up would not be sufficient and the famous pie company needed to expand its packaging capacity by 50 percent.

“Our products have a short shelf-life so the new order meant we had to wrap more than 5 million items in 9 days, in the run-up to the festive season,” explained Piotr Cienkosz, production manager, Vale of Mowbray. “We needed a new flow wrapper to deal with the increased output but also an entire new line, including metal detector, tray de-nester, box machine and label applicator.”

Vale of Mowbray’s existing packaging solution included two flow wrappers from Italian manufacturer GSP (General System Pack), so it was a straightforward decision to choose GSP again, as Piotr continued: “We previously invested in GSP after extensive research into six suppliers, concluding it was the best solution for the business – they make incredibly reliable machines. We knew GSP was talented at working closely with us to create very flexible machines, coupled with their impressive commitment to training and installation.”

The company went out to market to source a UK supplier of a GSP 75 EVO, which can wrap at speeds up to 400 packs per minute. “KernPack was the best in terms of price and being able to accommodate our necessary machine modifications,” said Piotr. “We deal with up to 15 manufacturers and KernPack is one of the most flexible and proactive in discussing what we need and suggesting solutions. They don’t just disappear once the contract has been signed and we’ve since built a strong, collaborative, business rlationship.”

Solution

 As the bakery has around 40 different products the new flow wrapper had to be able to accommodate many different types of tray and film. GSP designed the machine around Vale of Mowbray’s specifications, making small modifications to a standard machine. This process included in-depth testing with multiple products and discussing specific requirements with the GSP engineering team.

“Over the last few years, we’ve learned a lot about what could be improved so we fed some modifications into our latest machine,” commented Piotr. “GSP’s strong customer-centric approach meant we had the same engineer throughout the entire process, collaborating with us to ensure the amendments would give us the exact machine we needed.”

Modifications included shortening the in-feed due to space restrictions; a new safety feature which stops the machine being operated while the folding box is being changed over and a new chain cleaning system so grease does not clog the wrapper’s chain when packing without a tray.

Benefits

 The new flow wrapper was up-and-running within 24 hours, increasing capacity by 50 percent and giving Vale of Mowbray the confidence it could fulfill the significant festive order, wrapping over 5 million products in nine days. But the investment is also paying other dividends. The additional capacity is being used throughout the year as other customers increase their orders.

The record-breaking weather of 2018 has also created other peaks in demand, which the new capacity can handle effortlessly. Over the late May bank holiday for example, the company sold over 3 million pies in one week, due to the hot weather and promotions in various supermarkets.

“During the busiest periods, we run the packaging line 24/7 for up to 10 days, so minimal down-time is critical,” said Piotr. “We change each machine’s set-up 10-15 times a day and the GSP wrappers have been designed with this in mind. Changing between different products and tray sizes only takes 5-7 minutes while a film change takes under three.”

Vale of Mowbray also benefits from KernPack’s national engineer network which enables a rapid response to any issues. One example was when a new touch screen was required for a wrapper’s control panel. KernPack arrived with the screen the next day to avoid any unnecessary downtime.

“We selected GSP again not only for the reliability, flexibility and efficiency of the equipment but also as a company they do not let us down,” said Piotr. “Coupled with KernPack’s focus on customer service, it’s a winning combination. Both place the customer experience at the top of their priorities and offer a solid, serious response to any issues – they set the industry standard in this area and this gives us tremendous peace of mind.”

Our Flow Wrappers are all electronic, robust and simple to operate. Our extensive range of models offer excellent solutions for all industry sectors, including automatic supply lines and end-of-line applications.

We can provide the perfect tailor made solution for any product. Our systems range from controlled atmosphere to high speed applications and high intensity production automated factory lines.

Our flow pack machines and systems will treat your product with the same care and attention you take to produce it. Find out more about the GSP 75 EVO

“We selected GSP again not only for the reliability, flexibility and efficiency of the equipment but also as a company they do not let us down,” said Piotr. “Coupled with KernPack’s focus on customer service, it’s a winning combination. Both place the customer experience at the top of their priorities and offer a solid, serious response to any issues – they set the industry standard in this area and this gives us tremendous peace of mind.”

Piotr Cienkosz, production manager

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