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On-target yield control system brings 'rapid profit improvements'

09 October 2012

2Sisters Food Group is enjoying significant productivity benefits after the installation of Marco’s Yield Control (YCM) and Line Control Modules (LCM) at their Solway Foods sandwich manufacturing site in Nottinghamshire.

The company's Project Manager Tom Priestley has been instrumental in this project from the outset, having set clear goals to reduce giveaway/over-pack and eliminate labelling errors. During preliminary discussions, over-pack on certain lines was estimated to be between 5-9%. Given the high volumes of ingredients used, this clearly translates into significant profit sapping cost penalties, especially for high value protein ingredients.

The 16 station YCM LineMaster system operates in take-away mode, whereby operators remove the required quantities of ingredients from weighed trays and add them to the sandwiches. The LineMaster work-stations are designed for ease of use by the operators, whilst ensuring consistent pinpoint target weight accuracy for the ingredients as they are added.

The LineMaster terminals feature a simple traffic light bargraph display, which guides operators rapidly through the weighing process. A key element of Marco’s YCM is the in-built automatic optimisation software, which continuously monitors operator performance and subtly adjusts target weights to ensure minimum giveaway for the individual ingredients is maintained consistently. These changes are transparent to the operators, who continue to react to the green light. Line changes can be carried out rapidly with all relevant data being down-loaded directly to the workstations from a central DataMaster PC.

The LCM system has involved the installation of 2D scanners and control panel to a six lane Lieder sandwich assembly line, interfacing with a Domino G200 Printer. Supermarkets and consumers are demanding ever-increasing information on the finished product and this installation will allow Solway to meet future trends in labelling.

Tom Priestley is pleased with the overall results: “ROIs of 12 – 24 months have become the norm within the food industry. The overall Marco System has represented a low risk project, which is on target to produce a return on investment of less than six months. We established clear goals from the outset and these have been met through a proactive joint engineering partnership.”

Footnote: Founded in 1988, today Solway Foods is part of the successful 2Sisters Food Group and is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of fresh salads and sandwiches, with an annual turnover in excess of £130 million. Continuous investment in the latest technology and state of the art machinery ensures the company retains its market leading formula of supplying ‘exciting and innovative quality products with an excellent service level’.

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