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Bespoke packaging solution overcomes access limitations

13 June 2024

Walkers Nonsuch needed to overcome significant architectural challenges posed by its 100-year-old factory to enable it to automate its packaging operation in a bid to increase efficiency.

Walkers Nonsuch is a UK-based, family-owned toffee manufacturer whose production facilitites are been based in a 100 year old factory in Stoke-on-Trent. Today the company ships products to major UK retailers and wholesalers, and exports to over 45 countries 

Seeking to automated its traditionally manually intensive packing operation, the company turned to Endoline Automation which was able to design and built two fully automatic case erectors.To overcome the access limitations of the factory the equipment was supplied in two separate halves and was reassembled inside the confined spaces of the century-old building. The equipment was delivered via a loading bay, with a very small aperture and difficult access before being assembled in situ in the factory.

One case erector now feeds formed, retail-ready cases to the packing line, which features a recently installed multi-head weigher and bagger. The second case erector is used for forming extra-protective outer cases intended for exports and wholesalers.

In addition to the two case erectors, Endoline also installed a custom-designed conveyor equipment and a fully automatic case sealer. This solution sees formed cases being seamlessly fed, via an infeed conveyor, to a custom-designed, ergonomic packing station, where four operators pack each case with the required product amount. They then place the filled cases onto a second conveyor, running below the infeed conveyor, which transports the cases to a labeller and the case sealer before being palletised for distribution. 

Efficiency improvements
Following installation of the automated packaging solutions, Walkers Nonsuch has identified an improvement in efficiency – reporting a 25% reduction in the time taken to pack upward of 75 tonnes of toffee products each week. 

The automated process has also allowed for the redeployment of operators to other value-adding roles within the company.

Commenting on the solution, Jonathan Rae, Operations Manager for Walkers Nonsuch, said: "While making our packing operation considerably more efficient, we now also have the capability to grow the business further.”

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