Ringtons is a manufacturer of the highest quality tea and coffee and is renowned, not only for high quality products but also for supplying them in a wide range of superior packs ensuring that Ringtons remain a market-leader in the premium tea and coffee market.
We have worked with Ringtons for a number of years and the projects we have completed for them are great examples of how we like to apply and tailor the most appropriate level of automation to each application, rather than try and make whatever we have available work.
In 2016 we worked with Ringtons to automate one of their tea packing lines, which was their first move into automatic packing of cartons into cases. A particular challenge was the limited amount of space available and the large number of SKUs on the line. Taking this into consideration, we developed a unique system which employed a robot to erect, load and seal cases in a highly versatile and compact footprint.
More recently, Ringtons asked us to automate additional lines however due to an even greater quantity of SKU’s and short runs it was obvious that a fully automated line could not be justified. We recognised it was better to introduce a semi-automatic system to reduce the level of effort to pack cases rather than try to remove all of the packaging labour. Once again, we developed a unique solution to create groups of tea cartons and present them to an operator in an ergonomically efficient way which, together with a specially designed case taping system, reduced the level of manual input required resulting in one operator being able to pack the same amount as multiple operators.
Charlie Bigham’s produce high quality prepared meals with an emphasis on using superior ingredients and cooking methods resulting in restaurant-quality meals for the home.
Our first project with them was working as part of a team of suppliers to equip their new production kitchen, which was built in a disused quarry in 2017. We took the brief which included an empty space on a drawing and then designed the packing lines and sourced the equipment from a number of specialist manufacturers. We manufactured some additional pieces of equipment to complete the lines and then installed, commissioned and provided training and, we continue to provide support to this day.
This was not the first time we had provided a turn-key package but the unique challenges that come with any new-build, especially one as interesting as this building (which has won several architectural design awards), made it a project we are particularly proud of.
The success of this project was such that Charlie Bigham’s invited us back to help them automate their final packaging after deciding to move from packing into crates to corrugated cases. After carrying out a wide-ranging survey and study into the most appropriate ways to automate, we concluded the only way to do so, given the very limited space available, would be to install a compact robotic case packer, with the first one delivered recently.
The design of the system draws heavily upon the experience we have gained with similar applications elsewhere but with some significant design changes incorporated to reflect the particularly high standards that Charlie himself has for the aesthetics, hygiene and adjustment of any equipment installed within his production kitchen.