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One of the nation’s most renowned hot beverage suppliers, Ringtons Ltd, brought PFM Packaging Machinery on board as part of a huge capital investment project to automate coffee production at its factory in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Family-run business Ringtons was established 113 years ago and now supplies over 250,000 customers across the country, including cafés, restaurants, hotels, workplaces and other outlets with door-to-door deliveries of tea, coffee, sweet treats and biscuits.

Ringtons sought PFM’s expertise to automate its coffee packaging process and clear a bottleneck caused by the limits that could be achieved by the hand packing operation for the drinks firm’s popular brands of ground and beans. PFM’s solution was to supply two Zenith machines, which have significantly improved output from 300 kilos in an eight-hour shift to 800 kilos per machine every hour in different bag styles.

Head of Coffee & Business Division at Ringtons, Stephen Drysdale, explained: “The PFM equipment was successfully installed as part of a major investment in the factory, moving coffee production from manual to a fully automated system. PFM helped us go to the next level and massively increase our packing rate. I would certainly recommend them and use them again.”

PFM’s Zenith EW and Auger filler packs the client’s ground coffee in 57-170g pillow bags, 200g Steelo stand-up packs with rigidised corners and block bottom bags of 500g and one kilo. The bags also have a valve applied to allow the gas given off by ground coffee to escape the pack. Another Zenith, the ZC model, is a fully integrated system with a 10-head multihead weigher, for block bottom bags of coffee beans in packs from 125g up to one kilo.

Aimed at manufacturers automating for the first time, the Zenith bagging machines are designed to host filling and weighing equipment with no need for a gantry. The result is a compact unit with bagging and weighing controls integrated within a single, user-friendly control system. Another plus for coffee products is the machine is also equipped with a valve applicator and gas flush system, including flowmeter and alarm supplied in the extra wide (EW) specification allowing a huge range of bags up to one kilo to be produced.

The ZC offers a high degree of flexibility and accuracy and is simple to use. The absence of a gantry reduces cost and machine footprint compared with a conventional system, while the compact nature of the unit also allows elevators and other support equipment to be downsized for further savings in capital and running costs.

In addition, within the software of the weigher is a new routine that cuts the time needed to replenish each weigh hopper with product, allowing the contents of more hoppers to be combined for a more accurate dose of powder and beans at higher speeds.

PFM is well known across multiple food and non-food sectors for its impressive range of packaging solutions and has the reputation for being a responsive automation partner. Both the UK and Irish Republic are covered from its Leeds headquarters with sales and servicing of a variety of equipment and parts that can help manufacturers cut costs and reduce pack wastage.

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