Enhancing production machinery to improve processes and speed up production cycles for Hills Biscuits.
First established in 1855, Hill Biscuits now employs around 350 people, manufacturing some of the country’s favourite biscuits from custard creams to bourbons, digestives and fruit shortcakes.
The company carries a Grade AA certification for commitment to food quality, standards and procedures. Hill Biscuits invests constantly to improve production processes and maintain its reputation as the global benchmark for best practice requirements.
The team at Hill Biscuits had identified a requirement to speed up production on one particular line, alongside enhancing the appearance and integrity of the seal and cut process for the packaging. For biscuit products, a good seal with no air escape is critical, whilst a tidy finished seal and crimp is an important part of the aesthetic of the finished product.
The team called upon engineers at Advanced Mechanical Projects to assess the potential for redesign and development to match this requirement. The two companies have worked together for many years on improvement and innovation initiatives, with AMP having previously re-engineered parts for this particular piece of equipment to enhance efficiency.
Working within the parameters of the existing machine, the team from AMP looked carefully at the issues, checking operational capacities and clearances. They recommended the manufacture of new, bespoke shafts and sealing jaws to increase production speed, efficiency and aesthetic finish. Doubling the cut and crimp capacity by adding two new sealing jaw sets would effectively double production speed.
The shafts and sealing jaws were redesigned and manufactured, featuring a revised sealing profile to suit the film type used in this process. A fin seal was required here, where the interior edges of the film are sealed together then folded over, meaning that the jaws had to be redesigned to accept this material thickness and still achieve a high-quality seal.
Fast and Efficient Implementation
AMP responded swiftly to the requirement, achieving a project schedule from start to finish of less than four weeks. The equipment was up and running with a significantly increased production throughput and very little downtime.
“The project was facilitated by the AMP team’s existing understanding of our machinery and processes,” confirmed Raoof Rashid for Hill Biscuits. “We are very satisfied with the end result, which was achieved on time and to budget with minimal disruption to production.”