In late November the factory achieved a weekly dispatch figure of 5,300 pallets.
As part of the investment, additional robotic equipment is being installed on the site’s four production lines to help meet demand – particularly from own label customers – for two different flavours to be combined on a single pallet.
The four new lines will handle both 10 kilo and 3 kilo bags and the increased automation will boost production capacity by some 100 percent for the 3 kilo size and by some 50 percent for the 10 kilo bags.
David Wilson, operations manager at IPN, explained: “Previously, to meet customer demand for two flavours on one pallet, each flavour had to be manufactured separately on single pallets and wrapped. The pallets were then moved to another part of the factory where they had to be manually unloaded and re-stacked to combine the two flavours.
”The new robotic equipment – which is linked to a £500,000 multi-directional conveyor – now does this automatically as part of a single process. It can complete 21 pallet loads in an hour and is fully integrated with the factory’s central conveying system. Completed pallet loads are then transported to the firm’s nearby £7 million distribution centre.”