Major investment for Petrow’s processing lines

A key production upgrade has been made by the Petrow Food Group, which has confirmed an investment of £850,000 into a new fruit processing line for its products.

The UK-based ingredients business, which supplies the confectionery and bakery sectors, explained it is now able to offer increased levels of safety, quality and capacity for its ranges.

As the company revealed to Confectionery Production, its latest system features x-ray, a flame unit, laser, throat metal detector and automatic packing unit, which identifies and removes of stones, pits, glass, metal, plastic and other foreign bodies.

Such elements can accidentally work their way into the supply chain and sourcing process during harvesting or sun-drying and often slips through upstream inspection processes.

The line for processing dates and other dried fruits was installed in Petrow’s Haverhill production facility in Suffolk in mid-September, and takes automation and enhanced safety to new levels.

The brief was to twin improved speed and productivity with increased sensitivity and automation to enable Petrow customers to meet ever-more stringent demands from retailers and consumers for quality and food safety.

Dates and dried fruits are supplied as ingredients for breakfast cereals, bakery products, confectionery and sweets as well as pastes, where demand for quality at all levels of production and the finished goods is at a premium.

Its technology forms a vital standard, as not all harvesting and processing regimes at the origins go through the same level of quality and safety procedures.

Petrow Food Group managing director, Ian Tatchell, said: “This complete processing line assures outstanding ease and reliability of operation to throw open more opportunities for customers. Automation maximises production efficiency while advanced quality control offers the safety, quality and throughput to take performance and competitiveness to the highest levels.”

Mark Kirkley, operations director at Petrow Food Group, added: “The new line has a maximum throughput of 1200 kilos, enabling us to respond quicker to larger volume orders from customers. Automation increases operational efficiency to meet and exceed customer expectations on safety, quality and legality at a time when such concerns are rising across all sectors of the food industry.”

After passing through its inspection systems, fruit is chopped and passed through a large tumbler, where it is powdered with rice flour to avoid further clumping.

The fruit is then sorted to ensure it is the exact size specified by the customer, before the final range of high-tech capabilities swings into action, automatically weighing, filling and packaging the fruit in precise volumes according to customer stipulations.

Tatchell concluded: “The processing line is highly intuitive and designed to satisfy the most rigorous standards in production, safety and hygiene while its sophistication combines perfect preparation of dried produce but outstanding ease, safety and reliability of operation.”

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