Tomra’s Nimbus sorter automates confectionery sorting at Swizzels

Swizzels Matlow, a family business that produces sugar confectionery in the United Kingdom, has chosen Tomra’s Nimbus optical sorter to automate the sorting process of its ‘Drumstick Squashies’ in order to meet fast-growing demand while ensuring the consistently excellent quality of the product.

“We used manual labor to remove any imperfect sweets that may have been created during the process. Our desire to provide only product of the highest quality to our consumers drove us to seek an alternative solution to manual sorting in order to improve the effectiveness whilst also delivering cost benefits to the business,” said Matt Whatcott, business unit manager (jellies) at Swizzels Matlow.

The Nimbus separates products in free-fall. The product is fed onto a vibratory conveyor that spreads the ‘Drumstick Squashies’ evenly and in a single layer. It then goes into a free-fall and passes the scanning area, where several technologies are combined to detect different types of defects such as mis-shaped sweets or multiple sweets joined together.

When a defect is detected, a powerful burst of air removes the imperfect product from the stream. It is then inspected a second time to make sure no good product is rejected.

Matt Whatcott said: “Before using a Tomra sorter, we used manual labor to remove any imperfect sweets that may have been created during the process.  The task was challenging due to sweets passing by the manual inspection operators with one side face-down on a conveyor. This meant that it was not always possible for them to identify a defect as the inspection only covered around 60% of the surface area of the sweets. The inspection task was also monotonous, meaning that focus could wane over time.”

Whatcott concluded:“Tomra’s Nimbus has enabled us to establish a more automated production line with greater rigor around the quality inspection of our product.  We have much higher confidence in our ability to supply sweets that are only of the optimum standard to our consumers.”

The machine has been operating at the Swizzels’ facility for a year to their great satisfaction.

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