Moo Free Chocolates upgrades key systems with Ulma Packaging line
Dairy-free vegan chocolate business Moo Free has reported a successful installation of upgraded Ulma Packaging machinery for its confectionery lines, writes Neill Barston.
The Devon-based company explained that it had a strict range of criteria for its systems requirements, which influenced its equipment choice.
This led the firm to opt for an Ulma FR 200 flow pack wrapper, which was capable of working with its chosen environmentally friendly materials, which include paper, non single-use and recycled plastics to fulfil its sustainability goals.
As the company noted, its previously lines could no longer longer wrap the desired amount of chocolate without continued supervision to keep unplanned downtime to a minimum. But with the machine becoming obsolete and sourcing component parts proving difficult, a decision was made to source a replacement.
Marcus Woods, Operations Manager at Moo Free explained: “Though our packaging machine was vital to our daily operations, it was becoming clear that it could no longer pack the necessary amount of products without quite a lot of ongoing maintenance. Its performance was highly variable too. On a good day, it could only produce up to 72 bars a minute, and a common issue we faced was that the film would move out of place during production, causing products to be wrapped incorrectly.
“Whenever this occurred, we would have to shut the machine down to correct it, which lost valuable time and led to wasted products. The situation was far from ideal, and this, combined
with replacement parts becoming increasingly difficult to source, were the major reasons we started searching for an effective replacement.”
As the business noted, its prioritisation of sustainable practices meant that any potential new machine needed to be compatible with recycled and recyclable materials, including paper. Packaging used by the company must be capable of preserving products for as long as possible, while an odourless material is required to avoid transferring any smell to the chocolate, which can easily absorb aromas that can affect the overall taste.
Similarly, as Moo Free creates a wide range of product sizes and shapes, the machine also needed to be adaptable to ongoing changes, including periods of soaring seasonal demand around Easter and Christmas. With these requirements in mind, the ULMA team recommended its market-leading FR 200 horizontal flow pack wrapper.
Nick Ghent, Regional Sales Manager – Non Produce, South West and Ireland at ULMA Packaging UK, explained: “When Moo Free told us their needs, it became clear that the FR 200 was the perfect machine for them. The recurring issue of film becoming misaligned was clearly a concern and something we needed to resolve.
“The FR 200 was able to resolve this problem using three simple steps. The first was the motorised unwind on the film reel holder – this maintains the correct tension in film at all times and is especially useful with more tricky and quite often newer sustainable films. The second was the easy-to-thread double adjustable folding box, which offers full flexibility as well as ease-of-use to help the operators thread it through properly, he explained, noting that the machine’s three pairs of rollers for longitudinal film pulling and sealing, made it well-suited to the task at hand.
Significantly, the company added that the possibility of cross-contamination is a constant and ongoing concern for organisations that work in the food industry due to potential consumer health risks.
Consequently, strict sanitising and safety measures are essential requirements for companies such as Moo Free if product integrity is to be ensured.
With this in mind, the FR 200 flow wrapper’s cantilever construction allowed company staff easy access for routine sanitation and cleaning. Similarly, the machine’s 7” touch-screen Human Machine Interface (HMI) also made changing parameters simpler, which was vital to ensuring the FR 200 could be reconfigured to suit Moo Free’s wide range of products. This involved further installation and support, including test runs at Ulma’s Sheffield headquarters.