The MTC helps SME develop the next generation of food machinery
The MTC has worked closely with Wymbs Engineering Limited to develop a highly improved depositing system for leading food manufacturers in the UK and overseas.
“Without the level of analytical expertise and exceptional focus of the MTC engineers, we would have found it difficult, if not impossible to achieve the level of success that this project has brought. We move forward now with a level of expectation knowing that our depositing systems can meet greater demands in the food processing industry.” Barry Sharples, commercial director, Wymbs Engineering Limited.
Wymbs Engineering, based in Poynton, Cheshire, manufactures bespoke machinery for the confectionery, bakery and dairy industries, enabling products to be deposited into moulded impressions, onto biscuits or directly onto travelling conveyors and steel oven bands. The business counts many major food brands as its clients and exports over 70% of its turnover. It currently employs 21 staff and is expanding.
The difficulty in depositing many food products lies in their complex structures, which change during production. Indeed, the depositing process is crucial in the final stage of formulation and therefore optimisation of this process requires a holistic approach, which considers the complex interaction between the formulation and the deposition.
The goal was the improvement of a well established, ‘pressurised’ continuous depositing system, leading to faster operational speeds, increased levels of accuracy and greater economic manufacturing techniques.
With support from Innovate UK’s Formulated Products collaborative R&D funding stream, and some challenging targets from end users, MTC engineers used new ways to model the flow of product through the depositing system, enabling improvements to established designs to be trialled on a computer, before committing to a physical prototype.
The MTC’s expertise in computer modelling and design for manufacturing, led to an improvement in the flow of the product and the enhancement of the overall system speed. These were verified by on-site trials, both at Wymbs and with an end user.
The re-designed depositing system has exceeded expectations and is now in long term trials at an end user’s pilot plant, working with real product.The pilot plant is already showing significant gains in productivity and output, whilst the new design enables Wymbs to offer new features to the market place.
A key step change for Wymbs is the degree of modularity of the new depositor, reducing the need for bespoke designs and enabling manufacturing and cost efficiencies.
Benefits to the Client
- Significantly increased performance over the existing depositor designs, allowing end users to produce more in a smaller footprint with lower operating costs
- Wymbs has improved its reputation with its customers as a competitive and innovative supplier
- Wymbs’ workforce now have a better understanding of the process through the use of advanced computer simulations
- Wymbs is better placed to win new work as a technology leader in its sector, through standardised yet innovative projects.
We found working with the Manufacturing Technology Centre inspirational. They were extremely diligent in their approach to a process which Wymbs has been developing for thirty years. ” Barry Sharples, Commercial Director, Wymbs Engineering Limited