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.