Yamato Scale Dataweigh UK Case Study - Big Bear
Big Bear Confectionery operates across numerous sites in the UK, producing more than 1,000 products for the branded and RPL confectionery markets both in the UK and abroad.
Selling to large supermarket chains such as Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s and Aldi, Big Bear’s continued investment in technology at its Blackburn site means that it can continue to be at the forefront of its industry by being able to respond to consumer demand, and an increase in output to suit the wide-ranging needs of its clients.
Customer’s motivation for investment
Big Bear’s previous solution for the handling and weighing of sugar and chocolate coated products was problematic, operating with inefficiencies and contributing to a congested area of the Blackburn-based factory where it was situated. Space was at a premium and the company wanted to both expand their capabilities while also streamlining their product handling process. The decision was made to merge the two lines in to one, through the purchase of a new Yamato Multihead Weigher and end of line Yamato Checkweigher.
The older packaging line was still performing well, but the site project team were aware that recent equipment breakthroughs would significantly increase output, and this became the driving factor in the need to upgrade. The accuracy that Yamato’s new weighing machines could offer Big Bear meant that they could offer flexibility to their clients, as the machinery could be easily adjusted to suit the different weights and pack sizes required.
Big Bear’s Blackburn site has considered other weighing and packaging manufacturers, but Yamato’s longstanding relationship with the site, as well as their experience of their excellent customer service, meant that Yamato was ultimately selected to provide the ideal weighing and packing solution.
“Yamato is proactive, and offers excellent customer service,” said Sandra Fawcett, Operations Manager at Big Bear’s Blackburn site. “Our engineers were keen to continue working with them as a result of years of positive experiences.”
The two packaging lines being used to process the chocolate covered nuts introduced their own unique challenges, especially on the bulk packaging line, which dealt with boxes ranging from 3kg to 4.5kg. The product giveaway experienced on the old line proved that the bulk line was inefficient, as well as being located in a heavily congested area of the factory.
Having one line split across multiple solutions because of space limitations was proving costly and ineffective. Operational gains could be made by streamlining the two operations into one packaging line – with a new bagging machine and all sizes and weights going through the same line.
This would require equipment that was capable of handling both small retail sized packs (85g) to bulk sized packs (4.5kg).
For portioning and feeding to the bagging machine, an Omega Multihead weigher was proposed and installed. This 14-head machine with 6L capacity, is capable of reaching speeds of up to 110 packs per minute on retail packaged Big Bear products, and 12 packs a minute on the larger 4.5kg packs.
Additionally, an end of line I Series Checkweigher was provided, with a maximum pack weight of 6kg, allowing Big Bear additional flexibility with future operations and processes. The I Series Checkweigher also features a Ceia metal detector and diverter arm.
A site redesign was also undertaken to accommodate the new equipment, with the packaging line’s layout and surroundings adjusted to suit Yamato’s bespoke solution which included the removal of a wall, raising the ceiling and extensive fabrication.
This undertaking marks a new level of aspirational investment by Big Bear. “It looks fantastic, and will provide an exceptional standard of packing for our clients,” says Sandra. “The new Yamato weighing and packing line is a professional and modern solution that gives us world class capabilities.”
There were initial concerns about the effects of stopping the original production line to commence upgrading its capabilities, however the sales team planned ahead carefully to ensure there was no product shortage during the installation process. As a result the entire upgrade and installation took place within just three weeks, with no effect on the supply to any of Big Bear’s customers.
Benefits for the Customer
The new streamlined packaging line produces 7000 retail packs per shift more than the previous production line, delivering Big Bear an 80% improvement in product wastage and giveaway, while also offering a reduction in labour costs and, importantly, a huge gain in employee satisfaction.
Providing a 43% enhancement in overall running speeds and efficiency, the bespoke Yamato solution supplied has had a ripple effect on the business. “When you make large improvements on giveaway, everything improves as a result,” said Sandra. “We review our lines’ performance daily, and have procedures in place to ensure we continue to improve our own exceptional standards.”
With a longstanding relationship with Yamato Scale Dataweigh UK, dating back some 25 years, Big Bear is currently planning another installation to meet the projected demand for a new product.
“The bespoke solution provided by Yamato has proven to be faster, easier to use and makes training more straightforward as well, it also provides a more positive experience for the employees who work on it. As a result, we are looking forward to future collaborations that can benefit both Yamato and Big Bear,” added Sandra.
Commercial and Marketing Manager,
Yamato Scale (UK) Dataweigh.
Tel. 0113 322 1546
About Yamato Scale Dataweigh (UK) Limited
Yamato is one of the leading global manufacturers of commercial weighing equipment and with over 90 years' manufacturing experience, we know what our customers need and expect.
Originally founded in 1922 as The Weighing Machine Division of Kawanishi Kikai K.K and later rebranded as Yamato Scale Ltd, Yamato is proud of its Japanese heritage; our passion to provide quality multihead weighers and deliver superior customer support is what drives us.
As a result Yamato’s multihead weighers and checkweighers have gained an unrivalled reputation worldwide, and our weighing machines are trusted by manufacturers in a range of industries across the globe; from granulated products and confectionery to meat and IQF frozen produce.
Yamato’s multihead weighers and checkweighers are energy efficient, accurate, hygienic, and easy to operate. The Dataweigh Omega multihead weigher, for instance, boasts a 60% reduction in power consumption without compromising on speed or effectiveness.