ILAPAK’s quick actions limited potentially costly downtime at long term customer Scotbake, when one of the bakery’s flow wrappers succumbed without warning. Within five days of the machine breaking down, ILAPAK had delivered and installed a new Smart flow wrapper, enabling the Inverness bakery to resume production on the line, maintain high quality pack presentation and ensure uninterrupted distribution.
An ILAPAK customer since the business was started in 1994, Scotbake produces a comprehensive range of craft bakery products for sale under its own brand as well as private labels. Besides operating a 24/7 bakery, Scotbake distributes seven days a week via its fleet of 20 vehicles, delivering products to food service and retail customers.Its fleet covers an area the size of Belgium, reaching even the remotest outposts of the Scottish Highlands & Islands.
This business model allows no margin for downtime, so when, one Sunday in February, the circuit board went on one of Scotbake’s flow wrappers, managing director David Skeoch was straight on the phone to ILAPAK’s sales manager, Chris Gee.
“I told him the situation; he said he could get a Smart flow wrapper to us by Friday. Within a day we had agreed a purchase and the machine had been adapted to our specification ready for delivery to us on Thursday,” recalls David.
Whilst waiting for the new flow wrapper, David says Scotbake “got by” with an old L sealer, but was relieved when the new machine was delivered on Thursday as promised.
“Customers understand if the presentation isn’t quite as good as normal for a few days, but any longer and it doesn’t do your reputation any good,” he says.
When ILAPAK initially suggested the Smart flow wrapper, Scotbake had concerns that this entry level machine might not be able to cope with all the different product types and pack sizes – over 50 in total – that are run on this line. However, these reservations turned out to be unfounded, with the Smart even delivering a performance advantage over the previous flow wrapper thanks to its ability to self-adjust to pre-programmed products.
“With the old machine, every time we changed product, we had to re-enter all the measurements and parameters. The machine didn’t store them within its memory. The Smart has reduced set-up and changeover time considerably, as it stores product settings in its memory. Changing to a different product simply involves selecting that product via the touchscreen, and the flow wrapper will automatically adjust its settings to the required temperature, product length etc. All the operator has to do is to adapt the folding box to the required width. This is far quicker and saves us lots of valuable time,” says David.
The Smart is different to other horizontal machines in its class in that it incorporates design features that would usually only be found on a £60,000 flow wrapper, on a machine that costs half that. Cantilevered hygienic design, ABB electronics, colour touchscreen, and no-product no-bag and misplaced product functions are all part of the package. The Smart is capable of producing pillow packs and gusset packs from hot and cold seal films of up to 50 micron in thickness, making it an ideal choice for craft bakeries and fresh produce lines requiring a stand-alone machine. ILAPAK always keeps a small number of Smart flow wrappers in stock to enable it to respond quickly to situations like Scotbake’s.
“I can’t compliment ILAPAK highly enough. They got us out of a hole and pulled all the stops out to get the new flow wrapper to us as quickly as possible. Even though it was a ‘distress’ purchase, we’re delighted with the versatility and programming capabilities of the new flow wrapper. The Smart does everything the previous machine did – and more,” says David.