New Nairn’s gluten free factory relies on Bosch Packaging Technology’s extra gentle handling system to package biscuits and crackers.
A traditional company with foresight
John and Sarah Nairn first discovered the versatility of oats in Lanarkshire, Scotland, over 120 years ago when they founded their small village bakery in 1896. To this day, the independent company Nairn’s Oatcakes Ltd. continues to use locally cultivated oats as much as possible and attaches great importance to food safety. In order to guarantee a 100 percent gluten free production, transparent processes are needed throughout the entire supply chain, from their locally cultivated fields, special mills and production facilities to the packaging process. Their efforts have certainly paid off: In 2017, the market for “Free From” products grew by approximately 12 percent in Western Europe alone. Within this segment, gluten free products are among the clear winners with a market share of 13 percent. In the UK, Nairn’s first mover advantage helped position the company as one of the top three manufacturers of gluten free products. The British “Free From” market volume currently totals around 500 million Pounds.
Bosch Two-in-One biscuit packaging system at the new gluten free factory
Due to the rising demand for gluten free products, the company decided to invest in a gluten free factory. Nairn’s has been running two-shift operations, five days a week, since November 2017. A variety of gluten free oat products are processed on a Bosch Two-in-One biscuit packaging system: oatcakes, crackers and biscuits are packaged as convenient, single-serve packs of three, four or six stacked biscuits. The processing speeds range from 210 to 304 packages per minute.
The Bosch Two-in-One biscuit packaging system stands out for its particularly gentle product handling and its unrivaled pack style flexibility. Brian Douglas, project leader for the gluten free factory, explains: “Gluten free products are very sensitive compared to conventional products containing gluten. The dough has a different consistency, which means the biscuits are very fragile once they are baked. Our goal is to provide consumers with a perfect product and minimize waste throughout the production process.”
Flat handling is the optimal solution for limited product abrasion and fewer breaks. Hector Laing, manager of the gluten free factory, adds: “The Bosch Two-in-One biscuit packaging system was our first choice. It’s gentle flat handling and format flexibility are ideally suited for our production requirements. Waste is minimal, and the system offers us long-term flexibility in terms of packaging size and package style.”
“The shingling and stacking process to produce pile and slug packs is efficient and gentle thanks to linear motor technology. Preliminary tests at Bosch in Beringen, Switzerland showed that the sensitive, gluten free products could be packaged reliably – even at high speeds,” according to Tony Roe, sales manager at Bosch. Flat handling ensures the gentle distribution and feeding of the products. The system’s electrical direct drive facilitates profile changes at the push of a button. The motion control system calculates each product’s customized traversing profile, which boosts flexibility – the products’ individual processing requirements can be met almost instantly, thus guaranteeing gentle handling and smooth processes for delicate products. “We understand the challenges of gluten free production. Hygienic design, a clear machine layout and optimal cleaning processes were integral to the development of this efficient packaging system, along with flexibility and performance” adds Roe.
Reliable on-site service
The Bosch Service team also provides comprehensive on-site service in Scotland. “We highly appreciate that Bosch is represented locally by a team of specialists. For us, this is definitely a major advantage,” concludes Laing. Production is now in the safe hands of Bosch service technicians and two experts, who have been trained on this specific system and its technologies.
Our visit to the Nairn’s Gluten Free Factory
We had the great opportunity to visit the Nairn’s gluten free factory near Edinburgh. Take a look at their production and listen to what Hector Laing, manager of the factory, has to say:
Phone: + 44 1332 62 62 62
Interesting facts around the gluten free trend