Case Studies


Upgrading the ‘Bens Original Rice’ Pouches production line for MARS

The Customer MARS Food UK

MARS, a manufacturer of various products, including dried goods, confectionary, sauces, and pet food, with facilities worldwide. The customer produces local, regional, and international brands of well known and loved products.

This specific production line is based in Norfolk, United Kingdom – this UK region prides itself for being a hub for food and agriculture production. Having already had Secomak Drying Machines installed at this site, the customer had the experience and confidence to trust Secomak’s equipment and support to meet their demands.

The Application & Challenge

Making upgrades to their Bens Original Rice Pouches production line, the customer needed new drying equipment.
Our customer places sealed pouches onto trays, these trays are then loaded into a pressure vessel to cook the product. Once cooked, the trays and pouches are then unloaded from the vessel, separated and the pouches are picked up by a vacuum head and then sent down the line to be packed in boxes before shipping to supermarkets and eventually our microwaves.

The challenge the customer faced was that pouches come out of the pressure vessel completely saturated with water. This makes it extremely difficult to pick pouches up with the vacuum head reliably as the water blocks the vacuum ports, causing all sorts of stoppages and waste further down the line.

The Solution

Expectations on quality and environmental impact are extremely important to our customer. This means that reducing defects and downtime during production is high priority. Therefore, the solution we offered is our 492 Blower Enclosure with conveyor mountable Air Knives. A product Secomak have been manufacturing and perfecting for decades.

When talking to Sam a Reliability Technician at Mars Food UK we asked the question “Why have you reached out to Secomak?”. The answer was very clear and simple. “We have previously used Secomak for other installations in the same challenging environment which have produced amazing results”.

A Secomak system has been installed and functioning at our customers plant since 2009, offering longevity and reliability throughout their process.

Below are two images showing our 2009 installation. Later in this case study our new installation will be displayed.

Secomak Air Knives installed in 2009

The Benefits

We asked Sam about the benefits the installed Secomak system offers and here’s what he had to say.

“With the Secomak blower and Air Knives installed we are able to remove all the surface water from the pouches and therefore have far greater reliability and performance from our vacuum head and downstream equipment.”

We’re not surprised with the outcome. Although a relatively simple system, we do have technology which puts us ahead of the competition. Such as our patented diffuser built inside our Air Knives. The diffuser allows for constant air pressure along the full length of the knife and guarantees no “dead spots” or low-pressure areas when drying. This technology coupled with our robust 492 belt driven fan provides unrivalled reliability for continuous operations.

Secomak air knives used to dry Bens rice pouches      Secomak air knives used to dry Bens rice pouches

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