Case Studies

Wilkin & Sons – TipTree

Wilkin & Sons (Tiptree) needed to wash and dry their line of bottled sauces. Ensuring the line ran independently was important.
Their existing solution required direct human intervention on the line and open air drying, slowing the production process considerably.

The Customer

The Wilkin family have been farming at Tiptree, Essex, since 1757 and making quality preserves since 1885. They grow a wide range of traditional English fruits and use them to make conserves, condiments, and other treats in their nut-free factory by the farm. Tiptree products are made to cherished recipes and are free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. Fruit is inspected and prepared by hand then cooked in small batches using traditional, copper-bottomed pans.

Tiptree supply an extensive range of conserves, marmalades, honeys, sauces, condiments, fresh fruit, teas, cakes, biscuits, fruit juices, gift packs, fruit gin liqueurs, Christmas puddings, and even natural wax candles.

Tiptree received their first Royal Warrant from George V in 1911 and remain Royal Warrant holders as purveyors of Tiptree Products to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Every member of staff is part of their Employee Benefit Trust, giving each a keen interest in the future of the business.

The Challenge

The main challenge was time related due to the lack of correct drying process. Wilkin & Sons were producing a line of bottled sauces where the existing process was to manually place the bottles in a crate after the capping process and transfer through an industrial wash tunnel. The bottles would then be manually removed the other end where they were left to dry prior to being labelled. As the product is hot fill, the washer also had a role to reduce the temperature of the bottles.

The challenge was also to find a machine that could deal with the jar design as there were issues with the handling of the product whilst improving the washing process and providing a dry bottle.

The Solution

With Secomak’s experience in drying containers, a 3 Metre Wash & Dry Tunnel complete with a conveyor and controls was designed to remove excess dirt from the bottles and provide satisfactory drying using a Secomak PowerGuide. The concern of the handling of the bottle was quickly alleviated with testing at Secomak’s development centre at Hertfordshire University.

The Wash & Dry configuration has a top washing mechanism followed by a cap and side wall shower system to achieve maximum rinsing and precise cleaning of the bottle. The new design has a built-in water recirculation (optional) to reduce usage.

The accuracy of the directional wash nozzles was an important factor in the project to ensure the whole jar was free from over-fill residue.
Previously the line was manually controlled after the capping machine. However, the Wash & Dry Tunnel enables Wilkins to operate the machine using a simple control system.

The Benefits

Water usage has been reduced and having direct wash aimed around the jar neck has improved the wash.

Everything previously was dealt with manually, whereas now the line runs independently until the packing stage. Overall the accuracy of the wash sold it.
– Shane Waughman.

The maintenance of the machine is now easier to manage, in part down to some practical design decisions.

“The filters are very easy to change with the new design. Having them on the outside has made them far more accessible and easier to clean”
– Shane Waughman.

Overall, the dryness of the bottles is now “far superior” to their previous solution.

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