In the UK, packaging systems provider, Packaging Automation, has supplied Kwoks Foods with a heat-sealing packaging system for its line of Oriental ready-cooked meals.
Gavin Milligan, logistics manager at Kwoks Foods, chose the Packaging Automation system because of the company's reputation and the fact that he had already worked with the company in a previous position he had held within the industry.
The system Milligan opted for was the Vision 182, which is now operating at the Kwoks factory at Grimsby in north-east Lincolnshire. At this facility a staff of 60 is building a reputation as one of Europe's leading producers of Oriental ready meals.
From its production unit Kwoks turns out a range of oriental-style ready meals like chicken in black bean sauce, Thai vegetable curry and red curry with chicken, Chinese duck pancakes and duck in plum sauce.
The bulk of the meals - once the Vision 182 has sealed them in CPET trays - find their way to the shelves of two of the country's top four supermarket chains. Others are expected to be used to service the 100 convenience stores in the £200 million (€314m) William Jackson and Son group, of which Kwoks Foods forms a part.
"We are currently conducting a trial in the Jackson's stores," said Milligan. He and his colleagues say the equipment compares well with a competitor's machine, which they had had on hire. Furthermore, PA says that the equipment is now likely to be put through tougher testing.
Currently, the Vision 182 is being used as an atmospheric machine but there are plans being drawn up to use it for modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). "This is useful for some supermarket work because, if there is the occasional slow selling line, then MAP increases shelf life and prevents wastage," said Milligan.
Packaging Automation was established in 1963 and is the UK's leading manufacturer of heat sealing machinery for the food industry. Operating from 'state of the art' premises located in Knutsford, the business employs 120 people and produces a wide range of equipment.