Mission Foods, the world's leading producer of tortillas and tortilla chips, has increased production capacity at its state-of-the-art Coventry, UK, factory with the help of two high speed, electronic, modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) machines supplied by Ilapak.
The company's new £16 million (€24.2m), 65,000 sq ft production facility is the largest and most technically advanced of its kind in Europe. In its first year of operation it manufactured over 125 million tortilla wraps and 80 million bags of tortilla chips, which are supplied to retailers in Holland, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Norway and the UK as well as the food service industry throughout Europe.
To meet the European market's rapidly growing demand for tortilla products, Mission Foods decided to increase production capacity by installing Ilapak's Delta 3000 LD machines together with Ilapak's INDY 2435 automatic multi-belt feeding systems.
Ilapak claims the electronic, MAP flow-wrappers are capable of combining high speeds with excellent pack quality and in this case are being used to flow-wrap tortillas in hermetically sealed packs in a variety of sizes.
According to Mission Foods' managing director Nick Houghton, the machines have played an important role in increasing capacity and improving production line efficiency at the Coventry factory.He commented, "The Delta 3000 LDs are versatile and capable of efficiently handling a wide variety of tortilla products, achieving high throughputs and excellent quality packs. The machine's pre-programme facility makes product changeovers quick and simple while other electronic features such as the no-product-no-bag and misplaced product detection facilities further help to improve operational efficiency and overall productivity."
The Delta 3000 LD achieves high integrity sealing with its simple and reliable sealing head which has an 'oval' jaw motion profile to ensure a long dwell time and so produce perfect hermetic seals, Ilapak claims.
Controlled by an industrial standard PC and equipped with an Intel microprocessor, the machine can store up to 64 production programmes and incorporates no-product-no-bag, misplaced product detection and automatic size change facilities as standard.
To further enhance the shelf life of the products, the Delta machines used by Mission Foods also have a special gas flushing system - this precisely controls the amount of time that the tortillas remain in the modified atmosphere during the packaging process.
Mission Foods is a subsidiary of Mexican company Grupo Maseca and is the number one tortilla brand in the US.
A global concern, Ilpak's is based in the UK and worked with Mission Foods to install the equipment from its operations centre in Middlesex.