The Sunderland based division of the US owned parent company Interflex said the plant upgrade, in the form of two new wicketed bread bag lines, will allow it to now offer side weld or block bottom bags for a range of bakery products and other food applications.
Managing director of the Interflex UK plant, Graham Tilley, said that the installation was part financed by a grant from UK government body One North East, with the £90,000 awarded secured due to the ‘robust case’ the company put forward.
“There have been new restrictions imposed on the funding scheme with the change of government and the process proved challenging as a result.
We received the cash injection based on the fact we were able to demonstrate that the replacement of old equipment would boost production output and safeguard 20 craft skill jobs in what has been an economically disadvantage region,” he said.
Part of the Grant for Business Investment (GBI) scheme involves subsidies for environmental sustainability projects, and Tilley told BakeryandSnacks.com that 20 per cent of the government funding it received was awarded on the basis that the bread bag facility has also installed equipment that allows it recover volatile organic compounds.
“We are now able to reuse the solvent base inks in our printing processes rather than see then ending up in landfill,” explained Tilley.
Tilley said it was difficult to pinpoint an exact date for ROI on the two new bag making lines but expects output to double for most packaging types.
He explained that as part of the GBI grant, the business will be continuously monitored to ensure it is adhering to the cost benefit analysis as laid out in the award.
Interflex supplies bread manufacturers in the UK, Ireland and the wider European market.