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ABB drive dishes up £20,000 in savings for gluten-free baker

22 September 2011

Improved speed control on one of its production lines is enabling The Village Bakery (Nutrition) to save £20,000 per year at its Abenbury Way site in Wrexham. The installation of an ABB general machinery drive with high ingress protection (IP66) has delivered a combination of cost savings.The new drive controls the speed of a depositing line, which is a conveyor-based system that divides the dough into the correct weights to make various rolls and loaves.

The Wrexham bakery is the most advanced gluten-free facility in Europe, manufacturing around 250,000 loaves a week. The company originally began production at the site 18 months ago with a single depositor, but the new drive has enabled the company to optimise its operations with addition of a second depositing line based on a reconditioned machine.

The Village Bakery (Nutrition) contacted ABB because it realised that improved speed control could boost the efficiency of the new line. The company had identified potential savings of £10,000 per year, but the ABB general machinery drive has successfully delivered twice that. 

The first saving is a 10 percent reduction in tin greasing agent. “The old drive was so slow and inaccurate that the machine had to start spraying the greasing agent before it ‘saw’ each tin,” says Christien Jones, director and projects engineer. “Now more of the greasing agent ends up where it’s supposed to.”

The ABB drive can also optimise the speed of the conveyor to match the size and throughput of different products more accurately. In this case the unit is programmed with four different speeds, leading to savings of around 25 percent in the running costs for the line.

Finally, having a second depositing line has reduced downtime at the bakery, since production staff can shut down each line independently for cleaning without halting production. As the drive is protected to IP66 frequent wash downs are no problem for the ABB drive system. 

ABB general machinery drives are specifically designed to be quick and easy to instal, set up and commission. The drive was installed by The Village Bakery (Nutrition) personnel six months ago, and has been “a roaring success” ever since, according to Jones. He also praises the support that ABB has provided for the bakery:  “The technical back-up was great, and ABB is always ready to help.”

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