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Confectioner invests in automation to ensure compliance

Kinnerton Confectioner was the first confectioner in the UK to offer chocolate treats depicting children’s favorite characters. Today, the company produces a wide variety of confectionery treats from Easter eggs to Advent calendars for major retailers. Due to the competitive marketplace, Kinnerton wanted to update its production by proactively investing in automation.

Working with OAL, an automation and food processing technology provider, Kinnerton ensures the correct packaging and labelling are applied to its products by using a single automated system to control its packaging lines and integrate existing packaging devices. The confectionery processor takes great pride in its “nut safe” promise, so this level of security is necessary to protect the brand.

“OAL’s Autocoding system had already been tested and proved very successful,” states Mike Gee, head of engineering at Kinnerton Confectionery. “OAL’s ability to offer 24/7 support and for the single system to offer paperless quality checks, OEE and traceability were key drivers in our purchasing decision.”

The system works by scanning a 2D barcode printed on every product to check and verify if the date code and packaging are correct. If a mismatch error occurs, the line stops and the problem is investigated.

Payback has been shortened through OAL’s Factory Performance software module that provides the production team with information on improvement areas. When a line stop occurs, operators must record a reason code on the touchscreen terminal. The recorded data is both highly accurate and can be used in real-time, so actions can be taken if any issues occur. The automatic system replaces existing manual production logs, providing more accurate and reliable data, helping Kinnerton identify areas for improvement.

By investing in automation, Kinnerton Confectionery has secured compliance with retailer codes of practice for label and date code verification while producing actionable data to improve production performance.