Packaging machinery manufacturer, ULMA Packaging, has recently worked with Devon-based dairy-free and vegan chocolate supplier, Moo Free, to upgrade its packaging machinery. Focused on boosting productivity while maintaining its sustainable practices, Moo Free made a strategic investment in ULMA’s cutting-edge FR 200 flow pack wrapper (HFFS).

Established in 2010, Moo Free has gained a strong reputation for catering to vegan and vegetarian customers with its dairy-free, wheat-free, gluten-free and soya-free chocolate offerings, available at major supermarket retailers. The company’s commitment to sustainability is evident in its use of non-single-use and recycled plastics for packaging, along with paper, to achieve zero waste to landfill. The decision to invest in a new packaging solution was made when Moo Free’s existing machine, after years of continuous use, started encountering performance issues. The outdated machinery struggled to wrap the desired amount of chocolate efficiently, leading to production delays and waste. Furthermore, sourcing replacement parts for the ageing equipment became increasingly challenging.

Marcus Woods, Moo Free’s operations manager, explained: “Our packaging machine was vital to our daily operations, but it could no longer keep up with our production demands. Its variable performance and frequent issues with film alignment were causing considerable disruptions and waste.”

After conducting extensive research and considering their sustainability-focused requirements, Moo Free’s team contacted ULMA Packaging for a potential solution. Familiar with ULMA Packaging’s reputation through word-of-mouth, Moo Free was confident in its ability to address its specific needs.

ULMA Packaging recommended the FR 200 horizontal flow pack wrapper, perfectly suited to Moo Free’s product range and sustainability objectives. The FR 200 resolved the film alignment issues through motorised unwind on the film reel holder, an easy-to-thread double adjustable folding box, and three pairs of rollers for longitudinal film pulling and sealing. This innovative design reduced waste and downtime significantly. Another vital aspect of the new packaging solution was ensuring strict sanitising and safety measures to prevent cross-contamination in the food industry. The FR 200’s cantilever construction allowed easy access for routine sanitation and cleaning, maintaining product integrity. Additionally, the machine’s 7″ touch-screen Human Machine Interface (HMI) facilitated quick parameter adjustments to accommodate Moo Free’s diverse product sizes and shapes.

The installation process was seamless, with Moo Free performing test runs at ULMA’s Sheffield headquarters to ensure compatibility with their chocolates and sustainable packaging materials. Marcus praised ULMA’s efficient installation team, which minimised downtime during the transition.

“The FR 200 has transformed our production process, and ULMA’s exceptional service and support have been invaluable,” added Marcus. “We are already reaping the benefits of this flow pack wrapper, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return to ULMA for future packaging machinery needs.”

Since implementing the FR 200, Moo Free has experienced a significant increase in productivity. The new machine achieves up to 110 packs per minute (ppm), a remarkable improvement over the previous peak rate of 36 ppm. The elimination of film alignment issues and reduced downtime has further enhanced production efficiency.

“We are delighted to have partnered with Moo Free to provide them with our FR 200 flow pack wrapper. It is incredibly rewarding to see how our packaging solution has contributed to improving both their productivity and sustainability efforts. At ULMA Packaging, we take pride in offering innovative machinery that meets the specific needs of our customers, and we are thrilled to have played a part in enhancing Moo Free’s production process,” concluded James Couldwell, ULMA Packaging’s managing director.

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Editor: Kiran Grewal