UK cheese producer Wensleydale has linked up with Ulma, a leading player in the country's flexible packaging marketplace, for a new packaging solution to cope with increasing production of speciality lines.
Executives of Wensleydale Dairy Products, which has creameries producing one of the world's most popular cheeses at Hawes in Wensleydale and at Kirkby Malzeard, had never used an Ulma product before.
The TF Optima automatic thermoformer is now in full operation at the Hawes creamery, and progress thus far has been satisfactory.
The dairy company's new product and process development manager Richard Jones said of the new installation: "It is performing exceptionally well and, perhaps just as importantly, the operatives are very happy with it. It allows us to pack in two different formats and has the capacity which will allow us to add more formats at some point if we need to.
"We are operating the Optima at speeds of between 35 and 40 packs per minute, though it is capable of going significantly quicker than that. But we have chosen our speed because we always do stringent quality checks along the line. It is certainly a very user friendly machine which gives us exactly what we want and we would not hesitate to go to Ulma again."
The stainless steel and corrosion resistant TF Optima, supplied to the creamery in a gas flushing version for modified atmosphere packaging, has been used by a wide range of producers of food, non-food and medical items.
The Wensleydale Optima thermoforming machine is packing 150 and 200 gram triangular wedges of some of the company's most popular 'added-to' lines, including the flagship Wensleydale with cranberry. The selection also includes Wensleydale with apricot, El Gringo - a cheddar with spices, double Gloucester with chives and onion, and the latest delicacy from the creamery, cheddar with caramelised onion. The range finds its way on to the shelves of all the major supermarket chains and into smaller and specialist shops across Yorkshire - serviced by the creamery's own transport fleet.
Ulma's UK managing director Derek Paterson said the TF Optima's combination of simple operation and versatility made it a good choice for operations where individually designed packs were in use.
He added: "We regard the contract with this prestigious creamery as a major achievement in further promoting the Ulma range of thermoforming equipment into this important industry sector."
Established in 1956 in Onati, northern Spain, Ulma Packaging has grown into a group, with subsidiaries in 14 countries throughout the world. With 40 years of experience and with a team of over 400 people, the company can offer a wide range of innovative solutions for virtually any packaging requirement in the food and non-food sectors.