Swizzels Matlow speeds up reject time on its ‘Drumstick Squashies’ thanks to TOMRA

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Matt Whatcott, business unit manager (jellies) Swizzels Matlow. Photo: TOMRA.
Matt Whatcott, business unit manager (jellies) Swizzels Matlow. Photo: TOMRA.

Related tags Tomra sorting solutions Love Hearts Refreshers

Swizzels Matlow has installed a TOMRA Nimbus optical sorter to automate the sorting process of its ‘Drumstick Squashies’ to improve turnover time.

The family business that produces sugar confectionery in the UK celebrated its 90th​ anniversary last year.

Drumstick Lollies

TOMRA automates soft confectionery sorting at Swizzlels Matlow_3

It’s portfolio includes Love Hearts, Refreshers, Drumstick Lollies, Double Lollies, Parma Violets, Rainbow Drops and Drumstick Squashies.

Matt Whatcott, business unit manager (jellies) Swizzels Matlow, said prior to installing the machine staff manually removed imperfect sweets during processing.

The task was challenging due to sweets passing by manual inspection operators with one side face-down on a conveyor. This meant it was not always possible for them to identify a defect as the inspection only covered around 60% of the surface area of the sweets​,” he said.

TOMRA’s Nimbus has enabled us to establish a more automated production line with greater rigour around the quality inspection of our product​.”

The 20,000m² factory, based in Derbyshire, employs more than 500 people.

Nimbus represents a new generation of sorting technology that can separate products in free-fall.

The product is fed onto a vibratory conveyor that spreads the ‘Drumstick Squashies’ evenly and in a single layer. It then goes into a free-fall and passes the scanning area, where several technologies are combined to detect different types of defects such as mis-shaped sweets or multiple sweets joined together.

Demo facility

Nicolas Stein, director, Stein Solutions, TOMRA’s agent in the UK, said it invited Swizzels Matlow to the TOMRA Demonstration Center in Belgium, so they could try Nimbus on their product.

Swizzels was one of the first to test the machine for this specific application.

The visit to the demo facility allowed us to see the equipment running with our product and to witness the results first-hand. We were able to make observations, ask questions and build a rapport with the team in Belgium​,” said Whatcott.

TOMRA automates soft confectionery sorting at Swizzlels Matlow_2

During the free-fall, the product is inspected with laser scanning technology to identify contaminated products or foreign objects that are not visible to the naked eye.

High-resolution cameras developed by TOMRA sort the product based on color and outline. Nimbus can also separate the articles by biological characteristics

When a defect is detected, a burst of air removes the imperfect product from the stream.

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