A world-renowned jam and marmalade specialist looks set to fly even higher after making its products more convenient for use on passenger aircraft. Wilkin & Sons has been making a large range of high-class preserves and marmalades at Tiptree, in Essex, for more than 100 years.

Now it’s replaced an ageing end-of-line packaging system with more flexible equipment that was specially designed to handle a lighter and thinner variety of glass jar. And that’s a big plus for airlines, which welcome any kind of weight saving on flights.

The new system – a pick and place, twin head tray erector/loader and shrink wrapper – was designed and manufactured by Suffolk-based Europack, which also installed the last system more than 25 years ago.

“This equipment is exclusively for use on our 28g and 42g miniature jars,” said Walter Scott, production director of Wilkin & Sons. “We’ve used Europack equipment for years but the glass which has been used is quite dense and not entirely suitable for airlines.

“The old equipment has lasted over 25 years, which is pretty good in any case. Now Europack has designed us a system which can cope with a lighter glass. It’s up and running and has been very successful. You’ll always get the odd teething problem, but we’ve been very pleased, and the after sales service is always excellent.”

From a single line infeed, jars are collated into a 6×4 format and then loaded into a tray via pick and place technology. The trays are then stacked two or four high before being shrink-wrapped using Europack’s tight-wrapping technology, which it says is far more efficient than conventional shrink-wrapping as it uses less film and less energy. Packs are then palletised by hand.