Mr Kipling doubles factory production with £20m robotics and automation investment

A multi-million investment in robotics and automation tech will double Mr Kipling’s cake production capacity in UK factory, parent company Premier Foods has confirmed.

Premier Foods revealed a £20 million production line boasting 47 new robots and large-scale automation technology that means Mr Kipling cake slices are untouched by human hands throughout the production process - from the oven to the pallet to be sent off for delivery.

The new line in the firm’s Carlton Bakery site in Barnsley, UK, will double production capacity of its popular cake slices, creating 80 new jobs despite the innovative use of automation.

At full capacity the new production line can produce more than 300 million Snack Pack slices a year helping keep pace with growing demand. The robots, produced by German manufacturer Schubert, can make 14 different configurations for packs and case sizes, which offers flexibility for when demand shifts.

The Carlton Bakery employs 750 people, rising to 1,500 in seasonal periods.

The UK food manufacturing sector is larger than both the car and aerospace industries combined, the environment secretary Elizabeth Truss said during the unveiling last week.

“Iconic British brands like Mr Kipling are key to its success and ensuring our food businesses can thrive is central to the government’s long-term plan.

“I’m delighted to see Mr Kipling investing in this new production line which will boost productivity, provide 80 new jobs and apprenticeships for Barnsley, helping ensure that the every part of Britain benefits from a growing economy.”

Mr Kipling is the UK’s leading cake brand with a 17 percent share of the £1 billion packaged cake market.

Premier Foods CEO Gavin Darby said: “Our cake business has grown significantly over the last nine months and the additional capacity and flexibility from this new investment will help us improve productivity and capture new growth opportunities."

The 80 new employees will be put through Premier Food's new human capital management cloud - SAP's SuccessFactors.

With around 4,000 employees operating from over 17 sites across the UK, the UK’s largest branded food producer owns brands including Mr Kipling, Bisto, Ambrosia, Sharwood’s and Loyd Grossman.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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