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Tea party time for Tetley following six-figure investment in packaging system

Tata Global Beverages has revealed that it has brought its new Tetley fruit tea product line to market, following a six-figure investment in a bespoke secondary packaging machine for its flagship UK plant.

The Tetley brand – which operates across 40 countries worldwide and celebrates its 180th anniversary this year – is now able to pack 2,000 tea bags every minute with the new automated system.

The new technology has been installed in Tata Global Beverages’ largest factory across its global operations, located in Eaglescliffe, England. The plant operates 24 hours a day for five days a week, producing 260 million tea bags every week.

Designed and manufactured by engineers at robotics firm Sewtec, the fully automated and bespoke machine was created to Tata Global Beverages’ exact specifications and will be used exclusively by the company.

The high-technology system erects and loads flip-top cartons at a rate of 120 per minute, filling each carton with a flow-wrapped bag containing 20 tea bags. The machine then performs quality control and collates multiple cartons into shelf-ready trays.

India-headquartered beverage group Tata Global Beverages, which owns the Tetley brand, is the second largest tea company in the world. It has a turnover of £762m, employs more than 3,000 people across 40 countries and provides 330 million servings of beverages worldwide every day.

“This has been a milestone 180th year for the Tetley brand,” says Tata’s engineering manufacturing manager, John Bishop. “We continue to implement our successful strategy of entering new categories, energising product development and extending our global footprint in the tea segment.

“Automation is vital to our manufacturing process, now and in the future. Our machine has already enabled us to bring a new product to market and will allow us to work faster and more effectively from our state-of-the-art facility.”

Adds Sewtec managing director, Mark Cook (pictured): “Tata Global Beverages is a world-leader in its sector and very mature in its use of automation. Establishing an efficient production process is crucial for any food and drink business, and this really is best achieved through a bespoke and automated approach. It’s very rewarding to have produced a highly effective solution which meets the company’s requirements and will underpin its ongoing success.”

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