Manufacturer Sewtec has announced the creation of a six-figure packaging machine to create new Tetley fruit tea products.
The Dewsbury-based firm said its bespoke machine for Tata Global Beverages would bring a new Tetley fruit tea product line to market from its flagship UK plant just outside of North Yorkshire in Eaglescliffe, Teesside.
The plant operates 24 hours a day for five days a week, producing 260m tea bags every week.
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 this new automated system.
Designed and manufactured by engineers at robotics specialist Sewtec, the fully automated and bespoke machine was created to Tata Global Beverages’ exact specifications and will be used exclusively by the company.
Sewtec’s managing director, Mark Cook, said: “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.”
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 330m servings of beverages worldwide every day.
Commenting on the new automation machine, Tata Global Beverages’ engineering manufacturing manager, John Bishop, said: “This has been a milestone 180th year for the Tetley brand.
“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.
“We appointed Sewtec because of its outstanding reputation in delivering bespoke automated solutions for the beverage industry.
“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.”
The deal with Tetley is the latest that Sewtec has signed to design and manufacture factory automation systems for global blue-chip clients in the food and beverage industry.
A specialist in designing and implementing complex systems, Sewtec has worked with the likes of Mars, Unilever and AstraZeneca.
The company is also highly active within the pharmaceutical, personal care and tobacco industries, with more than 85 per cent of its sales being exports.
Sewtec revealed last summer that it had a record £25m order book, the highest the company has achieved since it was founded in 1982.
This was driven by a wider transformational change in the business following a successful management buyout one year ago.
The deal was backed by Leeds-based private equity firm Endless.
It is currently on track to achieve its ambition of doubling turnover to £32m by 2022. The firm won Exporter of the Year at last year’s Yorkshire Post Excellence in Business Awards.