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Cream of the crop production

“When it comes to clotted cream, the more the merrier,” says Simon Barker, a design engineer with more than 30 years’ experience who is the mastermind behind market leading packaging solutions OEM Flexi-Pak’s new packing machine recently created for the clotted cream producer, Rodda’s. Featuring Habasit’s market leading belting technology, Flexi-Pak’s new precise and efficient packing system improves the performance of the largest UK producer of clotted cream.

The nation seems to share Simon’s sentiment about the thick cream traditionally spread on a scone with strawberry jam. Whether the jam or the cream comes first, well, that is a debate for another article, but the controversy hardly slows down production. Rodda’s produces 25 tons (25,000 kg; 55,000 lb) of clotted cream each day.

Rodda’s is a family-owned business with a history that goes all the way back to 1890 when Eliza Jane and Thomas Rodda started making Cornish clotted cream in their farmhouse kitchen. Although today the company still sources all the milk from neighbouring farms, they now ship clotted cream across the UK and around the world, even developing special packages to be served on international flights.

A machine of his own making

Rodda’s contacted Flexi-Pak and presented them with the challenge of creating a system which could separate the clotted cream sealed pots into groups and then pack them into cardboard boxes for shipping. It was a job that had been previously done by hand, but they saw the potential for an invention and took it.

Having already enjoyed a strong working relationship with Habasit over the years, Simon was confident in choosing the company as the main supplier for the project. He knew he could rely on Habasit’s in-depth application know-how and wide portfolio of superior belting technology products which would not only fit the distinctive design parameters of the machine, but also ensure the best performance. With Habasit’s quick response times, innovative ideas could be effectively realised according to the specific demands and deadlines of the client. Habasit’s customised service was an important factor in finding the ideal solution for each step. Utilising Habasit’s modular, flighted and power transmission timing belts, among others, Simon was able to construct a machine of his own making.

“That is the interesting part of the job,” he explains. “Every machine is something totally new. There’s not another one like it. Many of the parts we use are not standard items so we must invent them ourselves." With innovation also being part of Habasit’s DNA, this is the motivation for many leading OEMs to choose Habasit as their supplier of choice of belting technology and services.

When Simon received the request from Rodda’s, he knew he would need to create a machine as original as the company that ran it. As the son of a design engineer, Simon sees each machine as a new mystery, a new riddle to solve. With the help of Habasit, and a taste for clotted cream, he found the solution he was looking for. (ST)

Gary Vickers Regional Sales Manager

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