The machine, at Tata Global Beverages’ Eaglescliffe, UK plant can pack 2,000 tea bags a minute. The plant itself produces 260m tea bags a week.
Sewtec designed and manufactured the fully automated and bespoke machine exclusively for the company.
The 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. It checks for quality and collates multiple cartons into shelf-ready trays, including flexible changeovers.
John Bishop, engineering manufacturing manager, Tata Global Beverages, said this year has been a milestone for the Tetley brand because it celebrates its 180th anniversary.
He said it continues to enter new categories and wants to extend its global footprint in the tea segment.
“Automation is vital to our manufacturing process, now and in the future. We appointed Sewtec because of its reputation in delivering bespoke automated machines 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 facility,” added Bishop.
Tata Global Beverages, which has a turnover of £762m, is based in India and employs more than 3,000 people across 40 countries.
Sewtec, based in Dewsbury, UK, designs and manufactures factory automation systems for global blue-chip clients in the food and beverage industry, among others.
Mark Cook, MD, Sewtec, said thanks to a management buy-out last year, the company achieved its highest sales of £25m of orders since it was founded in 1982.
This was driven by a wider transformational change in the business. He said its strong performance means the company is on-track to achieve its ambition of doubling turnover to £32m by 2022.