Simmons bakery products

Source: Simmons

Simmons Bakers has invested in a larger Koenig Combiline to increase production, improve quality and provide more flexibility.

The new equipment was installed at the family-run business’ central bakery in Hatfield, from which it delivers a variety of freshly baked goods including rolls and baguettes to its 42 shops in and around Hertfordshire.

Supplied by equipment specialist European Process Plant (EPP), the new Koenig Combiline can produce up to 9,000 rolls per hour.

Simmons managing director Rupert Matthews noted that their bakery’s older machine, which had provided around 13 years of service, was capable of 8,000 rolls per hour but was becoming difficult to find parts and support. Thus, an upgrade was required.

“The new Koenig Combiline provides more flexibility and automation to production with better quality products,” Matthews said, adding that the previous machine was still being used but now resided in a bakery in the north of Scotland.

By scheduling a lot of short runs on the new line, Simmons Bakers said it was able to produce a large variety of different types and sizes of rolls and baguettes, including with and without seeds.

The company, which was established by Eliza Simmons in 1838, is said to prides itself of the freshness of its products and refuses to take on shops further than 25 miles from its Hatfield site. “We make today and deliver tomorrow,” Matthews stated.

After adding just one shop over the preceding 12 months, Simmons moved up one place to 29th in our Top 75 list of out-of-home bakery market players published in the Bakery Market Report 2023. Its website says the company employs 400 local people, from dough makers to cake decorators, including senior staff that have been with them since they were 16 years old.

Prior to purchasing the new equipment, EPP arranged a visit to the Koenig factory in Graz, Austria for Matthews and his team, where they tested out their own bakery products using ingredients sent over as well.

EPP also offered training and support to Simmons’ onsite engineers to help maximise efficiency and production. “The installation all went very well and was managed well by the team at EPP, with full production being made in a couple of days and much quicker than expected,” said Matthews.

EPP operates from its head office and warehouse in Epsom, Surrey. It helped supply a new Koenig Combiline to Yorkshire-based Thomas the Baker in June, as well as working with Urban Legends earlier this year on trials to further automate production of the brand’s non-HFSS doughnuts.