Lanarkshire-based Bells Food Group has invested in a Scotch pie line from European Process Plant (EPP).
Its Comas Scotch Pie Line has replaced the pie maker’s original Comas Pie Line, which was installed by the equipment specialist 20 years ago.
The new line forms a small pastry doughball, which is dropped into heated moulds. A heated press then stamps the pie shell to partially cook the pastry. Robotics arms then pick up the shells, place it on a conveyor and pass it under a depositor, which adds the filling.
The pies then travel along the belt where a pastry lid is placed on top of the pie. A glaze is added and then the pies pass through a retractor which gently sweeps away the pies onto a travelling oven, where they are heated and transported to the wrapping department.
The bakery’s original Comas Pie Line still operates Monday to Friday from 6am to 1am the following day and can manufacture 370,000 Scotch pies per week.
“The original machine has served us fantastically well – it has been hugely efficient, very robust and very reliable. It has worked incredibly hard in its lifetime, and the only reason we are changing it is purely because it has reached an end of life cycle, and it has done its job for us,” said Ronnie Miles, managing director of Bells Food Group.
“It is a big investment, but it was an easy decision for us to make. Covid-19 has given us the opportunity for a build window, so the machine is being built now, but we won’t commission and install until April. We hope this machine will last us another 20 years.”
Bells currently has four Comas machines, with Comas One being the model due for renewal. The replacement line is largely unchanged from the previous model. Though, EEP and Bells came up with a few improvements, such as being easier to clean and maintain, with a slightly smaller footprint.
The equipment specialist has also worked with EPP and Comas to establish the Tartomatic pie shell machine, enabling Scotch pies to be produced at high quality on a large scale.
Bell’s Scotch pie is made using hot water pastry, a beef filling and a blend of traditional spices. Other pies include its traditional steak pie, as well as chicken curry, macaroni, steak & gravy and the recently launched vegan Scotch pie.
“It’s a real pleasure for EPP to be involved with such a forward-thinking and successful company, and there is no higher praise for us than to see satisfied customers coming back to us for repeat business 20 years later. We are proud to have played a small part in this process alongside our partner Comas,” added Ged McBride, technical sales manager at EPP.