Scottish-firm Tunnocks has invested £4m in new machinery to improve efficiency at its Uddingston site, which produces caramel wafers and teacakes.

The firm spent £2m on new machinery earlier this year, including two foiling machines, two flow-packs and a robotic case packer earlier this year. MD Boyd Tunnock told British Baker the firm then spent another £2m on a state-of-the-art robotics system from Schubert to pack its teacakes, which it is “just bedding in” at the moment. It will be used to pack either six or 10 teacakes to a box, or 12 to a tray.

“We already had four wrapping machines, but Schubert supplied the feeding systems to these wrapping machines as well as the robotic packer,” explained Boyd. He said that the bakery’s previous line had been running for 10 years and was inefficient. “Efficiency has now gone up by 20-25%. We’re using less labour and also getting a bigger throughput,” he added.

Boyd told us that main change has been to teacake production, with five fewer people needed on the floor per shift. However he said the firm has not made any redundancies and is looking to move from a double shift per day, to three shifts, five days a week.

He said the new machinery is about “long-term payback”. “But as a family business we can afford to do that, and we’re willing to do that, as we’ll be getting a better end-product.” He added that the new machinery gives the firm the ability to increase production, but importantly, it will allow it to maintain its current prices.

The firm employs 550 staff, and turned over approximately £35m last year. It exports to over 30 countries worldwide, including Canada, the Canary Isles and Japan.