Award-winning business Extons Foods brought PFM Packaging Machinery on board to help further the firm’s dramatic expansion, from a sole trader selling products to local shops in and around Stockport, to the UK’s largest independent cheese slicing company.
Due to an increasing order book from sandwich manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and food service providers across Europe, family-run Extons Foods, which had previously supplied only sliced cheese, is now churning out around 80 tonnes of the grated variety every week after investing in PFM’s solutions in a new state-of-the-art production line at its purpose-built Manchester facility.
PFM installed a line featuring a product elevator, cross feeder, support gantry, multi-head weigher with a 14 head rigidified finish C2 weigher, as well as a Vetta bag maker with rotating crimpers, tape and zip applicators.
Vetta allows easy changeover of bag styles by the operator, rather than engineers, in less than 30 minutes. Many of the bags feature a series of folds that make set up difficult on conventional machinery. This machine meets food industry hygiene requirements, with elimination of flat surfaces and dirt traps, easy access for cleaning and stainless-steel construction.
Grated cheese is being packed in a variety of bag styles, branded and plain, including 2kg pillow packs, 200-220g stand-up Doy style bags with a zip re-close system and 200-220g Easy Pack bags with a tape re-close system.
Having a grated line has helped the cheese business widen its customer base, as Managing Director and Founder of the company, Liz Parkinson, explained: “We chose PFM because they have a great reputation in our industry and specialise in grated cheese. The new line is boosting output and has helped the business to grow by delivering more of our products.
“They are great to work with and always have a very positive attitude. We were primarily just a slicing company before PFM put the new line in which has enabled us to expand into grating cheese. Production is flat out so it’s been a good step for us and the business is going from strength to strength and continuing to grow.”
Partnering with PFM and drawing on its expertise has been one of the factors in Extons Foods’ rapid growth – around 60% over the last two years with further expansion in the pipeline – added Parkinson, who did not hesitate recommending the packaging machinery company for its customer service as well as its kit.
PFM is well known across multiple food and non-food sectors for its impressive range of packaging solutions and has the reputation for being a responsive automation partner. Both the UK and Irish Republic are covered from its Leeds headquarters with sales and servicing of a variety of equipment and parts that can help manufacturers cut costs and reduce pack wastage.