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Sweet Tooth

LOMA SYSTEMS® IQ3 is declared ‘sweet enough’ by the largest UK manufacturer of chocolate and novelty confectionery products, Kinnerton Confectionery.

Kinnerton Confectionery is the largest independent UK manufacturer of chocolate and novelty confectionery products. Established in 1978, the company uses character merchandising to promote the
sales of its chocolate confectionery.

Kinnerton is a distinctive and successful operation. It has a state-of-the-art 125,000 square foot manufacturing facility in the Norfolk market town of Fakenham. Kinnerton produces over 6,000 tons of
chocolate annually. Most products are sold to major retail partners across the whole of the UK, as well as other key European territories. Aside from specialising in licensed confectionery, the company also produces a significant range of their own brand and private label products for some of the largest retail chains in the UK, Europe and Australia.

The company prides itself for being at the forefront of innovation and development. Kinnerton has consistently been first to market with path-finding products and product categories. Kinnerton has used
character licensing to market its chocolate for over 25 years and has confectionery ranges that include some of the most well-known character names from film and television including: Barbie, Wallace & Gromit, The Simpsons and Batman. The company has repeatedly proved a good judge of licences and its apt character moulding and imaginative presentation have helped it win LIMA’s (International Licensing Industry Merchandisers Association) Food Licensee of the Year twice over recent years.

Kinnerton has a strict HACCP policy and the factory is constantly audited against the British Retail Consortiums ‘Global Food Standard’ to ensure standards are high enough to meet the requirements of their partner companies.

Against this rigorous standard, Kinnerton has been certified to the highest level attainable. This standard incorporates detailed requirements for a stringent quality control system, which exceeds those detailed in the General Food Hygiene Regulations. As part of its high standard of quality control, Kinnerton required a new metal detector. Previously, they had hired a metal detector when needed, but increased demand meant that it became more cost effective to purchase a new one.

Kinnerton had no hesitation in choosing LOMA SYSTEMS, a world leader in the design and manufacture of food inspection systems, as they had previously purchased other LOMA® machines and were extremely pleased with the results. As Lee Hunt, Kinnerton’s Deputy Engineering Manager comments, “We have used LOMA machines several times before and we have always been happy with the machine, the service and the support that LOMA offers.”

Kinnerton is frequently developing its range of seasonal and everyday confectionery from Easter eggs and Advent calendars, to chocolate bars and chocolate miniature figures as well as chocolate and jelly lollipops. With constantly changing production lines, Kinnerton required an adaptable metal detector which could easily be set up to inspect their variety of products.

Hunt continues, “We wanted a flexible machine that could cope with our constantly changing lines, as we manufacture a variety of products, ranging from 2kg chocolate Easter eggs to 2 foot high chocolate bunnies. Furthermore, we inspect over 800 different product lines, so a metal detector, which is simple to set up and minimises downtime was essential. The LOMA IQ3 metal detector met these criteria and was the ideal choice.”

The LOMA IQ3 metal detector has sophisticated electronics to enable the inventive ‘Automatic Product Learn’ system to calibrate and automatically learn the characteristics and settings for up to 100 different products. An additional feature is the innovative true variable frequency technology, which allows the operator to auto-select the correct frequency for maximum contaminant sensitivity.

Traditionally single frequency metal detectors need internal adjustments when faced with a product that is materially different from others usually inspected on the line.

However, LOMA’s innovative true variable frequency technology was the perfect solution for offering Kinnerton the ability to cope with changing product lines without any fuss or loss of performance.

Innovation is key to Kinnerton’s ranges and they are constantly keeping an eye on the market to ensure they keep ahead of the trends. Kinnerton was the first confectioner in the world to offer chocolate manufactured in a nut segregated area, keeping traces of nuts out of all their chocolates. More recently, the company began producing nut free, dairy free, gluten free and egg free luxury chocolate bars. Ensuring that certain products (i.e. nuts) are not transferred to other lines and to other products means harsh wash down capability was essential when choosing a machine. The IQ3 is designed for tough wash down cleaning specifications and meets the IP69K environment standard. Additionally, LOMA’s ‘Designed to Survive® ethos is reflected throughout their product range and with many of the lines at Kinnerton’s running 24-hours a day, a tough, durable and long lasting metal detector was critical.

The IQ3 metal detector is in a class of its own. This next-generation system offers better sensitivity and stability and is more future-proof than anything else currently on the market. Hunt adds, “The IQ3 has exceeded our specification for the size of contaminants we are required to find from our biggest multiple retailer client.”

The IQ3 also benefits from an intuitive control panel, which is very simple to understand and is designed to be used in any multi-language environment. The machine includes a Performance Validation System (PVS), which automatically prompts the operator to test performance at pre-set intervals according to HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) principles and produces a detailed record of any contaminants found. Added to this, the IQ3 uses an industry standard OPC system (Object Linking and Embedding for Process Control), allowing operations managers to easily integrate the equipment in factory data capture networks.

Hunt concludes, “LOMA’s IQ3 along with their service has been fantastic. My technical and engineering teams have had no problems with the performance of the machine and the whole process from enquiry to delivery has been second to none. I was very impressed with the punctual delivery time as Loma delivered the machine in a shorter lead-time than originally quoted.”

With an extensive portfolio of weighing and inspection technologies and a strong focus on the needs of the food industry, LOMA Systems is uniquely positioned to provide systems that not only meet the specific quality assurance needs of its customers today, but offer realistic potential for expansion or enhancement to meet the changing needs of tomorrow.