Versatility of its machines has long been a plus point for Packaging Automation, one of the UK market leaders in tray sealing equipment whose equipment is distributed in Australia by MPI Australia.
Packaging Automation’s new success has seen a machine purchased three years ago by Taiko Foods now being used for a completely different packaging job following successful sealing trials for a new product range.
London-based Sushi and Dim Sum specialists Taiko first contacted Packaging Automation around three years ago when they wanted a new machine to seal a Japanese Bento box that contained gelatine. And after exhaustive trials, the PA217 was chosen as a good machine for the job.
However, as Taiko's sales and marketing manager Derek Lewis explains: "For various reasons the Japanese Bento Box deal did not take off, and we put the Packaging Automation machine to one side while we concentrated on developing our wide range of providing Dim Sum and other Sushi delicacies for a growing market.''
But when major UK supermarket chain Waitrose struck a deal with Taiko to supply Dim Sum under Taiko Zao brand, which is a Cantonese range of steamed dumplings stuffed with combinations of meat, vegetables and seafood, Lewis remembered the PA217.
PA's expert technical team were called in to do more tests using a steam-lidding system to allow the dim sum to be microwave cooked. The consistency of seal provided by the machine was ideal for the steam-lidded process chosen to cook the Waitrose Zao brand dim sum.
''The film incorporates a special valve which allows steam to escape in a controlled way through a measured aperture,'' said Lewis.
''We are convinced that this controlled release of steam contributes to the exceptional flavour and succulence of the product. The steam can be released during the early part of the microwaving in a way that is just not possible, for example, by the consumer piercing the film.''
So pleased are Waitrose with the results, that after marketing the product in a small number of stores, it is now going on sale throughout the UK, with up 1,500 packs a day being produced.
The PA217, a hand operated machine for sealing both film and board lids to compatible preformed containers, can be used with either reel-fed or pre-cut lids - more evidence of its versatility.
Taiko chooses to purchase its PA217, but this machine and the rest of the Packaging Automation range, is available for hire as well - yet more proof of the company's determination to be as flexible as possible.
''The quality of the machine and the standard of the service we have received, both when we first ordered the machine and again now, as well as Packaging Automation's input into the sealing trials, have all been top quality,'' he said.