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Wright Pugson cheese cutting machines improve output for Kerrygold.

Wright Pugson Cheese Cutting Machines Improve Output for Kerrygold

Wright Pugson cheese cutting machines are helping Kerrygold at their new Leek plant to increase the output of Edam cheese wedges by more than 30 percent, whilst at the same time reducing labour input.

Towards the end of 1988 Kerrygold (Adams Foods as it then was) approached Wright Pugson, with a brief to design a machine to cut Edam balls into wedges more quickly and efficiently than could be achieved with existing equipment, and with the facility to cut 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 wedges from each ball.

In the past, machines had been manually loaded and unloaded to produce eight 1/2 lb wedges from each 4lb Edam cheese ball, at a rate of 60 to 70 portions per minute. Kerrygold wanted to reduce the labour involvement and increase production to more than 100 wedges per minute to keep pace with the latest thermoforming equipment. And the quality of the cut had to be at least as clean as that achieved on Kerrygolds' existing 15 year old Wright Pugson equipment. The engineer's approach was to look at replacing the hand loading operation with a faster, double headed system with automatic infeed and discharge, whilst also improving the quality of cut.

Automating the loading of 4lb balls and then transferring the 1/2 lb wedges to the packing lines was not the major design problem. What Wright Pugson's design and development team concentrated on was the cutting. The only faster cutters available at that time operated by pushing the Edam down through a framework of cutting blades, using the following ball. This led to inconsistency in the quality of the final cut portions. Wright Pugson concluded that the cheese should be cut horizontally whilst held between slotted push and guidance heads.

They put their finds to Kerrygold in the Spring of 1989. During the remainder of 1989 the detail design was settled and the machine constructed ready for trials at Kerrygolds' Cuffley factory. Tests running at full production speed were carried out for several weeks before the whole line was transferred to the Leek factory.

The new cutting system enables the operator to load cheese balls into the specially designed pocketed conveyor which automatically loads the cutter by indexing forward two balls at a time. These are automatically picked up, from the conveyor pockets, by twin slotted heads which push the balls, horizontally, through twin cutting frames. Guidance heads hold the ball until the cut has been completed; this prevents wedges peeling away during cutting and ensures they are cleanly cut to size without loss of wax. The cut wedges then drop on to a conveyor running out over the packing machine.

This whole process is controlled through a PLC housed in a central cabinet to ensure the production rate required at the packing end is automatically maintained.

PHOTO : A view of Wright Pugson's latest Edam cheese cutting system
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Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Oct 1, 1990
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