Based at Park Royal in West London, the company recently doubled the size of its premises, following five years in which production volume has risen three-fold. Some 250 staff are now employed.
With a particularly wide product range to be handled every day of the week - from high volume Ciabatta and Focaccia to special short-run flatbreads with a variety of toppings - the speed of changeover is a major factor in the choice of packaging machinery, as La Fornaia production director David Harrison explains.
“We have a product range of over 70 different lines and runs can vary from 15 minutes to four hours - 500 packs up to eight or ten thousand - and so the quick, programmable changeover we achieve with the Fuji machines is a major plus point,” he says.
Supplied by UK agent Paramount Packaging Systems, the Fuji Alpha 3410B wrappers are equipped with gas flushing equipment to improve product shelf life and box motion jaws to provide the extra dwell time necessary for secure-seals on the high barrier films and laminates employed by La Fornaia.
Changeover, by the operator, takes 2-3 minutes as a result of the electronic memory in which all set-up data is stored.
Once the new product is selected, the machines automatically adjust themselves for the length of the new product, the sealing times and temperatures required, and also bring the new printed film into register automatically.
Scale readings for manual adjustment of the side guides, forming box width and entry angle are shown clearly to the operator on the touchscreen controls.
“Fuji machines are quicker to change over than other machines and give us the additional flexibility we need,” says David Harrison.