SCOTLAND – Mackie’s of Scotland has unveiled a state-of-the-art packaging machine capable of filling 30 bags of ice per minute, marking a significant advancement in the company’s packaging technology.

This development comes as the Aberdeenshire-based business aims to substantially increase its production of spring water ice following the sale of over 2.5 million bags in 2023.

The new machine is expected to boost production capacity by up to three million additional bags annually.

The machine, which represents a £300,000 (US$382,866) investment, efficiently bags the ice, combines six bags into a carry bag for transport, and then stacks the carry bags onto a pallet.

The robotic stacking arm is designed to learn and optimize the pallet-building process for maximum efficiency.

Stuart Common, Managing Director at Mackie’s of Scotland, commented, “This new ice packaging machine represents a monumental leap forward in packaging technology. Unlike traditional packaging machines, this state-of-the-art equipment enhances packaging efficiency to boost capacity.

“This six-figure investment into our ice production process underscores our commitment to the business’s growth while also seamlessly integrating with our environmentally focused refrigeration upgrades, which are the first of their kind in Scotland.”

The increased ice production capacity leverages the company’s low-carbon refrigeration system, which reduces energy use by employing natural refrigerant gases and biomass power.

Mackie’s also operates one of Europe’s largest ice-producing machines, which chops long tubes of ice into cubes as they detach from a cooling cylinder, capable of producing up to 50 tons of ice daily.

Stuart added, “Mackie’s ice cream has already been added to more than 1,000 new UK stores this year. With our improved ice production capacity, we anticipate similar strong growth for our bags of ice throughout the rest of 2024.

“Installing this new equipment has allowed us to scale up manufacturing of our ice cubes while maintaining our commitment to sustainability and quality. We’re proud to lead the industry while minimizing our environmental impact.”

In February, Mackie’s, in collaboration with Muller Technology, unveiled a new design for its iconic 1-litre ice cream tubs. This redesigned tub uses 23.9% less plastic per unit, yet still holds the same amount of delicious ice cream.

Sustainability has always been a core value at Mackie’s. While our primary focus has been on energy generation and reducing our overall energy consumption—we produce twice as much energy as we use—we continuously seek other sustainable initiatives.

Collaborating with Muller to reduce plastic usage in our tubs without compromising their functionality is a significant step forward. Efficient use of raw materials is inherently more sustainable, and we are committed to pursuing such improvements.

The new Muller Technology mould was delivered to our farm last week, completing the design phase and paving the way for this more sustainable packaging solution.

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