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Tea company brews up a packing machinery business

A UK company that sells tea on a subscription basis has entered the packaging equipment market after it had to develop its own machinery because it couldn’t find any affordable systems on the market.

Bruu – The Gourmet Tea Club, based in Richmond, Yorkshire, previously packed thousands of sachets of loose tea by hand every month. It searched for machinery that could partially automate the process but found that entry-level systems would cost at least £10,000 ($12,400), and that any form of bespoke adaptation could add thousands more to the price.

This led Bruu to develop its own machinery, initially for use in-house. But the company’s founder, Anneka James, soon realised that there was a potential demand from external customers. “The machines were so good that I started to call a few of our competitors to see if they had the same problem,” she recalls, “and we immediately had a handful of orders and a new business to develop.”

Bruu’s parent company, Yolo, has set up a new operation called Scayl to develop and sell the machines. It now has a range of five machines, including a sealing machine, aimed at smaller companies that currently pack ingredients by hand and want to introduce a degree of automation. Scayl claims that its machines can improve packing speeds by an average of 35% – and, in some cases, have achieved improvements of up to 200%.

Scayl’s packing machines are aimed at small companies that can’t afford other systems currently on the market
The machines can be used to pack products such as powders, granules, grains, herbs, spices, beans and confectionery. Their hoppers can accommodate 10–15kg of products, but extenders can increase this capacity to 40kg.

Around 30% of Scayl’s production is now being exported. The company has recently partnered with the major packaging machinery player PFM, to serve PFM customers looking for entry-level systems. Chris Bolton, PFM’s sales director, says that Scayl’s products complements PFM’s own range. “We were really impressed with their machines and their simplicity,” he adds.