Tetley plant installs bespoke secondary packaging machine

Tata Global Beverages (TGB), the world’s second largest maker and distributor of tea, has installed new technology at its Teesside site, the largest TGB factory in the world.

Robotics specialist Sewtec has created a bespoke machine which can pack 2,000 bags every minute - image courtesy of Sewtec.
Robotics specialist Sewtec has created a bespoke machine for Tata Global Beverages which can pack 2,000 bags every minute – image courtesy of Sewtec.

Robotics specialist, Sewtec has designed a new machine for the owners of Tetley Tea to accommodate the launch of its new fruit tea product line.

Tata Global Beverages (TGB) has invested in a machine that will be able to put out 260 million tea bags every week and pack up to 2,000 tea bags per minute.

Designed and manufactured by engineers at the Dewsbury firm Sewtec, the fully automated and bespoke machine was created to Tata Global Beverages’ exact specifications and will be used exclusively by the company.

John Bishop, Tata Global Beverages’ engineering manufacturing manager, said: “Automation is vital to our manufacturing process, now and in the future. We appointed Sewtec because of its outstanding reputation in delivering bespoke automated solutions for the beverage industry.

“Our machine has already enabled us to bring a new product to market and will allow us to work faster and more effectively from our state-of-the-art facility.”

Tetley’s Teesside factory in Eaglescliffe has been owned by TGB, the world’s second largest maker and distributor of tea, since 2000. It sits on the Durham Lane Industrial Park plant, which is the conglomerate’s biggest factory in the world and has been a major employer for nearly 50 years.

Among Sewtec’s other products it’s designed are a robotic palletiser for a tobacco packing customer, secondary packaging for the beverage, baking and confectionery industries, and a high-speed assembly system for medical devices.

Although the company was founded in 1982, it was born out of the Singer sewing machine company’s design and development team way back in the Victorian era.

It exports 85 per cent of its goods and employs over 80 people at its site on the Ravensthorpe Industrial Park in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. Last year, the robotics specialist rebranded and revealed its five-year-plan to double its turnover to £32m and workforce to 120.


Reporting by Harry Wise