Aberdeenshire Ice cream manufacturer unveils cutting edge ice packaging machine

Mackies Ice packaging machine

INNOVATIVE technology has been installed by Scotland’s largest ice cube producers to significantly increase production. 

Aberdeenshire-based Mackie’s of Scotland, best known for producing Scotland’s best-selling ice cream, has commissioned a new ice packaging machine capable of filling 30 bags of ice per minute.

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The machine bags the ice, combines six bags of ice into a carry-bag for transport, then stacks the carry bags onto a pallet – with the robotic stacking arm learning as it goes to find the most efficient means of building the pallets.

It comes after the family run business – which has been producing ice from a hillside spring on the farm since 2004 – sold more than 2.5 million bags of its spring water ice in 2023.

Mackie’s hope the £300,000 investment into the advanced packing technology will increase production capacity by up to three million additional bags per year.

Stuart Common, Managing Director at Mackie’s of Scotland said: “This new ice packaging machine represents a monumental leap forward in packaging technology.

“Unlike traditional packaging machines, this state-of-the-art equipment focuses on enhancing packaging efficiency in order to boost capacity.

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

The increased ice production capacity makes use of the company’s low-carbon refrigeration system, which reduces refrigeration-related energy use by using natural refrigerant gasses and biomass power. 

Mackie’s is also home to one of Europe’s largest ice making machines, using a process which chops long tubes of ice into cubes as they detach from a cooling cylinder. The system can produce up to 50 tons of ice each day.

Looking ahead, Stuart added: “Mackie’s ice cream has already been added to more than 1,000 new UK stores this year, and with our improved ice production capacity we hope to see similarly strong growth for our bags of ice over 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 way in the industry, while still minimising our environmental impact.”

The sustainably-powered ice cream company consistently looks to reinvest its profits into training its staff and improving its production capabilities.

As well as its use of fresh hillside spring water for its ice production; Mackie’s employs rainwater capture technology across the farm, which supplies all the water needed for the office, residential and dairy buildings on the farm.

In addition to being the largest independently owned ice cream manufacturer in the UK, Mackie’s is one of the UK’s top ice cream brands, with its one litre Traditional tub among the best-selling premium ice cream products in the UK.

Mackie’s produces all its ice cream using fresh milk and cream on its fifth-generation family dairy farm, Westertown, near Inverurie in Aberdeenshire.

To find out more about Mackie’s of Scotland, please visit: www.mackies.co.uk

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