Founded in New Zealand by JH Whittaker’s more than 120 years ago, JH Whittaker’s & Sons remains a family-owned and operated company now managed by a third generation of the Whittaker family, Andrew and Brian, along with a fourth generation, Matt and Holly, who also work within the business.

With nearly 200 staff at its factory in Porirua, Wellington, Whittaker’s produces the highest-quality chocolate products for both the domestic and export markets. During the 1950s Whittaker’s developed the Peanut Slab. It has since become an iconic product and the recipe has never changed. In the 1990s the company started to make its first chocolate blocks, which are now New Zealand’s favourite blocks.

Whittaker’s is a ‘beans to bar’ company, controlling the whole process from roasting the beans to the final product. This is to ensure only chocolates of the highest quality are produced. With a philosophy of purity and environmental consideration, the company does not use palm oil or genetically modified ingredients in the manufacturing process.

Evidence of Whittaker’s popularity and recognition in New Zealand is reflected in numerous awards. This includes being voted New Zealand’s most trusted brand in the Reader’s Digest annual awards for the past eight years, as well as being voted New Zealand’s most loved brand in the Colmar Brunton survey for the past eight years.

Whittaker’s continued pursuit of innovation in chocolate can be seen in the introduction of the Artisan & Destinations Collections – chocolate with the most delicious ingredients sourced directly from New Zealand’s finest and equally passionate artisan producers. Following the success of this line, Whittaker’s introduced the Destinations Collection, sourcing the most unique ingredients from all over the world.

Herbert Aregger is Whittaker’s Engineering Manager. His first experience with Enmin was the purchase of a solitary vibratory feeder bought through a third party in 2013. It was this initial experience with the quality and workmanship of the Enmin vibrators that was instrumental in Aregger requesting Enmin to design and build a custom piece of equipment for a new product line. This new equipment would need to facilitate up to six different flavours of chocolates being weighed and put into assorted bags.

Enmin’s custom design and build ability were ideal for this sort of project; the requirement being identified as a multi-pack delivery system connected to a six-split multi-head weigher. This was to be a full 360-degree turnkey installation by Enmin, a crucial part of which was the requirement that this new equipment would integrate seamlessly with existing components.

“Right from the start, the communication from Enmin was outstanding,” said Aregger. “Every question was taken seriously, and every challenge was addressed and discussed. Starting with an erecting plan of the platform, the entire project was designed using Enmin’s state-of-the-art software, Autodesk Inventor.”

All components were prefabricated at Enmin’s plant and then shipped over to New Zealand for assembly.

“The integration with the other components was seamless,” Aregger added. “All the mechanical components fitted with minimal or no modifications and electrical interfaces were also prepared by Enmin. The entire process was well thought through by them.

“Cabling of the equipment was also prepared and any modifications requested (mechanical or electrical) were taken seriously and executed in a timely manner with good workmanship. Overall it was a great install with no major issues.”

Testament to Enmin’s through planning and commitment to customer service is that the entire installation was delivered in the original time frame.

“Since the installation it has become a very efficient and reliable line that’s gone above projected sales,” Aregger remarked.

Whittaker’s also recently commissioned a mixing line that was once again designed and built by Enmin.

“Enmin has helped us increase our efficiency and productivity and we are very pleased with this new equipment; manual handling has been reduced by 70% and our output doubled,” Aregger explained. “I certainly intend to keep dealing with Enmin in the future. The quality of the goods, reliability, and ease of dealing with them are crucial factors; e-mails are always answered swiftly. Often a phone call is received to discuss the problem or information required. I feel we have an honest working relationship with Enmin and are looking forward to this continuing in the future.

“Enmin is an important business partner who will continue to assist us in making delicious chocolate using the best possible ingredients coupled with world-class people and world-class machinery.”