Last year was a busy and exciting one for Stockport thermoformer Macpac. The manufacturing premises underwent some significant structural changes and a re-organisation that would ultimately lead to a more streamlined production facility. An additional new CNC machine was integrated into extended tool rooms and more CAD CAM engineers were recruited to cope with significantly increased levels of business.
During the re-organisation a world first was achieved as Macpac introduced a new thermoforming technology through collaboration with German machinery manufacturer Illig. The result of this collaboration is a new approach in stacking and skeletal rewind technology. The technology, inspired by Macpac’s engineering team, has been incorporated into a new pressure forming machine purchased from Illig. Larger more complex shapes can have a tendency to mislocate in the stacker causing costly machine down time.
The new stacking arrangement considerably reduces the incidence of downtime and also facilitates more complex shapes to be formed. Another important feature of the new machine is that the blow box has been eliminated which makes cleaning easier, an important consideration for food and medical thermoformings.
The big advantage to customers is that the cost of tooling has been reduced because the stacker is less complicated to build requiring less engineering. Prior to the refurbishment, the BRC high care area catered for about 40% of the total production output. The entire manufacturing facility is now converted to high care which will no doubt reassure customers requiring BRC/IOP accredited packaging that Macpac’s credentials are more than fit for purpose. It should also reassure non-food customers that their packaging is made from the same high grade materials and to the same high standards that food and medical customers receive as standard.
Yet another positive feature for customers is the extended finished goods warehouse with an increased capacity of 600 pallets. This allows larger stockholdings on behalf of customers for call off during busy peak periods. Intelligent use of resources ensures continuity of supply of essential packaging components on very short lead times.
This offers peace of mind by eliminating second guessing of peak requirements. All of these structural changes have been implemented alongside a business that has been showing consistent and impressive year on year growth and without any interruption to the continuity of finished goods supply to customers.
The expansion has also enabled a speeding up of the process for introducing new products and two significant launches were made towards the end of 2013. The first was a departure into the horticultural market, a sector within which Macpac is increasingly raising its profile. A major new launch sees the introduction of Plantpac, a range of protective transit packaging designed specifically for growers and suppliers of plug plants for mail order.
The Plantpac range is manufactured from recycled PET that can in turn be recycled after use. There are currently 6 different sizes – 3×6, 3×12, 4×6, 4×12, 5×6 and 5×12. Every pack incorporates a clever new closure system that is quick and easy to close even when wearing gloves, making it especially advantageous for packing.
Packs can be supplied with the option of either a plain sleeve or a sleeve that can be customised with added branding. Since the launch of Plantpac, Macpac have had some really useful feedback. The market has asked for a 9cm variation, which Macpac have already completed prototypes for that are available for sampling on request.
Another major launch from Macpac is Surecel, described as the ultimate in self locking clamshells. Surecel has been designed to meet the needs of the retail market and is manufactured by Macpac using high clarity RPET material. It has been developed with presentation in mind offering clean stylish designs along with the highest level of security possible for a hand assembled pack.
All packs feature a novel new closure system that is simplicity itself to close yet incredibly difficult to open making it extremely secure. Surecel is currently available in 19 different shapes and sizes. It is supplied as Surecel Standard with no tooling cost or for the modest extra cost of an add-on tool it can be customized as a Surecel Custom pack. Surecel and Plantpac will be showing at Packaging Innovations on Macpac’s stand G54 at the NEC 26-27 February 2014.
For further information please visit www.macpac.co.uk