At the PPMA Group Industry Awards 2015* Pacepacker was crowned the Most Innovative Processing/Packaging Machine of the Year for its new Mixed Tray Loader (MTL) plus scooped the coveted Partnership of the Year accolade for its three-way alliance with likeminded automation specialists FANUC UK and Festo.
At a gala ceremony hosted by comedian and entertainer Bobby Davro at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham on Tuesday 29th September, the MTL packing system, which creates mixed retail trays of food and FMCG goods, was praised by the PPMA judges for its simplicity and effectiveness, which they felt: “epitomises an essential element of innovation.”
Omron sponsored the Most Innovative Machine of the Year accolade and UK General Manager Mark Butters expressed his delight at seeing a British company demonstrate its ingenuity and market influence to win both titles: “It was an absolute pleasure to present Dennis and the Pacepacker team with this award. They demonstrated flexible and intelligent application of automation technology in response to the ever-changing needs of their customer base. I would personally like to wish all at Pacepacker every success as they continue to develop their business to meet the ever increasing challenges of serving a highly dynamic market place.”
Commending the strength of Pacepacker’s partnership with FANUC UK and Festo, the PPMA judging panel said that the trio stood out as winners because of their “willingness to work together, despite being competitors in some areas, ensuring that customers’ needs were fully met.” Their efforts to showcase automation to a wider audience at Pacepacker’s ‘try before you buy’ facility, was also applauded.
Collecting both accolades in front of more than 400 industry leaders and innovators, Pacepacker’s managing director Dennis Allison commented: “Two awards in one night is a tremendous honour. It underpins the importance of collaboration with both customers and industry counterparts, particularly in relation to showcasing the benefits and removing the barriers to automation.”
“Although reliance on automation in the food sector hasn’t grown at a breakneck pace, year-on-year investment is rising, paving the way for a stronger UK and export manufacturing and food market,” continues Dennis. “The MTL is a classic example of what can be accomplished when we work together to address a specific challenge, without making it unduly complicated. Likewise, having the widest choice of hygienic automation, product handling and packaging solutions in the market today means that as a team we can design and build an innovative solution that best suits each client’s application requirements and budget.”
Among the many successes accomplished in the last 12-months, Pacepacker launched the MTL, winner of the 2015 PPMA innovation award. The first installation was a Cartesian version for a producer of dips. Incorporating Festo mechatronics, picking heads remove one line of product from the first tray, placing it into the second, reversing the process to swap items to create mixed retail trays of food and FMCG goods. In just 12-months this customer reports that requests for mixed product trays has quadrupled, and Pacepacker recently upgraded their system, doubling the product swap capacity to 60 pots per minute. A robotic pot swap version has also been created with FANUC, combining the LR Mate200iD robot with the (MTL) concept.
The Shingle Tray Loader (STL) unveiled at the PPMA show has also solved vertical tray packing. It too was a collaborative effort, incorporating the very latest FANUC M-710iC/45M robot and Pacepacker’s own-design shingle feed end-effector and tray denester.
Between them, the trio continues to have the widest automation portfolio, giving customers access to 80+ robots, virtually infinite end effector configurations and over 85 service consultants nationwide. Dennis adds: “The need for labour efficiency and productivity is driving manufacturers, processors and packing plants towards new and innovative technology. Winning both these PPMA awards shows what can be accomplished when companies work together and how this fosters even greater innovation.”