Brooks Newmark, MP for Braintree, visited Pacepacker Services last week, after the packing equipment designer/manufacturer rounded off 2012 by scooping its SIXTH industry award for excellence in exporting, customer services and automation developments. During his visit, Brooks launched the company’s latest range of robotic packing innovations – the Blu-Robot pick and place system – which economically packs foods and other goods into supermarket cartons, trays and boxes.
The Great Bardfield based OEM of packing, pick and place and robot palletising equipment employs just 17 members of staff but has rapidly gained recognition as one of the UK’s top performing manufacturers by demonstrating significant and sustained export growth during difficult trading conditions. The aim of Brooks’ visit was to highlight the important role small UK manufacturers’ play within the economy and address the challenges and opportunities they face within the current business climate. "I would like to congratulate Pacepacker Services on its sixth industry award for excellence in exporting, customer services and automation. I was delighted to officially launch their economical ‘Blu-Robot pick and place system.’ Pacepacker is a great example of British innovation and technological excellence. It is enlightening that in such a tough economic climate Pacepacker Services continues to grow from strength to strength" comments Brooks.
Pacepacker’s growth was, in part, down to the company’s ability to effectively use the strategic advice given to them by various experts. "For many years UK Government has been urging private companies to help the country survive and beat recession," explains Dennis Allison, Managing Director of Pacepacker Services, "We are one of those organisations who have grown internationally by utilising the support structure available to UK companies. We implemented the advice received from our bank, our trade association, and the Government’s UKTI to help create and roll-out an ambitious export plan – we hope that our story will inspire other SME’s to make the similar ‘leap of faith’."
During his visit Brook’s launched Pacepacker’s latest robotic development, the Blu-Robot pick and place range. To address manufacturer’s requests for more economical solutions, the new range incorporates a second user FANUC robotic arm originating from the automotive industry which is approximately 35% of the way through its expected 100,000 operational hour lifespan, and is typically half the cost of a new robot arm. Pacepacker reprogrammes the system ready for its new occupation and incorporates one of 30+ end effectors to pick-up and place tubs, trays, netted products, bulk bags and boxes at 30 cycles per minute. Best suited for a wide range of food applications including fruit punnets, prepacked meat and snacks, the system comes with full servicing, spares and a one year warranty. "Automation and robotics uptake has increased significantly in the last 18 months, however low volume packers and seasonal manufacturers find it hard to get an acceptable ROI when buying new equipment," explains Dennis Allison, "although it’s widely recognised that automation increases competitiveness and efficiency, there was a growing need for more affordable solutions – and to this end we have addressed this need with the Blu-Robot pick and place range which is typically half the cost of a new system."