At the prestigious PPMA Group Industry Awards 2017, automation specialist Pacepacker Services repeated its 2015 success, winning two processing and packaging innovation awards in one night.
In addition to taking home the trophy for the Most Innovative Packaging Machinery for designing a huge fully automated line comprising case erection, loading and palletising, Pacepacker also won the top prize for Most Innovative Ancillary Equipment with its time-saving technology Pallet+.
Judged by an independent panel of 10 industry experts, the awards, now in their sixth year, attracted the most entries to-date said PPMA CEO Andrew Mint. “This is testament to the innovative nature of our business,” he acknowledged during the award ceremony opening speeches.
During the celebrations, Pacepacker MD Dennis Allison praised the collaborative efforts of the company’s team saying: “These wins are a great tribute to our staff who look after our customers and provide a level of service that results in consistent repeat business. A great deal of effort, R&D and investment in the newest technology goes into projects that are worthy of winning industry awards. The full processing and packing line that won the Most Innovative Packaging Machinery category authenticates this.” More than 50 Pacepacker team members and associate professionals provided input to this project.
Comprising 15 individual elements and featuring products from nine different original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Pacepacker more than doubled the output for a world leading hand hygiene supplier by automating tasks previously performed manually. Commending the company’s approach to such a complex project, the judging panel noted: “This packing and palletising line co-ordinates equipment from nine manufacturers and achieves several industry firsts including a clever end effector that lifts and gently places layers of heavy bottled products. All this combined with productivity improvements and savings in labour costs resulting in an 18-month return on investment for the end user.”
Scooping the title for Most Innovative Ancillary Equipment for Pallet+ was a double coup, with judges remarking: “Pallet+ is a product that has the potential to revolutionise the end packaging process, massively increasing uptime, reducing physical inspections and thus creating a safer working environment.”
Catering to fast-changing product formats, packaging shapes and sizes, Pallet+ enables factory operatives to change, store and recall new or revised robotic palletising and case loading recipes in several minutes versus over an hour with usual robot teach pendants.
With many food factories performing 20+ recipe/stack changes weekly, this trial and error programming process has long been a drain on resources and production time, resulting in frequent regular engineering callouts, reports Pacepacker.
“To collect two PPMA Group awards for innovation for a second time is testament to our team’s approach to solving specific technical challenges,” exclaims Dennis. “We designed Pallet+ in-house specifically to save customers time and reduce waste caused by badly stacked pallets. And we now regularly utilise 3D modelling and printing to shorten the commission time for bespoke components, again cutting out the trial and error process,” Dennis adds.
The awards were presented at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham on Tuesday 26th Sept 2017. Stand-up comedian Stewart Francis and Sky Sports News presenter Hayley McQueen hosted the presentation, which was attended by over 400 of the industry’s finest innovators, entrepreneurs, and machinery manufacturers.