30th Aug 2017 | By

Pacepacker is continuing to make waves in manufacturing automation, securing a number of significant business wins and high-kudos client projects. In order to meet these growing demands and stay on top of robotic trends, Pacepacker has appointed six new team members in the last 12 months, realigned its strategic focus and structured its management team in order to address its customers’ future needs.

While bagging remains a core market for the Essex-based company, Pacepacker’s attendance at key exhibitions in recent years, including PPMA, Foodex, Lamma and Fruit Logistica, combined with a concerted promotional effort by the sales team, has resulted in 40% more quotes being issued for food-orientated case loading projects in the last 12 months. The company has also designed, built and delivered it’s most complex, largest, fully automated line ever for a world leader in occupational skin care and hand hygiene. Comprising 15 individual elements and featuring products from nine different OEMS, the entire production cell took eight months to design and engineer.

“Projects of this scale tend to be fairly bespoke and as such require more resourcing and design expertise, as well as field and installation support,” explains Pacepacker’s MD Dennis Allison.  “In five years we’ve increased our FTE headcount by over 50% and now employ over 27 people nationwide.”

Most recently, the company appointed Mark Greenwood as Operations Manager, Mechanical Design and Project Engineer Sanjaya Chandrasena, Automation Solution Manager Mark Wilcock, plus three field Service engineers – Ben Maxwell, Luiz Pinto, and Lewis North.

In the last decade, all of our retained profits have been reinvested in research and development to extend our case loading and palletising product range,” highlights Dennis. “We also invested significant resources and money redesigning our flagship bagging system – the GT sack placer. The new FastPac range is 20% faster than previous models and we’ve sold seven FastPac systems so far this year.

The FastPac sack placer can handle porous sack materials in addition o paper and plastics

The FastPac sack placer can handle porous sack materials in addition o paper and plastics

“We are now strategically resourced and well-positioned to go to market with a complete portfolio of efficient bagging, case loading and palletising systems and extend our market share,” says Dennis.

Working towards explicit milestones during this growth curve is the responsibility of new Operations Manager Mark Greenwood. Joining the company in May, Mark, whose background is in operations and logistics, is quick to praise Pacepacker’s phenomenal skillset.

Pacepacker clearly has an excellent reputation among its customers. By bringing our operational teams together we can pool all this knowledge and be more resource efficient in order to continue developing our core products,” he comments.

By overseeing the technical, production, customer service and accounts teams, Mark is already making great inroads in breaking down traditional business silos and introducing a more customer centric focus.

Sanjaya, who has been project managing the extensive hand hygiene production line since joining a year ago, is equally complimentary about Pacepacker’s product range. Having qualified with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering and having worked as an aircraft engineer in Sri Lanka, Sanjaya is especially adept at performing modifications to operating systems and designing bespoke elements, such as a specialist vision system and robot palletising cell.

With a proven track record in automation sales combined with an extensive technical background, Automation Solution Manager Mark Wilcock joined Pacepacker in September 2016 to manage UK West & Ireland sales, enabling Ian Merchant to concentrate on the East.

Mark has been focused on driving growth for Pacepacker in the past 12 months, providing many industries with innovative and mutually beneficial automation systems. “We have been working tirelessly in the past 12 months to align customers’ evolving automation requirements with Pacepacker’s proven solutions, resulting in a number of project successes. Customers constantly relay their desire to automate to improve output and raise their game. It’s an exciting time and it’s clear that there’s great potential to leverage our bagging and palletising prowess to continue developing and expanding our case loading offering,” emphasises Mark.

Underpinning this expansion programme, Pacepacker has doubled the number of its service engineers in the field to six, enabling the company to be more responsive. As well as supporting installations, Ben, Luiz and Lewis respond to mechanical breakdowns and service the machines on site to ensure customers maintain their productivity levels.

Luiz Pinto can turn his hand to pretty much anything mechanical. Since joining the company in January, Luiz has enjoyed visiting customers on site, resolving issues and identifying potential new machine commissions.

Newest recruit Ben Maxwell joined Pacepacker just four weeks ago. Previously a maintenance engineer in the textile industry, he says it’s evident that this is a company on the rise. “Factory and packing automation is an exciting environment to be working in,” claims Ben.

Technical Director Richard Gladwin adds: “Pacepacker is currently going from strength to strength, with fantastic opportunities ahead to expand throughout the UK and grow our export offering.  Strategically, this is the strongest position the company has been in during its 40 year history. With such an emphasis now on production efficiency we look forward to helping more manufacturers realise the benefits of automating their end of line case loading and palletising systems and developing our core offerings in these application areas.”

Paul Wilkinson, Commercial & Information Systems Manager
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