Ribble’s £3.5 million investment into their future

Recently we have successfully completed a £3.5 million investment project on time, despite the challenges presented by Covid-19. The project, which included a warehouse extension and the installation of various state-of-the-art machinery, started in February and concluded in early September. The investment will allow us to expand our capacity and continue our growth in the future.

Over the past 5 years we have worked hard to create a position as the European market leader for the manufacture and supply of corrugated Fanfold, in addition to pioneering Right Size packaging solutions in the UK. We started this journey to success 8 years ago when we prototyped the very first Fanfold stacker developed by Universal Corrugated B.V. Using this highly automated and ground-breaking technology, we were able to ride the growing wave of the ‘on demand’ culture. It was our desire to continue as the market leaders in this rapidly developing and evolving market that lead to the decision to make this latest investment.

The investment consisted of 4 projects involving a multitude of contractors from all over Europe, all of whom came together with our own Ribble team to coordinate the installations. The teams worked seamlessly together in an environment made all the more challenging by the requirement to comply with our comprehensive Covid risk management plan.

Project 1 – The ‘Airbond’ System

The system, installed by JKSP Services, was an investment on the drying section of the conventional corrugator. It is designed to dry double walled board at higher running speeds, allowing us to increase the line speed of double wall from 170 metres per minute up to 220 metres per minute.

Project 2 – The Unifold

The largest part of the of the investment was The Unifold, the latest generation and fastest fully automated fanfold stacker in Europe. This machine was manufactured by Universal Corrugated B.V, shipped over from the Netherlands and installed and commissioned within a 2 week period. The upgrade will allow us to increase our running speed by 33% from 150 metres per minute to 200 metres per minute, with the capability for higher speeds in the future.

Project 3 – Dedicated Press Track

The press track, dedicated to The Unifold stacker, incorporates a state-of-the-art palletiser, turntable, pallet pusher and conveyorization. All of which will aid the manufacture and delivery of Fanfold to the various Right Size automated packaging systems available across the market.

Project 4 – Warehouse & Factory Extension

PLP Construction were contracted to build the warehouse extension which has increased our onsite storage capacity by 18,000 square feet. This significant increase will allow us to store on average an extra 1000 pallets and cope with the newly increased running speeds of the fanfold stacker.

Stephen Rector, the Managing Director of Ribble Packaging, praised his employees and the contractors involved stating “The work done on this project has been immense and the result is, in my opinion, fantastic. The Fanfold and Right Size packaging market has grown significantly over the past few years and show no signs of stopping. We therefore needed to evolve with the market to protect our hard-earned market leading position. This investment will ensure we do exactly that whilst also giving us the ability to strengthen our relationships and partnerships with the leading Right Size packaging machine manufacturers such as Panotec, Quadient and CMC.”

Sustainability Made Simple With Packaging Automation

With a growing need for companies to accelerate their sustainability and social responsibility, it’s come as no surprise that 2020 has seen more and more businesses continuing to phase out the use of plastic packaging and introduce packaging automation. Just recently, Lego have stated that they are aiming for all packaging to be sustainable by 2025. Neils B Christiansen, CEO at Lego Group says,

 “It’s critical to take urgent action now to care for the planet and future generations.”

Caring for the future is a mission that every business globally needs to adopt, not only because it’s important to value the planet, but you must ensure you don’t lose sight of your consumers values and the fundamental changes they come up against as a result of climate change.

Whilst the global coronavirus pandemic has taken hold, many retailers and other industries have recognised the need for automation across many departments, as would be expected due to the shortfall of workers and the urgent need for hygienic, sanitary processes to be in place.

But how can packaging automation help create a more sustainable process?

In terms of packaging, automating the process not only vastly improves the efficiency of your business by reducing the strain of your workforce and improving the quality of your packaging, right size packaging solutions will also decrease any waste. Not only this, your efficiency levels will be optimised as automated packaging means less reliance on workforce, as machines do not need a ‘break’.

Reducing packaging waste also means that if you do use plastic packaging for your items, this usage is kept to an absolute minimum. At Ribble, we preserve environmental resources by using 100% recycled and recyclable Fanfold for our automated packaging solutions.

Adopting a right size packaging solution to your business, does exactly what it says – you have the right size box to fit the product meaning no excess waste, leading to improved sustainability. It will size, construct, weigh and label each custom order to create the perfect package and eliminate the need for any fill material – saving you money on labour and reducing box volume for delivery.

Businesses who have incorporated our right-size packaging solution have saved 30% in packaging costs!

By having smaller packages for your products, you will also utilise available courier vehicle space better, which will in turn reduce the number of vehicles on the road, reducing your CO2 emissions and collectively making you a more sustainable business.

In celebration of Recycling Week 2020, we’re inviting you to a virtual demonstration of how right size solutions can make your packaging more sustainable. In just 15 minutes, you’ll learn how your business can go green. To register please visit https://ribble-pack.co.uk/campaigns/go-green-in-15.

How Businesses have used Packaging Automation to aid their Covid Response

Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many retailers to rethink their entire business model and consider adopting an automated process for packaging. The Coronavirus pandemic will be a defining moment in history for years to come for many reasons, but if you’re an online retailer you’re likely to have witnessed a considerable peak in sales during the lockdown. With more and more consumers left with no outlet for escape, it is no wonder those who had never shopped online before chose to switch to e-commerce. This was of course great news for online retailers who unlike other businesses could thrive in sales, but the reality of many e-fulfilment centres, they struggled to cope with demand.

Those already with a Packaging Automation system in place were in a beneficial position as they could safely limit the number of staff in the warehouse and abide by social distancing during this unprecedented time. On the other hand, those supply chains that have been dragging their feet in automation had to tackle the struggle of not being able to meet the demand in sales and thus face the bad reputation that comes with this. E-commerce supply chains require fast order processing, efficient picking and packing and reliable delivery of thousands of units per day, so when you fail at this, you ultimately fall victim to poor reviews and a damaged brand.

Automation has helped many Online Retailers through COVID as they have been able to reduce the congestion of staff in the packing areas, whilst still increasing the volume of deliveries at the same time. Not only does automated packaging provide a sustainable option and encourages waste reduction, automated packaging provides reassurance for consumers. During a world-wide health crisis, consumers have understandably grown more concerned about where they source their products and having knowledge that their product and its packaging has been handled by as few people as possible is a new selling point for retailers. In a time that sees an increased awareness in hygiene, the value of single-use packaging may be on the rise again…

By focusing on efficiency and delivering to your consumers, we have already seen a steady increase in packaging automation as e-commerce retailers take greater control over the supply chain. Right sized packaging enables a single operative to make any box, at the correct size for any goods, packing single or multiple items.  This means faster packaging, using less materials and smaller packages, so you can get more products per pallet – reducing truckloads, cost and carbon. When you combine this with our corrugated Fanfold material, you can typically generate a 25% reduction in corrugated costs and up to a 100% reduction in void fillers. As logistics centres increase social distancing measures, automation can help increase throughput with reduced staffing levels.


To find out more about our automated packaging options, please get in touch.


How to future proof your business using automation

In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, automation can often be seen on the agenda of most forward-thinking businesses. However, many may be thinking that the use of automation will instantly give them rewards and save on costs, sometimes this can be the case, but the use of automation needs to be viewed as a long-term strategy. For starters, sometimes the initial investment is not a small outlay and the costs involved in moving from manual processes into automated procedures can be high.

The key to evolving into automation is found in the medium-to-long-term, simply put this means the longer automation is used, the more powerful its ability to reduce costs becomes.

So how does automation improve production efficiency and decrease production costs?

Automated machines have no need to take breaks. They work at a faster rate, lowering manufacturing overheads, and increase output at the same time. In short, it means you can manufacture more products within the same space and time.

Automated technology continues to improve year-on-year, a recent stat from NCCI – “Only about 10% of manufacturing tasks globally were performed by robots in 2015. But that percentage is expected to rise to 25% by 2025 as robots become less expensive and easier to program, making them more accessible, particularly to small businesses.”

Automation also has the ability to work collaboratively with the human workforce. Sensor systems have become far more adept and built with safety in mind, with features such as collaborative machines that can detect too much resistance to their movement, so they automatically shut down. The positive effect here is a safer workplace for employees, and a far lower risk of accidents occurring.

Businesses need resilience, flexibility, and scalability. In other words, they need automation, delivering substantial results to the bottom line.

The real question here should be Why would you not automate? By choosing an automated solution like ‘right-size packaging’ you too can begin to reap the benefits that automation brings along with future proofing your business.

Find out how you can automate your packaging process in just 15 minutes, from the comfort of your own chair with our virtual demonstration by calling 0161 284 9000

Why is automation the future for packaging?

The day of shipping boxes 40% oversized has come to an end. Constructing boxes, packing, weighing, sealing and labelling manually is a slow process, and few have either the physical space or the available labour to create additional packing solutions for your ever-changing stock.

The quality of the packaging matters to customers, if nothing else, the package is the first impression. The condition of the contents upon arrival to the customer is important, more and more we are seeing a demand for less void fill. This comes at a time with the current climate where we are seeing a spike in online deliveries. With the average box being 40% too big, add to this the cost of shipping boxes too large for their contents and it gets expensive.

A simple size-constrained machine using only one-size of box does not cater for the wide variety of products and order sizes experienced by most businesses. If demand for smaller items to be packed exceeds the capacity of the relevant machine, the supplier has no option but to move up a box size, or two, or three, or do they?

What is the answer?

Rightsized boxes and pouches assembled on automated equipment are the future. The system scans and measures the item, or group of items, to be packed and calculates the ‘best fit’ box shape and size. The material for the box and lid is cut and creased to size, erected around the item(s) and the lid glue-sealed – which is faster and more recyclable than using tape.

This approach addresses the waste problem – cardboard usage typically cut by 20%, and a tight fit eliminates the need for void fill. Total package volumes can be reduced by 50%, maximising the use of the truck or trailer cube and reducing shipping costs and environmental impacts.

What is there not to like?

The business case I think you will agree is impressive. Even operating ‘off-peak’ at below capacity there is a quick Return on Investment in the form of material savings, lower shipping costs and labour economies – labour that could be redeployed to other tasks.

By choosing an automated solution like ‘right-size packaging’ businesses can meet their fulfilment promises, even in the peaks, while respecting the environment, reducing transit damage and saving money.

Find out how you can automate your packaging process in just 15 minutes, from the comfort of your own chair with our virtual demonstration by calling 0161 284 9000

Mahdlo Youth Zone Support

We were delighted to support Mahdlo Youth zone during lockdown by donating £2,000. Mahdlo is a state-of-the-art Youth Zone in the heart of Oldham for 8-19 year olds, open 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year offering a range of activities and opportunities to young people across Oldham for just 50p a member. During lockdown they have made more than 180 calls per week to members, with those needing it most receiving 7-days-a-week support. The Youth Zone has also moved much of its Youth Work delivery online, with at least 15 live Zoom sessions per week and pre-recorded content posted every single day onto the charity’s social media.

Lucy Lees, Deputy Chief Executive at Mahdlo Youth Zone, said: “We are so incredibly grateful for Ribble’s generous gift and cannot say thank you enough! In these uncertain times their donation will allow Mahdlo to continue to provide vital provision to the young people in our community who need it most.”

Dextra Group plc

Dextra Group PLC. is a UK based lighting manufacturer employing over 500 staff in its Dorset headquarters.  Dextra are the largest privately owned and managed lighting manufacturer in the UK.

Dextra Group, where possible, trade with clients or installers directly.  The Group’s subsidiaries trade in general lighting which covers schools, universities, commercial offices, logistic centres and retail among others.When Dextra moved to manufacturing bespoke products, their packaging process required over 200 different box designs and sizes to be used. With so many different box designs required, a conventional packaging process became difficult to manage and the purchasing process was time consuming. Dextra were aware that a packaging change needed to be made, to streamline the process, whilst maintaining product protection from their packaging.

After seeing how Ribble’s Right size solutions work, and the benefits which can be gained from using on demand packaging, Dextra were confident Ribble had the solution. Right size solutions use Panotec technology coupled with Ribble’s corrugated fanfold to produce the perfect size box for each product. By using Right size solutions Dextra could produce specifically designed packaging on a ‘just in time’ method to suit their factory. As a result of producing perfectly sized boxes, Right size solutions can eliminate void fillers, reduce corrugated costs, improve vehicle utilisation and lower transportation costs.

“Ribble’s service, back up and quality are first class.” – Dextra Group

If you want your business to follow in the footsteps of successful manufacturers such as Dextra Group, then consider Ribble Right size solutions. Right size solutions gives you on-demand and on-site packaging capabilities, allowing your business to save money and save the

Integral Surface Design

Integral Surface Designs is a leading UK manufacturer of vinyl wrapped, pvc edged, acrylic and natural feel doors and components for kitchen, bedroom, bathroom trade customers.

Integral produce all their products on a just in time basis which allows them to quickly adapt to a customer needs without the unnecessary costs of holding large quantities of stock.

As the business grew, it became clear that a conventional packaging process did not suit the just in time nature of the business and a more flexible alternative was needed. After researching the products on offer, Integral were convinced that Ribble and Panotec offered the best solution to their problem.

A Box on Demand machine has allowed Integral to create bespoke cardboard packaging for all their products, on a just in time basis to suit the business’s needs.

One of the most important factors in Integral’s decision was the partnership between Ribble and Panotec. Panotec Machinery and Ribble’s Fanfold board create the perfect packaging solution for any company who would benefit from an automated packaging solution. Ribble work closely with our customers to supply and maintain the best possible packaging solution for your business.

Showcard Print

Showcard Print are specialists in the supply of printed point of sale and point of purchase material. For over 40-years they have produced high quality print materials to the retail sector, including some of the best-known brands on the high street. With a heritage in the wide format sector Showcard Print offer digital, screen and Litho printing on an extensive range of materials to meet any display need. Showcard’s 3D engineered, semi-permanent display units and promotional products create positive customer experiences for retailers, and product interaction for brands, that drive sales.

Due to the variety of product shapes and sizes Showcard produce, packaging was often ordered in small quantities and required on a just in time basis. This led to high costs, obsolete packaging materials being ordered and a high amount of administration to manage the process.

By choosing Ribble and a Panotec Nextmode 2.5, Showcard have gained more control of their packaging process and the ability to make the right size boxes on demand. Showcard have seen benefits including:

  • Creation of a more environmentally sustainable packaging process.
  • Reduction in corrugated spend
  • Improved flexibility
  • Elimination of supplier MOQ’s
  • Reduction in administrative resources

If your business demands a high quantity of SKU’s on demand like Showcard, then consider Ribble Right size solutions. Right size solutions give you on-demand and on-site packaging capabilities, allowing your business to save money and save the planet.

Donations to Christies & Dr Kershaw’s

Dr Kershaw’s Hospice has been part of Oldham’s community for over 30 years and provides specialist palliative care for adults with non-curable, life-limiting illnesses in a peaceful and homely environment. The Christie at Oldham Hospital was the first in a unique network of Christie radiotherapy centres where it lets patients access first class cancer treatment closer to home. Both of these charities are very close to our hearts here at Ribble, which is why we decided to donate a combined total of £13,000 to support the amazing work they do every day.
“Over the past few years team Ribble have focused our fundraising efforts on supporting charities which make a real difference to our local area. Dr Kershaw’s and Christie’s have been at the heart of our community for many years and are charities which mean a lot to many of employees and their families. With that in mind we decided to donate and support the fantastic work they continue to do for our community.” – Sam Barber, HR Director, Ribble Packaging.

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