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.”
6 Months On – An Operational Success!
Since the completion of our investment project in September last year, the packaging industry has experienced an unprecedented increase in demand as a direct result of Covid-19 and Brexit. Despite the challenges which have arisen for the industry as a whole, Ribble have thrived due to the operational success of the new machinery installed and extra warehouse space. Within four weeks of the investment projects being commissioned Ribble had delivered a 25% increase in productivity, allowing them to absorb the demand and maintain their high service levels. Further productivity improvements are expected to be gained from this investment over the coming months.
In addition to their own operational productivity, Ribble’s Right Size packaging has proven to be an effective solution for their customers, particularly for retailers. Right Size has allowed businesses to regain control and streamline their packaging process despite the ongoing short-term packaging shortage. Stephen Rector commented on the positive impact Right Sizing has on the packaging industry “With the events of 2020 and a greater emphasis on the role of ecommerce within the retail industry, we have seen a rise in demand of Right Size technology that can cope with the ever-changing retail landscape.”
Right Size packaging solutions consist of a packaging machine placed on a customer’s site fed by Fanfold corrugated board (a concertina of continuous cardboard sheet) that allows Right Size solutions to automatically cut the right amount of material needed for a perfect size box for each product being packaged.
With a shift towards greener packaging materials and a worldwide cardboard shortage, many companies have struggled to source the packaging materials they need or are forced to seek less sustainable alternatives. Right Size packaging technology removes excess product packaging by placing each product in the perfect size box – this reduces cardboard consumption overall, typically by 25%. Current Right Size customers are also benefitting from purchasing Fanfold corrugated board rather than conventional carboard boxes. By removing conventional box purchasing and switching to Fanfold, companies only purchase the amount of cardboard they require rather than having surplus boxes due to minimum order quantities dictated by suppliers. All of these benefits lead to Right Size customers reducing their amount of cardboard consumption and relieving pressure on the cardboard supply chain.