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.

 

5 Packaging Solutions For Your Products In 2019

Packaging products effectively has never been as important as it is today, with stores packed full of a vast range of products from every industry there is more competition than ever to stand out from the rest.

In order to be visible to your customers, as well as offering sustainable and responsible packaging, you need to think very carefully about your packaging solutions and how they are working for you. Your packaging solutions are often the first point of contact potential customers have with your brand and products. Therefore, it is vital to be creative and individual in order for them to choose you over your competitors.

Most customers will look for originality when it comes to packaging solutions and will be drawn to products that are different from the rest. In recent years, customers and brands alike have been focusing more on the materials used in packaging, and the process used to produce them. This is down to calls for packaging solutions to be more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Customers don’t want to choose products that use excessive and unnecessary packaging solutions. Not only is this bad for the environment, but it is also an extra hassle for disposing of packaging once they get the products home. Businesses should constantly be reviewing and updating their packaging solutions to keep up with trends and stay on top of the game. These are our top five packaging solutions for your products in 2019:

Top Five Packaging Solutions For 2019

  • Mailing Boxes and Postal Sleeves

Online shopping is more popular now than ever, with more and more customers choosing to shop for all types of products on the internet as opposed to in a physical store. This means there is an increase in demand for packaging solutions that can easily be shipped and posted to customers’ homes.

If your business operates online, the chances are you need to ship products directly to customers.

Mailing boxes and postal sleeves are great packaging solutions for this, as they can be designed to safely transport products while also being compact enough to fit through letterboxes. Most postal sleeves and mailing boxes will come with a foam lining to protect products during shipping to minimise damage and avoid costly returns.

  • Corrugated Boxes

Corrugated board can be used to produce cost-efficient packaging solutions for all types of products. With a growing demand for companies to become more environmentally friendly, corrugated boxes are an excellent option for reducing your carbon footprint and minimising plastic use. The corrugated board has the ability to prevent moisture and protect products with additional cushioning. They are available in any size, shape and thickness, making them perfect for packaging solutions.

  • Paper Tape

As the world is focused on reducing the amount of waste plastic around, switching to paper tape from plastic tape can make a big difference to your packaging solutions. Paper tape has excellent bonding properties, meaning you only need to use one single layer to get a secure seal.

Unlike plastic packaging solutions, paper tape is made from sustainable and degradable materials that are also recyclable. Combining paper tape with corrugated boxes will give you fully recyclable packaging solutions, where there is no need to remove the tape before recycling.

  • Automated Packaging Solutions

Automated packaging solutions are a great way to create packaging for all different shapes and sizes depending on your individual requirements. Introducing automated packaging solutions offers an easy and straightforward production line for manufacturing.

Any business that has a warehouse for their stock can benefit from automated packaging solutions, particularly if they are running a 24-hour operation. Nearly any time where a product line can be assembled into a uniform size and shape, then automated packaging solutions make sense.

  • On Demand Packaging Solutions

For really versatile and innovative product packaging solutions in 2019, you should consider on-demand packaging. On-demand packaging solutions can package according to the size and shape of a specific product, so whatever product you place on the machine, it will wrap the item depending on its dimensions and weight.

On-demand packaging solutions are hugely beneficial as they save on time and labour costs, as well as saving space in shipping and transit. For warehouses this is a great packaging option as items can be packed when and where you want, saving on storage space and making logistics much easier.

Having packaging solutions that can work in real time can bring some huge benefits to any company, and on-demand packaging is expected to be the future of packaging.

Seven Benefits of A Packaging Automation Process

One of the biggest causes for concern in business is the rising costs and the best approaches you can take to help combat increasing expenditure and make savings where possible. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your business sustainable and ensure a healthy bottom line, one of these is through automation, particularly in the packaging sector with packaging automation processes.

An important consideration for businesses is how to ensure a packaging process provides a respectable return on investment. So often, the cost of staff leads to non-value-added processes that are wasting both time and money. What companies need to do is find ways to be greener, more sustainable, reduces costs and eliminate wastage. One of the best ways to do this is through automated packaging machinery and automating packaging processes.

What is packaging automation?

Packaging automation uses packaging machinery at various stages of the packaging process such as filling and sealing boxes, wrapping and labelling machines and coding and strapping products. Machinery can be both automatic and semi-automatic, covering a range of tasks but, as the name suggests, semi-automatic packaging machinery will require more labour.

Depending on the return on investment you can receive will play a part on the type of automated packaging machinery that will provide the most benefits and least costs to your business.

Seven benefits of packaging automation

  •  Productivity

Typically, automated packaging machinery will process goods much faster than the manual methods. Depending on the type of automation and the number of products you need to package, a machine will be able to wrap hundreds of items a minute, for example into blister packs. With packaging machinery, you can dramatically increase productivity to save time and ensure a faster production line.

  • Safer working conditions

If the items that you are packaging are bulky, cumbersome and heavy, then there can be a risk for health and safety. If your business employs personnel to package products that are heavy, then you have the chance of injury and costly time off work as well as the cost involved with ensuring rigorous health and safety compliance. Automated packaging takes away this problematic issue and creates a safer working environment.

  • Meticulous quality

With automated packaging, you can be sure that every package is well-protected through a standardised packing process. With automated packaging, each product has a tailored packaging design and shape so that you can be sure of the same level of protection for each item, and there is a routine use of stock.

  • Saving the planet with reduced wastage

One environmental benefit of packaging automation is that a packaging machine will only use a set amount of material and will be economical in its use of material, cutting to size and creating an efficient pattern that maximises protection out of the minimum level of material. This method can also save your business a considerable amount in packaging costs by reducing the amount of waste and streamlining the types of packaging you need to prevent over-ordering of various materials.

  • Specialised packaging

Whatever your product is, you can find an automated solution that is tailored to your item. Whether is vacuum packing, pressure filling, sterilised or inflatable, you can find the right piece of equipment to suit your bespoke needs. If you package many different products, then an on-demand solution that tailors each package to suit the shape of the product is ideal.

  • Lower costs

Labour intensive processes can be expensive but also fluctuating, making it hard to calculate the budget required for your packaging sector and the cost of packaging per product. Fortunately, automated packaging solutions are standardised, typically with a fixed price for the machinery as a set amount of packaging per product that can be calculated easily. By reducing the labour requirements, you can find a use for staff in value-adding areas elsewhere in the business.

  • Efficiency

Automated packaging can serve as a double benefit, covering the role that is too repetitive and straining for staff to undertake happily and also take on the tasks that are too difficult for a human to do. Whether it’s a large item, monotonous smaller jobs that are the same day in, day out or a job for multiple people, then automation may be the best way to combat these problems and have an efficient process. Rather than struggling with employing staff or worker retention, you have a reliable packaging machine that can take on the work and isn’t afraid of a repetitive task.


If you would like to speak to one of the Ribble team about our environmental standards or find out how packaging automation could help your business, get in touch.

How To Streamline Manufacturing Processes With Packaging Automation

Every business needs customer satisfaction in order to be profitable and successful. Taking a look at your manufacturing processes will help but ensuring customer satisfaction can be tricky. Consumers are constantly on the lookout for three key criteria;

  • Better product
  • Lower price
  • Quicker delivery

These customer demands only increase, and with more competitors to rival, this can put a strain on manufacturing businesses to keep their customers and stay competitive in the market place. To increase the efficiency of a product, both in cost and time, companies need to streamline their manufacturing to keep up with the growing demands.

How to streamline manufacturing processes

There are many ways to streamline manufacturing processes. One of the best ways to analyse how to simplify the process to increase its efficiency is by evaluating every task in the process and deciding whether it is a step that is value-adding or non-value-adding.

Value adding: this refers to tasks that usually changes or transforms the product, essentially adding a value to the product by adapting it to suit your needs. Steps such as quality control may not change the product, but still, can add value so be mindful of the activities that confirm value too.

Non-value adding: these tasks are ones that do not change the product and don’t necessarily need to be performed to ensure value to the product. They may, however, need to be performed due to the setup of production, for example moving parts from one part of the factory to another, or storage where parts are waiting for work to be performed.

To streamline the process as a whole, a good method is to focus on the non-value adding tasks first by stripping away any that are unnecessary. The next step is simplifying the process in order to eliminate the activity in the future, for example, changing the layout of the manufacturing set up to reduce the time between work stations.

For many businesses streamlining activities will only take place, if at all, in the manufacturing of the product itself. What many people neglect is a critical area of streamlining potential which is the packaging of the finished product.

How packaging automation can streamline manufacturing processes

Packaging automation works by creating the box or boxes you need with ease. Whether a mechanical or electrical system, packaging automation replaces some or all of the manual packaging elements and uses machinery to complete the task to make an array of different packaging options.

Box on Demand is just one of the automated packaging systems available which create packaging on demand that is uniquely designed to fit a range of different shapes and sizes. This is ideal for manufacturers who offer a range of different products that all have different packaging requirements.

Depending on your packaging requirements, automated packaging solutions can help to streamline your business in many ways such as;

  • Speed – items can be boxed as soon as they’re off the production line, you do not have to wait until the right sized box has been made up.
  • Efficiency – automated packaging reduces the manual effort required, meaning other people can be utilised in a different area of work.
  • Time-saving – as soon as products are finished they can be boxed and sent straight away, reducing the lead time for the customer.
  • Space-saving – as soon as products are ordered, they can be packaged and shipped, meaning they can free up space in your premises and reduces the risk of items being forgotten about.
  • Cost-saving – only creating the packing you need, you do not have to buy boxes in bulk that won’t be used. The money saved can be invested in machinery to speed up other areas of the manufacturing process.
  • Reduced rework – by having the right sized box, your product will be safer and therefore reach your customer fully functional. By packaging in the wrong sized box, you risk returns and remanufacturing to give the customer a quality product.
  • Less wastage – only utilising what you need, you can reduce the wastage of your business, making the process more efficient and reducing lost costs.
  • Consistency – As packaging systems make the right box every time, you know that each box will be flawless and your customers will know what to expect with the high-quality packaging solutions you provide.
  • Safety – With automation, you reduce the number of workers you need and can, therefore, increase the safety. The chances of injury with automated machinery will help to protect your workforce and could save your business considerable money in training, lost work days and potential lawsuits.

Find out more about automated packaging solutions and how they can benefit your business.

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