TWELVE accolades were handed out at the 2019 PPMA Group Industry Awards, as companies from around the world packed The National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham to celebrate innovation and achievements within the industry.
Hosted this year by impressionist and comedian Jon Culshaw, Jenton Group picked up the first award of the evening, collecting the Innovative Processing System accolade for the firm’s work with mushrooms which, with the exposure of its UV B technology on processing lines, allows for consumers to get 30 times more vitamin D from the vegetable, according to director Richard Little.
The system is an advancement on Jenton’s UV work with The Body Shop in the 80s. Speaking to Packaging Scotland, Richard said, “We like entering and being part of the PPMA Awards. A couple of years ago we won with a joint project with Starflex – that was a partnership award. This time we looked through and actually it (the UV B mushroom system) seemed a good thing to put in as it is innovative, it is new, and ultimately, we’re quite proud of it as we’ve done (what) other people haven’t managed to do it. We didn’t anticipate that we were necessarily going to win, but it seemed out of all the things we were doing to be the most sensible to put forward.
“When customers come to our facility and see our cabinet with our awards, it gives them confidence that they’re dealing with a company that knows what it’s doing, because if you try and sell anything now, customers want to buy from people who give them the confidence that the problem they’re trying to solve will go away. In the world of UV, we really are experts – we write all our modelling software.
“We were doing UV back in the 1970s whereas a lot of people have only started doing it recently, so we know how it works and we know what doesn’t work.”
Elsewhere, Brillopak quite literally scooped the Innovative Robotics Solution Award for its P180 packaging system for Morrisons supermarket. David Jahn, CEO of the company, briefed Packaging Scotland on the technology at the PPMA Total Show – likening the system to fingers that scoop up the produce to allow for quick line speeds, with the scooping motion crucially ensuring high levels of pack presentation.
Commenting on the award, he said, “We beat serious big guns. Little old Brillopak – up we went to get the award, I was so chuffed. Morrisons wanted a centre of excellence for packing, that was the objective. So that inspires us. I wasn’t thinking in terms of awards, I was thinking about the job.
“The difference with this project is in many other automation projects, is often people say with automation ‘we want to reduce labour costs’ and obviously that cost justifies it. But with Morrisons, it was all about pack presentation in supermarkets. Morrisons had really focused on the quality of its produce and how it looks – so for us it was accuracy of the presentation. In terms of detail, it had to be high speed so it was operating 70 to 85 packs a minute – the norm in this industry is about 60 – so a considerable increase in speed. Morrisons said that workforce wellbeing and satisfaction is the best it’s ever been. For me, as a machine manufacturer, that’s the nicest thing that someone could say.”
TrakRap won the Innovative Packaging Machinery Award for a packaging system that eradicates the need for heat during the packaging process – thus reducing energy consumption and material usage to make for an eco-friendly piece of machinery. First created in 1989, demand was sparing for such a system in a time where concern over the natural environment wasn’t as pressing a matter as it is today. In 2011, however, the development process picked up – ultimately culminating in this year’s award.
CEO Martin Leeming told Packaging Scotland, “It’s been a long journey for Trakrap. We’ve set out to create a new packaging machine that uses less of everything – less energy, film, cardboard less everything. This is the end of a long journey really; we’ve managed to do that.
“We don’t really seek recognition, but we’re particularly proud of this award because it’s from the industry, so it really means a lot to us this does – it’s recognition from people in the same industry, it’s a great thing.”
Clearmark Solutions received the Innovative Ancillary Equipment award for its Thermal Transfer Film Transport System, which allows for the packaging machine to operate at speed without being limited by the thermal printers incorporated into the system.
Chris Gent, commercial director of Clearmark Solutions, told Packaging Scotland how companies can benefit from using the system, “Our innovation gives a big competitive advantage as it can offer two cycles a minute more than anybody else. Companies can see that it gives them a lot of added value, which they can then pass onto their customers.
The system works alongside a thermoformer, controlling the film speed during a print cycle, rather than relying on the thermoformer print speed. This allows us to print at a more pedestrian rate but still achieving the overall high throughput that the Thermoformer was designed to do. The accuracy of our printing is guaranteed by the way we sense the film and the way we move the film. It’s the design of our system that guarantees the accuracy.”
The Innovative Vision Solution award went to Scorpion Vision, for technology that allowed for a cheese factory to no longer have to re-work their products to accommodate labels, and instead use Scorpion Vision’s system which mathematically analyses each bit of uniquely shaped cheese and places the label on the largest side.
Paul Wilson, CEO of Scorpion Vision said, “Winning the award was significant for us. It’s recognition in the industry that we can deliver special projects and the actual application itself is challenging – we had to do some pretty creative stuff to get it to work.
“We’ve had an increased level of enquiries [since the award], people understand we do some pretty special stuff and everything we do tends to be bespoke.”
The Exporter of the Year prize went to Farleygreene – the company has seen exporting grow from less than 5% in 2017 to make up over 30% of turnover in 2019.
There were also wins for Garçon Wines (Environmental Initiative of the Year for the firm’s eco flat wine bottle that is entirely recyclable and 10 flat bottle case which amplifies the efficiencies of the single bottle by fitting 10 bottles in a space that would otherwise fit just four round, glass bottles of the same volume), CME Ltd (Exceptional Sales Performance), and OAL (Outstanding Customer Service).
Two Lifetime Achievement awards were presented on the night. One went to Michel Podevyn of Spiroflow, who has dedicated 45 years to the packaging industry, while the other worthy recipient was Chris Holland from Holmach.
There was double joy for Mettler-Toledo Safeline, winning the PPMA Best Award and the firm’s Jack Woolmer being honoured with the Apprentice of the Year accoalde.