Author: mark

Marpak Extrusions recently expanded with a new factory site in Leeds, investing around £2 million in its infrastructure and equipment. Its sister company Talos has also unveiled its Transport Simulator, which allows companies to gain first-hand knowledge of how palletised goods react during transportation prior to putting them on the road, and is used by companies such as Ardagh. Sally Love visited the company and spoke with Commercial Director Jamie Gibson, to discuss the recent investments and the company’s plans for the future.


What does Marpak Extrusions produce? Marpak produces flexible polyethylene based packaging, specialising in the field of pallet protection, and has over 30 years combined experience in the blown film extrusion and conversion market. We make the shrink-wrapping as well as the palletisers, in conjunction with the Danish company Lachenmeier. Basically we offer cold-end packaging solutions – there are a number of solutions that we’ve provided for the glass container industry, such as bottle diverters.

Can you give me a brief history of the company? Marpak was started in 1979 by Richard Gibson. He was working for a Swedish company and decided
to start on his own – he was already in packaging so it made sense to continue in that field. He built the business up, moved premises, kept scaling, then moved to Westland Square in 1990. He had four or five extrusion lines and started working with Rockware, who became our biggest customer. One thing led to another, and we progressed within the glass industry. In 1999 or 2000 he sold the company, and we subsequently restarted circa 2003. Initially we started up with a single extruder in Barnsley and started to supply Ardagh again, which built the business up. We then bought a facility in Leeds and started producing there, then moved back into our former premises at Westland Square. We gradually put more lines in and got bigger with the support of a number of blue chip companies such as Ardagh. I joined the business when it restarted. There was only a few of us and we’ve gone from around three of us to over 40 employees now – it’s just grown and grown. We supply the majority of the container glass manufacturers in UK, but we also supply some sites in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands. We’re currently in negotiations with other European manufacturers as well.  As the business evolved we realised there was a market for second hand shrink-wrap machines so we formed Talos, essentially buying and selling this equipment. From the early days Talos has evolved and we now manufacture our own endof-line packaging solutions as well as various additional solutions.

What industries do you cater to? It’s mainly the glass industry, plastic containers, the furniture industry and the building industry. The glass industry accounts for a significant proportion of business for both Talos and Marpak.

What drove you to invest recently? Increased demand from our customers meant we inevitably had to invest in a new facility as we ran out of space at Westland Square. As such we built the new factory and put in a co-extrusion line, which together was about £2million worth of investment, and has created around 10 jobs. So, we now have four sites in total. We needed the co-extrusion line because quite a lot of packaging is now moving towards coex, on which we produce stretch hood film. It’s not applicable to the glass industry, though, it’s mainly used within industries such as building and white goods etc. It secures the pallet without using gas or heat. The new factory is for that and for the wide-width line, which again caters more to the furniture and bedding industry.

Has the glass market grown recently? It’s grown for us, or it is growing, which is why we’re in talks with manufacturers in Europe. There’s certainly space for it to grow, because our products are probably the best on the market. Between 2011 and 2014 we saved Ardagh UK a significant amount of money by downgauging, which is where you make the film thinner but keep the same strength characteristics. So, you’re not downgauging for the sake of it, you’re improving the blend of your material and then keeping the same strength qualities with a thinner gauge.  If you downgauge from 100 micron to 80 micron, which is what we did, you save 20% of the cost of the packaging. If you think about it, in the glass industry there aren’t many areas where you can make those kind of savings, however we managed that at Marpak.

Was that driven by customers asking for it, or from in-house efforts? It was driven by both Ardagh and ourselves with technical assistance from Total Petrochemicals as well as a number of our other key suppliers, in order to achieve the best blend and to save these costs. It’s good for the companies financially, but there’s also the positive environmental impact attained by using less heat in the packaging process, as well as using less material in the packaging.

Is environmental sustainability  important to you as a business? Downgauging is important in regards to reducing our footprint and that of our customers, but we also have Marpak Green, which is a polymer produced in Brazil from sugar cane as opposed to oil. Using this, we can produce the same film we make for everybody else but using sugar canebased instead of oil-based polymers, and so it’s massively beneficial to the environment.

The only drawback is that it’s expensive, but if you use 51% of this product then you’re carbon neutral so we’re trying to make as many of our customers as possible aware that this is an option; that it’s the way forward.

Where does the Transport Simulator come in to things? We were approached by one of our customers in the container glass industry who wanted something that would allow them to test the pallets, especially when downgauging and reducing the thickness of the film. When they test the film at their plants they want to be able to see how the pallets react when they’re on the move. You could always put them on a wagon, drive them 100 miles and bring them back, but you still can’t actually see what they’re doing on the pallet – whereas the transport simulator that we’ve designed at Talos allows you to do that. You can see how the pallets are reacting. We’ve sold a number of these transport simulators within the glass industry, as well as to other sectors including the paint and fertilizer industries due to issues they have transporting their products. Obviously, if a load of glass smashes, or paint, it’s an expensive clean up. The impact of a damaged load arriving at a customer is more than just the damaged product; it’s also their confidence in the supplier’s ability to deliver a quality product. It’s about the buyer’s confidence, and the investment in the simulator allows our customers to have confidence that their product will arrive undamaged, and that they will maintain a good working relationship with their customer.
Do you have plan to expand into new regions? We have agents operating within a number of European countries, and we’re presently looking into the Portuguese and Spanish markets, that’s our primary focus. Outside of Europe, from a Talos point of view we’re in the middle of developing training software and we’ll be looking to sell that globally. We sold a Transport Simulator to India recently, although that wasn’t for the glass industry. The idea is, when you have something like the Transport Simulator in a market such as India then you can look at other markets in that region as you have a point of reference.
Are you nervous about Brexit? A little bit. I think the uncertainty surrounding when we’re going and how we’re going, membership in the single market; it’s a bit worrying. It depends how people perceive us, when we leave the EU. Obviously from a currency point of view it makes us quite competitive at the moment, but we still have to buy our raw materials from Europe so it’s a double-edged sword. Around 40% of our raw materials come from Europe, so when the exchange rate is low it has made the polymer very expensive.
What are your immediate plans for the future? At the moment, because we’ve just had all the investment, it’s probably to consolidate in terms of improving Talos’s profile and getting all our staff up to speed and investing in them. There will be a big push for Talos in the next year

Specialist glass packaging

According to research by Research and Markets, the global production of glass containers in 2015 was 50.63 million metric tons. That’s a lot of glass being stored and transported all over the world for everything from decor and home design to glass bottles for the food and drink industry. A variety of specialist glass packaging makes this possible.

The costs and consequences of unreliable packaging for food and drink products can cause significant financial pain. Damage or contamination of products due to glass breakage, in itself costly, can be magnified by damage to brand reputation. For high-value products such as wines and spirits, the losses can be out of proportion to the cost of good quality packaging materials.

How to secure glass during transit

Special care must be taken to ensure the structural integrity of the glass, especially when supply chains reach national and international lengths.  Safety within warehousing systems is also an area of concern. Without adequate protection, glass containers can easily become damaged.

Specialist glass packaging includes the way glass goods are packaged and the packaging used to secure them.

Air-packaging

Essentially this is a polythene product with air sealed into it to provide a cushion. For transporting bottles, the air-filled blisters are usually arranged longitudinally, with additional support for the neck of the bottle where necessary.

Sometimes referred to as airpack, air packaging, or similar, this method of packaging is perfect for reducing breakages during transportation. So whether you’re shipping large volumes of soft drinks or higher value items like alcohol or oils, it’s one solution. The great thing about air packaging is the minimal space required. It takes up much less space than traditional competitors such as polystyrene, without scrimping on the protection offered.

Bubble-wrapping

By now, bubble wrapping may be seen as a traditional form of packaging, though it’s been a common packaging material for barely fifty years. It’s a pliable, transparent polythene material with regularly spaced protruding hemispheres of air.

The bubbles themselves are commonly available in a variety of different sizes, meaning that packaging can be sourced according to the product being transported but, as ever, there’s a differentiation in quality according to the price you’re willing to pay.

The advantage of bubble wrapping is its shock-absorbing properties. This is why it’s commonly used by companies transporting bottles, wine in particular.

Specialist technical films

One of the most effective glass packaging solutions is specialist technical films. Designed with technical quality and efficiency as a priority, this easy-to-apply polythene holds products fast, restricting movement and reducing damages, breakages, and contamination.

By producing thinner, lighter polythene with the strength and resilience of thicker films, manufacturers of these specialist technical films can ensure distributors run a more efficient supply chain, reduce their packaging costs and saving them space.

For over twenty years, Marpak Extrusions has been at the forefront of the supply and manufacture of polythene packaging materials. Our expertise has been built up working closely with the glass manufacturing sector, allowing us to tailor our world class polythene films to provide ever thinner and more manageable plastic packaging without sacrificing any of the protective properties that you’ve a right to expect.

To secure glass containers with specialist technical film, call Marpak Extrusions on 0113 277 5518 or contact us online.

Why specialist plastic wrap is best for your furniture

Moving house remains one of the most stressful undertakings we experience as functioning adults. According to its 2015 national property survey, Which? reported that 70% of 1,990 respondents found moving house stressful. One contributing factor is the physical relocation of your property from one residence to another. Specialist plastic wrap for furniture can help.

Whenever you’re preparing to move furniture and other delicate items, a lot of thought has to be put into protecting those items from damage. You might be undertaking a house move for yourself or you might be in the home removal business. You might manufacture furniture for delivery. Either way, the possibilities of damage to delicate workmanship and fine finishing are almost endless.

So what are the best kinds of plastic wrap for furniture, and what should you look for?

Shrink wrap: airtight and adaptable but mind its slipperiness

Polythene shrink wrap is a good solution for many items. It can protect wooden furniture from superficial damage. It can also help to keep parts in place and prevent doors from swinging open.

The greatest strength of shrink wrap is its airtight quality. It’s also adaptable, making it a useful all-purpose wrapper. Whether it’s a piano or a sofa, plastic shrink wrap fits tightly round an item to protect it from moisture or dust.

The drawbacks? If the shrink wrap is made from poor-quality plastic or is incorrectly fitted, trapped moisture can damage furniture. Shrink wrap can also be slippery to carry and needs removing carefully, otherwise further damage is a risk. Reuse of polythene shrink wrap is unlikely so it can also be wasteful, although greener options do exist to minimise environmental harm.

“If the shrink wrap is made from poor-quality plastic or is incorrectly fitted, trapped moisture can damage furniture.”

Overall, shrink wrap is a great solution for covering many items, particularly upholstered items that are at risk of dust or staining. It’s ideal for oddly-shaped items too, so if you’ve got a grand piano to cover, shrink wrap could be your friend.

Specialised furniture covers, ready for use

Specialist plastic wrap for furniture is another great solution to keeping items safe in transit. The mattress and furniture industry is already an extensive users of such covers, allowing products to be delivered in perfect condition, ready for use. They’re easy to use and quick to unwrap again on delivery.

The great advantage of these products is they’re ready to go. A specialist polythene cover can be slipped onto a mattress in moments, making them brilliant for use in storage and transportation. For prolonged storage, be sure to use covers with airtight seals.

“A specialist polythene cover can be slipped onto a mattress in moments, making them brilliant for use in storage and transportation.”

It’s not only beds and mattresses either. Furniture covers are available for single, double, and three-seater sofas together with numerous other shapes and sizes.

Reducing the risk of damage

Transport and storage are high-risk areas for furniture. With the best will in the world, a warehouse is always at risk of dust, water damage, and pests. Items in transit are continually at risk of a sudden knock or jolt. Even if furniture reaches its destination unscathed, it then needs carrying into the property.

Plastic wrapping furniture may seem like unnecessary additional expense, but transportation remains the biggest cause of damage to goods, of all types, prior to delivery. And with large, cumbersome items such as beds and sofas, the risks are greater due to excessive manhandling and the need for occasional storage.

Good quality furniture with a fine polished finish is particularly sensitive to bangs and bashes. Upholstered items are vulnerable in dusty environments. In each instance, damage can be reduced significantly when a good quality plastic wrap is used.

Marpak Extrusions has been building its experience in the blown film extrusion market for over thirty years. With our frequently pioneering, technical solutions, we’ve built up an impressive track-record of meeting our customers’ transport and storage needs. We supply plastic wrap for furniture and mattress covers in all the standard bed sizes and dimensions. We can also manufacture them bespoke to your specifications, providing the best available protection to products through haulage and storage, every inch of the way.

To find out more about our specialist plastic wrap for furniture, get in touch online or call us on 0113 277 5518

Food-grade bags for food packaging

Numerous stories have appeared in the media over recent years concerning the safety of various types of food packaging. The increased public awareness these have generated should be of great concern to food manufacturers, as it serves nobody to produce and distribute consumables to the highest hygiene standards if the buying public no longer has confidence in its packaging.

Naturally, it’s the chemicals in some forms of plastic packaging that are causing the greatest concern, but the ready availability of food-safe materials means that you shouldn’t have to compromise between long-term customer wellbeing and short-term hygiene.

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BA Vidro has installed the Transport Simulator from Talos Packaging Systems on a trial basis at one of its plants.

The Transport Simulator (pictured) has been specifically designed to aid glass manufacturers in reducing costs and ensuring damage-free, environmentally sustainable delivery of glass products to their customers.

The Transport Simulator is based on a 4-axis model that can simulate backwards, forwards, side/side and tilt movements.

Glass manufacturers can therefore mimic the results of a journey, in order to understand which part of the journey may affect the safe delivery of the product.

Using the Transport Simulator, BA Vidro will be able to look at the impact the transport has on the pallets first hand.

This allows for the safe testing of products in adverse road conditions, as well as factory efficiency gain from knowing how to prevent failures before the product leaves the factory.

This will allow the manufacturer to simulate its transport routes ahead of time, thus resulting in reduced breakages en route.

The Transport Simulator also means that BA can test the reliability of more environmentally friendly types of packaging for glass.

By down-gauging the packaging used when delivering pallets of glass, a glass manufacturer can save on costs and reduce its carbon footprint along the manufacturing process.

The Transport Simulator will enable BA to test the reduced thickness foil, which in turn will allow them to reduce their costs and carbon footprint.

Technical provider of high-end packaging solutions

As a Europe-wide packaging supplier, we understand the demands of big business and how little room there is for the smallest slip in standards. Marpak Extrusions have consistently proven ourselves as one of Europe’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of polythene packaging through two key indicators: our innovative product range and excellent standards of customer care.

Outstanding client relationships

We’re committed to providing the right solution for the specific demands of your particular business, and we pride ourselves on our personalised approach. This is how we are able to build and maintain strong client relationships with our customers, whatever the size of their operation and their specific packaging needs.

We strive to anticipate each client’s requirements by knowing our business inside out. Through our experienced team, you can expect a smooth service with all the information and advice you need.

Your quality assurance

We’re proud bearers of the BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Materials, proof that we are committed to a continuing investment in the research and manufacturing of polythene packaging. This includes carefully and consistently monitoring not just quality standards, but also standards of operation and procedure.

The polythene packaging industry could not exist successfully without a strong commitment to research and development. Our dedication to people, materials and manufacturing means our polythene packaging consistently comes out on top in performance.

“We’re proud bearers of the BRC Global Standard for Packaging and Materials, proof that we are committed to a continuing investment in the research and manufacturing of polythene packaging.”

There is no better packaging option available for the pallet protection market and this is highlighted by our strong client base within the glass industry, an area where pallet protection has to be unfailingly reliable every time.

You can be sure that Marpak Extrusion polythene is of the highest premium grade available in the industry today, and that we’re constantly reinvesting in research to keep it that way.

Social investment and responsibility

As part of our commitment to investing in our staff and community, we’re members of the PAFA trade association and we work hard to ensure our working environments and procedures meet and exceed industry requirements.

Health and safety are watchwords of our corporate social responsibility effort and we’re responsive to environmental considerations. In addition to this, we hold global standard accreditations for our outstanding operations procedures and standards, something that enables us to keep evolving.

Investing where it counts

In recent years we’ve taken the necessary steps to invest in our operations across the board. As a result, our facilities at our Leeds sites are state of the art and have a total of nine extrusion lines. Our follow-on conversion machines enable us to put our production capacity at a total of 18,000 tonnes.

“Our dedication to people, materials and manufacturing means our polythene packaging consistently comes out on top in performance.”

Not only have we upgraded our extrusion and conversion facilities, we’re also serious about being market leaders in growth and technology. This is why we’re also expanding and diversifying into prospective markets via a multi-million pound investment to increase our manufacturing capabilities – so your every polythene requirement is met.

Your market leaders: Marpak Extrusions

Our confidence shines through in everything we do, from research and development, and training and investment in staff and facilities, to outstanding customer care. Our continuous quality monitoring along with our bespoke service means you get exactly what you need with the peace of mind you deserve.

From heat-shrink film, pallet covers and hoods, to stretch-capable, machine-automated polythene film, our comprehensive product range promises to cover the widest range of requirements.

Do you have specific polythene requirements? Call on 0113 277 5518 or get in touch online to find out how Marpak Extrusions can help you.

The volume of household waste rejected for recycling across England has risen by 84% since 2011, government figures reveal.

 
Earlier this year, the BBC reported on the growing issue of rejected household recyclable waste. Going green is also a hot topic in the business world and something that companies can’t run away from. Consumers are increasingly seeking out actively eco-friendly suppliers, while businesses that haven’t adopted a plan of action will be considered less desirable than their counterparts.

Here’s a look at what some businesses are currently doing to reduce their environmental impact.

In the office

Alarmingly, around 12.5 million computers have been thrown into landfills over the past five years. Many other electrical devices are thrown straight into the bin, instead of being taken to a local recycling plant where it will be disposed of responsibly. Offices throughout the UK are still burning a high level of energy, dumping equipment into landfills, and buying cheaper non-green office supplies for everyday use.

Whether a small business that orders a modest amount of supplies, or a large building that receives pallets every week, there is always the option to choose green.

  • Try to buy from eco-friendly suppliers who use recycled materials.
  • You should also try and buy IT equipment that’s multi-functional. This way, instead of buying three separate machines to scan, copy and fax, you can buy one to do it all.

On the road

Many businesses have to keep vehicles on the road. There are always ways that the transportation of goods can adhere to a green ethos, however. Even if it’s a gradual implementation, changing methods to something more environmentally friendly can not only impress current clients but also potential customers.

  • Drivers are a vital part of the process as driving style has an impact on fuel costs and carbon footprint. It may be worth introducing additional training on best practices for reducing consumption. Business owners can even set up an incentive to ensure the training stays front of mind.
  • Keeping vehicles maintained and properly managed will increase their lifespan. A healthy vehicle is better for budgets and the environment.

Waste management

Businesses have a responsibility to the planet, especially those that go through a lot of waste. As time progresses, the government are cracking down on businesses that don’t recycle or manage their waste correctly.

While waste disposal is important, it is evident from the government’s latest figures that recycling is not foolproof. A more effective method of staying green is to reduce the amount of waste you have in the first place. If you can find ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle, you will help to reduce the amount of rubbish that ends up in UK landfills each year.

With every passing year, the message of being an eco-friendly nation becomes a little stronger. As more homes and businesses subscribe to a green ethos, it’s becoming unnecessary and unethical to ignore it.

Marpak Extrusions produces premium polythene film with a company focus on environmental needs. In addition to driving the reduction of waste, we actively offer alternative products that are completely eco-friendly. Using 100% renewable sugarcane ethanol, we’ve been able to produce an alternative to polythene that’s equally effective. This gives businesses the option to be as green as possible, which lowers their carbon footprint and sends out the right message to current and potential customers.

For more information on sustainable polythene, visit our website or contact us today on 0113 277 5518.

Pallet Covers: protecting your products

 
Supply chain optimisation is complex but there is one simple way to see improvements. For almost any business involved in product manufacture, protecting your goods during transportation is a vital consideration.

When smaller items or goods are being shipped in bulk, one of the most effective ways of offering protection is through specially-designed pallet covers.

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  • Marpak Extrusions Ltd
    Marpak House
    2 Westland Square
    Leeds
    LS11 5SS
  • Tel: 0113 277 5518
    Fax: 0113 270 8162