Currently the Haydock, Merseyside-based division of the Americk Packaging group is fitting out a 7,432sqm building, which it purchased, and will start moving in March. The move will take place in stages over the following five or six months. The company said the move would enable it to increase capacity to 175m (linear) a year.
Americk ASP Flexibles will take delivery of a new eight-colour-plus-one 1,500mm-wide Fischer & Krecke (F&K) 20S flexo printer to the new plant in June. Once that is online it will then refurbish its two existing F&K machines in turn before moving them over.
“We’re not planning to turn anything off until the first one goes live. By then one of our machines should be on its way. We are trying to make sure of continuity of supply,” managing director Steve Ellis told PrintWeek.
The move was prompted by a 40% rise in business last year for the printer and converter. Turnover grew from £8.5m to £11.5m Ellis said.
“It’s our third year of consecutive growth, and growth last year was exceptional,” he added.
The company was bought by Americk Packaging out of administration in August 2012 and spent the next year consolidating. Ellis said it grew steadily in 2014 and 2015 saw the fruition of work to build up the business over the previous three years.
Following the acquisition, Americk Packaging closed ASP Flexibles' conversion and distribution site in Watford and all the operations moved to Haydock, the company’s print site. The company took on around 40 extra people, most of whom were replacing southern jobs where people had not wanted to move. It now has 85 staff and the Haydock site, which had fewer staff than Watford originally, is bursting at the seams.
Ellis, who was previously the firm’s operations director and based in Haydock, said: “I’ve been in a Portakabin for the past three years so I’m really looking forward to getting back into an office. When we took on the extra guys, some of us got shunted out to the car park. As managing director I took the point of view that it was more important that some of my key staff kept their tootsies warm. The site in truth was never designed and equipped for the volume of work and it’s been a struggle since we consolidated. This move is long overdue.”
The company produces retailer-approved packaging for a range of clients in the horticulture industry, such as Barfoots and Produce World.
Americk ASP Flexibles now produces packaging for all the major supermarket brands and credits part of its surge in work to becoming accredited by Aldi and Sainsbury’s in 2015. Since the same growers often supply different supermarkets, this has enabled the company to pick up a significant stream of extra work from existing customers, Ellis said.
ASP also has its own R&D laboratory where it works on substrates and packaging styles to extend shelf life. Its NaturSense product, which is an in-pack sensor that monitors environmental conditions, for example, will be the highlight of its showing at the Fruit Logistica trade fair in Berlin next week.
“Having gone through an administration it takes a little while to regain the confidence of the market and convince people that we are operating on a bigger scale,” Ellis said. “Having got that message across, we are starting to see the growth.”
In November Americk Packaging bought Adare Advantage from the Adare Group in a deal which was expected to boost its turnover from around £81m to around £100m by the end of 2015. It has some 600 staff across mainland Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.