Packaging printer Polyprint has invested in a high-speed Hudson-Sharp wicketting machine to meet increased demand for printed plastic food bags.
The new machine, a 5750W high-speed Servo Wicketer manufactured in Belgium by US-headquartered Hudson-Sharp, creates polythene bags from a reel by cutting and heat-sealing them and then stacking them onto ‘wicket wires’ which hold the bags in place.
The Norwich-based polythene print firm, traditionally a mailing film printer, branched into food bag making in 2010 to offset decline in the mailing industry, and has since bought three 5750W Hudson-Sharp wicketers including the latest investment, which began operation last week.
Managing director Jonathan Neville said that after securing two major contracts for banana and bread bags in the last 18-months Polyprint had seen a three-fold increase on bag production at the end of 2012 compared to the same time in 2011 and that there was virtually no capacity left on the two existing machines.
He added: "The new machine will enable us to increase our output on bags by 50% so we can go out there and get more work. Our output is currently around 600,000 bags a day on a double-day shift format but we intend to move to a triple shift model, hopefully by late spring, and then we’ll be able to produce one million a day."
The £7.5m-turnover company employs around 60 members of staff, including 10 new employees taken on since the end of 2012 in anticipation of the increased output from its latest investment.
Neville said he hoped that the company, which makes 70% of its income from printed mailing film, would be able to increase its turnover "towards" £10m by the end of 2013 but that it was dependent on the price of raw materials.
"The price of polythene is going through the roof at the moment so £10m is something I would hope for rather than a fixed forecast."