Packaging for a sustainable future

Company secures funding towards new nested tray forming machine

ERDF Midlands

What they do

Based in Castle Donington, FC Cartons is a BRCGS ‘AA’ 100% compliant company with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO45001 and PEFC certification, providing die-cutting and creasing, window patching, pick and place, folding, gluing and nesting finishing solutions to the carton, print and packaging industries.

They provide Innovation, knowledge, experience and expertise to deliver specialist finishing solutions which dovetail with their customers’ capabilities and requirements. They employ 40 people and are committed to providing customers with solutions to their packaging challenges.

The Challenge

The campaign to reduce the amount of plastic based packaging has been evident for some years. FC Cartons had already invested in nested tray forming machines in 2016 which enabled them to produce a wide range of recyclable, compostable and biodegradable alternatives for packaging fresh chilled or wet foods. From around 2018 this movement was gathering momentum, and in particular there is a growing trend for replacing plastic fruit trays with paper and cardboard based trays and boxes.

The move from plastic to the paper based biodegradable option continues to gather pace and no wonder with Soft Fruits staying fresher for up to three days longer in cardboard, paper based products. Scientific research has indicated that paper based trays keep fruit fresher and safer than reusable plastic crates (RPCs) and can significantly reduce contamination from pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms. Cardboard, paper based offers a more biodegradable option and will therefore continue to make a massive impact from an environmental perspective.

FC Cartons were particularly keen to support this direction for packaging, which aligns with their overall ethos of reducing the impact on the planet through the adoption of sustainable and environmentally friendly packaging solutions. However, the demand for this type of packaging quickly grew to the level where the company was running its two existing machines almost continuously. They realised that this did not give them scope for further increases in demand or even for unplanned machine downtime.

Range of fruit and veg trays

The Solution

Debra Woodyatt, Director at FC Cartons approached The iNet in the Summer of 2020 and applied for a grant from the ERDF SPRING programme towards the cost of an additional nested tray forming machine in order to increase capacity, improve efficiency and eliminate the need to change the machine for each job. The investment would give the company the flexibility to manage increased demand from new and existing customers. It was also expected to give them scope to extend their ranges, in order to improve their market reach and competitiveness.

The Outcome

The additional capability that the new equipment provided, means that FC Cartons can produce a wider range of cardboard trays, not only for fruit, but also for vegetables, pastries and other perishable foods.

“We have been surprised at the speed and demand for change from the plastic option to cardboard, paper based biodegradable products. Team fc have attained and retained a carbon neutral status for 12 years now and understand that we must all work towards a position where we only use paper based materials, which can be recycled in any paper waste stream, or can degrade in compost or landfill conditions, back to natural fibres without any harm to the environment or If it ends up in our oceans, it will harmlessly break down to natural fibres.

Fruit trays 2

We provide all of our services within our new 36,000 SQ.FT. Production Hub and in a ‘BRCGS AA grade, 100% compliant’ environment which ensures we achieve the most efficient and highest quality of finishing, together with exacting standards of hygiene and environmental care.

Our ultimate challenge is to find ways our finishing can produce solutions which we are told are not possible within the equipment’s capability”.

David Woodyatt, Managing Director

It was a real pleasure to work with iNet team, they were very commercially aware, supportive and clearly understood the needs of the business and the benefits the investment would deliver to the market place in the form of extra capacity to provide cardboard, paper based biodegradable product.

Debra Woodyatt, Director of Finance & Systems
About the client

FC Cartons Ltd

FC Cartons Ltd
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