Packaging film makers set for major expansion as demand rockets
PUBLISHED: 15:32 14 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:03 14 August 2020
A food packaging materials manufacturer is bucking the national trend by launching a “massive” recruitment drive.
Camvac, in Thetford, has seen a dramatic rise in demand for its film for food and medical packaging since the start of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Now the £22m turnover business – which employs around 120 staff – is planning to take on 15 more across the board after ramping up production from two shifts to three to operate 24 hours a day five days a week.
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“Our recruitment drive is not only planning to cope with current demand in the short-term but further ahead by offering numerous apprenticeships to school leavers in the local area,” said chief executive Greg Kingham.
“This also coincides with Camvac celebrating 55-years in Thetford this year – a massive achievement, especially given the recent press coverage on plastics.”
Camvac is a global supplier of metallised film and clear barrier films and laminates for a wide range of food and liquid packaging, including ‘bag-in-box’ carriers, and medical, construction and insulation products.
It operates four metallising lines and two of the largest laminating lines in the world which make different types of film for a variety of purposes including for ready meals and construction insulation.
“Undoubtedly Covid-19 is changing our business,” said Mr Kingham.
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“We are seeing a high demand for our medical packaging and core food packaging materials, particularly our tray lidding films.
“Our Extrapet recyclable lidding film has seen a massive increase in demand. Extrapet is a transparent barrier polyester laminate which is used in a wide range of lidding film applications, including processed meats, fresh meats, poultry, pastas, vegetable and bakery, where presentation and fresh appearance is critical.”
The firm has also seen an increase in demand for its liquid packaging films.
While sustainable packaging took a hit early on in lockdown that has also bounced back to pre-covid levels, he said.
“This increased business demand has put a strain on all our employees - from a week turnaround to deploy 30-plus members of staff to be working from home to increasing our production shifts to meet the growing demand.”
The business has recently taken on new shift managers and production workers and has launched apprenticeships in engineering, production and technical support.
The production team had shown “remarkable flexibility, commitment and resilience to the ever-changing situation”, he said, but supply of raw materials had been hit by country lockdowns and border checks.
Customers in Australia and Asia have brought forward orders to compensate for longer shipping times, he said.
To protect the workplace from virus outbreaks, the firm has introduced infrared temperature checks for all staff entering the site, and imposed social distancing and hygiene measures, with manufacturing workers supplied with personal protective equipment.
After a hiatus during lockdown, the technical and development team is working on Cambag, a recycled sustainable container for the liquid packaging market.
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