Essex-based Pacepacker picks up Food Processing robotics award

Pacepacker, Festo and FANUC regularly hold open day events for customers, demonstrating their combi

Pacepacker, Festo and FANUC regularly hold open day events for customers, demonstrating their combined expertise in automation. - Credit: Archant

Pacepacker Services, the Essex-based manufacturer of automated palletising, bagging and product handling equipment, has scooped the Robotics and Automation accolade at the 2014 Food Processing Magazine Awards.

The award, based on a vote by readers of the publication, celebrates a collaboration between Pacepacker, FANUC UK and Festo, which together design and manufacture the widest choice of food-grade and bulk handling robotic solutions in the market.

In particular, the three have worked over the last 12 months to overcome one of the major barriers to the adoption of automation by food processors and packers – food safety.

As well as integrating FANUC’s extensive range of certified robots and product handling equipment from Festo, Pacepacker’s team of engineers recently specified an innovative food-grade conveyor system for a new “pick and place” robot solution they were building.

Pacepacker’s managing director, Dennis Allison, said: “Winning this Food Processing award shows what can be accomplished when three like-minded companies work together and how this fosters even greater innovation.”

He added that the team was adept at solving specific challenges that other system integrators may steer away from, drawing attention to a single line they created for a global chemicals company.

In a further testament to the partnership’s success, since the start of this year, 75% of all enquiries received by Pacepacker have requested a robot solution, compared with 35% in 2013. What’s more, over the last six-months Pacepacker has quoted for more than 100 robot food-orientated projects, an increase of 50% on the 2013 figure.

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Besides successful customer projects, the company has enjoying further award recognition for its investment in people, with local employees Andrew Lufkin recently winning the PPMA Apprentice of the Year title and Andreas Fantousi receiving the bronze PPMA Ones to Watch trophy.