LVF has invested £550,000 in a new Kiefel KMD 78 thermoforming machine that increases its capacity and provides the forward-thinking Leeds manufacturer with the flexibility to introduce hybrid packaging solutions at a time when many businesses are looking to reduce the amount of plastic they use.
The Leeds-based company, which manufactures thermoformed packaging for a host of blue-chip brands and leading supermarkets, has seen demand for its products soar over the last 12-months.
Nigel Coates, managing director of LVF Packaging, said: “2020 was a busy year for us, especially in terms of the higher volume lines that we produce for many of the supermarkets, and it was apparent that production efficiency on our oldest Kiefel – a KMD 75 – was falling well behind our newer KMD 78s and that the time had come to replace it.”
“The new machine will be our fifth KMD 78 and the third with down-stacking technology – a feature that saves us time and money during the manufacturing process.”
While new machine means increased production capacity and improved efficiency, it’s the scope for the business to expand into new market areas and packaging technologies that most excites business development director, Daniel Coates.
“The new KMD 78 has been built with an extended frame that gives us the capability to add an extra station that would allow us to manufacture hybrid packaging solutions,” he said.
“As with all the best innovations, the hybrid packaging concept is quite simple – plastic is used only where it is needed; whether as a barrier for food contact or to enable sealing, with cartonboard the chosen material to give the tray structural strength and carry the branding and decoration. And as you’d expect, after use the cartonboard and plastic elements are easily separated for recycling.”
The hybrid station that can be added to LVF Packaging’s new KMD 78 enables pre-erected cartons to be introduced directly into the plastic thermoforming tool and thin gauge material formed directly into them.
“Hybrid packaging is one of a number of potential new technologies that could reduce the plastic content of products, which we are looking into,” added Daniel.
“Our intention is to gauge the direction the market is taking before making any additional investment – but having the capacity to simply add a hybrid station to our new machine means we are already one step ahead of the vast majority of our competitors.”
Being ahead of the market has served LVF Packaging well over the years. It was one of the first packaging companies in the UK to manufacture and sell products made from the biodegradable and fully recyclable plastic material, Breakdown PET, which is designed to decompose in landfill quickly, naturally and safely. Meanwhile, in 2020 it achieved the landmark goal of recycling all plastic waste created during the manufacturing process at its National Road factory in Leeds.
The £550,000 being spent on new Kiefel KLMD 78 takes LVF Packaging’s investment in business development to over £3million in the last five years.