A folding carton manufacturer is celebrating its 75th anniversary by opening a £600,000 innovation centre packed with new machines.
Beatus Cartons will use the centre to help clients experiment with carton design. One customer prototyped a rugby-ball shaped carton now used by clubs as a gift pack.
The 48-staff company with £5m turnover bought a Roland LEC 54 proofer, a Dingshung Aspire laminator, Mac computers and tablets for design and drawing as part of the overall spend.
The Jacob Beatus Innovation Centre, fitted out by Paramount Interiors, offers a packaging design and development service from carton-design engineers, pre-press specialists and a graphics artist.
“We’ve planned the centre for the best part of this year and it officially opened last week,” said sales director Clive Stinchcombe, based at Porth in the Rhondda Valleys, a few miles from Cardiff.
“Our clients need this innovation; they can go to lots of companies for standard cartons, which we can do, but we want to go further and look at innovative new angles.
“We had a client last week that sketched out a display carton and spent a day with our designer. He left with five samples, cut and hand glued, for his marketing team to take to shows.”
The company is to promote so-called ‘innovation days’, informal gatherings to help demonstrate what the facility can achieve for clients.
Stinchcombe, whose company runs five-colour and six-colour Heidelberg CD 102s, said: “We want the centre to give added service to existing clients.
“We have about 50 clients from 12 sectors so there’s lots of crossover in creativity. We also hope it will attract new customers.
“We are not looking to double or treble turnover but are intent on not losing customer focus across sectors including confectionery, pharmaceuticals, automotive and horticulture.
“We are an old-fashioned company in that we pay for everything and have no leases or borrowings, but we are modern in thinking and in seeking out innovation.”
German émigré Jacob Beatus founded the company in In January 1940, which offered solid board and progressed through the years to add lamination services and then plastic packaging.
Stinchcombe said: “Mr Beatus was a very creative carton technologist and was happiest creating new designs. He was regularly seen working on these well into his 80s.
“This innovation centre will be a very fitting tribute to his past endeavours but also ensure that carton innovation remains a critical focus to our future success.”