Shawpak has invested £600,000 in a Chiron vertical milling machine to double the speed at which it can produce parts for its thermoforming machines.
In May, the Derby-based subsidiary of Riverside Medical Packaging announced its intention to reach a turnover of £3m and sell 100 machines per year by 2020, and has taken on the five-axis Chiron 1250 from the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) to help reach that target.
With a high-speed spindle, rotating bed and bespoke workholding, the machine can produce up to 20 parts at a time, cutting part production from 80 hours to 40. It will enable Shawpak to produce machines that are more bespoke to the needs of individual customers within the food market.
“ETG approached us and proposed this machine to help us step up production,” said work and engineering director Alan Wade. “We rented it to dip our toe but as soon as we had it we knew that we needed its capability to process multiple parts at once.
“It is the best solution for us and has been on our radar for a while. At Riverside, we understand the medical market but as we established Shawpak we took on staff who understood the food market and urged us to look at this technology.
“Now we can double our output and are able to offer machines to our customers very quickly at a great price. The main things holding us back from progressing were our machinery and the need for key staff, and we are now directly addressing both.
“We want our customers to know we are investing in our business and the service that we provide them and hope they can see the massive difference this Chiron machine will make.”
Since the Chiron’s installation in August, Shawpak has already won a new contract to build a machine that can produce a double burger pack that would not have been possible without the new machine, according to Wade. He said that they will be able to run it 24/7 depending on demand.
Now, Shawpak will continue on its recruitment drive – it has already added designers and assemblers to its team and continues to seek recruits for purchasing, planning, stocking and CNC operation.
Its parent Riverside turns over £12m and employs more than 200 people.