Westbury Packaging

UK independent sheet plant opts for three colour Topra Casemaker to help increase overall productivity.



Westbury Packaging

Founded in 1983, Westbury Packaging has been manufacturing bespoke corrugated packaging for nearly 30 years. A family-owned, independent company built on an ethos of customer satisfaction, Westbury Packaging has grown to a turnover of £6 million. The business is owned by Ben Tupman and his sister, Sophie, having bought the business from their late-father’s estate. “We are supplying customers ranging from worldwide brands to the smallest of users — with each one of them knowing that their trade is hugely important to us,” says Ben Tupman, Managing Director. “We might not be the largest sheet plant in the area, but what we lack in size we more than make up for in customer service and support.”

Based in a 50,000 sq ft facility where they undertake manufacturing, storage and design, Westbury Packaging’s flexibility and reliability has made them a leading sheet plant in the South West of England. “With consistent profitability over the last few years, we’ve been able to invest in leading edge equipment and software to support the business and design process,” continues Mr Tupman. “A sensible investment programme in our plant has allowed us to move comfortably within the ever changing business environment.” Included in this investment programme was the recent installation of a three colour Dong Fang Topra casemaker — the sale and installation was handled by Dong Fang’s UK agent, M&K Trading Ltd.

Having run second hand equipment for many years, Mr Tupman decided that the time was right to start
considering a new machine as he looked to take the business to the next level. “After our father, Alan, died in 2007, my sister and I took over the company and kept things ticking over,” explains Mr Tupman. “After a few years, we decided we needed to do something different to grow the business and the first move was to take on a new sales director. Cameron McColl joined us in 2010 to help grow the business and he quickly identified that we needed to invest in our converting capabilities. Following a conversation with John Watson, the owner of Cumberland Packaging, we made contact with Mike Irving at M&K to discuss the Dong Fang range of machinery. In late 2011, having worked lots of business models using the production data from our Abaca scheduling system with Mike Irving, we decided to opt for the Topra 924. The Abaca system allowed us to carefully analyse our product mix and it showed us that we could specify the 2.4m machine with three colours. There had been a significant push from our customer base over the last few years, asking for more colour on their boxes and we knew we needed to react. Running multiple passes to produce shelf ready packaging solutions was putting a lot of pressure on our converting department, so the addition of the new Topra means we can run multiple colour shelf ready packaging in one pass and in-line.”

With the need for more colours, Mr Tupman realised that installing a new machine wasn’t going to improve things overnight. “We needed to bring in some expertise too,” he said. “Ahead of the new machine arriving, we recruited an Operations Director. Paul Smith, well known in the industry having worked for many leading companies, joined us in April 2012 and his remit for the months leading up to the Topra arriving was to prepare the operators for highest levels of print. He has worked wonders and the results coming off the machine, even less than a year after installation, is most impressive.”


High productivity

The Dong Fang Topra AD924 at Westbury Packaging is a three colour machine, with slotter, rotary die-cutter, folder gluer and top loading counter ejector. It is a traditional style ‘inliner’ that is easy to set and runs effectively. The minimum sheet size is 260mm, with a maximum of 1100mm with skipfeed. “Combined with quick setting times, high levels of reliability and a running speed of 18,000 pieces per hour, it’s capable of producing both the quantity and quality of more sophisticated machinery at a significant cost saving,” explains Mike Irving, Managing Director of M&K Trading.

“The Topra range is also available with vacuum transfer and direct drive variants and is appreciated by sheet plants and integrated plants alike,” confirms Mr Irving. “Built in China using the latest Western technology, supported by a network of agents around the world, the Dong Fang brand is now becoming recognised as a world class supplier.”

In line with the Topra is a Transpack TP-701CCQ bundle squarer strapper. This unit is manufactured in Taiwan and supplied through M&K, (who hold spares and have manufacturer’s trained engineers). Also installed with the casemaker and in-line strapper was an OMS type 078/2 TR14HD fully automatic pallet press, installed by M&K and supported by Gordian Strapping. The machine comes with full guarding safety features and has an inbuilt turntable and a finished goods pallet line. The ‘Pallettrack’ is an economical modular conveyor line, devised and produced by M&K’s associate company — Fengineering Ltd — that specialises in the design and manufacture of materials and waste handling solutions as well as providing engineering support for the corrugated industry.

“The Westbury Packaging installation is a typical project for us – we were asked to look at the overall plant layout and how best to install the casemaker to help improve productivity throughout,” explains Mr Irving. “We have added our knowledge and experience to the customer’s requirements and come out the other side with a highly productive converting line producing more than the previous set-up, with significantly lower manufacturing costs. We are not in the business of just selling the machine, but instead we look to forge a partnership with an ongoing relationship, built on trust and reliability that can only get

Abaca upgrade

“We’ve been using the Abaca suite of software solutions for over 13 years,” states Mr Tupman. “In the early days, we were almost scared of how much the system could do — but now, we have embraced everything that the system has to offer and we have continuously upgraded along the way.”

“We have been busy in the last year at Abaca, having produced a number of new developments which we put out to all of our customers free of charge,” states Graham Dickinson, Sales Director for Abaca. These upgrades include:

  • Drag and drop scheduling;
  • CRM – fully integrated to the packaging system;
  • Credit control system – this is a screen based debt collection system which puts the user in complete control of all debt collection activities from one screen. It shows all transactions in detail and can be used to send letters, copy invoices, copy proof of delivery, statements and allows unlimited notes to be typed about where you are up to in the collection process;
  • Stock management system – another single screen development enabling users to see when it is time to replenish stock based on minimum / maximum and replenishment quantities set against products. It allows purchase orders to be raised for board / paper as well as production works orders for manufacturing. A traffic light system alerts the user to the seriousness of the stock position on individual products;
  • B2B ordering and invoicing between suppliers and customers using Abaca software.

“Westbury are a long standing customer and we have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship, first with Ben’s father, Alan, and latterly Ben,” recounts Mr Dickinson. “When Ben joined the business, we saw his appetite to achieve great things for Westbury and feel we worked well together to utilise the software to its full potential for his business. Westbury have always been keen to take new developments in the software and use most of its functionality including the bar coded stock control system, which has contributed to better stock management and reduced inventory.

We are pleased that Westbury has grown and prospered in some very hard times and wish them continued success in the future.”

“As a leading box plant in the region with a multi million pound spend, we’re able to leverage economies of scale and maintain highly competitive options for our customers,” explains Mr Tupman. “All of this is underpinned by our loyal, well trained crews who know just how important the finished product is and why we need to ensure the highest of standards in supply. With the installation of the new machinery, we have seen the operators really step up and take huge amounts of pride in the equipment. They want to get the best out of it and the performance statistics since installation have been most impressive. We have been delighted with the choice in the Topra and would happily recommend it to anyone looking to invest in an entry level casemaker.”

Mr Tupman concludes, “Following the £750,000 investment in machinery and systems, we are committed to improving the overall performance of Westbury Packaging and securing our place in the competitive marketplace for years to come. Continuous investments in people, training and Health and Safety sets us up for the future.”