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R&D is key to growth for PFM in 25 years of UK operations

26 October 2012

Italian manufacturer PFM Packaging Machinery celebrated 25 years in the UK at the end of October with an open day at its Leeds headquarters where customers and suppliers learnt of group R&D initiatives taken to sustain growth in difficult market conditions.

"Group strategy has been to continue to increase investment in innovation as a means of keeping growth going at time of general economic slowdown," declared UK sales and operations director Chris Bolton. "Over 3 per cent of PFM group turnover is now invested each year in R&D."

This strategy, he said, had led to a sustained programme of new machine launches and contributed to an accelerating rate of growth by the group, with turnover rising 6 per cent 2009-2010 and almost 13 per cent 2010-11 to reach some 80 million euros.

"Technical innovation over the past three years from the 30-strong R&D team at PFM group has covered both higher speeds for existing packaging styles as well as new methods of providing enhanced presentation and reductions in the use of packaging materials," explained Mr Bolton.

"We believe that there is still enormous growth potential for flexible packaging, much of it in substitution for more expensive forms, but that only quantum leaps in speed and productivity will turn good ideas into commercial reality."

As a result, he said, one of the key areas of development work at PFM had been to obtain higher speeds for bagging machines aimed at specific growth areas in the European food market: modified atmosphere packaging and stand-up display bags.

"The first results of this programme were seen last year with the introduction of the PFM Supernova modified atmosphere bagging machine, which we believe is the fastest MAP bagger available and which will open up the shelf life advantages of MAP economically to a much wider range of high volume food products."

There was also the Solaris, to give high output for stand-up bags, allowing single material packs to compete effectively in terms of output and appearance with traditional multi-material designs.

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