Founded in 1860, Sheard Packaging has been a family-owned business for three generations, becoming one of the largest corrugated plants in the UK. Located in a 37,000 sqm site in Halifax, Sheard Packaging processes over 150,000,000 sqm of corrugated board every year. Roger Whittaker, CEO at Sheard Packaging said “We are proud to be one of the only remaining independently owned box plants in the country. Working with businesses all over the UK, we provide a broad range of corrugated packaging and innovative design solutions. We are renowned for our excellent levels of customer service, never compromising on quality for quantity.”
Earlier this year the company took a big leap into the future of value optimisation by creating a state-of-the-art Mobile Innovation Centre (MiC). A one-of-a-kind innovation designed to revolutionise the way a packaging solution supplier can collaborate with its customers to create the right solution, whilst delivering unrivalled speed to market. Drew Broughton, Head of Technical & Innovation said “The problem facing Sheard and other packaging manufacturers is getting clients out of their businesses to visit our site to make the most of our design and innovation facilities. Trying to get all parties together in one location is proving ever more difficult in today’s busy world. Therefore, why not take our facilities to you, the customer, instead? And so, the idea of ‘Sheard To You’ was born. We needed a way to exhibit some of our machine systems offerings in real time”, and as CEO Roger Whittaker suggested, “What if we put a demo unit on the back of a trailer and take it to customers?”. What was at the time a passing comment, has now evolved into reality, setting a new, unprecedented standard in the corrugated industry.
A Mobile Innovation and Design Centre on 60 square meters
The Mobile Innovation Centre is built on a 40-foot trailer, typically used by Hollywood media companies and Formula One Teams, with expandable sides providing a 60 square metre workspace. Using glazed sides from floor to ceiling to provide a light and airy environment, the trailer is self-sufficient with 3-phase power and an independent air plant, heating and air conditioning. Drew said “We have used industry events space experts Equinox to deliver a professional, relaxing, and bright environment to host our customers, with the added convenience of being on location at their own sites. Onboard, the team at Sheard Packaging have replicated all essential services that are available back at HQ.
Drew said “MiC hosts our Mobile Innovation and Design Centre which consists of everything from Kasemake CAD systems for structural design, to Adobe Creative Cloud for artwork and Graphics. This is supported by a fully functional lab with BCT and ECT testing capabilities and a world first from Zünd – their most modern, small format cutting table, with a conveyorised bed and camera system.”
Darren Coombs, Project Manager at Zund UK said “The unique element to this Zünd cutting table is a bespoke engineered cradle and the innovation employed.” Designed and fabricated by Zund UK, the cradle integrates with the machine base to strengthen the structure with triangulation supports and base plate anchors. In addition, positional pivot points and air cushion lifts were utilised so the table can be isolated from the truck base floor during transit.
Drew said “All this means that we can bring our Technical and Design Teams to you, along with a space and tools to tackle any problems, implement changes immediately and test new designs. This significantly speeds up time to market as it cuts down the endless back and forth of samples and designs, and instead we can get the same job done – with excellent results – in just a few hours.”
Reflecting on the successful deployment of MiC, Drew said “We were privileged to work with a forward-thinking company like Zund on this unique concept. Our collaborative and revolutionary approach is delivering tangible results with our customers, supporting not only ours, but their strategy, in targeting unnecessary cost and waste throughout the supply chain. It differentiates the Sheard offering from the crowd of other packaging companies and truly breaks new ground in corrugated solutions”.
Dean Ashworth, Sales and Marketing Director at Zund UK said, “The Mobile Innovation Centre is truly exceptional outside-the-box thinking from Sheard Packaging and a project we thoroughly enjoyed being a partner of. Having a fully operational Zünd Digital Cutter enclosed within a mobile vehicle has never been done before; so when the team at Sheard Packaging proposed the idea to us, we immediately rose to the challenge and were extremely keen to get started.”
MiC -Innovation and Design on wheels
"With the MiC we can bring our Technical and Design Teams to you, along with a space and tools to tackle any problems, implement changes immediately and test new designs. This significantly speeds up time to market."
Drew Broughton, Head of Technical & Innovation