UK-based Excelsior Technologies (Excelsior) has built a new flexible packaging facility in Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales. The new flexible packaging facility is located in Deeside Industrial Park and is spread over 8.5 acres.

The Deeside facility is a film-manufacturing plant that feeds Excelsior’s own finished pack production process. It is one of the largest Excelsior manufacturing sites and the new site in Deeside is regarded as the UK’s biggest single investment in flexible packaging.

Excelsior is engaged in the manufacture and distribution of designed flexible packers. The company is a leader in microwave steam packaging and medical sterilisable packaging. It has manufacturing facilities in three regions – Deeside, Burnley and Salford. Deeside, where the new facility is located, is also the headquarters of teh company.

The company’s operations at the Flint and Salford sites have been integrated into the new Deeside facility. While few of the operations at the Salford site have been transferred to the Deeside plant, the Flint plant’s operations have been completely relocated and the Flint facility is set to close. Employees at both the old sites have been offered jobs at the new Deeside plant.

The operations that were carried out at Excelsior’s Salford site included printing and manufacturing. Excelsior acquired the Salford plant from Omni Flexibles / Brand Packaging in November 2007. The factory at Flint was Excelsior’s first facility and had been involved in printing and extruding film since 1983.

“Excelsior is engaged in the manufacture and distribution of designed flexible packers.”

Deeside facility financing

The Welsh Assembly Government granted £1m to Excelsior in support of its economic benefits to the region and the 200 jobs that it promised to create.

The proposal for offering funding support to Excelsior to build the Deeside facility was put to the vote in the Welsh Assembly. The proposal received a strong vote of confidence and the financing was provided from the government’s Single Investment Fund. The remaining £19m was arranged by Excelsior.

Packaging plant technology

The Deeside plant is equipped with technologies for in-line laminating, printing and finishing. All equipment at the plant is sourced from the domestic suppliers and Excelsior boasts that the plant is 100% British. Sourcing the technology from the domestic market has proved to be economical to Excelsior.

The products manufactured by the new facility include cast film extrusion, solventless lamination, flexo print, slitting, coating, pouch and bag making, and laser perforation.

The facilities for research, design, development and prototyping were incorporated at the plant, in order to maintain Excelsior’s lead in flexible packs and pouches. The technologies in microwaveable steam packs for frozen foods, ready meals and fresh produce are also being maintained at this facility.

The Flintshire facility has state-of-the-art environmental protection at every stage of the process. The facility is green, clean and is engaged in manufacturing of lightweight flexible packaging. The plant is ISO 9001 / 2008 accredited and holds the BRC/IOP standard for clean manufacturing.

Film feedstock required by the new Deeside production base is provided by the Excelsior film extrusion facility in Nelson, Lancashire.

Packaging systems and printers

The Deeside facility has new inline packaging production and printing machines. It is equipped with the latest multicolour, high-speed, wide-web rotogravure and flexo printing machines.

“The Deeside facility is a film-manufacturing plant that feeds Excelsior’s own finished pack production process.”

The plant also has nine state-of-the-art colour printing presses.

The quality and environmental care standards of the Deeside facility can be adjusted. The flexibility in adjusting the standards is one of the advantages of the facility.

A significant benefit that Excelsior anticipates from the new facility is an increase in the company’s production capacity. Excelsior hopes that the facility will become an important centre for research and development of new products.

Marketing commentary

Excelsior has twice received the Queen’s Award for Export, and has also received a number of Starpack Awards for the high-tech approach it provides to flexible packaging design.

The products manufactured by Excelsior are exported to 14 countries in five continents. Excelsior has a customer base in countries including China, Japan, the USA and South Africa. The firm exports 60% of its products to its customers across all the the 14 countries and USA has the largest customer base for the company.

The production capacity of the company exceeded a billion packs during 2008.