George Utz finalises investment plan ahead of launch into lucrative plastic pallet market
George Utz UK, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of multi-use plastic containers to the supply chain, took delivery of a giant plastic injection moulding machine - the final piece of its multi-million pound investment jigsaw which will see a launch into the lucrative pallet market as early as January 2016.
The new Krauss Maffei Injection moulding machine - capable of applying a massive 2700 tonnes of pressure and complete with state-of-the-art robotic handling technology – underwent a 800 mile sea and road trip from Munich to Derbyshire and was delivered into the Swiss-owned company’s Alfreton manufacturing facility on five heavy-duty lorries. It took two days to unload the machine in Hall 2 of the newly-extended manufacturing plant because of the logistical challenges of manoeuvring the 200 tonne machine into position. This machine will be used for the manufacture of the brand new UPal-I plastic pallet which is set to refresh the pallet market because of its additional durability, adaptability and green credentials because it is not only recyclable, but is manufactured largely using high quality secondary raw materials. There is also a capability for RFID tagging and they can also be manufactured in any color a client requires which helps traceability and repatriation. It is set to start production in the first quarter of 2016 and the main target markets will be the automotive, distribution and retail markets. Garry Archer, production manager at George Utz said this week: “This is a complete step change for the pallet market and we are already sitting down with our existing end user customers to design and bespoke how they want their UPal-I pallets. Working in tough environments such as the automotive supply chain, the new pallets also have the ability to be reinforced with steel to make them even more durable.”
The Krauss Maffei Injection moulding machine is not the first traffic-stopping equipment delivered to the Alfreton facility. In April four 20-metre giant aluminium raw material silos each weighing six tonnes, were put in place alongside the other 12 existing silos, again after undertaking a 600-mile, five day journey by river, sea and road from their place of manufacture in Germany.
It is part of a broader investment plan which has already seen the recent opening of George Utz UK’s £3.5 million extension to its Derbyshire facility and the recent spending on two other 1000-tonne robotic injection machines as part of its commitment to long-term UK growth by 2020 that will create a further 50 jobs in the next five years.
Managing Director at George Utz UK, Carsten Diekmann said this week: “The Krauss Maffei Injection moulding machine will produce the levels of pressure we need to develop the exciting new UPal-I which in turn will bring pressure to bear in the pallet market which has remained static and relatively low-tech for many years. Most modern supply chains are built around the dimensions of the humble pallet, and this development brings 21st century thinking to what is a very familiar product”