ETG provides healthy solution for Riverside’s ‘shawpak’ technology launch

One of the UK’s leading healthcare packaging specialists is targeting up to 40 new jobs and a £2m sales drive after globally launching its latest technology.

Riverside Medical Packaging, which employs 200 people at its state-of-the-art facility in Derby, is looking to more than quadruple sales of its revolutionary ‘shawpak’ thermoforming machinery as the medical sector strives for more cost-effective packaging solutions.

Established in 1979, the company has tapped into the capabilities of the Engineering Technology Group (ETG) to source a new Quaser MV 184 PH to help support the ramp-up in volumes and ensure its new machining shop can meet demand from customers in the UK, the EU, India and Israel.

It has invested nearly £100,000 into developing a turnkey solution for the vertical machining centre, which utilises unique spindle technology, precision accuracy and the latest Heidenhain controls.

A new grease replenishing system – ideal for high volume production – has also been added to the machine, along with two high-speed touch probe measuring systems from Blum-Novotest.

“We have built a strong reputation for developing bespoke machinery that is ideal for meeting the various, and often stringent, packaging requirements of the medical sector,” explained Alan Wade, Works and Engineering Director at Riverside Medical Packaging.

“Last year we topped over £11m in sales across the business and the focus in 2018 will see a major push on our ‘shawpak’ technology, which offers firms a smaller and more cost-effective thermoforming solution for safely packing high-end or high volume medical parts.”

He continued: “It is roughly the size of 1.5 washing machines wide, by 1 washing machine deep, ensuring the same output from a much smaller footprint. Starting at £70,000, the cost is nearly a third of traditional machines so you quickly understand why interest is high.

“As part of our expansion, we needed a new vertical machining centre that offered us speed, accuracy and the ability to easily set and manufacture a variety of parts for use in the ‘shawpak’ machines. After much consideration and searching the sector for the best option, we decided on the Quaser MV 184 PH.”

Engineering Technology Group has worked with Riverside for over five years, supplying a range of different machine tool solutions.

Regional Sales Manager Jon Mannion met with Alan Wade in December to understand the firm’s requirements and then match them with a number of possible options.

The former toolmaking apprentice chose the Quaser MV 184 PH and, just a few hours after placing the official order, it was being driven direct from Switzerland ready for pre-inspection and installation.

“Nothing is ever too much trouble for ETG,” added Alan.

“It has taken just six weeks to get the machine into our Derby facility, signed off and producing various parts in volumes ranging from 2000 off to 35,000 plus per annum.

“We already had a Quaser and that has been a fantastic machine, so why change. The MV 184 PH comes with greater memory, the latest Heidenhain controls and the new grease replenishing system that makes lights out manufacturing relatively easy.”

Jon Mannion picked up the story: “This is a high-performance vertical machining centre that combines a 12,000 rpm spindle within machine touch probe technology, giving the customer speed and control.

“Riverside is growing extremely fast and this new thermoforming solution is in great demand, not only in the UK but also across the rest of the world. The company needed a machine that could be easily installed and featured a simple changeover process that made machining a variety of parts relatively easy. That’s exactly what we delivered.”

The Engineering Technology Group (ETG) brings together the strengths of the world’s most advanced manufacturers of high technology machine tools, automation and workholding systems to deliver highly productive turnkey solutions to customers involved in automotive, aerospace, domestic goods, high-value engineering, medical and oil and gas.

It calls upon a huge portfolio of machines from leading brand names, including Chiron, STAMA, Nakamura, Bavius (formerly Handtmann), Hardinge Bridgeport and Quaser.