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Applauding the industry at the PPMA Group Industry Awards

The PPMA Group of Associations announced the winners of the PPMA Group Industry Awards 2017 last week. The event, held at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham on the evening of the first day of the PPMA exhibition, was hosted by stand-up comedian Stewart Francis (pictured) and Sky Sports News presenter Hayley McQueen.

Pacepacker Services and Russell Finex were two of the biggest winners on the night, with one in a new award category this year.

More than 400 people from the manufacturing industry gathered to hear who would be crowned the winners by an independent panel of 10 esteemed industry experts, and who would be recognised as highly commended in each of the 11 categories, including Innovative Robotic Machinery, Partnership of the Year and the prestigious Lifetime Achievement award.

Opening the awards, Mark Williamson, chairman of the PPMA Group of Associations, spoke about the association’s 30th anniversary and the ongoing developments to provide ‘further advances for all its 500 plus member companies in the coming 12 months.’ He said: “No one can deny that change is happening in the world, and we are developing the PPMA to reflect this changing business environment. Whether it is Brexit, Industry 4.0, cyber security or the growth of digital platforms, we are developing plans for roll-out in 2018. We will be modernising the way we do things to stay relevant in today’s business world.”

Williamson also announced the return of the UKIVA Machine Vision Conference, to be held at the MK Arena in Milton Keynes on 16 May 2018.

PPMA Group of Associations CEO, Dr. Andrew Mint, also took to the stage, talking about the PPMA returning to an association that is run by its members, for its members and the efforts of its charity, PPMA BEST to attract new people to the industry.

"We all know that attracting new people to our industry is a challenge,” said Mint. “BEST is the PPMA’s charity which is designed to help you in this endeavour, by offering financial as well as practical support. One of our first events is a STEM day at the Museum of Science in Manchester this November. Nearly 150 school pupils are already confirmed to attend and we look forward to inspiring them to see how exciting our sector really is.”

Recognising excellence: 2017 PPMA Award winners

The big winners of the night included Pacepacker Services and Russell Finex, which both took home two awards each. Packpacker scooped the Innovative Packaging Machinery and Innovative Ancillary Equipment awards, while Russell Finex was recognised as Exporter of the Year and was the first company to be honoured in PPMA’s brand-new category, Environmental Initiative of the Year, for its adoption of green measures.

Russell Finex was selected for its Lean Manufacturing programme which includes a ‘paperless initiative, eco-friendly power sources and appliances such as solar panels, a wood pellet boiler, eco-certified air conditioning systems and LED lights. These measures have helped the business reduce energy consumption by eight per cent in the last 12 months, with solar energy alone expected to save the business in excess of £1 million over the next 20 years.

Commenting on its second win of the night, Ray Singh, managing director of Russell Finex, said: “As we grow year on year we’re using more energy so it’s crucial that we are environmentally responsible. We also have plans to make this a global initiative, rolling it out across our locations in the USA, Belgium, India and China.

“We’re a proud member of the PPMA Group and so are over the moon to have won two awards. This is the second year in a row we’ve come away with Exporter of the Year, which is an area we have been focusing on in order to better service customers and reach new markets.”

Other notable winners included Jake Martin of Yorkshire Packaging Systems, who scooped the Apprentice of the Year title for his ‘eager, committed, hard-working and excellent working attitude’. Individual accolades were also recognised in the Lifetime Achievement Award, identifying one manufacturing professional who has made an outstanding contribution to the industry. The recipient, David Norris of DC Norris, was honoured for his commitment and passion for the industry and quality manufacturing, helping to grow his company from ‘humble beginnings to the multi-million-pound global enterprise it is today.’

Speaking about his Lifetime Achievement Award, David Norris, said: “I’m lost for words; it’s unbelievable to have won this prestigious award after a lifetime in food processing machinery. But it also feels like the beginning for DC Norris – we still have more to conquer. And none of it would be possible without our fantastic team.”

The full list of the PPMA Group Industry Award winners and highly commended businesses is as follows:

Innovative Packaging Machinery – sponsored by Omron

-  Highly commended: PFM Packaging Machinery and Tna Solutions

-  Winner: Pacepacker Services.


Innovative Processing System – sponsored by Tna Solutions

-  Highly commended: Tapflo UK Ltd

-  Winner: Ishida Europe


Innovative Robotics Solution

-  Highly commended: Brillopak

-  Winner: OAL


Innovative Vision Solution

-  Highly commended: Tekpak

-  Winner: Industrial Vision Systems


Innovative Ancillary Equipment

-  Highly commended: Flexco

-  Winner: Pacepacker Services


Exporter of the Year

-  Highly commended: Endoline

-  Winner: Russell Finex


Exceptional Sales Performance

-  Highly commended: Gordian Strapping Ltd

-  Winner: Riggs Autopack


Partnership of the Year

-  Highly commended: Tekpak & Ilapak

-  Winner: Dimaco Ltd. & Starflex Packaging Europe Ltd.


Environmental Initiative of the Year – sponsored by Sutton Winson

-  Highly commended: ICS Cooling

-  Winner: Russell Finex


Apprentice of the Year – sponsored by FESTO AG

-  Highly commended: Tobias Cowan of Hepco Motion

-  Winner: Jake Martin of Yorkshire Packaging Systems Ltd


Lifetime Achievement Award

-  David Norris of DC Norris

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