A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by BOBST's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from BOBST is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
18 | BOBST
Steve Carey, managing director
Competence Centre at
BOBST Manchester
The packaging industry is responding en masse to the
sustainability and recycling challenge set by brand owners.
PepsiCo, Unilever, Nestlé, Mars and The Coca-Cola Company,
to name a few, are challenging their supply base to achieve the
target of 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging
by 2025; this is undoubtedly causing the biggest technological shift
in the industry in recent times. BOBST is a leading solutions provider
for the packaging industry, operating in 50 countries, headquartered
in Switzerland with 5,400 employees and a turnover of 1,529 million
Swiss francs in 2017. Their British arm, BOBST Manchester, is based
in Heywood, Lancashire, and focuses on the manufacture of a
diverse range of converting machinery including printing, laminating,
coating and vacuum coating equipment. The company is in a unique
position to look at fully convertible barrier solutions, utilising their
BOBST Competence Centres based around the world; managing
director Steve Carey here discusses how they have achieved this.
We are perfectly positioned to work with other leading suppliers to develop
solutions to the challenge that brand owners have laid down. We have been a
significant driving force in responding to, in particular, the sustainability element of
this challenge and find it plays well to our strengths.
Centre of Excellence for High Barrier
In Manchester, we have established a Centre of Excellence for High Barrier; this will
enable research and development for barrier solutions which are essential to the
»Managing director: Steve Carey
»Established in 1986
»Based in Heywood, Lancashire
»Services: Manufacture of a
range of machinery, including
vacuum metallising machinery
which is used in a variety of
food applications, an example
being the inside of a crisp
»No. of employees: 120
»90 per cent of machines
manufactured in the UK are
food packaging industry. It is essential
that all food packaging has the
appropriate protection – or “barrier”
– to prevent oxygen and moisture
getting inside the packaging and
thus spoiling the food. A high barrier
extends the shelf life of the product,
therefore reducing food waste.
Research and development work is
carried out in our BOBST Competence
Centres on the most commonly used
flexible substrates for food packaging.
These include polypropylene
(PP), polyester (PET), nylon, cast
polypropylene (CPP) and polyethylene
(PE), all of which help to develop
the latest state-of-the-art vacuum
metallisation equipment and wet
coating equipment for the application
of top coats.
We are able to rapidly optimise and
prototype packaging solutions for the
industry, by using novel combinations
of vacuum and wet coatings and
exploiting various working synergies
across the BOBST Group. This focuses
on the amalgamation and appropriate
use of two different methods of
vacuum coating and wet coating,
which provide improved barrier and
therefore improved shelf life for brand
owners’ products.
Innovative solutions for
One of the key advantages of vacuum
metallisation is the ability to achieve
an excellent barrier to oxygen and
moisture at extremely thin coating
weights, often of a thickness around
ten nanometres. When this is
compared to conventional wet coating
layers, which may be one or two
microns thick, the amount of vacuum-
deposited material is insignificant.
This makes it much easier to recycle,
an important consideration for brand
owners going forward.
For good environmental sustainability,
the target is to move to mono-material
substrates; historically, in our industry,
food packaging solutions have been
designed to optimise appearance,
packing line speed and barrier
properties with little or no regard
for ease of recycling. Consequently,
the majority of flexible packages are
made up of different materials, most
of which are not compatible to be
recycled together. So, for recycling
to take place, the materials need to
be separated – a huge obstacle for
The technology shift required to
move to mono-material substrates
and thus easily recycled material will
necessitate significant investment.
This means that co-operation along
the value chain is necessary to work
on end-to-end solutions. In keeping
with this, we have recently forged new
partnerships across industry where we
have focused our resources and have
thus been participating in a number
One such example was the search
for unified sustainability and
recycling solutions for mono-
material substrates, co-ordinated by
leading packaging experts. We knew
that achieving this would require
collaboration along the value chain,
Fully recyclable PE barrier
Research and
work is carried
out in our
Highlighting best practice
20 | BOBST
as highlighted earlier: all companies
involved, including with the raw
material supplier, the film producer
and finally the film packaging
manufacturer – in this case, the
manufacturer of a stand-uppouch.
Partners we are working with on
this initiative include Borealis and
Borouge, based in Spain, for resin
production in terms of raw material
supply; Hosokawa Alpine, based in
Austria, for converting of the raw
material into film; and GEA, based in
the Netherlands, for the production of
the stand-up pouch. This project is a
true example of collaboration across
Our role in this partnership was the
use of our Competence Centres in
Manchester and Italy; across the two,
we were able to provide a full solution
which could prepare the newly created
polyethylene film for conversion into
the final pouch, without damaging the
barrier. As a result of this project, we
have assisted in the creation of a fully
recyclable mono-material suitable for
Challenges and the future
In each section of the packaging value
chain, there is the need to innovate.
For us, the challenge really is to
improve shelf life by using coatings
on lower-quality films to recover and
improve the barrier properties.
This challenge is not only existent in
mature markets, such as Europe and
North America, but is also being driven
strongly in emerging markets – India,
for example. Legislation was passed
in August 2018 in these markets to
outlaw the use of multi-film laminate.
The restricted time frame this will
undoubtedly entail is something we
anticipate as being far too aggressive;
it takes time to develop and innovate,
especially with new, recyclable
solutions for an entire industry.
The current climate is very challenging
for producers of plastic films. As a
solutions provider to this industry, we
need to continue to innovate in the
areas of environmental sustainability
and recycling capability and
sustainability. This means, alongside
being at the forefront of developing
innovative barrier solutions, we are
also looking to reduce the amount of
material used in the packaging film, a
process known as delayering. Finally,
going forwards, we additionally wish
to consider alternative solutions which
are more environmentally friendly
and have a massively diminished
The current
climate is very
challenging for
producers of
plastic films.
Asa solutions
provider, we
need to
continue to
K5 EXPERT metalliser
coating drum

This article was sponsored by BOBST. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister