Fords Packaging Systems

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Fords Packaging Systems'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 Fords Packaging Systems 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

CEO Laura Whincup
Sustainable packaging
Fords Packaging Systems is an acknowledged world leader
in the engineering and manufacture of aluminium capping
systems and high-performance sealing systems, supplying
blue-chip customers globally. It has worldwide expertise in
developing integrated packaging solutions that incorporate the
design, production and sealing of foil closures onto containers.
For more than 90 years, it has built a reputation for providing
innovative and creative solutions to the biggest names in the
dairy, food, beverage, pharmaceutical and personal care industry
and has strong global partnerships with packaging manufacturers
and equipment builders. Laura Whincup explains more.
We are based in the UK, North America and United Arab Emirates, with our
research and development activity located at our headquarters in Kempston, near
Bedford. We work with packaging designers, packaging manufacturers and brand
owners to deliver innovation, while also developing our own packaging solutions
in-house. From design concept through to product launch, our development cycle
includes total package design optimisation, innovative closure design and process
optimisation. This is followed by our in-house design and manufacture of custom-
made capping and sealing machinery.
Our business is considered highly innovative and is successfully working with many
of the world’s leading companies such as PepsiCo, Unilever, Nestlé, Ferrero and
Coca-Cola. We pride ourselves on being able to tackle multiple challenges, which
bring a revolving requirement for innovation. We are at the heart of changing and
»CEO: Laura Whincup
»Founded in 1924
»Based in Bedfordshire
»Services: Design and
»No. of employees: 60
Fords Packaging
Highlighting best practice
influencing consumer behaviour, how
a consumer interacts with a brand,
packaging and recycling.
We manufacture all our machines
in the UK and export 90 per cent
of our machines worldwide, with a
presence in five continents and 60
countries throughout the globe. We
drive innovation and are able to lead
our clients to an optimised packaging
solution that will set them apart from
the competition while delivering
market-leading lightweight and
sustainable packaging for the global
market. Our process can both optimise
packaging and ensure that production
machines can deliver the end result
through performance, speed and
commercialised end results.
Focus on R&D
We have a state-of-the-art research
and development lab along with a
packaging design centre that can
optimise the final package in terms of
every aspect, from brand requirements
and consumer experience to
production-line efficiency and supply
chain capable design.
This includes:
»Design and product prototype using
our state-of-the-art 3D printers.
»Container and peel performance
testing, ensuring that we hit the
target market sweet spot for ease
of opening – if we are sealing a
pharma product largely taken by a
more elderly demographic, the seal
and peel balance will be adjusted to
ensure ease of opening while not
compromising on seal performance.
»Our R&D team will perform peel
testing to make sure that there
is an optimised balance of seal
performance andpeelforces,so
our customers can be assured their
consumers have the exact experience
desired when using the product.
»We work with the brand owner’s
marketing teams, the foil
manufacturers and the container
manufacturers to work through the
best design and materials.
»Burst testing, targeted at ensuring
a product can withstand its specific
supply chain requirements, for
»Co-efficiency of friction testing enables
us to ensure commercialisation
of high-speed equipment when
required by a customer.
»Pressure and ecommerce testing.
»Lab conduction and induction and
ultrasonic testing for the most
suitable seal for product performance.
»Innovation through challenges such
as improving shelf life by having a
guaranteed hermetic seal.
We are very familiar with the rigorous
requirements of our brand owners and
are proud that our foil capping and
sealing solutions for powdered infant
formula are used by Abbott Nutrition
and Nestlé Gerber. Our foil cap not
only offers a guaranteed hermetic
seal but automatically delivers tamper
evidence. The foil seal is trusted by
consumers and can be used as part of
an anti-counterfeiting strategy.Ease
of opening was a priority requirement
for our brand owners with the new
Peace of mind sealed in
We are at the
heart of
changing and
how a
interacts with
a brand,
packaging and
We were tasked with creating a
container and closure that would
withstand the scrupulous safety
requirements of the infant milk
formula environment as well as
designing the closure that would be
easy to open for a mother or father
holding a child with only one hand
available to initiate the opening and to
access the contents of the container.
This concept was such a success that
many of the major brands followed
suit, requiring Fords’ knowledge
Ensuring sustainability
The packaging industry and brand
owners are responding to an immense
drive towards sustainability, as well as
changing consumer perception and
understanding of the recycling chain.
The path to sustainable packaging
takes many turns. We are now thinking
differently and responding to changing
consumer preferences and priorities
as we become involved in driving
package innovation into new markets
or concepts. Many of the things we do
now were either not possible 20 years
ago or were simply not in demand
from brand owners or consumers.
Our technology has evolved, as has
our expertise in package design, in
order to deliver modern, up-to-date
innovation in new market sectors and
give brand owners the ability to meet
sustainability targets accompanied by a
distinctive packaging design.
At Fords, we enable our customers
to challenge the notion that the
traditional metal or plastic overcap,
commonly applied to a wide variety
of packages, isn’t necessary. This also
comes at a time when consumers,
retailers and consumer packaged
goods companies are asking for ways
to eliminate non-essentials. This is
the result of a growing awareness of
factors such as sustainability, recycling,
lightweight packaging, consumer
experience and packaging cost. One
example is the single-serve jam jar with
threaded metal cap. These are almost
universally made of glass, but they
need to be quite heavy to withstand
the hot-fill process. An additional
element of heft is required because
threads are needed, and because
too light a jar won’t withstand the
process of putting on a metal cap. By
replacing the threaded overcap with
a lightweight induction-sealed foil
lid, a considerably lighter glass jar can
be used because the foiling process
involves very little pressure being
exerted on the glass. The foil has a pull
tab for ease of opening, which appeals
to a wide demographic of consumers.
At the 2018 World Beverage
Innovation Awards competition at
BrauBeviale, our innovative technology
played a central role in winning the top
award in three of the 25 categories.
Our foil cap was named the winner
in the best closure category, while we
also teamed up with our longstanding
German OEM to jointly enter the
200-ml droplet-shaped PET bottle
in both the categories best bottle in
PET and the best package design and
label categories. We are pleased to
announce it was a clean sweep.
The path to
packaging is a
matter of seeing
and thinking
differently and
responding to
preferences and
priorities that
has caused us to
involved in
driving package
innovation into
new markets or
The ultimate lightweight

This article was sponsored by Fords Packaging Systems. 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 Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster