A recent tour by Manufacturing Wales of their member, Tri-Wall packaging in Monmouth, revealed some truths that we all know, but perhaps haven’t thought of how to answer in enough detail.
How do you ensure that after you have so carefully designed and manufactured your product it arrives with the customer in mint condition? How do you transport the most fragile of components quickly and safely? How do you create better sustainability in your packaging? How do you create a bespoke package that perfectly fits your item and reduces the space it takes up cutting transport costs? How can you ensure that when the customer receives your goods the packaging reflects the confidence you want them to have in your product? During the tour at Tri-Wall we were given all the answers (and more) for manufacturers.
Tri-Wall was established in the 1960’s on the edge on Monmouth and whilst it has expanded operations, the heart of production is the manufacturing of various grades of corrugated cardboard, with a focus on the heavier end.
CEO Gavin Peters explained,
“Packaging is often the last thing manufacturers think of but it can make all the difference to massively reducing logistical costs, reducing damage in transit and complying with world-wide port regulations - put simply, the right packaging reduces your costs.”
As part of the worldwide Rengo Co Ltd, Tri-Wall in Monmouth (one of 7 UK sites) is part of a group that covers 170 locations across 20 countries with access to multi-material packaging solutions from across the globe including corrugated cardboard, timber, packing materials and metal. Research and development as to how to combine these materials to meet the customers needs was explained as part of the tour - innovation is very high on the agenda.
Questions like: How do you safely transport explosive airbags/dangerous goods around the world as part of the automotive global supply chain? The answer is to use packaging with materials that will not only contain an explosion within the packaging but will also prevent a chain reaction of explosions of other products in the same box.
Transporting lithium batteries is increasing in demand as the supply of electric vehicles and electronic devices increases exponentially. However, these batteries can be highly explosive. This is where the testing and design labs are needed. Tri-Wall’s lab is one of only a few in the UK that meet United Nations and UKAS standards. They are at the leading edge with Government research into the safe transport and disposal of batteries. What happens to an EV battery after an accident or end of life? Tri-Wall are developing packaging and storage solutions to safely move and contain batteries.
The tour was mind blowing. Tri-Wall demonstrated packaging that can transport medicines at -70 degrees, boxes that can withstand 2.5 tonnes of pressure or that can be dropped out of a helicopter as well as packaging as simple as a box that gets your goods where they need to go in one piece in the smallest space possible.
Its wasn’t just all packaging: Tri-Wall have revisited their production shift patterns to increase efficiency and reorganised their roles to split the set up and cleaning from the production roles. They also foster a caring culture which not only retains staff but attracts new talent, (they currently have their first 4th generation worker demonstrating that being a good employer is attractive to families).
Karl Couch, Cardiff Met University commented,
“A fantastic insight into the world of packaging! Much more than meets the eye with regards to process, safety and legislation etc. The tour provided an opportunity to understand the importance of engaging earlier with packaging manufacturers and considering aspects such as suitable materials, their design and sustainability etc. is critical in a fast-changing world.”
Claire Reardon, Coleg Gwent explained,
“I really enjoyed the Tri-Wall tour, it was interesting to see first-hand how packaging is designed and manufactured, along with the innovative manufacturing processes involved. From a college perspective, it was useful to learn about the range of different departments and job roles that Tri-Wall have within the company and the skills their workforce need now and in the future.”
Leanne Waring, Cardiff and the Vale College expressed,
“Thanks so much to Gavin and the team at Tri Wall for the guided tour. It was fascinating to see the incredible designs, architecture and engineering that creates such useful items. To see the factory in action was great and what a beautiful building. Great to understand more around the skills needed, what an important employer Tri-Wall are locally and the retention of their staff, including a family of four generations employed.”