Nantwich-based Unette Nutrition boosted output by 171% after grant support from the Hub’s Manufacturing Growth Fund helped to unlock several new packaging designs.
A business always on the move
Unette Nutrition is a leader in liquid filling and premium packaging solutions. Operating from a start-of-the-art 20,000 sq. ft. production facility in Nantwich, the company develops and builds custom-made machines that enable it to invent bespoke tube and sachet solutions to suit the unique requirements of its clients – who operate in food, sports nutrition and nutraceutical sectors.
The business is always expanding and innovating to stay ahead of new designs and materials in the filling industry, which means new tooling requirements are never too far away.
Unique solutions for unique requirements
Unette had ambitions to expand production capacity and bring a number of new packaging designs to market. Crucial to this plan was the introduction of new tooling that would allow the business to customise the shapes and tips of its existing designs to suit different products.
Managing Director, David Rimmer, explains: “Each product has different requirements. Different liquids have different viscosities and therefore need different openings, or the customer may want a wider or narrower aperture based on how quickly they want their product to evacuate from the tube or sachet.
“We wanted to introduce several new customisations that would provide an improved occasion or customer experience for our customers, and that required investment in new tooling to make it happen.”
The project had the potential to propel the business forward to significant new growth, but the decision to move ahead with the investment still needed to be taken cautiously.
Unlocking growth with confidence
Having provided David with manufacturing advice and guidance over the last five years, Manufacturing Advisor Phil Anders was able to assess the project and confirm its eligibility for support through the Hub’s Manufacturing Growth Fund.
Unette was able to secure £8,816 towards the manufacture of the new tooling, providing the business case with the extra support it needed to go ahead.
“The biggest benefit of working with someone like Phil is being able to confidently make a decision between moving forward with an idea or not, based on the level of risk,” David says.
“When you’ve got a project like this, and you’re not quite sure whether you can fund it or get it over the line, it’s always worth having that conversation to see if support or funding is available to help you make that tough decision. We ultimately benefitted from significant growth as a result and we were able to build on that and push our business forward.”
With the new tooling in place, Unette was able to create new tear-top tube solutions for clients in the nutraceutical sector, which has been driving most of Unette’s growth in recent years.
The business has since managed to increase capacity and output has grown by an impressive 171 per cent over the last two years.
“We’ve recently taken an order for four million tubes, which is the largest single order we’ve ever taken. We can’t do all the things we want to do at the moment because we need even more capacity, so we will shortly be taking on another 10,000 sq. ft. unit to support further growth” David explains.
Preparing for the future
Going forward, Unette has identified eco-packaging solutions as a major growth area.
“If we go back five or six years, maybe one in ten customers might have asked about recyclability. Today, it’s ten out of ten. Everybody asks the question,” David says.
“We’ve recently developed a re-closable tube that contains 70 per cent less plastic, we’re working on recyclable laminates and we’re also looking to convert people away from screwcap tubes to tear-and-tuck tubes that use less plastic.”
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