This year’s Annual Ravenwood Conference was held again at our Head Quarters in sunny Suffolk. And the sun shone! It was great to welcome our delegates, old faces and many new due to our continued growth in the ‘Land of Linerless’ and the x-ray inspection sector. The theme for this year’s conference was based around The Muppet Show due to the arrival of new Fauxlafel family members, ‘Old Fauxgey’ and ‘Fauxpa’ based on ‘Statler’ and ‘Waldorf’. Our delegates all got to be ‘muppets’ for the day!
Day one welcomed machine distributors and day two, our printer partners. Agendas for both days included presentations from Ravenwood staff members.
Ravenwood Conference Day 1 – Machinery Distributors
Day one opened with our official welcome, from our Boss and founder, Paul Beamish. Paul announced and welcomed our new machinery distributors and then went on to provide a round-up of activity and developments since our last meeting in 2017. Paul then flagged up issues with pirate linerless labels and stressed the importance of working with our raw material suppliers to develop the best substrates, adhesives and silicones for producing faultless linerless labels. He then highlighted how we refer to the entire process, the ‘Circle of Linerless’, a term coined by Ravenwood to encapsulate our joined up approach for producing perfect linerless labels. From the approved materials, approved machine and printer partners, the Com500 coater that makes the labels, our Nobac 500 sleevers that apply them to the final stage of quality control, with our VXR x-ray inspection system.
Dave Gooding, our Commercial Director then discussed global sales and new label developments. Dave reported that Ravenwood had experienced significant growth in 2017 with 50% increase in applicators across many countries and regions with 2018 set to benefit from the same projected pattern of growth. New label developments include shaped and die cut linerless labels. Ravenwood and its printer distributors have been producing shaped and die cut linerless labels for many years. Dave went on to explain that in recent months, we have been busy developing this concept further including shaping the leading edge of the label for a totally bespoke and creative look across all linerless label formats. MPH Fulfilment worked with us in developing this. ‘Punched’ linerless labels are also a new concept and we worked closely with Coveris on a linerless ready meal sleeve. Other exciting developments Dave touched on were envelope replacement, flat skin labelling with Sealpac, SlimFresh labeling with Mondini and developing linerless ‘water resistant’ labels.
Director Dan Coe gave our delegates an update on Machinery Specification. Dan took our delegates through our new machine order form, highlighting the user-friendly process for ordering and ensuring all additional components are fitted to suit particular food trays and linerless label formats. He then discussed our ‘Preloved’ programme, lovingly tended to by Morph, our Master Engineer. Morph can undertake machinery work from complete set up to a full rebuild, as well as refurbishments and conversions on older models. He then discussed our Nobac machine range, each capable of applying a diverse range of labels to many different formats. Machines outside of these variations would then be considered bespoke. Ravenwood considers this service as a speciality – if you want it, we can build it!
James Read, our VXR Product Manager provided us with an update on our x-ray inspection system including our Vision only unit for the checking of vital information printed on our linerless labels. James and our Technical Director Marc Lindup have been busy working on integrating additional technologies and software including RFID readers to ensure the presence of security tags, adding barcode scanners and luminescence scanners. Our dynamic duo are also currently working on and developing the x-ray analysis of the fat content on meat cuts, as well as the presence of ‘value added items’ such as nobs of butter or sauces within meat and fish packs.
The Ravenwood Service team were then introduced including ‘where in the world’ they cover for providing support and assistance when needed, including emergency call outs. Steve Bundy, our Service & Logistics Manager discussed machine production plans and the importance of ensuring key components are ordered in line with build plans; coders, flash labellers and RFID. He then covered the logistical side of the ordering process from inception through to production and then finally, delivery to the customer.
Then next up, Derek Tooke, our Parts Manager, updated our distributors on the parts ordering process. Derek highlighted the importance of keeping a good stock of parts for both distributors and end users. He then went on to detail as to the different spares kit options and our new computer system for placing orders. And with the expansion of our premises which completed in January 2017, enables us to store more stock on site.
The update from our marketing department included information on our new website and its improved functionality. The new site is set to go live by the end of May. Our Raveneers Corner news site is also growing with regular blog updates, press releases and case studies. Marketing at Ravenwood is extremely proactive in terms of social media with Linkedin likes growing 300% during the last year. Natalie and Sarah can assist our distributors with events and exhibitions and provide marketing support where needed.
Day one then rounded off with our printer introductions.
Our ‘muppets’ were entertained at our MD’s (Paul Beamish) house for the evening’s shenanigans. An Abba tribute band played for us followed by a disco. It was great to see everyone enjoying themselves with many taking to the dance floor. During the evening, we presented awards to our ‘Distributors of the Year’ based on sales and overall performance. Label Group scooped the title of ‘Machine Distributor’ and Coveris for ‘Printer Distributor’. A set of three cast metal ‘Flying Pigs’ – a retrospective take on the ‘Three Flying Ducks’ were presented to each.
Ravenwood Conference Day 2 – Approved Printers
Day two was largely based on Day one with the addition of an update on our Com 500 Coater upgrades, service, preloved coater programme and spare parts.
Jez then discussed sustainability and how linerless is paving a green path. Ravenwood strives to adopt responsible and ethical practices throughout business operations where possible. Some of these initiatives include how we transport our paper and card which goes from the mill to the printer. This means less miles travelled, making fewer journeys. By adding siliconised liner paper which is high in energy and cost means there’s also no expensive conversion needed. No matrix to dispose of for the printer means less transport to cart away the waste and any waste edge trimmings are all recyclable. And no waste liner for the packer again means less transport to cart away the waste. These are just some of the benefits that linerless can offer. Our full Sustainability Statement will be on our website.
Day 2 closed with our Material supplier meetings.
Overall the event proved to be extremely entertaining, insightful and with company growth set to continue, the future looks bright. Our linerless and x-ray inspection technology continues to go from strength to strength. Until next year!
For further information, contact marketing on +44(0)1284 749144.