• Discussing the future installation of pneumatic systems: (from left): Packserv’s MD Nathan Wardell, COO Ken Seddon, and head of operations Andre James, with Professor Nick Bennett of UTS School of Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering.
    Discussing the future installation of pneumatic systems: (from left): Packserv’s MD Nathan Wardell, COO Ken Seddon, and head of operations Andre James, with Professor Nick Bennett of UTS School of Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering.
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The much-publicised efforts to bring back manufacturing to Australian shores after years of conscious neglect is going full steam ahead but, for many businesses, the dramatic increase in orders is creating a whole new set of problems. Packserv is looking at ways to solve this.

Packserv Australia was on a healthy growth path with the introduction of a new range of machinery before the pandemic struck, but that growth has changed beyond all expectations recently, creating a headache of the best sort, some might say, for Nathan Wardell, the managing director of Packserv.

“We moved to larger premises 18 months ago to address our scaling up of operations. That move was meant to meet our needs for the next five years. Instead, even after almost doubling our floor space again with the addition of a mezzanine floor, we are still packed in like sardines in a can,” Wardell says.

This is certainly not a unique problem for manufacturers, so how is Wardell planning to fix his problem?

“Well, we are adopting a ‘go hard or go home approach’. We are currently looking at the acquisition of a 3000 square-metre factory, which is what we realistically need if we aren’t to find ourselves with this same predicament in 12 months’ time,” Wardell says.

“But the first problem is there are no such properties available in the locality which means we are looking at locations outside of Sydney. Which leads to the second problem – our manufacturing team are experts at what they do in a very specialised niche product area, can I realistically ask them to add a three hour commute to their working day?”

As the saying goes, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and the solution to Packserv’s problems is certainly a novel approach, as Wardell explains.

“We already had a great working relationship with several universities, particularly UTS. We’re looking at creating a new factory that not only meets our production requirements, but houses the very latest manufacturing technology and equipment.”

Delivered by Packserv’s engineering team, supported by the UTS Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, and creating over 30 new jobs, the facility will combine the latest knowledge and technology to meet not only Packserv’s needs, but will also be available to businesses from all over Australia.

Wardell says, “This will enhance the whole community in which it sits, and will attract interest and skills from around the globe.”

PKN will keep readers posted on this development.

This article was first published in the January-February 2023 print issue of PKN Packaging News, p42.

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