UK-based Sheard Packaging, an independent corrugated solutions provider, has developed a ‘mobile innovation centre’ (MiC) using a 40-foot expandable trailer equipped with a Zünd S3 cutter.

Founded in 1860, Sheard Packaging has been a family-owned business for three generations, located in a 37,000sqm site in Halifax.

The company has taken a leap into the future by creating its MiC, introduced as an innovation designed to ‘revolutionise’ the way a packaging solution supplier can collaborate with its customers to create the right solution, whilst delivering unrivalled speed to market.

Drew Broughton, head of technical and innovation at the company, explained the difficulty of getting customers in ‘today’s busy world’ to make the most of its design and innovation facilities, hence the creation of the MiC, which is to be presented as ‘Sheard To You.’

What started as a concept and passing comment from Roger Whittaker, CEO at Sheard Packaging – ‘What if we put a demo unit on the back of a trailer and take it to customers?’ – has now evolved into reality, setting a new standard in the corrugated industry.

The MiC is built on a 40-foot trailer, with expandable sides providing a 60sqm workspace. Using glazed sides from floor to ceiling to provide a light and airy environment, the trailer is self-sufficient with three-phase power and an independent air plant, heating and air conditioning.

Mr Broughton commented, ‘We have used industry events space experts Equinox to deliver a professional, relaxing, and bright environment to host our customers, with the added convenience of being on location at their own sites.

‘MiC hosts our Mobile Innovation and Design Centre which consists of everything from Kasemake CAD systems for structural design, to Adobe Creative Cloud for artwork and Graphics.

‘This is supported by a fully functional lab with BCT and ECT testing capabilities and a world first from Zünd – its most modern, small format cutting table, with a conveyorised bed and camera system.’

Speaking on the S3 cutter, Darren Coombs, project manager at Zund UK added, ‘The unique element to this Zünd cutting table is a bespoke engineered cradle and the innovation employed.’ Designed and fabricated by Zund UK, the cradle integrates with the machine base to strengthen the structure with triangulation supports and base plate anchors. In addition, positional pivot points and air cushion lifts were utilised so the table can be isolated from the truck base floor during transit.’

Reflecting on the successful deployment of the MiC, Mr Broughton said, ‘Our collaborative and revolutionary approach is delivering tangible results with our customers, supporting not only ours, but their strategy.’

Dean Ashworth, sales and marketing director at Zund UK concluded, ‘The MiC is truly exceptional outside-the-box thinking from Sheard Packaging and a project we thoroughly enjoyed being a partner of.

‘Having a fully operational Zünd digital cutter enclosed within a mobile vehicle has never been done before; so when the team at Sheard Packaging proposed the idea to us, we immediately rose to the challenge and were extremely keen to get started.’