Leading labelling systems manufacturer, Apex Labelling, will see increased investment under new ownership.
Company founder Phil Etheridge has sold the company to Sam Howe who will become Managing Director and oversee the day to day running of the business, with Etheridge staying on for at least a 12-month hand over period.
Established in 1977, Apex Labelling designs and builds complete labelling solutions for a wide variety of applications. The company is heavily involved in the Apiculture, wine making, breweries and FMCG industries supplying customised labelling solutions to small and large-scale customers.
Howe has a background in automotive engineering and product development in the United Kingdom as well as experience here in New Zealand with Compac Sorting Equipment – a leader in high-speed pack house technology for the fresh produce industry.
Howe says it will be business as usual despite the change in ownership and will look to make significant investment into the company to further increase its market share and to offer a broader range of services to its customers.
“Apex equipment has a reputation for being very reliable, and we absolutely want to continue that,” says Howe.
“In the short term, we’ll be looking to increase investment in R&D and to boost our engineering capacity and resources. While also having more resources on the ground to service our customer base.”
With Apex Labelling systems operational through New Zealand and Australia across a broad spectrum of industries, Howe says the company will embrace more technology to improve efficiency and increase output from customer production lines.
“We’ll be introducing more 3D modelling in the early design phase assisting our customers with the layout of production lines so that they will be able to visualise what we’re going to do and they can critique the design.”
Apex Labelling systems are designed and manufactured to be ‘modular’ meaning that customers can upgrade and add more functionality to the system at a later date.
“Having a system that is modular means that if the customer rebrands a product or alters the packaging and wants to start putting a label on the top, it’s an easy process for them to do.”
“Also, within a matter of minutes, an Apex Labelling system can be quickly reconfigured from labelling one product to another – giving the customer more versatility and output from their investment.”
Embracing more advanced technology, Howe says the company will also make further investment into developing vision based orientation capabilities for its systems.
“Customers are increasingly looking to differentiate their products through packaging. By leveraging vision recognition and camera technologies from adjacent industries, Apex is enabling this shift towards more unique and customised packaging.
Orientation capabilities allow the labelling system to identify physical features of an object and position a label accordingly. Brand identity is incredibly important in today's retail market, so we need to be able to offer technology to facilitate this process.”
Giving customers flexible finance options is also on Howe’s agenda.
“We’re looking to develop a lease model for our labelling systems, which some companies might find more attractive than purchasing outright.”
Apex Labelling recently supplied a new labelling system to Watson & Son for their expanding honey facility in the Wairarapa. It also received an order for two new labelling systems from API consumer products in Auckland to support their expansion into Asia and also installed a new labelling solution for HO Wiles to add to their existing Apex machine labelling the iconic Bars Bugs product line.