Various packaging products

How Biopax is adding operational capabilities to champion sustainable manufacturing  

Established in 2021 by Dr Terry Cross OBE, former owner of Delta Print & Packaging, Biopax is a pioneering force in the design and manufacturing of sustainable packaging solutions. Specializing in printed folding cartons, fluorine-free and recyclable paper food wraps, as well as printed and unprinted self-adhesive labels, its products cater to the diverse needs of the food, non-food, and beverage sectors.  

Liam O'Connor, Sales & Marketing DirectorWith a substantial investment of £47 million, Biopax has inaugurated a cutting-edge facility in Belfast, Northern Ireland, meaning it is strategically positioned for unfettered access to Ireland, Great Britain, and European markets. The business is dedicated to advancing the circular economy in fiber-based packaging through the development of proven alternatives to plastic.  

“We offer a comprehensive range of products and services, including bespoke designs utilizing offset lithographic and rotary flexographic printing technologies, supported by in-press color management software,” begins Liam O’Connor, Sales and Marketing Director at Biopax. “Our high-speed downstream equipment enables the efficient production of various carton formats, from trays and clamshells to flat-packed skillets and crashlock boxes. With capabilities to cut, crease, fold, and form a wide range of carton formats, we prioritize end-of-line automated packing systems to enhance production capacity and accuracy.  

“We also collaborate with customers to provide sustainable barrier coatings for our carton board and paper food wrap materials to ensure packaging is either recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable. We believe that our commitment to sustainability is demonstrated through rigorous testing of innovative solutions, which positions us at the forefront of environmentally friendly practices in the packaging industry.  

“In addition, we produce self-adhesive labels using our high-speed, high-definition flexographic printing technology, which cater specifically to the food and beverage sector,” he continues. “We also have an in-house design team that uses cutting-edge 3D software to create bespoke graphic and structural solutions for our clients.” 

Outstanding operational results 

However, Biopax’s determination to offer world-class sustainable packaging solutions does not stop there. Instead, the business continues to make substantial investments in research and product development. “We have a dynamic research and development team led by industry expert, Alister Farmer,” Liam reveals. “Alister’s team specializes in collaborative partnerships with food companies, taking time to understand their challenges and sustainability objectives. 

“With two decades of experience in delivering groundbreaking solutions for some of the world’s largest brands, the team works continuously to develop tailored products that help companies to achieve their sustainability goals. We have an on-site laboratory and strategic academic partnerships to enable us to explore the chemistry behind different materials and coatings combinations. The emphasis, however, lies in practical application, with significant efforts conducted at our customers’ facilities. This ensures a deep understanding of how our packaging solutions seamlessly integrate into their manufacturing processes, reinforcing our goal of real-world, impactful innovation.” 

To accelerate such innovation, Biopax has acquired cutting-edge machinery from Heidelberg. “At Biopax, we have a longstanding relationship with Heidelberg, so they understand how much value we put into achieving maximum quality and output throughout our printing process,” Liam explains. “We recently acquired a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL106 to boost our operational capabilities and overall efficiency. The machine has remarkable features like delivering exceptionally fast makereadies that adhere to stringent color accuracy standards. 

“The integration of Heidelberg’s Dr Terry Cross OBEInpress Control further enables stable and precise color reproduction, which leads to faster turnaround times. We also invested in a second Speedmaster XL106 press at the end of 2023 to double our upstream printing capacity. Having two printing presses with equal capability in terms of high-quality print, optimum output, and reduced down-time will strengthen our contingency in the most complex part of our manufacturing process. 

“With such machinery now operational in our expansive 70,000-square-foot facility in Belfast, we are thrilled with the outstanding results achieved,” he reflects. “Our ongoing investment, totaling around £20 million, extends not only to printing but also downstream to die-cutting and high-speed gluing, reinforcing our commitment to state-of-the-art equipment for superior production processes. 

“These new technologies will help us to maintain competitiveness and navigate the challenges 2024 is set to bring, such as escalating cost pressures and inflation that will inevitably impact manufacturing businesses, especially those within the retail sector. 2024 will also see us introduce even more innovative products, many of which are currently in the process of live testing with our retail partners.” 

Driving positive change 

Aside from challenges, the year ahead will see Biopax focus on its ambitious expansion plan. “We’re aiming to nearly double the size of our factory, taking our footprint to an impressive 110,000 square feet,” Liam elaborates. “Part of this expansion will be a series of investments in high-volume rotary flexographic printing and converting technology, which we believe will triple our folding carton capacity. It will allow us to double our warehousing space, which plays a crucial role in ensuring a robust and reliable supply chain. 

“Additionally, we’re proud to highlight the recent recognition of our founder, Dr Terry Cross OBE, who received an award from Business Eye for outstanding leadership and management. This accolade is testament to his visionary leadership, as his dedication to driving innovation and sustainability has undoubtedly played a pivotal role in shaping our successful trajectory.” 

With such a successful leader at the helm, Liam shares the company’s long-term vision for the future. “Over the next five years, our objective is to solidify our position as a trusted and established supplier of responsible packaging to a multitude of food, non-food, beverage processing, and retail brands in the UK and Ireland. Further ahead, our long-term strategy involves expanding our capabilities into new markets and introducing our brand to new regions such as Europe, Asia, and the US.  

“Overall, we’re dedicated to driving positive change in the packaging industry by offering innovative, sustainable solutions,” Liam concludes. “One thing is certain though – as we navigate challenges and seize opportunities, our commitment to environmental responsibility, cutting-edge technology, and customer collaboration remains unwavering.”