Philip Mann, Emballator UK

How Emballator UK is empowering customers with versatile and sustainable packaging options 

Supplying numerous sectors with an impressive range of cans and pails for retail and industry packaging, Emballator UK (Emballator) offers innovative, attractive packaging solutions. Its unrivaled ability to manufacture both plastic and metal packaging at the same production site makes the business a unique, one-stop shop for customers looking for a single supplier. 

From a wide assortment of packaging containers to serve the paint and construction industry to larger UN certified containers that meet strict regulations on hazardous chemical goods, Emballator has a product to meet any demand. Its metal products include cans, pails, and canisters, ranging from 375 milliliters to 25 liters, with an array of handles and lids, while its plastic products offer a broad range of packaging solutions primarily for the paint, adhesive, and food sectors. In 2015, the business began to use post-consumer waste (PCW) plastic and now offers sustainable solutions made from anywhere between 30-to-100 percent recycled plastic. 

To learn more about Emballator’s diversification and its plans to provide sustainable packaging solutions for decades to come, we catch up with Philip Mann, Managing Director of Emballator UK. “I personally joined the company in 2002 and have since occupied a few different roles; from which I’ve watched Emballator grow from a business with £3 million turnover, to a £50-million enterprise. 

“The group entered the UK in the late 1990s by seizing a market opportunity when one of the major suppliers pulled out of the can-making industry. The main customers at the time – paint companies – were crying out for another supplier to enter the market due to one major supplier dominating the market. By coincidence, Emballator was looking to expand its horizons in Europe, and subsequently took the opportunity to set up a UK division in conjunction with one of the UK’s major paint companies. 

“Our service offering, combined with our consistent high quality have been crucial to our success. We’re very flexible when compared to our competitors, particularly when it comes to materials. We broke the mold within the marketplace by transitioning from a metal packaging manufacturer to a hybrid supplier that produces both metal and plastic containers. 

“From that moment on, Emballator was transformed and has since occupied a unique position in the industry,” Philip recalls. “It means that we can produce and deliver both metal and plastic containers to one customer in a single delivery, eliminating the need for multiple suppliers. As we’ve grown, we’ve come to use our expertise to help customers looking to change their base material by considering the benefits and drawbacks of their specific applications. We’ve had great feedback from our customers, especially as we can provide independent advice; we have no commercial bias in pushing one material over the other because we produce both!” 

When it comes to sustainability, Emballator is providing alternative solutions that meet customers’ needs while helping them to achieve their own sustainability targets. “We’re the first company in the UK to offer a range of plastic packaging made from 100 percent PCW,” Philip proudly states. “We also offer a range of products that are the lightest weight available in the plastic packaging marketplace, allowing our customers to choose the solution that best fits their sustainability goals. 

“However, things are evolving all the time, and we must remain innovative to stay ahead of the curve and future-proof the business. Our Innovation Center in Lungby, Sweden, helps us to do so. They’re currently tasked with research and development operations around bio-based plastics, for example, to explore its characteristics and benefits. The center is also open to companies outside the Emballator Group, as we believe it’s important to share knowledge across multiple industries.  

Robust supplier relationships 

“For our metal products, on the other hand, we’re constantly innovating to eliminate the scrap element of production. There are constant changes to technology and evolutions in equipment that enable us to have better control over the process. We’re also exploring the material makeup to potentially reduce the amount of metal involved while still maintaining the necessary characteristics of metal products.” 

As a successful business within a niche industry, it’s no surprise that Emballator prides itself on longstanding working relationships. “We’re a family-owned business that embraces a family culture and values, which we also extend to our suppliers,” Philip explains. “We still retain much of the same supplier base today that we did in the early days, with some of our relationships spanning over 20 years.” 

With this in mind, Philip turns to the future of the business. “Overall, we’re striving to create packaging solutions for future generations,” he states. “We’re always open to acquisitions of both plastic and metal packaging companies, and we’re currently on the lookout for a recycling company to establish a circular economy within our plastic production process as part of our sustainability strategy.  

Ambitious growth plans 

“We made some significant investments towards the end of last year, which are still to come to fruition in 2024 and we already have further investments planned, including an expansion to our main facility and additional equipment to facilitate our ambitious growth plans. Our long-term vision is ultimately to become a world class manufacturer in the eyes of our customers, and to be the preferred supplier of choice in the industries in which we operate. 

“As a business, we’ve grown every single year since our inception, and we’re showing no signs of breaking that cycle,” Philip concludes. “The future is definitely bright, and backed by a series of investments, I believe that we have all the skills and competencies required to achieve our five-year plan to grow the business further.”