Sticking with it

What have wine labels, nuclear medicine, and windows got in common? Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell met Packexe’s CEO Andrew Orchard, who will be celebrating 30 years in business this year, to find out.

Andrew Orchard (CEO of protective film company, Packexe) has spent the last 30 years solving that irritating problem of being left with a sticky residue when you peel off a label or protective wrapper.

His dedication to the cause has been so successful that Packexe’s products can be found in numerous industries, ranging from the NHS to wine cellars, and from aerospace to the fire service.

In the fenestration industry, fabricators and installers may be more familiar with Packexe Handy Wrap, which is used to help protect products in transit. Some systems companies may also use a similar product for surface protection, and Packexe Glass and Glazing protection film is widely used as it is very easy to apply and leaves no trace once removed.

Packexe Smash, which is typically used by firefighters to protect themselves and passengers when breaking up a car after an accident, is now being used by other installers.

For example, Wessex Windows applies the roll of Smash protection film to the glass in windows they’re removing before installing new ones; the glass is less likely to break, but sticks to the film and is safely removed if it does.

“Working at a primary school it is imperative that no glass shards are left behind once the job is finished,” Nigel Groves, commercial contract manager at Wessex Windows, said. “With Packexe Smash the glass is contained, which is a huge benefit to us as it makes the job easier and faster; we are not spending valuable time picking up stray glass shards. The customer also benefits because they can be confident that the glass is fully managed and removed from site.”

Glass Times visited Packexe’s offices in Exeter, where Andrew explained that he was taking a fresh look at the company and its products.

“Waste – especially plastic waste – has come under greater scrutiny recently, and quite rightly so,” Andrew said. “Some of our products were designed about 30 years ago, when plastic waste wasn’t seen as a huge concern. However, I have gone back to some of those products – including the popular Handy Wrap – and made them thinner and stronger. This will make them go further and produce significantly less waste.

“We are aiming to relaunch the range towards the end of 2019.”

Showing Glass Times around the production and warehousing facility, Andrew also pointed out Packexe’s ongoing initiatives to reduce waste and energy use.

“76% of all waste produced here in Exeter is recycled,” he said. “Furthermore, we installed a 72kW solar array in 2015, and that has had a massive impact on our energy bill.”

This is alongside the new energy efficient machinery that the company has installed in recent months, which is helping to streamline the operation.

Andrew’s entrepreneurial spirit has won him many opportunities across many different industries over the last 30 years in business, some of them more outlandish than others. The company received the Royal seal of approval, gaining a Royal Warrant in 2015 for their protection film.

The company was also on hand when Concorde’s hangar was being built in 2017. It was easier to leave the aircraft in place but keep the plane protected from the work going on around it – protective film supplied and installed by Packexe was the perfect solution, and the perfect photo opportunity.

But what has remained consistent over that time is Andrew’s unrelenting focus on product development and improvement. During his discussion with Glass Times, Andrew hinted at new ideas and new market opportunities, which have come about from his own interest in the subject matter – something that, arguably, a larger organisation wouldn’t be able to invest in.

So, with investment in site expansion on the cards, the introduction of new staff, and a renewed focus on market development, there will be a lot to unwrap as Packexe hits 30.