October 28, 2008
by Andrew Joseph, Features Editor
While the humble corrugated box may be one of the most simple and rudimentary packages around today, there is very little that is primitive or low-tech about the modern-day machinery used to stuff those boxes with all manner of packaged consumer goods (CPG) at breakneck speeds–with unfailing precision and repeatability.
For companies like the Hamilton, Ont.-based Edson Packaging Machinery Limited, maintaining the long-enduring industry reputation for the innovative designs and technological savvy of its case-packing machinery forms the foundation of an inspiring competitive streak that has enabled the proudly Canadian machine-builder to keep growing from strength to strength through numerous boom-and-bust economic cycles that have seen many of its former competitors bite the dust along the way.
“Since the creation of our first case-packer in the early 1960s, Edson has continued to manufacture high-quality, robust and innovative machinery,” company president Robert Hattin told Canadian Packaging on a recent visit to the company’s modern, 40,000-square-foot facility employing about 90 highly dedicated and motivated staff.
“In short, we design and manufacture machines and automation systems for consumer goods producers to package their products into boxes and for some strange reason–though I’m not knocking it–we’re really big with the toilet paper crowd,” chuckles Hattin.
“In fact, our machines combined have probably packed over one billion toilet paper rolls this year alone.”
Founded in 1962 in the garage of local technological enthusiast Edward McCrudden, who combined his first name with a fatherly tribute to his son to come up with the company monicker, Edson’s early years helped shape the technologically progressive corporate mindset that still commands earnest respect from Hattin, who has jointly steered the company with partner and executive vice-president Gary Evans for the last nine years.
“For its first job, Edson built a semi-automatic case packer for Kelloggs, I think,” says Hattin, “and funnily enough, that machine’s design is still similar to some of the stuff we build here today.
“It really is a testament to the wonderful mechanical foundation upon which this company was founded.”
Naturally, as the new-generation industrial automation technologies began pouring into the North American marketplace over the last decade, the company has been quick to take advantage of the new breed of robotic pick-and-place systems to bring its machinery range up to the high standards and requirements of 21st century manufacturing.