Published On: Tue, Nov 27th, 2012




Roberts Mart & Co Ltd, the UK’s leading independent manufacturer of flexible packaging, has just invested a further £2.5m in new plant machinery to boost production capacity at its two facilities in Leeds.

With the company’s order books growing, this significant investment is expected to have a substantial spin off in jobs with the creation of a potential 25 new posts planned for 2013 to cope with increased production requirements, following the purchase of a state-of-the-art printing press and laminator for its Aire Valley factory, as well as an extruder for its sister business, Romar Packaging, based at Newmarket Lane on the outskirts of the city.

Central to the family-run business’s investment is the new F&K 20SIX Central Impression Flexo Printing Press. Chosen by Roberts Mart for its print quality, ease of use and versatility, the Press is the latest in printing technology for the flexible packaging industry and can be used to accommodate a wide variety of print jobs.

It already supplies specialised, high performance films to a variety of industry sectors, including food, beverages, pet food, supermarket own brand, bottled waters and textiles. Capable of delivering the highest quality printing on any flexible packaging substrate, this addition to Roberts Mart’s equipment portfolio enables it to break into new market areas, with the company set to boost production by 30 million linear meters a year, providing a significant return on its original investment.

Meanwhile, an increase in capacity will also follow at Romar following the installation of the new three-layer co-extrusion line, which will boost the subsidiary’s production of coextruded low density blown polythene film by 1600 tonnes per year. The latest increase in capital expenditure takes Roberts Mart’s overall investment to just over £15.5m over the last eight years, bucking the general economic difficulties affecting other UK manufacturing sectors by expanding into new markets, whilst remaining at the forefront of the flexible packaging industry.

Underpinning this success story is the family atmosphere on the shop floor. Not only is Roberts Mart family-owned, but it has attracted several generations of employees’ family members creating a resolute and loyal workforce over the years that has helped the company prosper through thick and thin times.

During the last year Roberts Mart has taken on 16 new staff and currently has a total workforce of 147 at its two Leeds sites, however, operating the new equipment will require more workers and the company will be looking to recruit again in 2013, including press and lamination operators and warehouse personnel.

Sales director, Ben Roberts, said: “This significant new outlay we are making on capital equipment underlines our confidence in developing our existing and new markets. To meet the challenges ahead we are committed to building a team with a diverse range of skill sets. Although Roberts Mart is extremely family oriented, we always welcome new recruits selected by merit to join the company and become a part of our extended family.”

Roberts Mart was founded by William Roberts in 1852 and from producing paper bags it now develops the latest range of specialised, high performance films to meet the growing demand from a variety of industry sectors, including food, bottled waters and textiles. There has always been a Roberts at the helm since it was established 160 years ago, and the present joint managing directors are father and son duo, John and William Roberts.