Shepherd Thermoforming & Packaging Inc. (Brampton, ON, Canada) announced the addition of a new thermoforming line with a state-of-the-art machine from Italian machinery maker OMG. The machine has a 31-x-31-in. forming area and was purchased to accommodate the company's increasing requirements in the food packaging industry.
"We have some aging equipment and we're trying to be more forward thinking about where we want to see the business grow, so we've focused on the food industry," said Todd Shepherd, President of the family-owned company.
Shepherd, which is certified to ISO9001-2008, recently received its Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification, Level 2, which is what makers of food packaging are required to have. "It's the global standard for food packaging suppliers," Shepherd explained, noting that Level 1 is for farmers and growers, Level 2 is for converters that make packaging and Level 3 consists of the actual food companies such as Shepherd's customers.
CFO Mark Shepherd said that a trip to NPE2015 to explore options for a new machine led them to purchase from OMG. "We talked to all of the thermoforming machine suppliers there, but we had capacity issues and needed to pull the trigger quickly on a new machine," he said. "OMG had one that was just right for our needs that we could get immediately, so we bought it."
While it is one of the few thermoforming companies that does both thin-gauge forming on inline machines and heavy gauge forming on two rotary machines, the Shepherds said they're looking to upgrade more in the thin-gauge area. "That's where we're seeing the most potential for growth," said Mark Shepherd, adding that the company's differentiator is the fact that they are true custom thermoformers and offer customized packaging design and development.
The company has packaging expertise in a variety of markets, including consumer and electronic products, pharmaceutical, food and confectionary, and medical. The company also provides its customers with advances in new materials as well as new thermoforming techniques such as contour forming for specialty packaging in the consumer market.
"The food packaging market offers us a lot of opportunity for custom packaging with different features and functionalities, which is our differentiator," said Todd Shepherd. "While some companies offer off-the-shelf packaging when it comes to large volumes, we are able to meet demand for large volumes with customized packaging."
In 1985, Barry Shepherd launched Shepherd Packaging, selling plastic blisters, trays, clamshells, sealing equipment and other packaging materials. Shepherd Packaging expanded its manufacturing business and in 1997 entered the heavy gauge thermoforming market by developing a custom thermoformed plastic pallet for Lear. Under Shepherd's leadership in 2006, Shepherd Thermoforming & Packaging Inc. opened its 43,000-square-foot custom thermoforming facility near Toronto, where the company operates seven thermoforming and two CNC milling machines, and employs 40 people. Now retired, Barry Shepherd, who was named the SPE Thermoforming Division's Thermoformer of the year, remains active on the Board of Advisors for the company he founded, while the second generation runs this successful operation.