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Global digital flexible packaging phenomenon ePac opened its new $10m Australian site today, the latest in its growing list of facilities it has built around the world in the last six years.

Officially open: Jason Brown (2nd left) cuts the ribbon, with (l-r) Parag Patel from ePac USA, Craig Walmsley from HP, and local councillor Oscar Yildiz

The North Coburg site is the first print plant of any kind opened in Australia for several years. It is focused on serving entrepreneurs specialising in small and medium run-length orders for flexible pouches. Its Australian customer base will focus on start-ups across the snack, confection, coffee, organic foods, pet food, and nutritional supplement space.

The business says it provides “new cost-effective, time-efficient, tailored and sustainable offerings for support small and medium sized businesses looking to level-up their brand presence”.

The first ePac production facility is eight kilometres from the Melbourne CBD, at the new Newlands Road food manufacturing hub, located in the heart of Coburg’s thriving industrial district, and is headed by Jason Brown, formerly group divisional general manager at Ball & Doggett. It anticipates it will have 40 staff by the end of the year.

Helping small brands achieve big brand presence: Jason Brown, managing director, ePac Australia

Speaking at the launch event Brown said, “The ePac business will help small brands achieve big brand presence, it will contribute to the circular economy and it will give back to the community.

“My call out is to that community of entrepreneurs to use the facility here to tell your story. We also want to say that sustainability is at the heart of this plant, in the lack of waste, in the low carbon footprint, in the recyclability of what we produce, and even of the presses themselves, which are delivered to us carbon neutral, and go on to be recycled at the end of their life.”

Brown highlighted the drive to use post-consumer recycled product, and said the company was looking at compostable options. He also said, “We have positioned ourselves as the team that gets things done.”

Craig Walmsley, HP country manager, also spoke, taking guests through the benefits of digital flexibles, which he said eliminated the need for long runs and long lead times. He said, “ePac has identified an opportunity to serve the market much better, and with the HP Indigo 25K presses will be able to do so.”

Quality and productivity: Mark Daws (right) on one of the two HP Indigo digital presses with Craig Walmsley (left)

Mark Daws, labels and packaging director at local HP Indigo supplier Currie Group, took groups of guests through the workings of the twin HP Indigos in the print room, which was clearly big enough for at least one more 25K to go into. Since the factory began production less than six months ago, it has already added a second pouchmaking line.

Brown said, “Our key proposition is enabling local brands to take their product to market, through sustainable, locally manufactured packaging, available on demand.”

Along with local customers, suppliers and family of staff the event also welcomed ePac chief information officer Parag Patel over from the US. He said, “Each of our plants is similar to the others, but not identical. This is very much an Australian business, and it will develop in an Australian way.”

The launch event got underway with a Welcome to Country by Uncle Ringo, which included a smoking ceremony. 

Welcome to Country: Uncle Ringo
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