Can you tell us your name and your current position at PSA UK?
My name’s John Miskimmin and I’m the Aftermarket Account Manager for Pneumatic Scale Angelus in the U.K.
Can you tell us more about your background and your role within the business?
My background started with a mechanical engineer apprenticeship with CarnaudMetalbox, as soon as I left school. I worked at Metalbox, which is now Crown, for 10 years, and then joined Angelus in 2013 as a field service engineer. I worked in field service for three or four years before moving into aftermarket sales. So that’s my background.
What do you specifically do at the moment within the business?
Well, aftermarket encompasses elements such as change parts for various formats for can seamers. Overhaul support. Upgrades, modifications, rebuilds. Generally, anything that goes with after-sales support.
So you’ve recently been appointed to look after the spare part side of things for any U.K. based Hema filler machines. Can you tell us more about Hema Fillers and the relationship between the company and PSA?
Okay. In 2014, Barry-Wehmiller acquired Hema Fillers from SIDEL. So Hema was brought into the Barry-Wehmiller group and placed into the Pneumatic Scale Angelus platform.
During that acquisition, our engineers were sent out to Hema to help support with the workload that they had at the time. Hema, being a specialist in meat filling, it’s very, very common that our Angelus seamers are coupled up with Hema fillers in applications such as pet food and food stuffs. So we have been familiar with Hema fillers for a very long time.
So what range of applications can Hema Fillers be used for?
They can do pet food. They can do things like toothpaste, pharmaceuticals, all the way through to things like domestic products such as thick bleach, paint etc. Also food-based products such as honey, mayonnaise, ketchup, all that good stuff. And it’s not limited to cans, products can be filled into glass bottles and also flexible containers as well, like toothpaste tubes for example.
So, specifically, can you tell us more about your role and what you’re going to be doing for Hema at PSA?
My role with Hema will be effectively replacing a company called FJahn & Co who were the Hema agent in the U.K. for the last 20 plus years. FJahn had a number of companies they acted as agents for in the U.K. They would provide service support, spare parts etc. They would import the spares for these various types of equipment, one of these equipment suppliers being Hema.
At the end of last year, FJahn & Co decided that business was going to close down as the CEO was retiring, and as a result of that I would take over in representing HEMA in the UK, with Pneumatic Scale Angelus and Barry-Wehmiller having various offices around the U.K., it was decided that Pneumatic Scale Angelus Droitwich would be the new agent for Hema spares and field service support going forward, to keep everything under one roof. As I said before, Angelus seamers have worked closely with Hema fillers traditionally, so the match just seemed right, to give our customers one point of contact.
With that relationship being so close, how is that going to benefit U.K. customers or the general PSA customer base? and what developments can they expect to see?
Well, it will help our U.K. customers especially if they have got Hema fillers and Angelus seamers coupled together already on site. So when it comes to ordering spares and service and support, that need quick information and troubleshooting we’re there. We’re a one-stop-shop basically for any assistance that they’re going to need.
Also if they’ve got Hema Fillers and they’re looking at canning, we can support them from the Angelus perspective and also the other way round. So all the Hema Filler drawings, information manuals, bills of materials from original manufacture etc, we will have access to from our Droitwich facility. It speeds up the process to get the relevant information that the customer might need.
Is there any additional benefits with the Droitwich team in terms of maintenance response times, that type of thing? Is there a better, all-round solution now in terms of the ongoing service?
Yes especially from a service perspective. As mentioned, when Barry-Wehmiller made the acquisition of Hema in 2014, our engineers were sent out there to support with the manufacture of the backlog of fillers that Hema has, and also for our engineers to gain some experience.
As it stands currently, all field service will be provided from our French colleagues. So if a customer was to call up today wanting a technician to come and maintain or troubleshoot their filler, that engineer will be dispatched from Quimper in France. Going forward, what we’re looking at doing is cross-referencing our field service support so that we can actually provide U.K. engineers to U.K. customers. So we’ll be sending our engineers over the next 12 months on courses with the Hema technicians, and obviously a transition period where our French and U.K. engineers are going to be working together to get our U.K. engineers up to speed so that we can provide the best service support going forward.
Are there any other developments that you see happening within the business over the next 12 months? Growth, potentially? Do you have any forecasts for that side of things?
Yes. We’ve got a number of projects that we’re working with Hema on these days. There’s a new initiative within Barry-Wehmiller where we are focusing on markets such as pet food, whereas we’re able to offer pretty much a full turnkey line solutions for everything from a depalletizer all the way through to labelling.
So there’s been a big marketing push, especially for our pet food focus. But going forward, like I say, being able to supply those turnkey lines we hope is going to be a very appealing prospect for our customers so that they, again, they get that one-stop-shop for all their packaging requirements.
How do you think this is going to impact the overall market? Do you see yourself taking more market share and supporting more manufacturing companies now because of this relationship?
Well, what it has done is it’s obviously taken care of an install base, has opened up contacts in new manufacturing facilities that might not have yet considered doing cans. So being able to promote canning around the U.K. in new customers sites is always going to increase our presence, especially if we’re already dealing with that customer, we already have accounts in place, the idea being that we don’t hard sell the equipment, we just make it easier for the customer to find a solution.
Obviously with the environmental focus at the minute with regards to plastics, we’ve seen quite an increase in canning activity, what with cans being 100% recyclable and infinitely recyclable, has a great advantage over plastic packaging, especially such as PET bottles.
We’ve seen a change in the way that water is now being sold and packaged. A lot of plastic water bottles are now being replaced with cans of water so that you don’t get elements such as UV taint. You get a hermetic seal, so a lot longer shelf life. We’re hoping that that’s going to be a trend that continues.
Brilliant. Okay, that’s great. Is there anything else that you wanted to mention, talk about, or anything that you’re particularly looking forward to over the next 12 months, or not necessarily over the next 12 months, just in the role in general?
I’ve been working quite closely with the sales team in Quimper on a number of different projects, especially within the food industry. So there are some very exciting things going on this year. Obviously I can’t go into too much detail at the moment as things are still being worked on but ultimately working with new customers, getting to know more people in the industry and pushing our brands forward is what we get out of bed for.