The Shrink Wrapper Next Door: How Texwrap Enhanced Growth for The Empac Group
Sometimes the helping hand you need is right around the corner. For The Empac Group, their helping hand turned out to be Texwrap, a leading manufacturer of automated packaging solutions for shrink wrapping/bundling and e-commerce applications, which was located only a mile down the road from their facility in Washington, Missouri. For nearly 20 years, Texwrap has played a critical role in helping the company grow its business with existing customers, earn valuable new business, and contribute to an environment for its employees to develop and thrive.
Since 1967, The Empac Group has provided custom manufacturing, assembly and packaging solutions to its partners in Missouri and throughout the country. However, the quality of its work is not the only attribute it is proud of.
The company is considered a sheltered workshop in Missouri, meaning The Empac Group operates as a supervised workplace for adults who have a physical or intellectual disability. It employs several hundred people working from its Sullivan, Missouri headquarters, as well as a second facility about 30 miles away in Washington, Missouri. Through making employment available to people with varying abilities, The Empac Group has impacted countless lives while building efficient, effective packaging and assembly lines.
“We are a process-driven company. We do employ adults with disabilities, but we can compete with any packaging facility within the area, or even the country,” said Christa Mohesky, Director of Operations, The Empac Group. “Two of our biggest customers do more than $1 million in sales with us every year. So, if we weren’t putting out a quality product with on-time delivery, they wouldn’t be coming back to us year after year.
“We’re really proud to provide our employees with these jobs where they can build job skills, as well as social skills.”
Expanding Capabilities Through Shrink Wrapping
Through the years, The Empac Group has grown to become one of the foremost contract packagers for several well-known consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. Its longstanding relationship with Texwrap has added to that success.
Texwrap is part of ProMach, a family of 45 product brands that operate across the entire production spectrum in distinct business lines. The advantage it brings to customers is a broad range of solutions flexible enough to adapt to their unique needs and help them successfully bring their products to the marketplace.
Known as the industry innovator, Texwrap is a manufacturer of fully automatic packaging systems for shrink wrapping, shrink bundling, and e-commerce applications. As a testament to its engineering, the company holds patents on some of the most significant breakthrough technologies in the shrink wrapping and bundling business.
In March 2005, The Empac Group purchased its first Texwrap machine, a side-seal horizontal wrapper. In the years that followed, the company purchased two additional side seal wrappers, as well as two BVS Series 914 continuous motion, high-speed vertical seal wrappers, with the latest being installed in January 2023. These two vertical seal shrink wrappers are used primarily for bundling products such as bottles of household and automotive cleaners, and other consumer goods sold in major retailers across the country.
“The BVS Series 914 is an ideal option for The Empac Group because it gives them the flexibility to run different SKUs and quantities that contract packagers need to fulfill diverse orders from their customers,” said Logan Witthaus, Vice President of Operations for Texwrap. “This machine runs and wraps multipack products in an upright or vertical position, which provides greater stability for round products like canisters and aerosol cans, which aids in product control.”
Reaching speeds up to 70 packs per minute, the BVS-914 can run a wide range of products with a maximum size of 9” wide by 14” high, making it ideal for contract packagers where the products are often manually loaded to form multipacks of an item.
The five shrink wrapping machines operating about seven hours a day, five days a week, are credited for helping The Empac Group expand into new markets.
“Adding our most recent Texwrap machine has given us the power to increase our output of bundling work for our customers by 100 percent,” Mohesky said. “Texwrap has enabled us to expand our business with current customers, while also growing business with new clients – and that’s all been made possible through marketing all of our Texwrap machines.”
Packaging Systems and Texwrap Expertise
The Empac Group purchased the five shrink wrapping machines through Texwrap’s St. Louis-based distributor, Packaging Systems. Packaging Systems manages the installation and offers consumables, preventive maintenance, parts, and service for end-of-line automated packaging equipment.
“Texwrap has proven to be a good fit for Empac because their equipment is very easy to change over and adjust from one job to another,” said Dennis McFarland, President of Packaging Systems. “Empac is a contract packager, so the job they’re running today may not be the job they’re running tomorrow. That’s why ease of changeover and adaptability of equipment is important to them.”
As part of the equipment sale, The Empac Group sent over some of the more popular products they package to Packaging Systems and Texwrap so they could pre-program those packaging recipes. The company also sent a team of employees to Texwrap to train on the BVS-914 to get a head start on its operation.
“We went to Texwrap to operate the machine before it was even delivered to us. You learn more when you can actually work on it. This allowed us to start operations immediately as opposed to taking time to play around with it and figure it out,” said John Walsh, Plant Manager, The Empac Group. “It was a tremendous help.”
Next Door Neighbors
Texwrap’s location right down the street from The Empac Group has also proven to be a benefit as well. If a technical issue arises, Texwrap can send a representative over to provide a quick fix.
“A lot of people who work here know a lot of people who work at Texwrap,” Mohesky said. “We’re all local, so why wouldn’t we use them from the personal connections we have, along with the business connections? When we can support a local business here in Washington, everyone wins.”
The addition of Texwrap has positioned The Empac Group for future growth into 2023 and beyond.
“These machines work extremely well for us and have the speed and versatility we need,” Mohesky said. “We’re competitive in the market because our customers don’t care if we’re a sheltered workshop or not. They look to us on whether or not we can deliver a quality product with on-time delivery. Ninety-five percent of the packaging facilities we compete against are not sheltered workshops and we can usually out-produce them. Texwrap helps us do that.”