Phil Dennis Retires From 20 Year Career with Kenray, the specialist former manufacturer

Kenray, the global leader in the design and manufacturer of forming sets and specialist parts for food processing and pharmaceutical packaging industries recently said goodbye to one of their longest serving members of staff. Phil Dennis has been with Kenray over 20 years during which time Kenray has gone from being a local machine engineering company to a specialist manufacturer of custom forming sets supplying customers all over the world including Pepsico, Kellogg and Intersnack.

KENRAY team thanking Phil Dennis for his decades of service

Phil has played a valuable role in the growth of Kenray over the years including building customers relationships, managing projects and conducting employee training. His retirement was honoured with a special event. All the staff presented Phil with gifts of gratitude in recognition of the important work that he has contributed to KENRAY’s development and success over the years. The Directors and Managers also personally expressed their appreciation for the valuable work that Phil has performed during his time at the company.

Joining KENRAY in the mid-1990s, Phil spent his early days as General Manager. He worked on the fabrication side of the operation as well as with customers. One of his first major projects saw him forge a relationship, which is still strong today with Ishida Europe, a leading supplier of Food Packaging Machines & Equipment. As the company grew Phil became responsible for the engineering side of the business setting and ensuring for the high standards of quality Kenray has become known for.

Over the years, Phil’s industry knowledge has been essential in training and mentoring numerous KENRAY engineers and he has passed much of his knowledge onto other members of the KENRAY team. Andrew Dennis, Technical Director commented, “Phil taught me so much during my early days at Kenray as a young apprentice. Over the years, I have been able to develop through the business and today am a co-owner and director. We now have a role reversal and technically I am Phil’s boss, however, I will always appreciate his advice and feedback and am grateful for everything he taught me on the engineering side.”


Phil with some of the team who wish him well on his retirement from Kenray – the global forming solutions company

While he will no longer assume the full-time role as the Machine Shop Manager, Phil will be joining Kenray as a part-time Technical Advisor. As such, customers will continue to benefit from his packaging expertise, as he offers his advice on various projects.

“The KENRAY team will certainly miss Phil in his role as Machine Shop Manager, as he has helped us build our business over the years”, says Commercial Director Mark Evans. “We are grateful for his hard work and dedication, and we are pleased that he will continue to join us in a consultancy role”.

Colegate Calls for Recyclable Packaging

Colegate-Palmolive has recently announced new commitments to recyclable packaging. In particular, the company has spoken out against the increasing adoption of non-recyclable flexible packaging.

More and more products are now being sold in flexible, non-recyclable plastic packets. Raisins were once commonly packaged in little cardboard boxes, but now they use flexible packaging. Likewise, drinks traditionally come in bottles, which are usually made of glass or PET, or else in aluminium cans. All of these can be economically recycled. But now, some products such as Capri Sun, which is immensely popular with children around the world, come in flexible packaging that is difficult or impossible to recycle. All in all, 2012 saw sales of products in such flexible packaging reach levels of over US$26 billion in the US alone.

So what has made companies invest in the formers, forming tubes and other packaging machine accessories necessary to completely change their packaging to a non-recyclable option?

Cost, of course, could be one factor. Flexible packaging is often cheaper to produce, offsetting that initial investment in new forming sets and packaging machine accessories. Nonetheless, it is surprising in these days of environmental awareness and increasing corporate responsibility to see such a large shift away from recyclable materials.

However, some companies may have made the change with genuinely good eco-intentions. In the short term, manufacturing this packaging generates lower levels of emissions and uses less material. However, while this makes sense in the short-term, the fact that these products cannot be easily recycled offsets the initial advantages. There are few disposal options available except for incineration or landfill, and then the manufacturing process for new packaging begins again from scratch.

Indeed, misguided views on the eco credentials of flexible packaging are making their way to the very heart of the packaging industry. In a recent interview, green design advisor and sustainability architect William McDonough said “I see packaging awards being given to these pouches as more efficient containers of, say, a cereal.” He then pointed out that this product, traditionally placed in an easily-recycled cardboard box, is now “wrapped in seven plastics with undefined inks and metallized polymers. It doesn’t have a recycling symbol on it because you could never recycle it… And yet it’s being put forward as a more efficient package.”

Now Colegate have taken their stance against this non-recyclable packaging, they seem to mean business. For three out of four product categories in the company’s portfolio, they have committed to making all packaging recyclable by 2020. For their remaining product category, oral care, they are working on development of a recyclable toothpaste tube, or a new kind of recyclable packaging to serve the same purpose, so that the remaining products can follow suit.

The Debate over Recyclable Packaging


More and more companies are making the shift towards packaging their products with recyclable materials. While it is certainly a more environmentally-responsible approach, many companies continue to use non-recyclable packaging. So, why haven’t all companies made the switch yet?

Even though we are seeing plenty of companies using forming sets to package products in recyclable materials, there has also been an increase in the number of products that are being packaged in flexible, non-recyclable materials. A prime example of this is Capri Sun, the popular kids’ drink packaged in materials that are virtually impossible to recycle.

Cost is the major factor behind the use of flexible packaging, since it is often cheaper to produce due to the materials required. There are also some short-term ecological benefits, as this type of packaging generates fewer emissions and uses less material overall.

However, on a long-term scale, recyclable packaging is more beneficial. Flexible, non-recyclable packaging may be cheaper for manufacturers to produce and more convenient for consumers to use, but it is a major drawback that the material cannot be recycled. This type of packaging can only be disposed of in an incinerator or landfill.

One company that has taken up the cause is Colgate, as the company has taken a stand against non-recyclable packaging. For three of four of their product categories, the company will make all of its packaging recyclable by the year 2020. Oral care is the remaining category, and Colgate aims to develop a new recyclable toothpaste tube in coming years.

When making the switch to recyclable materials, brands may require different forming sets to ensure the efficiency of the packaging process. At Kenray, we work with our customers to understand the different issues relevant to your food processing needs, such as recyclable packaging, product flow, bag quality and sealing issues – as well as temperature, material and volume requirements. As such, we can advise you on the ideal type of forming set or even build bespoke formers to suit your packaging needs.

KENRAY can help you find the ideal forming set for your recyclable packaging. For more information, visit our Forming Sets page or call us at: +44 (0)1530 400 100.