Orange County Partnership - News

President Container Invests in ‘Game Changing’ Technology to Increase Efficiency, Delivery Times to Customers

Pressed by global competition, rising costs and the coronavirus pandemic, manufacturing firms are making significant investments in advanced technology to increase production and workforce efficiencies. Add one local firm to the list of manufacturers that have embraced high technology—President Container Group of Middletown.


On March 19, President Container Group announced the startup of a dual-size Jumbo Flexo Folder Gluer box-making machine by Engico, an industry leader in innovation in corrugated machinery. The new machine will allow the company to increase efficiency at its Middletown plant, located at 290 Ballard Road. The benefits of using this new technology includes greater flexibility in size and styles, increased production speeds and improved delivery times to the company’s customers, company officials stated.


President Container Group is one of the largest manufacturers of corrugated containers in North America. Its state-of-the-art facility produces more than two billion square feet of corrugated products each year. The company has long been a leader in the use of advanced technology, and the Engico “Dual Sizes” machine is the latest example of that.


“The Engico FFG is a game-changer. It has tremendous flexibility and will make us more competitive in the marketplace with improved lead times. The Engico has the added ability to stitch the carton in line,” said President Container Group Vice President Larry Grossbard.


In addition to its commitment to utilizing the latest technology, President Container Group prides itself on being environmentally-friendly. The company uses solar energy sources and prioritizes recycling and other efficiencies that focus on sustainability and preservation of natural resources—all while producing products relied upon by well-known brands and corporations across the nation. Its mission is to produce sustainable packaging that is clean, safe and protects the environment and communities it serves.


In a recent analysis on the prospects for the manufacturing sector in 2021, Deloitte noted that agility could be key to the manufacturing industry’s resilience as the US and nations around the world cope with the impacts of COVID-19.


To adapt to market forces that existed pre-pandemic and the impacts from the global pandemic, many manufacturers have accelerated their adoption of automation and robotics. Another issue affecting manufacturers is their workforce. Deloitte notes that the industry experienced a significant dip in manufacturing employment levels, due in large part to forced shutdowns in the early days of the pandemic and suppressed orders.


Deloitte noted that before the pandemic hit a year ago, the manufacturing industry was working to regain the momentum it had reached after the 2008 recession. However, after the first wave of pandemic-driven shutdowns, segment recoveries for various manufacturers have proven to be uneven.


Despite recent gains from much of the country’s manufacturing base back in operation, employment levels in December 2020 were still 543,000 lower than in February 2020.


“These changes in operations are driving many manufacturers to reevaluate the role of the workforce,” the Deloitte report stated. “Some operational job losses during the pandemic could become permanent changes to the labor profile. And, as robots, cobots, and other forms of automation grow in the production environment, the need for a workforce to manage and interact with these technologies also increases. These ‘middle-skill’ roles require technical expertise and regular upskilling.”


Looking ahead to 2021, the recovery may take longer to reach pre-pandemic levels. Deloitte predicts a decline in annual manufacturing GDP growth levels for 2020-2021, with a forecast of -6.3% for 2020 and 3.5% for 2021.


Deloitte said the manufacturing sector’s performance will vary depending on where they have felt the greatest impact from COVID-19. “For some, it will focus on rebuilding lost revenue streams; for others it could require recalibrating supply networks to serve different market demands. But for all manufacturers, it should include a commitment to increasing agility in operations,” Deloitte stated. “By continuing to invest in digital initiatives across their production process and supply network, manufacturers can respond to the disruptions caused by the pandemic and build resilience that can enable them to thrive,” the report stated.