Our next stop was in Redditch, Worcestershire, to meet Richard Hird and Tim Peet of Labotek GB. A supplier of world-class material conveying, drying and dosing systems, Labotek operates worldwide and celebrated its 80th year in business in 2023. We caught up with Richard and Tim to discuss the company’s impressive history and to find out what’s in store for the rest of the year.
[Pictured above left to right – Will Clarke, Richard Hird, Tim Peet, Jess Clarke.]
Danish Design Since the Dawn of Plastics
Labotek A/S was founded in Denmark in 1943 and has since grown into an international leader in machinery and equipment designed for the drying, transport, dosage and storage of free-flowing plastic granules and powders.
Denmark has strong design traditions, and from the dawn of plastics, Danish designers saw opportunities in the material. Whether it’s Bang & Olufsen radios made from Bakelite, millions of Lego bricks moulded in ABS, or large-scale windmills using plastic and rubber, Danish design is world-renowned and has a strong association with the plastics industry.
A Modern, Worldwide Network
Today, Labotek is a leading provider of high-quality ancillary equipment, incorporating the latest technology to reduce energy consumption to the absolute minimum and covering all major plastics manufacturing processes, such as injection moulding, blow moulding and extrusion.
The company is represented around the globe. Labotek International A/S is represented by subsidiaries in Germany, Denmark, Sweden, India, and the UK by Labotek GB, with a worldwide distribution network of more than 50 dealers and agents.
As well as manufacturing its range of high-quality drying, dosing, mixing and conveying equipment from its sites in Scandinavia, the company works with selected industry partners in other product areas, offering a wide variety of solutions for its customers.
The Labotek story is one of dedication and long-standing partnerships. With well-established associations with leading suppliers such as Ferlin, Getecha, and DynaCon, among others, it’s clear that Labotek has always emphasised building long-term relationships, having represented many of its suppliers for over ten years and counting.
To kick things off, we asked Tim and Richard – What are your key product groups and target market?
Richard: “Our history in ancillary equipment stretches back over 80 years, and we design, manufacture and commission fully bespoke turnkey systems for our customers covering all main plastic manufacturing processes, including extrusion, injection moulding and blown film. We supply a wide range of equipment covering all requirements for conveying, dosing, mixing, drying, and storage of plastic materials.”
Tim: “Whether it’s high-speed packaging applications, automotive manufacturing, trade moulding or various other applications, we always look for the best solution catered to our customer’s needs.
“We’re fortunate to work with leading clients across many sectors, including the likes of Nissan, Baker Hughes, and other customers across the cable industry, fibre optics and gas & oil industries, and more, showcasing the diversity in our expertise.”
What sets Labotek and its products apart in the marketplace?
Richard: “Our products, whether for conveying, material storage, dosing or mixing, are of the highest quality. Labotek’s products are known worldwide for their durability, reliability and energy conservation.
“It’s not always about being the cheapest in the first instance but about ensuring longevity and efficiency for our customers over a product’s lifetime, and Labotek has carefully selected its industry partners to ensure this ethos is constant across the entire range of products we offer.”
Tim: “We’re a small, lean team that loves what we do. For us, it’s all about listening to our clients and providing creative solutions that work. Honesty is at the heart of our operations. If we believe another solution or supplier is better suited for a client, we’ll say it. Plus, being small has its perks; we’re always accessible and accountable.
“A big part of what we do is in the design and consultation stage of a project. We really like to work closely with a customer, understand their specific pain points, and create tailored solutions to best suit them. Customers receive energy calculations of their needs as part of every consultation so that decisions can be made with a view to long-term sustainability.
“Labotek GB has a great relationship with our owners and parent company Labotek A/S, so whilst we enjoy independence and do all quoting, specifying, and project management in the UK, we also have the trust and support of the worldwide Labotek network.”
What are the company’s plans for the next year?
Richard: “Our main aim is to expand our reach and diversify. We’re looking at growing the DynaCon conveyors business in the UK, among others. We’re also looking at other growing in other sectors, food and drink being a good example.”
“We also want to spread the word that despite tough conditions, with energy prices putting huge strains on manufacturers recently, significant savings are possible for companies willing to take a holistic approach. We consult closely on our projects, educate stakeholders and shopfloor teams, and make changes to a client’s manufacturing processes to give the best solution. We’re not just interested in swapping equipment like-for-like; we can assess the entire operation, rearranging factory layouts, altering workflows or production parameters to give the best outcome.”
Tim: “We’re also in the process of hiring more engineers and service staff to bolster our team. Of course, continuing our focus on energy efficiency and enhancing overall equipment effectiveness for our customers remains a top priority.”
Are we going to see Labotek GB at any upcoming events?
Richard: “Yes, we’ll soon be at Interplas 2023 at the NEC Birmingham this September on stand H24. We’ll also be at the K Show and the Fakuma exhibition in Germany and Medical Technology UK in Coventry.
“Do come say hello if you’re visiting!”
Before we wrap up, does Labotek have an official or unofficial company mantra?
Tim: “We might not have a fancy catchphrase, but our core values revolve around our customer-first focus and always providing the best solution for their daily challenges.
“This attitude has meant we’ve maintained long-term relationships with suppliers and clients alike.”
Richard: “We’re also passionate about sustainability and energy efficiency in all our undertakings.”
Big thanks to the Labotek GB team for their time and hospitality! With their customer-focused approach and commitment to innovation and efficiency, Labotek GB is undoubtedly a name to be relied on in the industry.
Keep an eye out for their stand at the upcoming exhibitions, and don’t miss the chance to learn more about their offerings!
Look out for the next edition of ‘PlastikCity on Tour’ to learn more about our excellent UK-based partners.
There are now well over 260 active partners represented on the PlastikCity site, many of which offer highly specialised products or services to our sector.
During our everyday course of business, we’ll be making a point of visiting as many of these partners as we can and using the time to better understand what they offer the market. We’ll then showcase them through this ongoing series of articles.
Maybe you can benefit from their services!
To find out about the full range of Labotek’s ancillary equipment and how you could benefit from their services, visit the Labotek website.