Case study: Leading packaging maker bags £75k in R&D tax relief

Date: May 1, 2023

Leading packaging manufacturer Schumacher Packaging Birmingham has received more than £75,000 in R&D tax relief from the government for developing an automated conveyor system which cuts waste from its manufacturing process, with the support of Catax (a Ryan company).

Germany-headquartered Schumacher Packaging operates across 27 sites — including its Birmingham site — and is one of Europe’s largest independent family-run companies in the corrugated cardboard sector.

The company invested in its manufacturing process by developing a fully-automated intelligent conveyor system capable of removing waste at every stage.

The packaging industry is still heavily reliant on manual processes throughout the manufacturing cycle, with people and fork-lift trucks required to move products along.

This leads to a lot of time wasted at each stage, either in terms of staff waiting for materials to arrive at their work stations, machine downtime, or damage caused to materials by fork-lift trucks.

Schumacher Packaging wanted to create a fully automated process which could eliminate waste at every stage of the manufacturing cycle, and reduce the need for fork-lift trucks.

The company faced numerous technological challenges when trying to integrate an intelligent automated system in their existing building. Problems arose due to the size of certain areas, restricted access in places where manual intervention had only ever been possible previously, and the challenges of integrating the system with several types of machinery.

The system also had to manage different-sized packaging products, speeds and collection from various stages.

This meant that the design was very intricate, as it had to navigate bends, angles and six physically separated areas, while also achieving the optimum travel speed.

Mike Owens, Managing Director at Schumacher Packaging, comments:

“The new conveyor system is much more efficient, and the removal of fork-lift trucks from the process has made the business more sustainable.

“We have also been able to redeploy staff to other areas, growing their skills in the process.

“This was the first time the company had made use of tax relief, but Catax ensured the process went very smoothly despite only having a short time to turn around the submission.

“The money we have received will go towards a large capital investment programme this year.”

Kully Nijjar, Associate Director at Catax (a Ryan company), added:

“Schumacher Packaging are at the forefront of their industry and are always looking for ways to invest and improve their processes.

“They had never benefited from R&D tax relief before due to a lack of awareness — an issue we still regularly come across.

“We are delighted that we could turn around their R&D submission in a matter of weeks to meet the December year-end deadline so the relief could help them with their investment programme.”

If you’d like to discuss how Catax can support your business with tax relief or grant funding, simply fill in the form below:

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