98th SPA Conference Review

27th February 2019

98th SPA Conference Review – 28th January 2019 Arden Hotel, Meriden


Chairman’s Welcome – Ken Shackleton, SPA Vice Chairman

98th Conference was officially opened by Ken Shackleton, vice chair of SPA, standing in at short notice for Tim Gray.

Ken noted that of the 89 attendees at conference, there were 28 sheet plants represented including a number of conference first timers: John Dick from Print & Media Certification Ltd, Chris Hogarth from Pitreavie Packaging and Phil Phillips from Packaging Supplies.  One new member was in attendance to receive their SPA Member certificate: Phil and Angie Fox represented Fox Corrugated Machinery Ltd.

Videos of conference presentations from today’s event will be shared on the UK Sheet Plant Association SPA News YouTube channel.  If you have not already done so, please subscribe to the SPA YouTube channel www.youtube.com/channel/UC-hvj0A75C2IX6e7qZfNrvwY.  You will then be able to view and share videos with members (and non-members) who were unable to attend conference.

Event Sponsors’ Micro Spotlights

The SPA Committee has recently introduced a new initiative for suppliers at SPA events.  In exchange for sponsorship, suppliers have the opportunity to present a 2 minute spotlight.  There were 6 sponsors of the 98th Conference and presentations were given by 4 of them: Earth Inks Group (Alistair Borrett), Bobst (Craig Moran), KM Software (Clive Corner) and The Alternative Pallet Co. (Richard Darlow).  The remaining 2 sponsors were Avanti Conveyors and Robant Rollers.  Some presentations are available to download here.

Sponsors of SPA 98th Conference:

If you are interested in being a sponsor of the next SPA event, please contact the SPA Office on 01509 890009 or email office@sheetplantuk.com

BREXIT Update Open Forum/Debate – hosted by Neil Osment of SPA Committee

Video of the debate is available (unedited) on the SPA YouTube channel:  www.youtube.com/channel/UC-hvj0A75C2IX6e7qZfNrvwY

Around the room, of the 3 options available as follows, delegates were asked which would be their preferred option:

  • May’s Deal - 8 votes in the room (became 13 post debate)
  • No Deal - 5 votes in the room (stayed at 5)
  • Extended for 3-6 months - The rest (approx. 77) (became 72)

Employment Law Update - Luke Menzies, CEO of Menzies Law

  • Luke reminded all members (several times) to use the Hotline service – 0117 325 0526 - a 15 minute call is FREE of charge for SPA members and can save you £10s of thousands.
  • Luke provided specific updates on:
  • Gay cake – latest
  • Brexit latest
  • Recent trend in claims – main focus today.

Presentations can be viewed online here.

R&D Tax Credits Update – Ian Cashin, Kene Partners

Please contact Kene Partners directly via the SPA Member Messaging service at www.sheetplantassociaton.com.  The Kene Partners website details the process that members would follow to make a tax credits claim (https://kene.partners/opportunity).  Kene Partners have worked with over 60% of SPA members, with an average member claim of approx. £70K

Health & Safety Update - Andy Ely, Health & Safety Manager at TUV

Andy Ely’s Health & Safety Update focussed on:

  • Enforcement News:  Welding Fume
  • HSE Statistics 2017 / 2018
  • European Fatality Incidence Rates

Presentations can be viewed online here.

Paper Market Update - Poul-Erik Nielsen, Director at Paper Trading UK Ltd

There is no presentation available on line

What is new since January 2018:

  • Saica progressing with the integration of French Ermin Leydier
  • Smurfitt Kappa have integrated Parenco quickly
  • DS Smith now in control of Europac

Paper availability:

  • 2017 – 3 paper price increases
  • 2018 – Q1 – 1 increase
  • Q2 & Q3 – no increases
  • Q4 – talk of increases but did not happen
  • Q1 – official statement that £20 reduction on price of RCCM – Why ? Drop off in demand

Next paper mills to start up:

  • Progest, Italy – Fluting and Testliner 3
  • IP, Spain – as above
  • Impact on UK – very limited if none

Waste paper

Very little change in price or no change.

No real link between price of paper and price of waste paper

Possible big influences on Paper Market:

  1. 1.       War on Plastic
  2. 2.       E-Commerce
  3. 3.       US led trade war
  4. 4.       BREXIT

For further detail, Poul can be contacted directly via the SPA Member Messaging service.

FSC© Certified Packaging – Helping to Protect the Product and the Planet – Rosie Teasdale, FSC UK

Rosie Teasdale gave 2 presentations; First was an overview of forest statistics around the globe, the impact of deforestation and the high level benefits of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).  Second detailed the FSC Chain of Custody Certification which results in the FSC Trademark Licence that certified sheet plants may use on their products.  Interestingly, of the sheet plants represented at Conference:

48% were FSC CoC Certified.  And of those:

  • 18% mention FSC using the promotional panel
  • 27% mention FSC using text claims only
  • 55% don’t mention FSC

Consumers want responsible sourcing from companies and they value independent certification.

Presentations can be viewed online here.

How the SPA FSC© scheme works – Ken Shackleton, Vice Chairman, SPA

Chartwell PM Ltd have an assigned Group Manager for SPA members.  The Group Manager will come and develop a system within your own software system that enables you to be audited and FSC certified.  The cost of this is subsidised by the SPA.  An ongoing support package with telephone hotline is also available.

Please refer to the SPA website for full details and to get started with the FSC initiative right here.

Panel Discussion – “Digital on Corrugated” – Chaired by Ken Shackleton

Ken Shackleton chaired this Q&A discussion with Nick Kirby of Swanline Print Ltd and Jamie Bissett of Caps Cases Ltd.  Both organisations have adopted digital print technology.  The discussion is available to view on the SPA YouTube channel at:


Corrugated Industry Update – Neil Osment, NOA PRISM -

  • Corrugated & Paper Market Trends (Europe)
  • UK Corrugated Production
  • UK Corrugated Market
  • Food Contact & Corrugated Opportunities

Neil’s presentation can be viewed here.

Food Contact & Corrugated (Opportunities) – Alistair Borrett, Earth Inks -

Earth Inks manufacture Inks and Functional Barrier Coatings which can be used for Indirect or Direct food contact.  Alistair’s presentation touched on the Opportunities for corrugated in Primary Packaging, Fresh, Chilled, Frozen, Dry, Dairy and Baked food product packaging.  Earth Inks coatings can be used to replace silicone, synthetic waxes, PE, PET, PP, PVA, Polythene and Fluor Carbons.  Earth Inks are looking to work with sheet plants that are looking to take the lead on sustainable and biodegradable packaging.

CPI Matters – Andy Barnetson, CPI-

Promoting cardboard to the consumer – Beyond The Box initiative – www.cardboard.org.uk

  • Parliamentary launch, increased newspaper, news websites & regional news outlets activity
  • Teaming up with consumer influencers online (Instagram)
  • Live radio interviews
  • All this has led to increased Coverage
  • Initiatives are planned for 2019

Updates on:


Professional Coaching – Neil Osment, NOA PRISM

  • Neil’s presentation focussed on how Coaching and Mentoring can benefit someone within a packaging business and included an interview with SPA member, Simon Mander, Managing Director of Avanti Conveyors

Presentations can be viewed here.


New SPA website due for release soon – this is in the testing phase now

Date for your diary:

UK Corrugated and Print Show – 24/25 June 2019 – ACC, Liverpool.  Open now for Bookings here.