Contract packaging and toll manufacturing facilities are widely used by brand owners, private label companies and others, when producing short runs for market testing, trialling an unfamiliar packaging format, where there is no in-house equipment or expertise for a particular job, there is a short- or longer-term need for extra production capacity or even where there is a requirement to outsource the entire manufacturing function.
Such undertakings require a flexible and efficient manufacturing partner, with expertise in a number of product areas, a highly confidential approach to R&D, production and supply chain management, and sufficient production resources to handle a constantly-changing menu of customer contracts, with short lead times.
Long-standing British surface coatings manufacturer, HMG Paints operates a dedicated formulation, design and contract packaging facility at its Manchester headquarters, which annually fills and packs containers for thousands of trade customers at home and overseas, including retailers large and small, consumer and specialist brands, own label manufacturers and automotive companies.
Last year, it recorded a 30% increase in business year-on-year, representing the fourth successive year of continued growth for this operation. Focusing mainly on high performance and decorative coatings, hobby & craft paints, automotive products, adhesives and sealants, and speciality inks, mostly manufactured on-site to individual customer specifications, HMG packs product into CFC-free aerosols, screw-top and lidded tins, metal tubes, touch-up packs, complex multi-part kits, glass pots and bottles, in sizes extending from 15ml or less, to 5 litres or more.
Volumes can range from tens or hundreds of thousands of containers, to literally one aerosol or a single can, making this service viable for even the smallest trade customer. Last year, HMG invested substantially in its packaging line, increasing production capacity and making its fully-automated filling and labelling system suitable for an even wider variety of contracts.
Thus, it was able to produce a new test market line for a leading household name, which resulted in substantial market growth. It also filled thousands of small paint tins, in dozens of different shades, for a customer in America; in addition to toll manufacturing speciality primer aerosols, for an automotive brand distributed across Europe.
With almost 80 years paint manufacturing experience, HMG's expertise naturally centres upon surface coatings, covering everything from flammable products needing safe handling and storage, to water-based finishes requiring precise formulations to deliver the right technical performance. It offers all manner of primers, sealants, topcoats, compliant air-dried paints, cellulose products, machinery enamels, gloss lacquers, PVC coatings and more, in a choice of matt, satin, semi-gloss, gloss and sheen finishes to suit customer specifications.
Such is its manufacturing heritage that the company has a 75 year-old Formulations Book, listing contracts from a whole host of familiar company names, some no more, many still proudly in business.
HMG's packaging team can source hundreds of different pack types and arrive at the optimum format for each particular job, such as wide-mouthed cans for thicker, difficult-to-dispense product, or droplet bottles for extremely thin formulations.
Precise colour matching is also a particular HMG forte, a considerable asset for those customers looking at producing automotive touch-up products, toy and modelmaking paints. For aerosol sprays, HMG uses what is widely regarded as the optimum propellant, DME (dimethyl ether), its wide-ranging compatibility giving complete flexibility of choice over the paint system to use; this means that whatever the original finish, whether powder coating, cellulose or enamel, HMG touch-up aerosols will achieve an exact match, with no residual paint left in the can.
Standard sizes are 750ml, 400ml and 150ml, although other containers can be sourced to order. Similarly, HMG offers a full range of metal tubes, for waterproof glues, acrylic adhesives, balsa cement and similar products, all of which the company has experience of producing.
Typically, a toll manufacturing or own labelling contract begins with a confidential meeting between the client's product development team and their opposite numbers in HMG's dedicated contract packaging department, then centres around a detailed manufacturing specification and signed non-disclosure agreement.
Suitable containers, such as lithographic printed cans, are sourced from reliable specialist suppliers and a bespoke label design service is available when required, with all types of paper, plastic and metallic labels applied automatically.
Finished containers are boxed, palletised or shrink-wrapped and held on site for despatch, with dedicated facilities for low flash and hazardous goods. Delivery is via HMG's transport fleet, registered carrier or freight forwarding agent and meets current ADR and IMDG safety regulations.