When Jim Hopkins spent $100 in the early 1970s on his first Polaroid Land camera that would develop its own photos in a minute, and another model, the SX-70, came out in 1973 obsoleting his, he realized that technology was going to keep evolving, and that he would have to keep up with it. Since he and his wife founded Hopkins Printing in 1974 with a single press in their garage in Columbus, Ohio, as CEO he has evolved the business from printing methods that primarily used photographic techniques to the latest digital ones.

As a commercial printing company, Hopkins prints magazines, posters, annual reports, brochures and a variety of other print collateral. It provides the support services of binding, mailing, fulfillment, storage and web storefronts, where customers can order printed products online.

When people ask Randy Uebler “What do you do?” and he explains he works for a company that produces bottle-capping equipment, they are surprised.

“Most people don’t have a lot of intimate knowledge about the packaging and capping industry,” he says. “They typically take packaging for granted and are surprised there is an entire industry built around it. When people pick up a container of something, they are more interested about what is inside it and the nutritional information. They don’t think, ‘Gee, I wonder how the cap was applied to this bottle?’ 

“We do,” says Uebler, the vice president and general manager of Athens, Ga.-based Fowler Products. “We think about that all the time. Yet most people don’t even realize there is a multimillion-dollar industry of putting caps on bottles and closures on containers, and we produce very specialized equipment to do just that.”

Uebler explains that Fowler Products’ clients include Fortune 200 companies, who require high-speed and high-quality bottle cappers, cap sorters and cap feeders for their demanding applications.

The push to make packaging environmentally friendly has changed the composition of containers such as water bottles, which have evolved in recent years from fairly rigid plastic to a thinner material easily crushed under pressure. Packaging machinery manufacturers have had to adjust to these changes to make sure their equipment can process the new materials at a reasonable speed without damaging or destroying the container in the process.

The U.S. pulp and paper industry’s consolidation created a number of nationwide conglomerates that offer a range of products and services for most any application.

Lundberg Associates is not one of those corporations, however. Accord­ing to President Doug Giarde, Lundberg’s manageable size, customer-centric approach and ability to adapt to the latest demands from the market are what have kept the Bellevue, Wash., company in business since the 1930s. “We try real hard to listen to the customers and get them what they want,” says Giarde, who has worked for Lundberg since 1984. “We like to think of ourselves as a solutions company.”

When people look at a paper towel, they usually think of it as something to dry their hands with, as opposed to thinking about how it was made. But GL&V Pulp and Paper plays a valuable role in an important process by providing equipment and services for pulp and paper production.

Vice President of Global Sales Jim Oswald says the company’s roots go back to the birth of its parent company, GLV Group, a Montreal-based firm that serves clients globally. Founders Louis Laperrière and Laurent Verreault started the company in 1975 and provided services and equipment to large pulp and paper manufacturers.

BluePrint Automation is perhaps best defined by one word: flexibility. “We are specialists in flexible packaging, we make flexible packaging machines that are quick to change over and our clients tell us we are very flexible to work with,” says Bernhard Barta, vice president of sales and marketing for the Colonial Heights, Va.-based company.

BluePrint Automation specializes in the manufacturing of fully automated turnkey packaging systems used in primary and secondary packaging, particularly flexible – or soft – packages such as snack bags, bags of frozen chicken or vegetables, or drink pouches seen in the snack and frozen food industries. The company’s machines are also utilized in the pharmaceuticals, baking and personal care industries.

A.G. Stacker Inc.’s business may be centered on machinery, but at its core are the trusted relationships it establishes with customers. “Our honesty, integrity and professionalism have earned and kept A.G. Stacker customers coming back and bringing with them new customers, ideas and projects,” it says.

Without its customers or its ability to innovate, A.G. Stacker would have no business, the company admits. “Our work force values their reputation for being the best at what they do,” it states. “We feel our customers deserve nothing less.”

When J. Erskine Love Jr. founded Printpack in 1956, he was the sole employee operating a used cellophane bag machine in the basement of a Georgia office building. Today, the Atlanta-based company – led by Love’s oldest son, President and CEO Dennis Love – is one of the largest packaging converters in the world, with approximately 4,400 employees and 22 manufacturing plants throughout the United States, along with two facilities in Mexico, two in the United Kingdom, one in Poland and one in China.

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