FROM STARTING IN A PORTACABIN TO BECOMING ONE OF THE UK’S LEADING SUPPLIERS OF PLASTICS ANCILLARY EQUIPMENT, THE LAST 30 YEARS HAVE ‘CHARTED’ A SUCCESS STORY FOR SUMMIT SYSTEMS.
Take a closer look at our journey below!
Where many of his peers might’ve been using empty garages to practice becoming the next Spandau Ballet, Mike Jordan chose to use one to start up a business selling plastics ancillary equipment. After breaking away from his family business in injection moulding at Midlands-based Peerless Foam Moulding, Jordan joined a small company in Telford. After four years, he saw an opportunity to combine the best innovations with quality service and Summit Systems was incorporated.
“Funded by good faith and a small loan, we lined up MB conveyors, Moretto loading and drying equipment and the unique Maguire blender, which was something like the industry had never seen, and so with that we were off” explained Jordan. Accompanied by colleague Chris Bailey, the ﬁrst employee on the payroll and who still works with Summit 30 years later, the company started selling.
After deciding to exhibit for the ﬁrst time at UK plastics trade show, Interplas, the Chairman of the UK’s biggest packaging company requested a trial of the Maguire blenders on display, leading to the sale of hundreds of units.
Later that year, after the installation of its ﬁrst central material handling systems the garage workspace was “starting to burst at the seams,” according to Jordan, who decided to upgrade to bigger premises.
The premises of choice for Summit’s growing business was an oil-contaminated factory, which, with the help of his local rugby club mates, was fully refurbished before the ﬁrm occupied the space as its new home.
As the business grew, so did its portfolio of blue-chip customers. Recognising the need to increase the service provision for such high-proﬁle businesses needing the security of full cover, Summit implemented a 24/7 service offering.“We were the ﬁrst company of our type to introduce a genuine guaranteed service,” continued Jordan. “It’s something we’ve continued ever since.”
Following further expansion, the company began to run out of space, leading to the building of a new warehouse, resulting in 50% increased capacity.
Despite the increase in warehouse space, continued growth saw Summit move for a third time. However, this time the company took up residence in a new, 2,700 sq. ft. factory in Tame Park, Tamworth – opened by the Chairman of the UK’s biggest packaging company. Combined with Maguire Europe, the premises gave plenty of room for growth and is still where the company is based today.
When the Plastics Awards introduced its ﬁrst ‘Ancillary’ category, Summit entered and subsequently triumphed as ‘Supplier of the Year’. The trophy gave the ﬁrm a taste for awards success, becoming the ﬁrst in a long line of accolades. Winning the ‘Supplier of the Year’ award for ancillaries.
In a busy year for Summit, the company faced a hurdle when one of their major suppliers, Moretto, proposed an agreement that they couldn’t agree to. “Moretto were a great supplier but were keen to have us supply exclusively at the expense of our independence,” explained Jordan. “As a result, we welcomed a new supplier, Plastic Systems, who, along with our design team, manufactured a loading system, Matrix, with great success.” In addition to the new supplier partnership with Plastic Systems, Summit also added Tecnomagnete products to its range, which oﬀered customers reduced tool-change times and improved productivity, as well as products from Movacolor. “As the world leader in gravimetric dosing machines, once we added Movaolor’s products to our oﬀering we experienced phenomenal growth compared to volumetric counterparts,” recalled Jordan.
In order to give better control and prices for all integration products, bins and bespoke items, the company established Summit Fabrications, adding yet another arm to the growing business.
Always on the lookout for new products to add to Summit’s portfolio, 2008 marked the year where a pioneering Jordan was persuaded to test a Vismec dryer – a decision that turned out to be hugely beneﬁcial for the company. “Vismec’s owner asked me to test this new ‘revolutionary rotary dryer,” explained Jordan. “After some persuasion we agreed, and I am so glad we did! The product was incredibly well received and became the best-selling dehumidifying dryer on the market.” Other new products added included items from Zerma’s size reduction range. “This became an important addition, especially considering recycling was so ‘en vogue’,” Jordan continued.
After years of being asked for automatic bag splitting devices due to spot purchasing, Summit started supplying the Laborsave fully automated system.
Whilst Zerma helped grow the company’s offering in recycling machinery, Summit added both Moditec, for no-dust specialist applications, as well as teaming up with Tria to dominate the blow moulding and extrusion market for high quality production scrap reclamation. During this time, ‘Boomerang Plastics’ was set-up to understand recycling ﬁrst hand. Boomerang focused on recycling contaminated plastic packaging, utilising recycling machinery provided by Summit’s recycling portfolio. However, in early 2016, the company decided to pull the plug on Boomerang after four years of operation. “We were simply ahead of our time,” said Jordan. “Boomerang would be a huge success with the new approach to recycling, it is a shame.”
Summit Systems started to expand its range after some extensive research, partnering with Frigel, the Italian temperature control specialists. This partnership lead to the formation of Summit Chilled, a whole new division for the company, offering “process cooling with a difference.”
In what Jordan describes as “the year of the technology”, Summit employed three new engineers focusing on Industry 4.0. The new engineers developed IoT solutions integrated with Summit Systems’ supervisory system. Towards the end of 2018 Summit acquired Total Process Cooling to form ‘SUMMIT-TPC’. “The addition of TPC complements our offering from Frigel perfectly,” explained Jordan.
Looking ahead to 2019 and beyond, Jordan says the focus is to keep his “eyes and ears open” for new products that provide accuracy, energy efficiency and production savings, as well as unveil “a few exciting technological advancements” that are in the making.