Pallet firm thinks outside the box to keep staff warm

An award-winning company which makes pallets and timber boxes and crates for firms throughout the UK and Ireland is to use waste wood from the production process to keep its staff warm through the winter.

Welsh Boxes and Engineering installed a wood-fired heater to provide space heating for two units at the company’s heavy duty division in Fforestfach, Swansea, after it received a grant of £4,600 from the Wood Energy Business Scheme (WEBS), a £20 million EU-backed project run by Forestry Commission Wales.

The heater will be fed using wood waste from the company’s timber section and replaces the gas infra-red heating in the production area, thereby reducing carbon emissions.

WEBS is part-funded with £7.8 million from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. It offers capital investment to small and medium enterprises for woodfuel heating systems and processing equipment to develop the sustainable and renewable wood heat market across Wales.

Ron Hinder, Welsh Boxes Managing Director, said, “During summer months we will be stockpiling the waste wood in order to maximise our environmental efficiency.

“The recycling process makes a highly efficient use of the manufacturing waste product and, by burning our waste timber from the pallet making section, we have reduced our landfill skips significantly.”

Welsh Boxes makes conventional, heavy duty and timber packaging for anything from leisure craft for the marine industry to precision parts for the aerospace industry.

Founded in 1937, the business operates from a 56,000 sq ft manufacturing and warehousing facility and also boasts clients in the automotive, scientific and medical industries.

It has won numerous awards for its bespoke packaging design and manufacture of eco-friendly corrugated cardboard and timber boxes, all made to customers’ specifications.

Mr Hinder said, “The WEBS grant has been of great benefit in helping us to reduce our gas heating bill and improve our environmental credentials.

“The WEBS staff were very helpful with the project from the application stage through to completion, and I would recommend this scheme to other potential applicants as a way of saving money on heating and protecting the environment.”

WEBS Programme Manager Mike Pitcher said using wood for energy could help make companies more competitive, as well as having benefits for the environment.

“The wood fuel industry creates opportunities for existing and new businesses to turn their low value waste into valuable fuel products, strengthening and complementing their existing businesses,” he said.

“The economic opportunity of wood fuel production can also give woodland owners the incentive to bring more of their land into sustainable management.”

For more information on the WEBS grant scheme, see www.forestry.gov.uk/woodenergywales or contact Michelle Brunt on 0300 068 0088, michelle.brunt@wales.gsi.gov.uk

For more information on Welsh Boxes and Engineering, contact Ron Hinder on 01792 586527, email rhinder@welshboxes.co.uk or visit the website at www.boxability.co.uk

Photograph: Welsh Boxes Managing Director Ron Hinder by the new wood-fired heater
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