Addressing the Skills Shortage in UK Manufacturing and Engineering By Andrew Yates, Managing Director, Endoline Automation

The UK is in the throes of a skills crisis, particularly in the engineering and manufacturing sectors. A staggering 85% of businesses within these industries are grappling with unfilled positions due to a shortage of skilled workers. This challenge isn’t just a minor hiccup but a significant barrier to growth and innovation.

Manufacturing professionals across the country are hopeful that the General Election, and the Government which comes into power, will bring about policies that can mitigate these issues and set the sector on a path to sustainable growth.

The Magnitude of the Skills Shortage

Several factors are contributing to the current skills shortage. The pandemic severely disrupted training programs and resulted in fewer newly qualified staff entering the workforce. Additionally, Brexit exacerbated the issue by disrupting the free flow of skilled workers from EU countries, leading to an even more constrained talent pool.

A report from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) highlights that 71% of the UK engineering workforce facing internal skills gaps attribute these shortages to missing engineering or technical skills. This indicates that not only is there a lack of new talent, but existing workers also need upskilling to keep pace with technological advancements.

The Role of Technological Advancements

Automation, digitalisation, and robotics are reshaping the manufacturing landscape at an accelerated pace. These advancements demand a workforce equipped with new and specialised skills. However, the speed at which technology evolves often outstrips the rate at which the workforce can adapt, further widening the skills gap.

Endoline Automation’s Commitment to the Future

At Endoline Automation, we understand the critical importance of addressing this skills shortage. Our commitment to apprenticeships and upskilling is a testament to our dedication to fostering a skilled workforce. Many of our apprentices, who joined us straight from school, have stayed with us for decades, continually evolving with the company as they acquire new skills and expertise.

We are also proud supporters of Automate Best, an initiative by Automate UK aimed at promoting manufacturing and engineering apprenticeship programs. Through this partnership, we actively lobby the Government for changes that will help address the skills shortage and sustain the UK’s manufacturing sector.

The Path Forward

For the UK manufacturing and engineering sectors to thrive, the Government must take decisive action. Policies that promote skilled migration, incentivise training programs, and support continuous learning are essential. We call on the new Government to prioritise these issues and implement solutions that will bolster our workforce and drive the sector forward.


Navigating the Automation Landscape for SMEs

With their agility and ability to swiftly evolve, SMEs are often a breeding ground for groundbreaking ideas and innovation which is helping to shape the landscape within the industries they operate within. SMEs make up a staggering 99.9% of the UK’s private sector with a total turnover estimated at £2.4 trillion.

Yet, for all their prominence, SMEs face an ongoing challenge within the current climate – the struggle to remain competitive with fewer resources at their disposal than their larger counterparts.

A critical facilitator in driving competitiveness lies in automation. Adopting automation can be a powerful tool to increase efficiency, drive down costs, and pave the way for strategic growth.

While high-spec systems might seem inaccessible to SMEs, in reality, it is precisely these businesses that stand to gain the most from automated systems. They possess the dynamism to rapidly adopt change and the drive to optimise performance, which are foundational pillars for the successful deployment of automation.

For SMEs that have yet to take the plunge, the time is ripe. The UK’s commitment to supporting small to medium-sized businesses has been underscored by the Government-backed programme ‘Made Smarter’. Last year it was announced that this programme, which helps SMEs access technology and digital skills, would be expanded to all nine English regions in 2025-26 before being rolled out across Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland from 2026-27. As a result, hundreds of thousands of SME manufacturers will get access to technology advice, leadership, and skills training, as well as grant funding for technology projects.

Here, Endoline Automation explores how SMEs can strategically and practically approach automation, demystifying the process and transforming what might seem like a daunting leap into an achievable stride forward.

The importance of flexibility in a dynamic world

SMEs are no strangers to change. They often find themselves adapting their business models and strategies to meet the changing demands of the market. In this climate, adaptability is paramount.

Automation systems should not merely cater to an SME’s current needs but also have the ability to accommodate future growth. For instance, investing in automation that can be easily reconfigured and re-engineered with new technologies ensures that the system will grow in tandem with the business.

Legacy systems have traditionally been perceived as inflexible, but this is not always the case. Today, many of Endoline Automation’s systems have been in place for decades, retrofitted with the latest technology and updated over the years to ensure that they remain useful and efficient. The portability of systems is equally crucial. SMEs might upgrade or relocate their facilities, and their automation equipment should be able to move with them, minimising disruption, and additional costs.

Calculating the investment

Every financial decision made by an SME must be tailored to ensure a swift and sound return. Investment in automation is no exception. While the up-front costs may seem high, the long-term gains from investing in quality, well-built systems will justify the expenditure.

The key here is not to fall for bells and whistles that inflate costs without adding significant value. SMEs need to seek out solutions that offer a pragmatic blend of functionality, efficiency, and longevity. End-of-line equipment does not need to be extravagant; it just has to be well-suited to a business’s unique needs.

Streamlining Integration and Operation

Ease of use can be the make-or-break factor for an SME venturing into automation. Smooth and intuitive operations are not merely a convenience; they are vital to prevent any disruptions that could erode the production line’s efficiency and, ultimately, the bottom line.

Partnering with suppliers who understand the specificity of SME operations is invaluable. They should offer comprehensive training and on-site support to ensure factory floor staff can operate and maintain the automated system with confidence.

Gradual Automation Commitment

The adage “Don’t run before you can walk” has particular resonance in the context of SME automation. It is not a race, but a marathon. A strategic, phased approach—starting small and scaling up—allows the business to acclimate to automation while still benefiting from key efficiency enhancements.

Begin with automating key, repetitive tasks that yield high returns. This could be as simple as automating the case erecting and sealing process while retaining a level of manual labour that augments the automated systems and supports the transition. Automation can also support the upskilling of staff.

The Importance of Partnerships

Sourcing automation equipment from reputable suppliers is akin to laying a solid foundation.

With an established supplier, the SME inherits the supplier’s legacy of quality and support, gaining access to a network of specialists, service engineers, and spare parts readily available when needed.

SMEs, more than any other business category, must value the stability that comes with reliable partnerships. Endoline Automation has spent decades serving SMEs, and their technological innovations have been proven in the field, providing tangible benefits to a range of businesses.

Case Studies in Success

Demonstrating the effectiveness of automation for SMEs, Endoline Automation has worked with many SMEs over the years, including Marshfield Farm and Ramona’s Kitchen. These firms, in their distinct industries, have experienced significant increases in efficiency, output, and overall performance by adopting automation.

Supporting the growth of Marshfield Farm, a family-run ice-cream producer, Endoline upgraded an existing case erecting system to manage an increase in demand, reduce labour costs and reduce packaging waste.

Ramonas Kitchen, a supplier of high-quality Mediterranean-inspired foods, increased output by 100% after installing automated case-erecting and sealing systems to meet the challenge of exponential growth while maintaining exceptional quality and service standards.

The UK’s commitment to supporting manufacturing through programs such as Made Smarter stands as a beacon, illuminating the path for SMEs. With this strategic guide in hand, SMEs can approach automation with confidence, focusing on adaptability, efficiency, and growth.



Endoline Automation makes CFIA RENNES debut with high-speed case erecting system

Endoline Automation is set to join French distributor partner, SERPAC, at the forthcoming CFIA Rennes Exhibition – Booth 10 – E4.

Introducing its 248-High Speed Servo-Driven Case Erector to visitors attending the unmissable food industry event, Endoline will showcase the innovative system which represents a significant leap forward in packaging technology.

Robustly designed to operate 24/7, the 248 Case Erector delivers exceptional results at speeds of 30 cases per minute. Integrated with advanced servo-drive technology for high precision, along with intuitive HMI and user-friendly software, the 248 is the smallest footprint case erector in the market.

The 248 is available in both hot melt glue and tape applications and Endoline will be showcasing the glue system at CFIA. The glue system not only strengthens the integrity of the boxes for secure transit and storage but also contributes towards sustainability objectives due to the ease of recycling and the elimination of tape waste.

Offering increased productivity, reduced labour costs, and enhanced operational efficiency, the 248 Case Erector delivers a swift Return on Investment, making it the ideal exhibit at CFIA, as Endoline Automation’s Export Sales Manager, James Ramsay explains: “We are delighted to be exhibiting at this long-established event alongside our trusted French partner, SERPAC. The 248 Case Erector empowers businesses to optimise their packaging operations while achieving production goals which we believe will be highly appealing to CFIA visitors.”

A British manufacturer with over 40 years of engineering expertise, Endoline Automation has a long-established reputation for engineering high-quality case erecting and case sealing machinery in Europe. With a presence in over 30 countries, through direct customer sales and distributor relationships, Endoline entered a partnership with SERPAC in 2022.


How automation will support the rise of the co-packers

How automation will support the rise of the co-packers

The UK is one of the biggest hubs for e-commerce, with 60 million users digitally purchasing goods.

Over a quarter of all retail sales are driven by e-commerce and third-party logistic companies (3PLs) and co-packers are increasingly playing a supporting role to sustain growth and manage fulfilment.

Offering accurate and efficient end-to-end fulfilment services, co-packing sites are built around flexibility and agility. We are witnessing an increase in demand for automated and robotic solutions from co-packers and believe that this trend will gain traction, particularly as warehouse labour shortages continue to impact the sector.

Automation is helping co-packers remain agile and responsive to evolving customer needs, and flexible, random solutions will become increasingly sought after to ensure maximum return on investment is achieved. Systems that can manage a multitude of high-speed product runs, regardless of size, will not only streamline operations but ensure that the co-packer can increase capacity.

Demand for energy-efficient automation will also grow as customers push ahead with sustainable objectives. Systems which enable instant acceleration and deceleration while only using power when needed.



Endoline Robotics wins top Robotics & Automation Award

Endoline Robotics is celebrating after being honoured at the inaugural Robotics & Automation Awards – scooping the coveted ‘Best New or Small Company’ award.

Launched in late 2019 by parent company, Endoline Automation, Endoline Robotics was also shortlisted within the ‘Innovation in the Warehouse’ category, following a record order for a global food manufacturer.

Valued at £2.5 million, the order, which was the largest, most complex, and innovative installation in Endoline Automation’s 42-year history, is testament to the remarkable success of Endoline Robotics in just four short years.

The accolades also acknowledge the company’s success in embedding itself fully into a well-established market as a premium end-of-line robotic palletising supplier, even though it was launched just months before the pandemic.

At a time when many machinery investment plans were paused, Endoline Robotics witnessed a tenfold increase in turnover in its first two years, installing robotic systems which significantly increased productivity for its customers.

Launched to highlight innovation demonstrated by both British and international organisations in the application of robotic or automated solutions, the Robotics & Automation Awards were held at The De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms, London, at the end of October.

“We are delighted to have won in the ‘Best New or Small Company’ category and recognised within the ‘Innovation in the Warehouse’ category,” comments Andrew Yates, Managing Director of Endoline Automation. The launch of Endoline Robotics, as a separate, sister company, was not only underpinned by Endoline Automation’s strong reputation but backed by robust market intelligence and a team of highly skilled people with excellent technical design and engineering expertise.”


Receiving the award are (Centre L) Endoline’s Richard Yates Operations Director and (Centre R) Andrew Yates, Managing Director.

Endoline Automation partners with Dartronics to continue maximising presence in the United States of America.

Endoline Automation, one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of end-of-line packaging machines has announced an exciting new USA distributor partnership with Dartronics.

The agreement will see Dartronics manage the distribution of Endoline Automation’s system solutions across the USA and meet the country’s growing need for automation.

A well-established company, Dartronics offers innovative machines and solutions for some of the largest global brands, mainly in the food and cosmetic industries, working with high quality capital equipment manufacturers.

With a huge customer base in the USA, Dartronics has developed huge expertise within the packaging market.

A British manufacturer with over 40 years of engineering expertise, Endoline Automation has a long established reputation for engineering high quality case erecting and case sealing machinery. Significantly, Endoline’s engineering capabilities enables them to customise systems, incorporating technical design components, to meet the specific needs of its global customer base.

With a strong presence in many countries, through direct customer sales and distributor relationships, Endoline’s partnership with USA is underpinned by the reputation both companies have within the packaging equipment industry. “For many years, Endoline has worked with globally renowned manufacturers, setting new standards in end-of-line machinery design to meet the packaging needs of this fast paced sector,” comments James Ramsay, Endoline Automation’s Export Sales Manager.

We are delighted to announce this new relationship with Dartronics as they complement our expertise, and we hope to be able to continue increasing our presence within the United States with them. Dartronics will be focusing on our high speed equipment for the US market, such as our 734 & 744 Random Case Taper. We know the likes of our 744 is in a class of its own, and we’ve not come across anyone that can achieve random box sealing at 30 cases per minute.

We are very excited to form this new partnership,” comments Dartronics, Ken Darrow. “The decision of Dartronics and Endoline to cooperate perfectly meets the requirement to offer a complete range of case erecting, packing, taping and/or gluing equipment, and listen to the real needs of each customer in order to provide an individualised solution. Working with Endoline, we are perfectly equipped to assert these points.

Leading European candle company invests in Automation with Endoline and Ferag

Endoline Automation, together with distributor Ferag, has provided a flexible automation solution to one of the leading European suppliers in the candle market, Spaas Candles, with the installation of five case erecting and case sealing systems.

Established in 1853 as a small local candle factory in the town of Hamont in the province of Limburg, Belgium, Spaas Candles has grown to become one of the leading European suppliers in the candle market. Spaas has remained a strong family-run company, winning the ‘Family Business Award of Excellence’ in 2022, and now with the fifth generation in charge, employing 340 staff and producing a range of candles and accessories in different colours, shapes and scents. Over the past 165 years, the company has grown steadily to be not only the market leader in Belgium, with a factory in Hamont and another in Poland, but to be a respected international supplier with a strong focus on Europe-wide sales.

Despite producing such as large volume of candles every year, quality is central to Spaas core values and therefore they understand that investing in modern technology and production equipment is a must to be able to respond to new trends and market demands.

Packaging was identified as the bottleneck of the production line and therefore Ferag was approached for a solution to automatically erect and seal the boxes as a first step to automating this process.” comments Sylvie Laigneil, Managing Director of Ferag Belgium NV, the long-standing Belgium distributor for Endoline Automation. “Critically Spaas requested to keep carton erecting, filling and sealing separate, to allow for flexibility.

The 221 fully automatic Case Erector is one of Endolines best-selling machines due to its versatile and reliable nature, and seals the bottom of the cases with self adhesive tape ready to be packed according to the companies requirements. Once filled, the cases are sealed by the Endoline type 702 case sealer, which is a fully automatic pre-set case taper that seals the top of the box with self-adhesive tape. The successful installation has meant up to 35 cases per minute are sealed across the five systems, meeting all of Spaas production needs.

Our Endoline machines are extremely flexible in adapting to changing box sizes,” comments Rudi Driezen, Technical Manager at Spaas Candles. “So that we can respond in a flexible way to market demand and marketing requirements.

Spaas has five packing systems in place using the Endoline 221 Case Erector and 702 Case Sealer for reliability and flexibility.

Spaas Candles has grown to become one of the leading European suppliers in the candle market.

Interpack 2023: Endoline Robotics to demonstrate fast and versatile Case Packer. Stand E34, Hall 8b

We are pleased to announce we will have representatives from Endoline Robotics at Interpack 2023.

Interpack is the world’s largest and most important trade fair for the packaging sector and related process industries. With 2583 exhibitors from 55 countries, for packaging machinery, there’s simply nothing as big as interpack!

Showcasing the Delta 3000 Top Loading Case Packer at the forthcoming Interpack, Endoline Robotics (stand E34, Hall 8b) is set to demonstrate the benefits of automation, and the quick return on investment which can be achieved.

Like the company’s palletising systems, the first range launched under the Endoline Robotics division, each case packer is designed and built by Endoline to accommodate various packaging types: bottles, pillow packs, SRP packaging etc.

With a variable throughput speed depending on the application, the case packing systems can also be suited to match a product’s shape and orientation. As with all Endoline systems, the case packer is modular in design and can be fully integrated into existing production lines.

Each Endoline system can also be integrated into a manufacturer’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) to provide a turnkey operation with real-time data reporting capabilities. Through OEM partnerships, Endoline are also able to integrate additional elements into a line, including stretch wrapping, conveyoring and labelling systems making the line seamless and fully automated.

If you are visiting Interpack and would like to meet with us please send us an email to arrange an appointment.

Endoline will be showcasing the Delta 3000 Top Loading Case Packer at the forthcoming Interpack.

Tape Unit Offer – Extended!

Tape Unit Offer – now on
As its Christmas we’ve extended our tape unit offer until 31st December 2022. Up to 30% off ALL tape unit orders.

Tape Unit           Regular          Stainless Steel
Size                Part No.              Part No.

TU3840              1763231                    1478043

TU5030              1654573                   1478060

TU5040             1119054                    1478078

TU5055            1102493                   1413795

TU5075             1197493                   1478094

TU7555             1181401                   1478114

TU7575             1181427                  1822941


Endoline Tape Unit 2022 offer*

For 1 tape unit – 15% off
For 2-3 tape units – 20% off
For 4 or more tape units – 30% off

Please call or email to place your order:

+44 (0)1767 316422

*please be aware this offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotions or discounts. Order lead times will be confirmed once an order is placed.

Tape Unit Offer – November 2022

Tape Unit Offer – now on
Christmas is coming, so from now until the 30th November 2022 Endoline Automation is offering up to 30% off ALL tape unit orders.

Tape Unit           Regular          Stainless Steel
Size                Part No.              Part No.

TU3840              1763231                    1478043

TU5030              1654573                   1478060

TU5040             1119054                    1478078

TU5055            1102493                   1413795

TU5075             1197493                   1478094

TU7555             1181401                   1478114

TU7575             1181427                  1822941


Endoline November 2022 offer*

For 1 tape unit – 15% off
For 2-3 tape units – 20% off
For 4 or more tape units – 30% off

Please call or email to place your order:

+44 (0)1767 316422

*please be aware this offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotions or discounts. Order lead times will be confirmed once an order is placed.