Industry News

Rockwell Automation Inc., have created a plastic-free poppy for the Royal British Legion

by | Nov 14, 2023

Rockwell Automation is the world’s largest industrial automation and digital transformation company and it is their automation technology, along with their partner Sewtec Automation, which developed the new machines which were used to create the new paper poppies. This new design for these signs of remembrance were put in place in two UK manufacturing sites, the Royal British Legion in Aylesford, Kent and Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in Edinburgh, Scotland.

This new plastic-free design has been under development for three years and The Royal British Legion has been in collaboration with specialist partners. The collaboration was formed in order to ensure this design meets the aims of reducing single-use plastic, whilst also being economical, sustainable and having as low an environmental impact as possible.

One of the largest benefits of the manufacturing process for this new poppy, is that the classic red and green paper has been produced through creating a blend of renewable fibres. These fibres have been sources responsibly and 50% of them have come from the offcuts produced in the making of paper coffee cups.

The managing director at Rockwell Automation, UK, Phil Hadfield, commented, “We are extremely proud to be involved in this project. The new machines underwent a development process and subsequent design evolution based on highly effective teamworking and interactions that were not unlike those of many of our other industrial customers.”

The director of business support at Sewtec, Mark Atkins, added, “The original paper poppy design had to be fine-tuned to cater for the capabilities of automated assembly machines. We then developed a proof-of-concept test rig that could manipulate, assemble, and emboss the poppies at the desired rate of 120 per minute. This then evolved into the full machine, which at full speed, delivers and OEE of 99.9%. There is very little waste.”

The Director of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, Andy Taylor-Whyte continued, “We want to encourage as many people as possible to get a poppy this year and show their gratitude and support to those in the Armed Forces whose service and sacrifice should never be forgotten. We’re so proud that this year, we have our new plastic-free poppy too, so that the public can wear this poignant symbol of Remembrance, with less impact on the environment.”

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