A Brief History Of Webster Griffin
Before Webster Griffin, there was Darnley Taylor. This historical business was founded in and provided customers with manually operated packers for filling valve paper sacks with cement, lime, gypsum and stone dust. Six years later, Darnley Taylor became one of the first businesses to offer high-speed cement packing machines and Impellor packing machines for valve sacks and crushed rock products.
Instrumental to the business’s success was Chief Designer Henry Pynegar, who brought with him automation experience and machine handling expertise. Consulting Engineer and Director L.D Parker was another key team member who brought with him experience as Head of Vickers Cement Machinery Division — giving him a keen understanding of the business.
Up until 1952 Darney Taylor exclusively specialised in Impellor packing machines. They soon developed the Grooved Wheel Packer, Screw Packer, High Drop Packers, and the popular Universal Air Packer. These machines combined with their mechanical handling expertise laid the foundation for Webster Griffin to offer complete packing systems over the next 38 years.
In 1952 Phillip Wilson completed a mechanical automation apprenticeship with prestigious aero-engineering company D.Napier and Sons as well as Darnley Taylor. He also completed night school classes in engineering, followed by three years designing automatic glass bottle machinery. He walked away from these experiences with the desire to open his own business, officially known as Webster Griffin.
Webster Griffin Opens Its Doors
Only a year after opening their doors, Webster Griffin executed a major project — installing an Impellor Packer machine for international clay producer Watts Blake Bearne. The machine helped the client fill china clay powder into valve kraft paper sacks. In the same year, Phillip Wilson’s eldest son Mark Wilson joined the business. He brought with him business savvy, thanks to his Honours Degree in Business Management and two years of experience working with leading German sack packing manufacturer Greif Werk. The business benefited from his strong marketing skills and in depth knowledge of Webster Griffin’s business fields. He also grasped future markets and trends, helping to keep Webster Griffin at the forefront of packaging machinery design and engineering.
Two years after commencing operations, Webster Griffin took on one of its biggest projects to date — the design, supply, installation and commissioning of a PVC packing plant in Poland for English client Polibur Engineering Manchester, an equipment manufacturer. The installation helped them package suspension PVC polymer products into 25 kg sacks at a rate of 84 tons an hour.
Another two years later, Webster Griffin became the dedicated supplier and installer of the Impellor Packer and Universal Air Packer. The Impellor was a high-speed automatic valve bag packing machine that excelled at packing fine powder products into bags while the Universal handled a wider range of products, including those that in the past had been difficult or impossible to package.
In 1979, Webster Griffin’s dramatic growth prompted them to move from their original premises in Cranbrook in Kent to larger space in Dudley House in Tunbridge Wells.
Webster Griffin Becomes A True Family Business
A year after the move, another son of Philip Wilson — Mathew Wilson — joined Webster Griffin after completing engineering training. Mathew designs, engineers and commissions complete machines and plant designs. By feeling the product with his hands he can tell you what machine you need and the output it can provide. The brothers epitomised team synergy and with both brothers at the helm, Webster Griffin incorporated Big Bag filling, weighing, automatic and robot palletising, shrink hooding and stretch wrapping into the business. It demonstrated to clients that Webster Griffin was dedicated to developing tomorrow’s machinery and system advancements.
In addition to bringing with him engineering expertise, Matthew helped to cement Webster Griffin’s reputation as being a multi-generational family business capable of maintaining client relationships across decades. To date, Mark and Matthew have clocked up over 85 years in the business so far. While Phillip retired in 1990, his experience brings the family’s collective involvement in Webster Griffin to well over a century.
Two Decades Of Project Installations
Over the next few years, Webster Griffin executed many major projects, including a 240 tonne per hour cement packing system for Doraud Cement, Iran.
This was followed by similar undertakings for TEMA Cement Ghana and United Provinces in India. Webster Griffin gradually started designing and offering Turn Key Systems for packing chemicals, plastics, fertilisers, pet food and human food stuffs.
Other key eighties projects included the installation of a complete bagging line for synthetic resin product manufacturer Bakelite UK and the installation of a high-speed valve sack granulated sugar packing machine for Tate & Lyle Sugar London.
Webster Griffin would return to Tate & Lyle in 1996 to install a high-speed 40 bags per hour big bag filling system in the same location.
In 1991, Webster Griffin delivered and installed a mobile containerised bagging system for NPK fertiliser in Belarus. One year later they returned to Russia to install three railway wagon loaders for a fertiliser complex. Mark Wilson visited 20 fertiliser and chemical plants in Russia, Lithuania, Siberia and Turkmenistan. This visit was covered by Fertiliser International magazine. In the same year, Webster Griffin won the prestigious Kent Exporter of the Year award and developed the IBC PF series of Big Bag weigh fill machines, delivering it to the ICI to help them package synthetic rubber pastilles.
The nineties saw Webster Griffin installing a Cempack containerised cement packing station in Nigeria and a Big Bag Filling system for Quaker Oats in London — the first of 3 for Quaker Pepsico. They also installed a valve sack carbon packing machine for Colombian Carbon/ Sevalco UK and a high speed PET chip bagging line for Plasti Pack in Italy. Their final project for the decade saw Webster Griffin undertake their first export — a new bag packing and palletising machinery line for Tianjin Dolphin Carbon Black, a Chinese carbon manufacturer.
Stepping Into The Future Of Packing & Palletisation
In 2001, Japanese company Okura Yusoki Co appointed Webster Griffin as the official distributor of Okura palletising Robots with the aim of integrating it into 90 bagging systems by June 2020. In the same year, Webster Griffin sold its first Okura robot palletising system to Dairy Crest. The system came equipped with a modular design, touch screen driven control as well as spares and accessories.
In the years that followed, Webster Griffin continued to offer clients Turn Key Solutions. This included a factory tested bagging scales for GE Plastics China in 2002. Webster Griffin also debuted a FFS Velocity Form Fill Seal bagging machine for high speed packing of aggregates, minerals, chemicals, animal feed and composts at the UK‘s PPMA Exhibition in 2004 and a IBC-PF4 patented 'semi-suspension' Big Bag filling machine at the same convention a year later.
Webster Griffin’s Most Important Milestones
In 2005 Webster Griffin celebrated its 30 year anniversary by moving to a new purpose-built factory in Crowborough, UK. To date, we have also:
- Exported our packaging solutions to over 55 countries worldwide
- Installed and serviced over 80 Okura robots worldwide
- Supplied and installed over 600 systems worldwide
- Installed over 80 PET chip systems worldwide
As Webster Griffin looks to the future, we hope to continue to design and build to order adaptable customised packaging systems that help businesses expand or diversify their operations at every level. Whether our client is a tiny startup or massive conglomeration, we will continue to approach every commission with detailed investigations into the client’s premises, products, machinery, resources and process. We will also continue to help customers improve their production strategies by providing them with spare parts and after-sales service remotely and also in person.