Licensing Agreement Portends Growth for Capway Automation

York-based company acquires exclusive rights to AHBM’s conveying, packaging and assembly systems

Capway Automation, of York, PA, and AHBM Systems Inc., Ontario, Canada, have entered into an agreement under which Capway acquires exclusive worldwide rights to the manufacture and sale of AHBM’s conveying, packaging and assembly systems.

“What AHBM currently has in its arsenal will not only allow us to expand our offering to the baking and food industry, but to other industries as well,” said Keith Shoff, president of Capway, a leading provider of product handling and automation equipment. “This has been our plan all along, to expand our vision within the baking industry, to diversify our product offerings, and to then grow into areas that Capway may not have been known for previously.”

AHBM founder and president Paul Pink said his company has “over 20 years’ experience in providing customized conveying and packaging solutions to the baking industry and beyond.”

Bob Harrington, Capway’s vice president of sales and marketing, said, “This agreement expands our product offering into the APH (automatic package handling) end of the bakery. It’s another step toward turning Capway into a complete solution.”

The agreement will have no immediate impact on the number of employees at Capway’s York facility, although eventually, “It might,” Shoff said. “We’re constantly looking at growth, so it absolutely has the potential for us to bring on more employees.”

The two companies have enjoyed a long relationship, with Capway purchasing AHBM equipment and integrating it into Capway lines on a number of occasions over the past decade.

Pink said AHBM brings expertise in carton-forming, carton-closing and top-loading cartoners, adding, “They all feature our no-tooling changeover system. They can either be automatically adjusted over, or you can manually change a machine over in less than two minutes without even using a wrench.”

Shoff described the big picture, saying, “Many industries utilize basket stacking and basket handling, or cardboard box forming and diverting. It’s similar to conveyor systems which are used for everything from dollars to donuts – AHBM equipment can be used in a multitude of industries. It just comes down to being able to incorporate the proper degree of sanitation for the application requirements. So this agreement should enable us to expand into areas we may never have thought of before.

“Plus, AHBM brings an extra dimension to our robotics capabilities, which will only strengthen our hand as we approach new industries.”

Pink will continue to work with Capway as a consultant. “He consults with various companies now – most of them bakeries,” said Harrington. “We’re going to be using Paul for the innovative insight he brings to processes in general, for his knowledge of the AHBM equipment line, and for his familiarity with the customers that he’s dealt with over the years – many of which we might not even know.”

“I’m looking forward to it, which is why I pursued them,” Pink said. “I thought it was a very good fit for them and for us.”

Capway Automation employs nearly 50 people in its two York, PA, facilities, where, since 1983, it has brought a singular degree of innovation and customization to bakery and food handling systems. Their line ranges from manual to fully-automated high speed systems, including the automatic changing of baking pans and lids.

Capway was among the first companies to introduce robotics to baking industry, and its vacuum depanners are recognized worldwide for superior quality and performance.