Drives and Controls Magazine
Bespoke machines make the first plastic-free Poppies
Published:  02 May, 2023

Yorkshire-based Sewtec Automation has designed and built three machines to produce the first plastic-free Remembrance Poppies for the Royal British Legion.

The new poppies, redesigned for the first time in 28 years, will be created from red and green paper produced from a blend of renewable fibres, 50% of which is waste from the production of coffee cups. The new recyclable design will no longer have a single-use plastic stem or centre, and will have a 40% smaller carbon footprint than traditional plastic poppies.

Sewtec technical director Gary Day says that the project to develop the poppy-making machines was “an interesting challenge”. At the start, the paper poppy “was only a design concept and therefore required a period of research and development to ensure we could achieve the customers objectives.”

After building a test machine, Sewtec developed it further and began to design the first production machine. It produced the first set of paper poppies on-site. Two more machines were then built, including one for the Poppyscotland factory, which had to be a slightly different because the Scottish poppy has no leaves and has four petals, rather than two.

The new recyclable paper poppies are being produced using three custom-designed machines

The three bespoke machines are now in full production making plastic-free poppies ready for the 2023 Poppy Appeal in October. Around 30 million poppies are produced every year.

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