Columbia/Okura Celebrates 25th Anniversary

February 2021 marks a milestone 25th Anniversary for Columbia/Okura a manufacturer of end-of-line automated palletizing and material handling solutions.


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From humble beginnings, selling its first robotic palletizer in 1996, the early years of the business were challenging. Focusing the business on robotic palletizing solutions brought clarity and expertise over time and ultimately provided confidence to expand the scope and complexity of applications.

As a testament to the reliability and durability of its palletizing robots, that first robotic system, installed in 1996, was only recently pulled out of service to be replaced with a current generation Columbia/Okura palletizer for higher throughput. The robot was still operational and was repurchased by Columbia/Okura as a historic icon. This robot was originally destined for a display of early packaging automation at PMMI’s “Pack to the Future” (PACK EXPO Chicago) last year, until the event was cancelled due to COVID-19.

As a joint venture business, owned by two (4th generation) families with their own historic legacies of automated solutions, the culture of the joint venture reflects family values. "We’ve achieved this historic milestone with the support and strategic vision of our owners and through the hard work and dedication of our employees," said Columbia/Okura President Brian Hutton. "Our culture of caring, flexibility and responsive customer service exists throughout the entire organization." While the focus of the business remains on end of line automation, with 25 years of experience, the scope of offerings and integration services has grown to include large, complex, multi-line, multi-robot systems as well as high-speed, automated bagging lines, and collaborative palletizing and depalletizing solutions.

“We believe in the Transformative Power of Automation,” said Hutton. “Our company vision establishes an exciting roadmap for our future.”

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