Streetsboro -- When Automated Packaging Systems was formed in 1962, the founders, brothers Bernie and Hershey Lerner, expected to create a successful business. However, being selected to the Packaging Manufacturers Machinery Institute Hall of Fame was more than they imagined.
Yet, as they celebrate their 50th anniversary, that is exactly what has occurred for the brothers, whose company's world headquarters is located at 600 Mondial Parkway, Streetsboro. About 240 employees are employed by the company in Streetsboro at three different sites.
Among other things, the Lerners invented bag-on-a-roll technology and have expanded the company into the world's largest manufacturer of bag packaging equipment and materials, according to the company website.
Chairman Hershey Lerner, 92, and CEO Bernie Lerner, 85, are still involved in the business and received the packaging industry's highest honor with their induction into the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute Hall of Fame Oct. 30 in Chicago at the Pack Expo International, the world's largest packaging exhibition.
"Induction into the Packaging Hall of Fame is the highest honor a packaging professional can receive and recognizes career-long contributions to the advancement and understanding of packaging," according to PMMI officials.
"When my brother and I started this company in 1962, we had dreams of creating a large, successful company," said Hershey Lerner. "But the 50-year milestone has been very rewarding and is a direct reflection on the quality and commitment of people who have worked with us all these years."
Bernie Lerner agreed, saying, "Our recent induction into the Hall of Fame is a true lifetime achievement award and reflects the passion we have had for this business most of our lives. We are grateful to the many employees who have worked as hard as we have to make our company a leader in the industry."
Accepting the Streetsboro Area Chamber of Commerce's Business of the Year Award Dec. 12, Bernie Lerner said the company also celebrated its 50th anniversary by planting 50 trees along Philipp Parkway and donating $50,000 to the drive to continue building a new stadium at Streetsboro High School.
Hershey and Bernie Lerner invented many of the processes used in converting plastic film into preformed bags and protective packaging materials. They are responsible for most of the company's 132 U.S. patents.
Art Gould, an original partner, was the company's first salesperson and has helped shape the sales organization throughout the company's history. All three partners appeared at a 50th anniversary celebration June 23 with more than 1,000 employees and guests in attendance.
The company opened its first European operation in 1984 in England and now has sales and service offices throughout Europe, according to the company website.
The company continues its global expansion with sales and distribution offices opening in Japan, India, Thailand, China, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and other countries around the world.
Automated Packaging Systems manufactures more than 50 different materials at nine manufacturing facilities worldwide.
Bag materials include features such as reclosable zippers, tamper-evident perforations, resealable bags and compartment bags.
The company released its newest product in October called a SidePouch® bagger. The new combination weigh scale and bag packaging system is designed for fresh food applications where 12 scales automatically calculate the optimum combination of products to meet the target weight and then discharges the product directly into a pre-opened SidePouch bag where it is sealed and delivered to a tote or takeaway conveyor, according to the company website.
"The individual components combine to create a high-quality solution capable of producing very accurate, fixed weight packages in a small footprint and at a reasonable cost," said Chris Rempe, the company's director of product management.