Dr Cross is the founder of Delta Print and Packaging, which was sold to Finnish giant Huhtamaki, and the owner of Hinch Distillery in Co Down.
Biopax, his latest venture – based in a 70,000 sq ft factory at Springvale Business Park – produces sustainable packaging and labels for the food service, retail, distribution and beverage sectors.
This latest investment follows on from Biopax’s newly-formed relationship with the world’s largest maker of printing equipment, Heidelberg, worth £20m.
With the latest investment, Biopax is set to introduce a cutting-edge rotary flexographic paper wraps printing and packing machine at the West Belfast facility.
Biopax said the addition will make a substantial difference in Biopax’s on-the-go deli and quick-serve restaurant packaging for the UK and Ireland markets.
According to Biopax, the investment will boost the domestic paper wraps supply by over 500 million units per year, reducing the need for imported products.
The new production line will be equipped with advanced auto-camera colour management and registration detection systems for enhanced quality control.
Biopax is also stepping up its efforts to meet the growing demand for tamper-evident paper bags — packaging solutions that provide visible evidence of tampering or unauthorised access.
The rise in on-the-go and home delivery for freshly cooked food products, as well as the need for tamper-evident packaging in the pharmaceutical and medical supplies sector, are driving the company’s commitment to expanding the product range.
The packaging development team at Biopax is also exploring a PE-free solution – containing no oil or plant based plastics – for the paper cup industry to help improve circularity in the fast-growing category.
Dr Cross, chairman of Biopax, said: “Biopax promises to deliver a long-term solution to the plastic problem in the packaging sector and by continually reinvesting in the best equipment we will be able to increase our capabilities and fast track the delivery of green packaging and allow the markets that we serve a more domestic product.
“In addition to this commitment, we are poised to embark on a significant expansion of our Springvale Business Park site in west Belfast next year, doubling its size to further support the changing needs of our customers. We will continue to invest whatever it takes to support the evolving needs of both existing and future customers.”
The new £47m packaging and labelling factory in west Belfast opened earlier this year.
It is expected that Biopax will create 169 jobs over the next four years with further investment planned in a second phase.