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OEM Profile: From Guyana to The U.S., An American Tale

PSR Automation is a family packaging company that expanded along with the family.

Oem 0624 Filler

One of PMMI’s newer members, PSR Automation, is a unique story about a family in Shakopee, Minnesota, that literally goes down the packaging line and learns how to manufacture the different pieces of equipment it produces. OEM spoke with patriarch David Ramnarain about PSR’s evolution. The full interview is available at The following are some highlights.

Can you provide a brief history of your company?

I came from Guyana, South America, with a mechanical engineering degree, and I started working at a contract packaging company in Minneapolis. I worked for that company for 20 years, when I decided I could make a difference in the industry by developing brand-new technologies. In 1993, PSR Automation Inc. started in a two-car garage and is now operating out of a 30000 sq ft building. PSR Automation Inc. is now a thriving engineering and automation enterprise. In addition to providing engineering solutions and quality packaging machines for 30 years, PSR believes in supporting local businesses and contributes to improving customer growth. PSR stands as an example of hard work, perseverance, and the American dream

What sets your company apart in the industry—what makes it shine?

We take one part at a time. We did the filling part, and we got very good at that for the past 15 years, and we offer top-of-the-line servo fillers. We did capping, and we have the top-of-the-line there. Now we're doing the pump inserters, with finger pumps and trigger pumps. The next approach will be going to the end of the line, where robotics is a big aspect. We'll have to develop a strategy to change how packaging is done at the end of the line. We'll go about it more efficiently to accommodate the space available for packaging companies. That sets us apart in engineering and technology; we try to change the industry.

We can also make changes very fast; we're not top-heavy. Developing a new machine only takes about two or three months from the initial idea to when the machine is shipped. Machine lead time is about eight to 12 weeks, which is very good for the industry. 

What made the decision to join PMMI come about?

PSR has grown to a point where we have all these products, but there's no way that companies around the country know about us. We know PMMI is in the business of marketing for packaging companies. Without being part of a big membership, you can isolate yourself. For our company right now, we don't want to do that, we want to be involved with everything happening.

Have you participated in any PMMI programs since becoming a member or have plans to in the future?

We’re looking forward to attending more PMMI trade shows. Marketing will also be a big deal for us because we don't have anybody in-house to do that for us. I think it’s time for a professional marketing plan, and that’s where PMMI comes in with insights from years of marketing experience. 

What’s your approach to new product development? How do you come up with ideas for new machines and market-test them?

We have about 77 different products that go on the packaging line, but we don't manufacture all of them; we just manufacture seven products in our facility right now. Those are manufactured constantly, so they’re on the floor ready to go.

Innovation-wise, if a customer requests a custom solution for the packaging line, we'll analyze whether that would be something we would want to invest engineering and resources and, in turn, be able to market that. If the customer comes to us and we see a future use for that product, then we'll get into that area. That's how we develop a brand-new system.

On a day-to-day basis, we look at the whole packaging line and see what the industry is doing, and we’ll allocate resources from there. PSR has captured most of the packaging line, so we can complete the whole filling line, almost the whole packaging line, from start to finish. We don’t currently make a bottle scrambler, which we can do, but somebody else is doing a good job at it, so we don't want to just copy that. We want to come up with brand-new ideas.

How has your product line broadened over the years?

Back in 1993, I started out making change parts and doing machining jobs. I had a lathe and a mill in the garage to fill those customer orders. Then, finally, I decided to do a filling line due to a customer request.

The first filling machine was the pressure filler. Since everybody was making pressure fillers, I tried to be competitive and create one. After 30 years, we still have pressure fillers running in factories, so the quality is built in.

We did that for about seven or eight years, sustaining the business. But then my oldest son came in as an electrical engineer, while PLCs and other tech came in. That made a big difference in our company; he came and revolutionized the whole electrical system, replacing mechanical movements with servos. That came about in about 2005.

Two years later, my youngest son came in with a mechanical engineering degree, and he took everything from hand-drawing machines to using technology. The two came at the right time, and the company took off from then on.

Do you have any plans for facility expansion or new operations? 

In the past year, we have completed three brand-new projects. Those need to be manufactured and brought to the market. Right now, we have new carbonation machinery. Because it's brand-new, we are applying for patents. I know for sure that it's going to take off.

Then we want to manufacture other product lines, too, but the way the factory is set up right now—we have seven different product lines—it's already filled up. Expansion is coming very soon. PSR’s track record is that we go to a new facility every 10 years. I'm looking into a new facility already, and it’s only been five years. We’re outgrowing this building already.



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