Sewtec Automation design and manufacture bespoke machines for new Paper Poppy

6 November 2023

Industrial automation specialists Sewtec Automation Limited, were commissioned to design and build new state-of-the-art machines to manufacture the Royal British Legion’s new plastic-free poppy.



The new poppy is made entirely from paper and can be recycled in ordinary paper recycling collections. It maintains the iconic poppy leaf and petal design and can be fastened with a pin, inserted into a buttonhole, or stick-on versions are available. The new poppy has been in production throughout 2023 and is the only poppy being manufactured by the RBL and Poppy Scotland.


The Royal British Legion (RBL) contacted Sewtec to discuss the possibility of reviewing its existing poppy making machines situated in Aylesford.

What makes Sewtec unique from other automation companies is its ability to design and build innovation solutions that do not currently exist and because the poppy is such an iconic symbol, Sewtec readily accepted the challenge of creating a bespoke machine that would produce the UK’s first plastic free poppy.

Once the test machine was completed, we rigorously researched and developed it and began the design of the first machine. 

The machine was then created, and the first set of paper poppies were manufactured on-site. Two more machines were then built – a further one for Royal British Legion and one for the Poppy Scotland factory, which needed a slightly different design because the Scottish poppy is slightly different (it doesn’t have leaves and has four petals).

Andy Perks, Sales Director said, “The poppy machines have been an extremely challenging concept as no other machines like these exist in the world. “Everyone involved in the project was driven by the same objective and when you look at the final product you cannot help but be amazed by what we achieved through innovation and teamwork.” Seeing the new plastic free poppy being worn for the first time makes you extremely proud to have been involved with such an amazing project that really does impact lives.

The Royal British Legion’s Executive Director of Marketing, Fundraising and Remembrance, Gary Ryan said, “We’re proud to have produced a plastic-free poppy that will enable people to show their support for our Armed Forces community in a more sustainable way. We are thankful to our long-standing supplier Sewtec, who designed and built our new machines to manufacture the new poppy. The company’s technical expertise and knowledge has culminated in three state-of-the-art machines which are now in full production. The RBL provides a lifeline for serving personnel, veterans and their families facing hardship, injury and bereavement. We hope our new plastic-free poppy will encourage even more people to support the Poppy Appeal this year and help us continue our work.”

The 100% recyclable poppy is now available alongside remaining stocks of the current poppy, which can be returned to Sainsbury’s stores for recycling.

Poppy news story links


James Cropper

Rockwell Automation


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