Our History

Douglas Machine Inc. is a recognized leader in paperboard, corrugated and shrink-film packaging solutions.

In 1964, Bud Thoen founded Douglas Machine with a vision to invent and build exceptional automated packaging machinery. Two years later, Vern Anderson joined the fledgling business. Later that year, the company sold its first machine to Curtis Candy Company for $6,476. From the very beginning, a deep appreciation for the customers’ ongoing trust drives the company to be a great supplier with values based upon respect. Today Douglas Machine employs more than 600 people and has more than 9,000 machines installed in 30+ countries. Our growth and success are the result of our employees’ hard work and dedication to Bud’s vision of building innovative packaging machinery.
1964 With courage, motivation, and a $5.00 sale, Bud Thoen founded Douglas Machine.
1966 1966 was a landmark year as Bud’s cousin Vern Anderson joined the business. The company was incorporated and became Douglas Machine Corporation.
1969 Vern Anderson’s brother Paul joins the team and ground is broken for a new 12,760 square foot facility.
1974 Added 12,500 square feet to accommodate increasing machine sales and a growing number of new employees.
1978 To meet the growing demand for packaging automation, the product line expanded to include case packers, tray packers, box formers, and inserters.
1980 A new metal finishing facility is built to meet the growing finishing demands of the company and ensure quality.
1984 The 1,000th machine is sold to the Coca-Cola Company in New York to package non-returnable plastic bottles. Transitioned from drafting table design to computer-aided design.
1986 The company becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of APV/PLC in London, England.
1993 Vern and Paul, the original owners of Douglas Machine, buy back the company from APV/PLC. The company becomes Douglas Machine, LLC.
1993 As part of the buy back agreement from APV/PLC and to meet increasing shrink-wrap equipment demands, twin roll shrink-wrap technology is acquired from APV Rockford.
1996 Acquired controlling interest in Davis Engineering, located in Deerwood, Minnesota.
1999 To complement its existing paperboard cartoner offerings, Douglas Machine acquired a controlling interest in Dimension Industries, Inc.
2000 The company becomes Douglas Machine Inc. and 100% employee owned, providing the employees with a vested interest in the company.
2001 Selected from over 8,000 suppliers, Douglas Machine receives the Miller Brewing Company’s Partnership in Excellence Award.
2002 Douglas Machine receives the 2002 Governor’s International Trade Award for its contributions to Minnesota’s success in global markets.
2003 Introduced new Axiom® case/tray packer platform featuring servo motion control and patented high-speed carton stacker.
2004 Introduced new Contour series shrink wrappers with patented infeed, metering and tunnel technology.
2006 Introduced new Invex® low-speed case/tray packer in compact three- and four-station configurations.
2010 Expanded into Top Load case packing with the introduction of the new TriVex® platform. Introduced new Vectra® cartoner, Axiom® ARC case packer, and VS Series™ shrink wrapper.
2011 Product offering expands with the introduction of the new Ascend™ bottom load case packer. New Contour gas-powered heat tunnel provides up to 75% savings on energy costs.
2012 New Invex® IM case packer technology provides high reliability, economy, and flexibility.
2013 Top load case packing business expands with the success of TriVex® vision guided robotics and retail ready display case capabilities.
2014 Douglas Machine celebrates 50 years in the packaging automation and services business!
2014 Introduced new Contour™ 30/60 Series, TriVex® RL & RLi top load case packers and Vantra™ IM cartoner.
2015 New product features launched, including SmartSelect Automatic Changeover and Automatic Film Splicer.
2015 Launched Stratum™ Palletizer and TriVex® SL & SLi platforms.
2017 Added flat pack capability to the TriVex® SL & SLi platforms allowing this top loader to meet market needs for lines requiring products to be packed vertical in the case and lines requiring both vertical and flat pack product orientation.
2017 Launched updated Vectra™ Cartoner with new 40% floor plan width reduction design.