The MDK is MAXSON’s dual knife rotary sheeter designed for the converting and printing market. Capable of running both paper or board efficiently, its compact design can be outfitted with various productivity enhancing options.

Midwest Converting – Converting Outside the Box

In today’s competitive market place, companies are finding it necessary to look “outside the box” for new and non traditional ways to enhance their bottom line. Midwest Converting, founded in September 1999, began with that premise in mind. Their vision is to be the supplier of converting services that offers adaptable solutions to their customers’ changing needs.

outside-box1Based in Bedford Park IL, Midwest Converting offers large format, folio and digital sized sheeting, trimming and winding capacity. Equipment capable of slitting up to 114″ wide rolls, sheeting up to 78″ long sheets and guillotine trimmers 110″ wide provide the facility to address most converting needs. Says Rob Srebalus, President of Midwest Converting, “Operating as an extension of our customers’ business, we have the equipment to provide them solutions suited to meet their goals.”

More than a contract converter that services paper mills, merchants, printers and packaging companies, Midwest Converting has leveraged its converting capabilities with strategic alliances in the warehousing and logistics sectors. Notes Srebalus, “With our partners, we provide our customers with a managed supply chain that delivers a quality product, better service standards and efficient distribution channels – all tailored to their specific needs.”

But it all begins with the converting process. Midwest Converting’s 256,000 square foot facility houses four sheeters, three slitter rewinders and two guillotine trimmers that collectively convert over 100 million pounds of paper and board a year. Srebalus points out, “By offering variable cost structures and flexibility in filling order sizes, we provide our customers the benefits of owning a converting facility without the structural costs that drag profitability down during fluctuations in the markets.”

To be successful in this approach, Midwest Converting has to continually advance its technology. “We needed to replace an older, slower stationary bed knife sheeter that required the secondary process of guillotine trimming, observed Srebalus. “We knew the market demanded dual knife cutting technology and we needed the ability to profitably handle 2 – 3 roll sets as well as truck load production orders.”

Midwest Converting considered upgrading existing equipment, purchasing a used sheeter and investing in new machinery. Srebalus reviewed their thinking, “We didn’t want to buy somebody else’s problems with a used sheeter. The cost of rebuilding an older sheeter was not that much less than a new machine with a year long warranty. And we needed the most up to date sheeter that could be relied upon day in and day out.”
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The company sought bids from four sheeter manufacturers. During the evaluation process, once the technical standards were satisfied, Srebalus identified that a United States based supplier with technical support, the cost of the machinery and proven vendor knowledge of the sheeting industry became key criteria for selecting the manufacturer. From a previous machinery purchase Srebalus learned, “Although cost is a very important issue when purchasing machinery, we have realized that a long term relationship with an equipment supplier is more important that the initial cost. Saving on the cost of a new machine today could cost you more than money in the long term.”

In June 2007, Midwest Converting took delivery on a MAXSON MDH Sheeter. “The Maxson was up and running within a week of arriving on site”, continues Srebalus. “It has run non stop ever since. It excels on less than 12,000 pound orders, yet has still added sheeting capacity for our customers. It has been able to run any grade required.”

The MDH Sheeter was outfitted with four shaftless roll stands to convert paper or board grades. The web conditioning system used breaker roll decurllers that could reduce the curl on up to 0.030″ thick board. Able to sheet up to 65″ wide, the dual knife rotary cutter can convert a broad range of coated, uncoated and synthetic papers as well as kraft, low density and recycled board.

outside-box3The sheeter’s delivery and stacking system allows this wide variety of material to be sheeted at high speeds. Cites Srebalus, “With the Airfoil Overlap, we are able to convert 50 pound paper to 0.012″ thick board on the Maxson without making adjustments”. With its small foot print, the Maxson Sheeter has outperformed our other dual rotary sheeter by 20% in productivity. And since operators are paid a performance bonus, everyone wants to run the Maxson which is easy and fast to set up.”

How has this investment situated Midwest Converting as a market leader? According to Srebalus, “We realize that quality, cost and service are the most important factors in our marketplace. We have positioned ourselves with the best equipment and supporting partners to provide our customers with the lowest cost and best value service levels.

Looking forward, Midwest Converting sees a future in which paper mills will increasingly become customers of proven, reliable trade converters. Srebalus visions, “Mills have machinery directed toward high production and have less converting capabilities, whereas converters have diverse equipment that can perform a wider dimensional range and are adapted to smaller order runs. As paper making consolidate to reach higher percentage operating capacity, mills will require external converting and warehousing capacity to service their customers, preferably near the marketplace.

With a comprehensive approach to converting that involves like minded partners and routine investment in technology to offer best in class quality and service, Midwest Converting aims to be the preferred choice of converting services in the Industry.

Les Boites General Charges Ahead With In House Sheeting

Les Boites General, a folding carton manufacturer located in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, recently installed a new MDK Sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Company of Westerly RI.
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Paul Avard founded the company, which serves a regional market of customers concentrated in Quebec Canada, in 1954. Today, with Pau’s son Daniel as President, Les Boites General produces complete lines of packaging products and folding cartons in an 80,000 square foot facility.

Sixty percent of the company’s work is for pastry companies. The remaining business comprises folding cartons for food products. The company has had to invest in technology and equipment to compete with inroads made by plastics and the demand for more complex and colorful packaging. Until recently, Les Boites Generals folding carton converting process included printing, die cutting and gluing. A total of four MAN Roland printing presses are in place, including a 6 color, a 4 color and two 2 color units. The company has two die cutters, as well as five folder-gluers.

In the demanding Montreal marketplace, Les Boites General differentiates itself from the competition by concentrating on quick delivery of quality work in some cases turning orders around within 24 hours. The pastry business is driven by holiday seasons, notes Avard. Business peaks from September through December for Christmas and then again for Easter.

Relying on mills to provide sheeted board was affecting Les Boites Generals competitiveness. Avard recalls, We could wait as long as three weeks for deliveries of sheets from our suppliers and there was an up charge for the service. With an eye toward providing better deliveries, eliminating the sheeting surcharge, and improving quality, Les Boites General investigated in house sheeting.

Rather than begin with a used sheeter, the decision was made at the outset to purchase new equipment. Said Avard, With new machinery I knew we would be getting the latest technology which would provide the highest productivity. Also we could be sure this first piece of equipment was installed correctly and the operators properly trained using the manufacturers servicemen.
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Les Boites General staff reviewed several manufacturers models in their selection process; ultimately deciding on Maxsons dual knife rotary MDK Sheeter. I was impressed by Maxsons responsiveness, we heard good things from other companies that had Maxson equipment, and the proposal was fairly priced, said Avard.

The 65 wide Maxson MDK Sheeter was outfitted with a shaftless roll stand, a web guidance system, a slitting section to permit two pile service, a dual knife rotary cutter geared to 1300 fpm, a reject gate to divert out of specification material, a dust collector to clean the sheets, a pile offset design to eliminate the need to aerate and restack the skid prior to feeding into the press and a rapid pallet discharge system that allows continuous operation while making skid changes.

The MDK Sheeters web conditioning unit includes a motorized decurler and a web steering unit.

Six months after its installation and Avard continues to be impressed with the precision of the sheeter, the simplicity of the operation and the automatic features that translate into higher production.

The sheeter is very accurate, the cut off is better than what we were getting from our suppliers actually. And it remains precise regardless of speed. Waste associated with the sheeter is less than 2% and we are striving to have no more than 1.5% spoilage.

Continues Avard, We team two operators on the sheeter, one to run the machine and the other to support it by preparing rolls, having pallets ready, and removing the full skids. In fact, because the sheeter is fairly easy to run, the original crew has trained employees on the second shift to run the Maxson.

The president of Les Boites General concludes, I like how the automatic off load system keeps the sheeter and the operators moving. If we had to stop the sheeter to replace the skids, we would lose 1 2 minutes per skid change. With this continuous running operation the sheeter is so much more productive. We convert up to 4 tons an hour on the Maxson and have set a goal to produce 5 tons an hour.

The rapid pallet discharge design automatically changes skids without stopping the sheeter or rejecting any sheets.

Has the investment in sheeting made sense According to Avard, rolls of board are being delivered within a week instead of the three weeks scheduled for sheet orders. Material waste is less and the quality of the sheet is better. The cost of board is now 5% – 10% less than what the company was paying when there was no in house sheeting. The investment payback is conservatively estimated to be within 3 years.

By introducing a high speed, dual knife rotary sheeter into its operation, Les Boites General continues its tradition of providing excellent value and timely response to an ever demanding and growing customer base.

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Has the investment in sheeting made sense? According to Avard, rolls of board are being delivered within a week instead of the three weeks scheduled for sheet orders. Material waste is less and the quality of the sheet is better. The cost of board is now 5% – 10% less than what the company was paying when there was no in house sheeting. The investment payback is conservatively estimated to be within 3 years.

By introducing a high speed, dual knife rotary sheeter into its operation, Les Boites General continues its tradition of providing excellent value and timely response to an ever demanding – and growing – customer base.

Reprinted from The Sheeting Monitor, June 2005

Dual Knife Rotary Sheeter Gives All To Packaging Company

ALL PACKAGING is a folding carton operation that has realized annual double digit growth even during difficult times because its business model is based on delivering creative solutions, dedication to customer service, commitment to quality and investment in the newest and best technology.

all-pack1The Aurora Colorado – based packaging converter’s success is keyed by a strategy of designing complicated and challenging cartons for businesses whose products are not easily exported overseas – such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and consumer goods. With over 130 industry awards for its designs, ALL PACKAGING has carved a niche in the high value paper box market.

The company has fostered a strong sense of loyalty among its 60 employees, by investing in training programs, offering opportunities to advance and scheduling healthy doses of overtime work that provide workers with a sense of security by avoiding furloughs. The result is an experienced, motivated work force.

To maintain the culture of customer responsiveness and quality assurance, ALL PACKAGING has developed its management team from within, typically promoting employees who work their way through the ranks. Using a team of manufacturing managers that have primary responsibilities for specific operations, but knowledge of the entire box making process, provides ALL PACKAGING with deep leadership backup. This support structure allows members of this group to travel off site for seminars, trade shows or to meet with customers without compromising the manufacturing side of the business.

Armed with a creative flair for solving customer requirements, staffed by a skilled work force and directed by a management focused on quality, ALL PACKAGING has invested heavily in technology – from software that allows Customers to proof designs on line, to foil stamping machinery that adds value, to state of the art printing presses. The decision making process of how ALL PACKAGING selects what technology to invest in is instructive as to how the company maintains its competitive edge.

all-pack2Recently, ALL PACKAGING reviewed its sheeting capacity – an important in house function that impacts timeliness of delivery, print quality and production costs. As Ken Pepper, President of ALL PACKAGING recalls, “We began sheeting in 1990 with the purchase of an old piece of equipment. Then in 1996, we purchased a slightly better machine, which was an improvement, but still slow and cumbersome. As our business grew, the sheeter could not keep up. We were spending $125,000 purchasing sheets from the paper mills. Being located in Colorado, there were no economical alternatives. So buying a modern sheeter became a priority”.

Having determined that sheeting operation needed to be addressed, ALL PACKAGING management considered upgrading their existing equipment, purchasing preowned machinery or buying new technology.

Terry Price, ALL PACKAGING Manufacturing Manager, recollects, “In our studies, upgrading the existing sheeter didn’t seem cost effective. Looking at the growth of our business, we wanted a sheeter that was dependable and one that would grow with the needs of our company over its life. We didn’t want to put a lot of money into the repair costs of a used sheeter versus getting a new sheeter that had more innovative features that could match the state of the art capabilities of our printing presses.”

With the decision to invest in new technology made, ALL PACKAGING developed a criterion for vendor selection. “From our experiences in the Industry”, Price continues, “We identified several players. We considered the capabilities of the machinery, its sturdiness, the responsiveness of the vendor’s customer service, and the history of the manufacturer.”

all-pack3After thorough consideration, ALL PACKAGING purchased the MAXSON MDK Sheeter. Ken Pepper notes, “The primary reasons that we bought MAXSON were they had an excellent reputation for reliability, speed and quality of operation, their sheeter’s foot print was smaller than other offerings and the long term relationship with various other users of the equipment.”

The MDK Sheeter was outfitted with a shaftless, self loading roll stand, web steering system, a dual knife rotary cutter, reject gate, a dust collection system and a “continuous run” feature that permitted the sheeter to run while the Operator exchanged full skids for empty pallets.

Price commented on several features of the MAXSON Sheeter. “Quality of the cut was number one. With the stationary bed knife sheeter we had there were dust issues. Because of our high quality printing we wanted to be sure our sheets were of the highest quality, so it was very important for us to invest in dual knife rotary technology. And again dealing with paper dust, we felt a dust collection system was valuable in delivering a clean sheet.”

all-pack4“We have seen from our statistical process control reports that the paper dust is minimal and the dual rotary cutter puts out a cleaner sheet. With the new sheeter”, continues Price, “There are less defects in the printing process – fewer hickeys, less wash ups, and less stop times on the presses. And now we go right to the press without running the skids through a jogger aerator, like we used to.”

Price identified the web steering unit, positioned between the roll stand and the cutter, as another useful option. Said he, “The web aligner was an excellent feature to have on the sheeter. It gave us the ability to split a double wide roll in half using a single slitter, rather than take an edge trim on both sides to accomplish a finished dimension.

Because we no longer take an edge trim, waste associated with the sheeter has dropped from 5% to 1% – and as low as ¼% on longer runs.” Further, “On our old sheeter, we had to slow down to 550 fpm when slitting so as not to lose the edge trim, while on the MAXSON we can run at full speed.”

The ease of set up on the MDK Sheeter, with its digital inputting of sheet length allows for quicker changeovers. “Our set up time has been reduced by an average of 20 minutes. Because orders can be as little as 1 – 2 skids, some eight hours shifts the sheeter is scheduled for 5 different jobs. And on longer runs, we produce more sheets in less time.

With its compact foot print and quick set up features, the MAXSON MDK Sheeter requires a single Operator.

Since the sheeter can deliver accurate, square sheets at speeds up to 1300 fpm and the compact footprint aids in quick make readies, the MDK Sheeter converts two rolls an hour even with short run work. Because of its high output, Price notes another benefit of sheeter, “As a result, we don’t have to inventory as many rolls.”

ALL PACKAGING has committed to a business model that relies on offering creative packaging solutions, a skilled, quality-focused work force and a forward looking investment philosophy in equipment. As President Ken Pepper sums up, “there are three philosophies we follow every single day. First, we are committed to successful relationships with our customers. Second is our commitment to our employees. We hire ambitious, experienced and motivated persons who want to excel. Our third commitment is to maintain state of the art technology and none better anywhere in the country.” By successfully executing this strategy, ALL PACKAGING has become a leader in the design and manufacture of award winning, top quality products for a range of markets.

Reprinted from The Sheeting Monitor, December 2004

Curtis Packaging’s Cutting Edge Technology Now Includes Sheeting

How does a packaging company carry on in business for over 160 years? In the case of Curtis Packaging of Sandy Hook, Connecticut it is a commitment to excellence in meeting the standards of premium markets by investing in talent and technology.

curtis1Founded in 1845 by Samuel Curtis as a company that manufactured high quality buttons and combs from hoofs and horns, rigid boxes were made on site to ship the delicate products to major metropolitan centers. With the advent of synthetics that introduced cheaper, plastic buttons, in the early 1900s Curtis began concentrating on printing folding cartons.

From 1845 – 1980, five generations of the Curtis family were involved in the business. With no heirs to continue on, Curtis Packaging was sold to the management team that was in place at the time. Within 10 years, Don Droppo Sr. – a partner of the accounting firm that advised Curtis – acquired the company. In 2003, Don Droppo Jr. came on board as Vice President of Marketing, continuing the family business legacy at Curtis Packaging.

Under the Droppo leadership more than $20 million been spent on equipment to automate the workflow and continually improve quality, including three new sheet fed presses, hot stamper, die cutters and gluing machines. As a result, revenues have grown by about 20% annually over the past few years as sales are now approaching $40 million.

A commitment to the latest technology is only one of the contributing factors leading to such accomplishments. “What has made Curtis Packaging successful is reinvesting in the latest technology, then finding and hiring the best people. Having the right technology and giving people the right tools to create the finest packaging is how we have been successful.”, notes the younger Droppo.

Don continues, “We are all about customer service, we feel that sets us apart. In the luxury packaging niche there are demands for UV printing, up to 10 color work, hot stamping, multiple coatings, dispersions, irradiance, and multi level embossing. Curtis Packaging is not just strictly a folding carton operation. Our customers also look to us for graphic design, full prepress facilities, structural design of box displays, and converting capabilities. We are a full service printer, a designer and converter of packaging with everything now done under one roof. We believe our ability to do those things efficiently and on a timely basis set us apart.

In house sheeting was a natural extension of that philosophy.

Curtis Packaging had an outside supplier provide sheeted stock to them for their folding carton boxes. The supplier was reliable and provided timely shipments of sheeted board. But with sales increasing, bringing that operation in house to insure production efficiencies made sense. Says Droppo, “With our innovative processes attracting customers, in house sheeting would give us a lot of flexibility, because orders would increase from an initial 150,000 units to 200,000 units before we went to print. Then we would be faced with holding the order until there was enough sheeted stock available or, if the timing required a rapid order fulfillment, run a second print job later.”

curtis2With business growing, management investigated the feasibility of sheeting in house. There were clear advantages to bringing the process in house – the ability to revise quantities of specific sheet sizes to respond to the production schedule and the savings that could be realized by buying roll stock and converting the board themselves. There were also uncertainties. Sheeting was a new operation – what type of equipment was required, what expertise was required to operate the machinery, how much space was required?

Because John Guisto, Curtis Packaging’s Vice President of Manufacturing had previous experience with sheeting operations, he was tasked with justifying the investment and recommending the appropriate equipment. Droppo recalls, “Although it was easier to order sheets and not introduce a new operation, business had changed and delivery times to our customers were must tighter. And the financial analysis indicated a payback on the investment in a couple of years. Sheeting for ourselves made sense.”

“At the outset we decided to invest in new equipment instead of used machinery. We did not feel you could retrofit old equipment to new sheeter standards, said Guisto. Interjected Droppo, “It’s part of our overall quality philosophy here. We say that our facility is the ‘silent salesperson’. New machinery, modern technology, factory training sends a statement to our customers and gives them the feeling they are partnering with the right people.”

Guisto explained how he went about recommending the equipment. “Having been in the industry for 40 years, I was aware of the sheeter manufacturers and spoke to several of them. I relied on the manufacturers to update me on the advances in technology, particularly in justifying the value of dual rotary cutters over conventional stationary bed knife design. The vendors convinced me the dual knife rotary was worth the added expense.”

In the selection process, Guisto secured proposals, narrowed the field down to two vendors, and then made his recommendation. “John recommended Maxson,” remembers Droppo, “He spoke highly of their sheeter saying it was the right machine and a quality product. Maxson had a good reputation, they were within a couple of hours of our plant, and their pricing was competitive.”

curtis3Curtis Packaging bought the MDH Sheeter from Maxson Automatic Machinery Company (Westerly RI). The sheeter is outfitted with a dual position shaftless roll stand, a decurler that could flatten roll set on heavy board grades and a “continuous run” feature that allowed the sheeter to keep running while offloading skids of material. The dual knife rotary cutter provides clean, square and accurate cut offs on lengths up to 65″ long and on board grades up to 0.040″ thick.

Aside from the sheeter itself, the other project expenses included site work, operator training, and a clamp truck to handle incoming rolls of board.

A space of 10,000 square feet was allotted for the sheeter operation, which included roll storage, the machine and skidded material. The area where the sheeter was located is humidity controlled to acclimate the stock to the same conditions as the rest of the plant. “The installation of the sheeter was very straightforward. There were no surprises with respect to site preparation or utility services. Within a week of the machine arriving at our facility, our operators were running the sheeter. We allowed for 5% of the machine cost for installation and we were under budget and ahead of schedule,” said Guisto.

“Operator training worked out great,” continued Guisto. “The job was posted and filled internally from staff in the Finishing department. We trained two people for adequate coverage. They were ambitious, hard workers that had mechanical ability and experience setting up other machines. And the sheeter is simple to operate. On the second day of training, the operator was getting printable skids. Within 2 weeks, both sheeter operators, who had no prior experience, were running the sheeter at near maximum speed. The new machines don’t require the finesse of the older sheeters, they run fast and accurately.”

Surprisingly, no additional staff was required to support the sheeting operation. Material handlers that use to get sheets from inventory now come and get skids from the sheeter. The Operator is responsible for preparing and loading rolls.

The Maxson Sheeter has exceeded expectations. Productivity is higher than expected. “The new technology was not oversold to us,” comments Guisto. “Yet we have out produced what was expected. And waste is next to nothing. With the decurling unit provided, we have able to sheet right to the core. Waste from the sheeter is less than one half percent.”

Concludes Don Droppo Jr., “We are very happy, it is a great operation.”

What is next for Curtis Packaging? More of the same – investing in technology and people. Plans include the installation of new folder gluers and a windowing machine. A new quality assurance laboratory is being constructed to insure quality standards are maintained through out the production process.

That is how Curtis Packaging continues to maintain its commitment to excellence – as it has since 1845.

Binghamton Packager Invests in a Successful Future

David Culver’s credo is “You are only as good as your satisfied customers.”  The president of Parlor City Paper Box in Binghamton NY, Culver – who began with the company in 1957, took ownership of the packaging printer in the early 1980s, and was joined by his sons Bruce, Brian and Jeffrey in the 1990s – has carved out a niche supplying clients in the Northeast with high-end, premium cartons.

binghampton1Originally formed as a set up box company in 1902, Parlor City Paper Box Company has evolved into a service oriented folding carton operation that has built customer loyalty by continually investing in new equipment that insures responsiveness and a quality product

The firm recently completed a 22,000 sq ft addition to its 136,000 sq ft facility while augmenting its capabilities at the beginning of 2007 with a KBA printing press and a Maxson dual knife rotary sheeter.

“This is our second KBA sheetfed press,” says David Culver. “Our first Rapida 104 41-inch sheetfed press was a four-color model. We’ve installed a second press to help us increase our volume and give us additional color capabilities, since a majority of our work is six to seven colors. We’ve also had the press prepared for hybrid UV capabilities since we may need that capability in the future.”

With the new printing press, Parlor City maintains its quality standards while significantly reducing down time, achieving greater out put and servicing Customers quicker.  With a vast amount of its jobs being specified at 5,000 to 10,000 sheets, the automation on the new press has helped to turn the short-run jobs around faster.

binghampton2Another piece of equipment that was acquired to improve quality, reduce cost and speed throughput was a dual knife rotary sheeter.  “We used an inline sheeter that was taken from a web press and had it converted to off line use.  It wasn’t very accurate, it was slow, and the cut quality was nothing to write home about”, recalls Bruce Culver, one of three sons in the family owned business.  Recalling that Parlor City had to rely on outside sources for most of its sheeted stock, Culver commented, “With mills raising the price of sheeted stock and deliveries being extended, it seemed the right time to upgrade this part of the operation.”

The Culvers selected the Maxson MDH Sheeter, a dual knife rotary cutter outfitted with a dual position unwind, a decurler, a slitting rig and the ability to deliver skids of sheets directly to the presses.  “Maxson’s name has been out in the market for a long time.” observed David Culver.  “People in the Industry spoke very highly of them.”

Bruce Culver noted advantages of the Maxson Sheeter over the existing unit.

“The dual position roll stand allows the Operator to chuck a roll and lift it into position while the other unwind is in use.  Roll changes take a couple of minutes.  The automatic tension control reduces the brake pressure as the roll unwinds without the Operator involved.”

“The decurling device uses different diameter breaker rolls that allow us to remove the curl on board between 0.010” and 0.036” thick without damaging the coated surface.  We’ve been able to reduce waste at the end of the roll by treating the web to get a flat sheet.”

The air loaded slitter rig divides the full width web into two streams ahead of the cutter section producing two piles of sheet side by side.  Bruce Culver notes, “The benefit of the slitter section is that we have doubled our sheet production.  Now we are not limited by the sheeter’s capacity.”

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binghampton4binghampton5The cutter section’s rotary dual knife design was a significant upgrade over the existing stationary bed knife model that was being used.  ”We enjoy a cleaner cut sheet that is square and accurate.” comments Bruce.  “And it’s much quieter in operation even though it runs faster than the old sheeter”, adds his father.

All and all,” Bruce summarized, “the sheeter is running pretty much as we expected.  Increased tonnage.  Better quality.  Good, flat sheets.  High speed.  I will say that the ease of operation has been a surprise.  The Operator has commented how much easier this sheeter is to run than the old one.  Set up is pretty simple.”

Concludes David Culver, “Our policy is to invest in new equipment to remain competitive.  This is the latest step to upgrade our operation.  As we work with our customers to get more business, we need to commit to them that we will have the capacity to handle it.  We try our darnedest to keep everyone happy and the results have been continuous growth.”

With those kind of results, there is no arguing with this packaging printer’s strategy as it gets its fair share of the market.

A+ Effort Leads to Prosperity and Growth for ABOX PACKAGING

As a custom folding carton manufacturer, Abox Packaging located in Kaufman TX has been on the fast track to success because of the company’s dedication to quality and service.  As owner Keith Thompson says, “No one is allowed to say no, only “Here’s what we can do”.”  And with the addition of a Maxson MDH Sheeter, Abox Packaging can do even more faster and better.

In 2003, Keith and Stephanie Thompson bought Abox Paperboard – a thirty five year old carton company with 52 employees that served the Texas market place.  Three years later, sales have more than doubled and employment has doubled as the company has emphasized building relationships with its clients and seeking a diversified customer base.

With 15,000 square foot sales and service facilities in both Houston and San Antonio to complement the Kaufman operations 75,000 square foot operations and 55,000 square foot warehouse, Abox offers inventory management programs that include local finished storage in key geographic locations.  Abox serves a wide range of customers – office supplies, beverage, medical, cosmetic and hardware companies.  As Thompson points out, “This diversification avoids reliance on a particular industry and keeps us busy year round.”  Using this strategy, Abox has begun to expand beyond the Lone Star State into the American Southwest.

To fuel this growth and maintain its competitive edge, Abox Packaging has been investing in state of the art equipment that lends itself to the high quality, short run work market.  An example of the type of business that requires modern machinery is an expanding product line that involves the use of metallized polyester board and UV coatings.

Already outfitted with a seven color sheet fed printing press, a foil hot stamp unit, three die cutters, and six folder gluers the Thompsons invested in another new 40” six color press. That’s when Production Manager Mike Stacy stepped in.  “We had an older Maxson stationary bed knife sheeter and an even older, slower sheeter that were having trouble keeping up with the existing press production and other converting needs.  At times we were running three shifts a day, up to seven days a week and struggling to meet our demand.”, recalls Stacy.  Added Thompson, “We knew that the new press’ high speed output and registration control demanded consistently square sheets and more of them.”

Recognizing the need to enhance the sheeter operation, Thompson and Stacy were guided by their board suppliers to invest in dual knife rotary cutter technology to insure a clean cross cut.  After attending a trade show to learn about the current technology, they investigated various sheeters on the market and secured three proposals.  Although not the least expensive, Abox Packaging management selected the Maxson MDH Sheeter – a high speed dual rotary knife sheeter outfitted with two shaftless roll stands, a decurler that could treat a wide range of board grades, a slitter rig that permitted two piles to be produced simultaneously and the ability to continue to run while changing skids.  “The Maxson proposal was not the least expensive, but it was $150,000 less than another offering that was similar”, recounted Thompson.  “Also”, said Stacy, “we had enjoyed good service on the existing Maxson sheeter.  Absolutely awesome service.  And the sheeter is made here in the United States.”

The MDH Sheeter arrived prior to the new press and replaced the oldest, obsolete sheeter.  According to Stacy, “The installation was faster than expected.  By the third day we were putting a pallet on the sheeter.  Since the sheeter is so user friendly, training was very smooth.  Maxson field technicians were good trainers and will becoming back to provide additional instruction once the Operators get comfortable with the machine.”

With the new sheeter in operation, production to serve the press room has risen dramatically.  Says Thompson, “The sheeter allows us to do two pile work which immediately doubles the output we were used to.  The dual position roll stand allows us to load one roll stand while running the other.  And the key factor is its “friendliness” – the MDH Sheeter is so easy to change over.”  “It is so much quieter and faster than what we had”, adds Stacy, “Between the differential in speed and sheeting double wide rolls the Maxson MDH yields six times the production of the older sheeter.  As a result we’ve gone from two shifts plus overtime to an extended single shift in the sheeting department with the other sheeter dedicated primarily to converting for unprinted stock.”

An added bonus is the ability of the Maxson MDH Sheeter to run metallized polycoated board and holographic film laminates without scarring the surface.  Until the new technology was installed, this high value added material was converted elsewhere.  Being able to sheet this emerging product line in house reduced costs and improved turnaround time.

The sheeter has fit into Abox Packaging’s growth plans well.  Thompson cites the past when carton deliveries in the Dallas/Fort Worth area could be 5 – 6 weeks from date of order.  “Nowadays we are providing a quality product in 3 -4 days.  With this nice compact, quiet sheeter we are able to secure board in the job market during times of tight supply and finish it on the machine.”

Sums up the company’s owner, “The Maxson Sheeter has done all that we expected and then some.”  This is a fitting complement for a custom folding box manufacturer that always strives to exceed Customer expectations.


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