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MAN Execs Assess State of Industry

January 2007

The automated pallet storage and retrieval system uses automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to move materials to and from a set of racks five stories high (75 feet) and covering the length of a football field. Accord bought brand new pallets to use with the system because their condition impacts its performance.

According to Robert Codo, Accord’s president, Keebler had invested $15 million in the warehousing system. It is controlled by a computer system that tracks materials in real-time and enables the printer’s customers to view inventory levels online. Alerts can be set to warn when inventories are getting old.

A secondary benefit of the system is that it reduces the potential for damage being done to packages. “We have one client who had used another supplier that had to double stack skids, which warped the cartons and caused feeding problems,” Codo explains.

The printer routinely only uses a fraction of the storage capacity so it has plenty of room to grow. This also gives Accord the flexibility to serve customers with seasonal needs. One of its client’s is an ice cream cone company that the shop will print and inventory around a million cartons for in the spring so the packaging is ready to meet summer demand.

Moving into a former food processing plant had the additional benefit of helping the printer to pass an AIB (American Institute of Baking) inspection for food safety. Its primary customer bases are companies in the pharmaceutical, dry food and cosmetic markets.

Accord’s new MAN Roland 9000 press is kept in near continuous operation, Codo reports. “This press can crank out a lot of work. We’ve now moved our production log jam to diecutting, so we’re adding a new Bobst diecutter next.”

This press was the shop’s first experience with closed-loop color control, says the company president. “We love it. Makeready only takes 30 minutes for a job that’s being rerun or 45 minutes for a new job. We’re considering retrofitting our other press with this capability.”

A new sheeter was installed at the same time as the press. “We’re getting tighter cut off tolerances, less paper dust on sheets and better performance of sheets on press,” Codo notes. “We don’t hear any more complaints from press operators about sheet quality.”

The company president says he believes in getting the best technology. Its paying off, since the company is targeting sales of $18 million to $20 million in 2007, partly fueled by the changes in allergen reporting requirements that makes current packaging obsolete.
 

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