Belmont packaging is a corrugated sheet plant based in Wigan, Greater Manchester. The company has been trading since 1978 and was bought by its current owner Kate Hulley in 2013.
At Belmont Packaging, great emphasis is placed on social values and offering sustainable solutions. Manufacturing is focused on the production of small format, short run, high quality flexo printed corrugated packaging including cartons, hybrid retail ready packs, and point of sale units.
Belmont Packaging historically functioned solely as a business-to-business supplier, building up long term relationships with its diverse customer base, but went on to identify demand for fast turnaround packaging in the ever-growing eCommerce sector. The business spotted that people were looking for off-the-shelf standard carton sizes, and next day delivery. In 2011, Boxed Up Packaging was formed as a new division to service the business-to-customer sector.
Flexible Approach and Personal Touch
Being a small independent sheet plant has many benefits. A flexible approach encourages a personal touch in the way the company’s management deal with both their customers and staff. In late 2021, Belmont Packaging became the first independent UK corrugated packaging manufacturer to adopt a four-day working week. Regular weekly operating hours were compressed into four days, giving all staff Fridays off. The move has resulted in no measurable impact on customer service, while staff have seen a great improvement in their work-life balance. Staff retention at the company is high and as a result knowledge and experience are also retained.
First to Adopt New Technologies
Quick decision making is another advantage of being a nimble, privately owned company. Belmont Packaging is often the first in the trade to adopt new technologies and will invest when a manufacturing advantage can be gained.
One such investment is in the design department. Belmont Packaging has been a customer of AG/CAD since 1997 and has used a KASEMAKE software and KM cutter solution throughout that time. When the time came to update the cutter facility due to availability of parts and age-related issues, Kate contacted AG/CAD. Kate explains “AG/CAD were the incumbent supplier of software and hardware in our design department. We have always been happy with the level of service offered by AG/CAD, no matter if our contact is with the support team, or the service engineers. We carried out due diligence going out to the market to view other cutter solutions; however, people deal with people and, with AG/CAD, the people as well as the machine made the decision an easy one for us.”
Automation Ready DYSS X5
Belmont opted for an automation ready digital cut solution. The 1600 x 3000mm size X5 machine is equipped with an optional conveyorised bed. The inclusion of a conveyorised bed at time of purchase enables fully automated manufacture when a sheet feeder module is added. DYSS machines are intended for decades of production, if full automation is anticipated, the inclusion of a conveyor future proofs the machine.
Gareth Rollo, Commercial Manager at Belmont Packaging explains how the DYSS X5 has benefited the company “The pairing of our DYSS X5 and KASEMAKE software has increased productivity through the design department, this has had a measurable impact on sales.” Gareth continues “We utilise KASEMAKE throughout the company. The 3D function is a great sales aid, customer confidence is improved with the ability to view a virtual printed mock up, prior to manufacturing expensive flexographic plates and tooling.”
An area where KASEMAKE is used during the manufacturing process is in conjunction with the Bobst inspection table. Belmont Packaging was a pilot site being the first UK company to use the system. An image of the packaging cutter guide is projected directly onto a printed sheet of corrugated. The Bobst system uses the 100% scale KASEMAKE drawing to check alignment and positioning of print on a sheet of material. The inspection table does away with the requirement for tracing paper drawings.
Gareth goes on to talk about how the DYSS X5 has had an impact on sales and production. “When purchasing the DYSS machine, it was with a view of potentially adding a sheet feeder further down the line. The fact that we don’t have a sheet feeder yet, does not limit the machines production capabilities. We regularly run small batches of packaging for testing.” One area where this facility is very helpful is when creating new designs for the Bobst Vision Fold multi point gluer. The gluer can add up to eight glue points in a single pass. Exact positioning of glue panels and the ease in which they fold, improves productivity. Running small batches of new packaging designs for pre-production trials minimises downtime on the gluer and the possible requirement of costly tool adaptations.
Dedicated Software Training
Design plays a key part in the ongoing success at Belmont packaging, a strong emphasis is placed on training the design staff. AG/CAD offers dedicated software training to customers. As KASEMAKE has evolved over the past 35 years, there have been many new developments. The design staff at Belmont have regularly taken advantage of the training facility supplied by AG/CAD, empowering them to get the most from the powerful suite of software.
Kate Hulley explains “The investment in KASEMAKE and our DYSS X5 is easy to justify, a no brainer. The combination of software and cut solution adds value and acts as a gate keeper to the rest of our production.”
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