As a traditional sheet plant that has been manufacturing heavy duty boxes and fitments since its inception in 1983, S Lester Packing Materials Ltd has recently implemented a new strategy to help win new business. This strategy has included the opening of a design and innovation centre, and key to this new centre is a DYSS digital cutting table and KASEMAKE software supplied by AG/CAD.
Aimed at attracting new customers by offering rapid design, prototyping, sampling and even short production runs, the new innovation centre offers bespoke packaging solutions and is also creating a platform for taking potential new business from the design and concept stage through to shop floor production at greater speed. Tasked with developing and running the new innovation centre and specifying the appropriate machinery and software, S Lester employed the services of Anthony Quinn as its Technical Sales Manager in August 2016.
Commenting upon the selection of the DYSS X7 2230T digital cutting table, Mr Quinn says: “We looked at a number of machines on the market, but our heavy duty materials quickly narrowed the choices. We produce packaging out of corrugated board from micro-flute through to heavy duty CA flute and right up to 17mm thick triple wall board. We also cut a range of display board, honeycomb, foamcore, plastics and much more. To crease and cut some of these thick and tough materials with precision required a heavy duty machine with powerful cutting and particularly high power on the creasing. This immediately eliminated a lot of vendors. Once we whittled the suppliers down to two, we undertook extensive research that involved a cost projection over 5 years as well as discussing with other packaging and board manufacturers to get their feedback and their experiences. It soon became evident that the DYSS machine offered by AG/CAD was the frontrunner in the process. From a personal perspective, this suited me as I have worked for many of the UK’s leading packaging companies and most of these have AG/CAD’s KASEMAKE software and cutting tables, so I have been familiar with the company, its products and its support for over 25 years.”
Historically mainly a trade supplier, S Lester has built its business model around projects with production runs anywhere from 100 units to 50,000+. With the arrival of the 3.2m by 2.2m DYSS X7 2230T, the Staffordshire ‘big-box’ manufacturer is seeing a huge influx of new consumer businesses requiring fast turnaround samples and small quantity packaging projects. As Mr Quinn continues: “We bought the DYSS to open up a prototype, sampling and small batch run service whilst also taking potential customers through the concept and development process to full factory production runs where applicable. Since the DYSS arrived in February, we are now receiving cutting formes for production runs on an almost daily basis. This is a clear sign that the DYSS is helping take new customer enquiries from the design stage through to the production phase at an impressive rate. Additionally, now we are using the KASEMAKE software to design projects, we can export digital files direct to the cutting forme manufacturer. This speeds up cutting forme production, improves precision and reduces our overall lead-times. For short production runs, we don’t even need cutting formes as the DYSS will happily process these and this saves considerably on set-up time and costs.”
Already Paying Dividends With DYSS
The £6m turnover company has aims of taking its growth beyond £10m and the DYSS X7 is central to this growth strategy. As Mr Quinn continues: “The DYSS is proving itself on a daily basis, whether it’s short run work or development work for downstream production runs. One new on-line confectionary retail customer recently required 3 different box designs and a production run before Mother’s Day. We designed the three boxes using the KASEMAKE software and produced samples on the DYSS while the customer was on-site. An order was placed the next day for over 3,000 boxes for each of the three designs.”
“Another example of the DYSS helping generate business was with a new automotive customer. The company had been using a long-term brown box supplier that had made an error with a shortfall on quantities, leaving the customer in a difficult position. As a high-volume specialist, the previous box supplier wasn’t geared-up for a short volume run of 60 boxes with die cut trays. Additionally, it wouldn’t have been cost effective to re-set the production line for a small volume. The automotive company approached us and we duly obliged, completing the boxes and trays in just 24 hours. Extremely grateful for supporting their predicament, this new customer also now recognises that we are positioned for both small run fast turnaround projects with the DYSS as well as having the capacity for long production runs. We fully expect this new customer to turn into an £100,000 a year account, which is credit to the DYSS.”
Complete Solution for Heavy Board Processing
As a company that primarily works with heavy duty corrugated board, FSC and ISO: 9001 accredited S Lester worked closely with AG/CAD to specify a machine for its exacting demands. To this end, the X7-2230T was delivered with a heavy-duty Combo Head with a Universal toolslot. The slot was fitted with a 150mm diameter HD Creasing tool that generates over 48kg of down-force to ensure that all types of corrugated board, regardless of thickness, could be properly creased. This tool has proven ideal for creasing everything from 9mm thick CA double-wall boards through to 16 and 17mm thick triple-wall. Not only that, the Universal slot future-proofs the machine as it is possible to add new Universal tools, for example a double-sided tape applicator or a milling router further down the line if required.
This heavy duty Combo Head machine also incorporates two tangentially controlled standard tool slots. To cater for the complete box board demands of S Lester, AG/CAD supplied the DYSS X7-2230T with a 2mm stroke, 12,000rpm electric reciprocating knife for processing all grades of corrugated, as well as displayboard, honeycomb and foamcore. The DYSS was also supplied with a selection of other tools and corresponding toolholders including further creasing tool bodies, a creasing roller holder and a 74mm diameter creaser for grades up to BC flute. For hinging and folding of rigid boards that cannot be creased, AG/CAD provided a V-Cut tool for 22.5, 30 and 45 degree angled cutting. “The set of tools allows us to do everything from mitred folding and creasing through to the most precise cutting of heavy duty boards. We are delighted with the DYSS and we look forward to the numerous ways it will continue to help us generate further success for S Lester,” concludes Mr Quinn.
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