The Kingston Carton Company has increased plant capacity by over 50 million sheets a year following the installation of two new BOBST lines. The investment will help Kingston Carton exploit 'very high volume' markets which the company has not previously entered, as well as allowing it to service the current double digit growth in sales to its existing customer base.
David Wilson, Chairman of Kingston Carton, said, "The economy is picking up, especially here in the UK, which has resulted in us seeing a 25% increase in our order book compared to a year ago. Our ethos has always been to invest in new capacity before we need it, so that we can ensure continuity of supply to our customers. However, we wanted to do more than that with this investment and use it to develop markets that are new to us. Very high volume work takes up a lot of machine time and, historically, we have chosen not to take it on because it might compromise the service levels that we provide to our existing customers. But now that our capacity has increased so dramatically we can easily handle that sort of work without any knock-on effects."
The two new BOBST machines are a VISIONCUT 106 LE die-cutter with an optical lateral register system and an EXPERTFOLD 110 multipurpose folder-gluer.
Arend Buitendam Snr, Managing Director of Kingston Carton, said, "The VISIONCUT gives us an extra thousand sheets an hour, while its optical lateral register system means that we can run faster on tight register work. It complements our existing VISIONCUT and the number of sheets that these two machines can put on the floor is very impressive."
The company chose the EXPERTFOLD folder-gluer because of its flexibility and speed of make-ready. "You only need one tool to make it ready, most of the tooling stays on the machine and the Cube system stores all your job information," said Arend Buitendam.
On-going support from BOBST was also a factor in the purchase decision. Arend Buitendam said, "In reality there were no other options as good as BOBST, because of the equipment and the level of service they give us. We're not their biggest customer in the UK and yet their technical staff are always dropping in and updating us on what improvements we can make or advising us on how best to handle any new jobs we take on. We also tend to look at quality equipment like BOBST because we will get good life expectancy from it. The residual value of a BOBST when you come to upgrade will be much greater than some throwaway piece of equipment. Yes. it's a significant investment up front, but if you look at what it gives you in terms of production and product quality, it's a no-brainer."
Both lines have been supplied with BOBST Helpline+ systems which allow remote diagnostics by technicians at the Bobst UK offices in Redditch, or their worldwide headquarters in Switzerland, should an equipment or production problem arise at Kingston Carton's Hull factory. The system also offers a platform for the later implementation of remote production monitoring. Arend Buitendam said, "We have the option to upgrade it and integrate it into our management information system so that, for example, I can use my Smartphone to see how the machines are performing now, or over the past twenty four hours, or the last seven days, that type of thing."
David Wilson says that the advanced equipment Kingston Cartons is using allows the company to differentiate itself from its competitors. "We firmly believe that as an organization we have some of the most modern and productive equipment of any carton company in the UK, and probably in Europe. We are always focused on what's best for our customers rather than for us. They expect quality of product and consistency of that product quality - it has to be as near 'zero defect' as possible. Yes, we might be a couple of percent more expensive than other companies, but customers might gain a ten or fifteen percent increase in the productivity of their packing lines because of the quality of product we supply and the carton re-engineering we can offer them."