CORRUGATED CASE COMPANY CELEBRATES
NICK COOMBES VISITED THE COMPANY TO FIND THE SECRET BEHIND ITS CONTINUED SUCCESS.
Founded in 1997 on a greenfield site in Derbyshire with an investment of £400,000 by owner Tony Hession that was matched by his Bank, UK based The Corrugated Case Company Ltd has grown to become one of he most respected suppliers of corrugated packaging in the small to medium volume markets. Choosing not to specialise in the early years so that it could produce a wide portfolio of jobs, the company’s strength has been built on its attention to customer service.
“We offer a full money-back guarantee to customers on all first orders, and support this with an ongoing pledge that includes discounts for late delivery, a response to enquiries by phone or in person that is measured in hours, and a time commitment to design and product development. As far as I know, that makes us unique in the UK market and has been a highly successful USP for the company,” explained Hession.
Growing from the initial 12,000sq/ ft facility to more than 40,000sq/ft today, the company’s staff of 47 had a £6.5m sales turnover in 2017, which represents the conversion of around 12-13 million square metres of corrugated board. The company offers a full range of FEFCO box styles, but prides itself on the bespoke side of its work that is based around the CAD-CAM process it can offer customers for special designs and unusual applications. To meet the growing demand for new and more complex styles, Hession and his production team began to look for a new folder gluer in 2015 that could cope with the multipoint gluing work the company was attracting in greater quantity. “We had to build a sizeable portfolio of work to justify the investment,” he said, “but it quickly became clear that demand for the extra capability would not be a problem, especially if the new machine was able to handle large format jobs.” Once the decision was made to ‘go large’, Hession began to investigate his supplier options. It was following visits to Venture Packaging in Ireland that his attention was drawn to what Duran Machinery’s Omega range of folder gluers had to offer. “The assistance of Duran’s John Twigg and the cooperation of Richard Gayer at Venture made a convincing case, and we chose to order an Omega line,” said Hession. The Omega in question is the large format Magnus 230 model (2.3m wide). It was installed at Corrugated Case Company in July 2017 and was the first of this new model to come to the UK.
The Magnus is the largest folder gluer manufactured by Duran Machinery, available in 170, 210 and 230 sizes with a belt speed of up to 300m/min on E, B, C and double wall. Capable of straightline, crashlock and 4 and 6 corner styles, it is a sturdy machine with 3cm solid steel side frames. The feeder has an extendable rack for oversize blanks and a vacuum transfer system, with dual feed gates and extra pile supports to ensure accurate feeding. Designed specifically for heavy boards, all Magnus models have pre-fold and final fold sections that include pneumatically controlled and independently driven upper carriers, a long final fold unit and motorised adjustment throughout. Owing to its size, and to facilitate operation, the Magnus is fitted with a colour monitor at the feeder to observe the far-off delivery as well as a separate control panel at the delivery.
Referring to his machine choice, Hession explains, “We’d had a glowing report from Venture about the build quality and reliability of their two Omega gluers and from various sources we’d heard that Duran offers good training and after sales service support, which on a new and large machine like the Magnus is essential.” Inevitably, such a sizeable and complex machine has a learning curve for operators and Hession is quick to praise the rapport established with Duran and the ability of the two operators, Darren Ball and Chris Whyte, whom he has tasked with making the Magnus a production success. Before the Magnus, the company was producing straightline styles only, so the ability to handle 4 and 6 corner work has both opened new opportunities and increased the learning curve. “We’re actually producing a high volume of crashlock work on the Magnus and it has allowed us to serve the flat-pack kitchen market which is undergoing a new era of packing by using corrugated trays on each side and then shrink-wrapping. Similarly, the soft furnishing manufactures are now using our products to protect the arms and corners of chairs and settees in transit,” he explained. The Magnus opens a whole range of new markets and Hession sees opportunities for unusual applications from non-traditional industries such as fashion. This is where the company’s ‘Packaging Review’ service comes into its own. Designed to help companies improve the efficiency and logistics of their packaging process to reduce cost, it is a free service that analyses pack types, materials used, packaging lines, systems and despatch procedures. The result is improved workflow for both parties. One customer has already put a figure of £20,000 as the annual saving made as a direct result of using the scheme. Currently working a single shift five days/week, the company acknowledges it has plenty of scope for growth with existing plant. “We have never been busier and will be moving to a double-day shift pattern early in 2018. This will allow us to grow our own accounts and attract more trade work because f the large format capability of the Magnus.” Acknowledging that quality is ‘a given’ in today’s market, Hession says that once price is agreed, it is only delivery that matters. To that extent, he is pleased to see makeready times continuing to tumble, making his variety of work easier and quicker to process. “We can change jobs and format on the Magnus in less than 45 minutes now, which for a machine of that size is excellent but we know we can still improve!” New markets for development include agriculture and horticulture, though the company is keen to keep business close to home if possible.
“Transport costs add around 7% within 50 miles, but can almost double beyond that,” he said. He also said that his current production capacity offers a turnover potential of around £8m/year, just over a 20% increase on current business, and that he wants to see a return on this year’s £1.1m investment package, which included the new Omega Magnus, along with a new ink filtration system, and more warehouse capacity. “Having the right equipment and skilled staff are only the barebones of a successful company – it’s how you combine all your assets to provide the customer with something special that makes the difference we seem to have hit on a formula that works for us and expect the same level of service from our suppliers,” he concluded. Services provided by Corrugated Case Company include printing/slotting up to 3.6m wide, rotary, flat bed and roller die cutting, semi-automatic stitching and hot melt gluing and palletising.