Me & My: Lynx Felix Combo
Wednesday, March 11, 2020
On the face of it, corrugated boxes and corrugated display units are pretty much the same thing. Both often need printing of some sort, then cutting, creasing, folding, and gluing to assemble them. However, the end uses are different and so are customers’ needs and expectations.
Boxes tend to be, well, box-like, while point of sale FSDUs (free-standing display units) and dump bins are notable for sometimes wild and wacky shapes and designs, intended to draw attention with their novelty. These often have more pieces that need assembling than boxes, but might only be needed in small quantities.
This was the reasoning behind the establishment of POS-Pack as a trade finisher, specialising in the final stages needed to assemble pre-printed display units, complex boxes and other work. The services also include filling the units if required, so they can be shipped in ready-to-use form.
POS-Pack was established in April 2019, by David Lugmayer, sales director of Nene Packaging in Northampton. Nene is a corrugated converter that uses screen and digital printing for box and POS display work. The different requirements of the POS work led Lugmayer to set up POS-Pack as a separate company.
“The aim was to offer support to Nene with the building and packing of POS displays,” says Lugmayer. “We are based in the same building as Nene and currently provide them with all of their finishing, such as building their POS displays and pre-filling with stock when required. We also provide this service to other POS printers in the trade.
“In terms of production equipment we do not share anything and everything is treated as two separate businesses, although working very closely alongside each other.”
He says POS-Pack offers “complex glued boxes, packing and collating of stock and also large mailouts for promotional items.”
Sheets are supplied already cut and creased, with POS-Pack carrying out gluing and assembly. This stage is automated by the company’s primary equipment investment in a fast, computer-driven CNC-automated glue plotter made by Lynx Poland.
The supplier was Newtown Packaging in Redditch, which has been the exclusive UK distributor for Lynx’s Felix Gluer range since 2018 and has just been appointed US distributor as well. Newtown has been in operation for 40 years as a supplier to the packaging sector. It offers tape application machinery, plus a variety of packaging production consumables. The Lynx distributorship grew out of its experience with the tape application machines, which are likewise often used for boxes.
What’s a Lynx Felix?
Lynx Poland is based in Klaudyn, a village on the outskirts of Warsaw, and introduced its first Felix series CNC gluer in 2016. These are intended as a fast and labour-saving alternative to hand-held glue guns, with setup suited to very short runs if needed.
The range comprises Felix Single, with two independent elevating tables in five sizes; Felix Combo, with two sets of two independent elevating tables in three sizes; and Felix Liner, in two sizes, with one side open to take a feeding table so stacks can be slid into place. Felix has recently introduced a smaller-format entry-level model, Lynx ONE.
Each elevating table can be loaded with stacks of board, rising gradually as each sheet is glued and then manually unloaded. Unlike a cutting knife head, the gluing heads do not put pressure on the sheets so they do not need to be individually held down with a vacuum table during operation.
Loading whole stacks at a time is more efficient for the operators. The paired independent tables can take different jobs with different thicknesses simultaneously.
Jacob Underwood is head of machinery sales and marketing at Newtown. He says that about ten of the Lynx machines have been supplied to UK customers so far.
The POS-Pack Combo at POS-Pack has the Photopath option. “It has cameras above the main table so we can take pictures of the board on the machine,” Lugmayer explains. “It then appears on the computer screen by the machine and we can draw exactly where we want the glue lines to appear.
“We can set most jobs up within one minute, so there is minimal downtime between jobs. We can also use CAD files to import the glue lines but, as it’s so simple, I feel it’s important to let the machine operators take control and set the machine up.” Once created jobs can be stored and recalled.
The camera view can also be used to superimpose imported CAD files over the sheet position. A further option is to use the keyboard arrow keys and a laser cross-pointer on the head to set up glue lines on the actual sheet, which is then recorded and repeated for future sheets.
Felix models can have up to four glue heads, feeding a variety of hotmelt or cold-cure PVA adhesive types. Underwood says that the main glue used by POS-Pack is a hotmelt that stays open for about a minute, to enable the operators to assemble the display unit. As they assemble one set of items, the next ones are being glued.
Why choose it?
“We discovered it via a Google search if I’m honest, and we bought through Newtown Packaging,” says Lugmayer. “We visited Poland with Newtown to show us round the factory and give us the peace of mind we had made the right choice. We did look at the main competition to compare before deciding on Newtown.”
The main competition is the German-made Bickers XY gluers, available in the UK through Finishline Machinery.
“Lynx installed the machine with the support of Newtown,” Lugmayer says. “It was up and running the same day, which was great. Our operators find it very simple to use and were setting it up on their own the very next day with no issues. The camera system makes everything so simple to set up and, once that step is complete, then it’s all systems go and we can start gluing.”
Ongoing service has been fine, he says. “Any minor issues we have had have been quickly corrected either by same or next-day visits from Newtown. Depending on the issue they can also log into the machine remotely to check over everything.”
How has it been in practice?
“We can do short runs on there and even glued 10,000 Easter egg boxes a couple of weeks ago,” says Lugmayer. “We can operate four work stations at a time, so that comes into its own on high volume.
“In practice, it’s everything we hoped for. Improved productivity for us and improved lead times for customers, which is critical in a challenging marketplace. We have also been able to accept work and volumes we could have never even thought about when we were gluing everything by hand such as the aforementioned Easter egg boxes.
“The best thing is by far the productivity and it bangs the drum of production. Also the accuracy of our gluing is far better now to maintain consistency of each job. It also controls the amount of glue we use, as we have seen a 30% drop in the amount of glue purchased compared with when we were buying sticks for the glue guns.
Any room for improvement? “One thing it would be good to have is to open at either end so we can wheel a pallet of board inside. At the moment we have to lower the table by pushing a button but then manually load the stack of board inside.”
He’s happy with his choice though, he says. “I would 100% buy another one and have enquired about the standard version to run alongside our Combo.”
Table sizes 1,650x1,250mm, 2,000x1,650mm, 2,200x1,800mm, 2,500x1,800mm (single only), 3,000x2,000mm (single only)
Combo offers 2x1,650x1,250mm, 2x2,000x1,650mm, 2x2,200x1,800mm
Application speed Up to 2.5m per second
Glue heads Up to four, for different glues
Glue types Choice of hotmelt or cold PVA adhesives
File transfer By LAN
CAD file compatibility AI, DXF, DXG, EPS, PLT
Price About £85,000 for POS-Pack’s spec
Contact Newtown Packaging 01527 517517 www.gluemachines.co.uk
Established in April 2019, POS-Pack was initially set up by David Lugmayer, sales director of Nene Packaging, to offer support to Nene on the building and packing of its POS displays. Since then it has gained other trade clients and offers a wider scope of work including complex glued boxes, packing and collating of stock, plus mailouts for promotional items. It currently has 10 permanent employees and brings in temporary staff as the work requires.
The Lynx Felix Combo CNC gluer was installed in early summer 2019 to automate glue application prior to hand assembly of POS displays, boxes and similar items
Why it was bought...
POS-Pack wanted to automate and accelerate its gluing operations on both short-run jobs as well as longer runs
How it has performed...
It has improved productivity and lead times. POS-Pack has been able to accept types of work and larger volumes that would have been impractical for hand-glued operations