MSO Cleland in £5m expansion

Jo Francis
Wednesday, October 14, 2020

MSO Cleland has invested in state-of-the-art printing and finishing kit as part of a £5m spend to expand its packaging operations that will also create 35 new jobs.

Calixto with Invest NI CEO Kevin Holland
Calixto with Invest NI CEO Kevin Holland

The Belfast firm has installed a Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 6+LYYL. The six-colour press with double-coater is an addition to the firm’s two existing Koenig & Bauer presses.

MSO is also poised to add a Bobst Visioncut 106 LER autoplaten die-cutter and Bobst Masterfold 110 folder-gluer with Speedwave to its post-press setup.

The Speedwave is a patented Bobst device for high-speed crash-lock carton manufacturing.

MSO managing director Joanna Calixto said the fresh investment was the culmination of a host of improvements made since the business became part of the CartonCare Group in 2013, and marked the “next phase” in the firm’s strategy.

She told Printweek: “This investment allows us to bring the newest capabilities to our customers, so that their products can stand out in a world that is sometimes overwhelming in the choices available. Being additional equipment, it also gives us the ability to react quickly when our customers need something in a hurry – this flexibility is a crucial part of our business model.”

She said that demand for food and pharma packaging had “remained strong” throughout the Covid-19 situation, and the firm is also benefiting from the trend towards sustainable packaging and away from single-use plastic. It engaged in a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Ulster University for the creation of more sustainable packaging.

The spend includes £900,000 in Selective Financial Assistance from Invest Northern Ireland to help support the new jobs.

Invest NI CEO Kevin Holland lauded MSO’s ambitions and said: “The 35 new jobs will contribute £800,000 in annual salaries for the Northern Ireland economy and will help the company to accelerate its growth internationally.

“This announcement is a welcome boost for Northern Ireland’s manufacturing industry as the sector works to recover from the challenges of Covid.”

Heidelberg UK managing director Ryan Miles commented: “We are delighted that MSO chose Heidelberg and invested in the new Speedmaster XL 106 6+LYYL, the most automated and intelligent Speedmaster yet. This investment confirms the trust in our brand and in the market leading Heidelberg support team which provides the highest level of service in the UK and Ireland.

“We are certain that MSO will benefit from minimising the process-dependent time losses and will significantly increase effectiveness, all the way up to autonomous printing.”

MSO currently runs six- and eight-colour K&B Rapida presses at its cartons wing, alongside three Bobst die-cutters and four folder-gluers as well as foil blocking, embossing, window patching and Geitz tray making equipment. The firm also has three Nilpeter flexographic labels printing presses at its label operation.

It had sales of £16.2m last year and currently employs 154 staff.

MSO was originally established in 1876.

Calixto said the firm was keen to build upon its near-150 years of printing: “We have spent the last number of years undertaking a strategic reorganisation of the business. We have created an enthusiastic approach within the business and the placing of our customers at the centre of all we do. We have been driving forward a number of aspects of the business which all add value to our offering. For example Loop Design, our in-house design facility which combines graphic, structural design and innovation with solid manufacturing experience.”

MSO also has a strategic relationship with Nautilus Security Technologies for brand protection solutions.

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