Precision Printing has given a huge boost to automation of packaging for photobooks after installing a CMC CartonWrap 500 box-on-demand system.
The books are personalised and produced in low quantities from an HP Indigo 10000 and the CMC CartonWrap is able to produce variable-sized cartons from a flat corrugated cardboard supply.
The machine, launched in October 2013 and shown at Ipex last year, works at at a rate of 500 cartons per hour and is aimed at the e-commerce fulfillment market, said Precision Printing Group production director Andy Skarpellis.
The CartonWrap 500 wraps single and multiple photobook orders using corrugated cardboard fed from a fanfold stack. The machine went in two weeks ago.
“It replaces labour and it replaces people, unfortunately, but it hasn't replaced existing kit. This is a new concept and what makes it special is it does different-sized materials in the same pile," Skarpellis said.
“So for a 20mm-thick calendar and a 40mm calendar, the equipment cuts the box as it goes through and still runs at 500 an hour.”
Precision Printing, with bases in London and Sunderland, has 130 staff, a turnover of £18m and runs Indigo 7000 series 3 and Scodix machines along with a full range of finishing equipment.
Orders are scanned by an operator and placed on the inlet conveyor where a scanner detects the product's three dimensions and triggers the feeding of corrugated board to create the exact dimension box.
The photobooks are automatically placed in the carton, the carton is sealed and the shipping label is automatically printed and applied to the parcel.
A PC ADD control system was adapted to Precision Printing’s existing IT infrastructure to track the product according to the database to guarantee integrity of the entire process.
A unique feature of the CartonWrap system is the ability to create a box for photobooks that can be mailed at normal postal rates, creating significant cost savings versus mailing at parcel rates.
In addition, since boxes are created to the exact size of the photobooks, Precision Printing is able to better manage its pre-made box inventory, reduce the packaging labour cost and eliminate filler materials in its shipments.
“When looking at the marketplace, CMC was the only provider that offered a fully variable complete end-to-end box that was rigid and robust enough to deal with the postal service,” said Skarpellis.
“Build quality was of the utmost importance and the CMC engineers are some of the best I have dealt with.”
CMC chief executive Francesco Ponti added: “The CartonWrap will contribute to Precision Printing's mission to consistently deliver beyond expectations."
Precision Printing also recently invested £2.75m on a second HP Indigo 10000, as well as upgrades to its in-house bindery.