OPM kicks off investment year with automation boost

By Rhys Handley, Monday 04 June 2018

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OPM Group has begun an upgrade to its printing facilities, by spending £500,000 on automated augmentation for one of its presses, as part of a programme that will span most of 2018.

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Ellison: "Martin is the Hoover or the Kenwood of the automation market"

The Leeds-based labels and packaging printer has added a Helios print inspection system from AVT, as well as two MBSF butt splicers and an LRD turret rewinder from Martin Automatic to its 584mm Nilpeter FA6 flexo press. The machine is now fully automated for non-stop production.

The firm said the automation also reduces waste to the extent that it can take on shorter-run jobs alongside its typically more long-run work.

Managing director Chris Ellison said: “In the case of the fly and splice units from Martin, there are plenty of other manufacturers out there doing the same thing. But Martin is the Hoover or the Kenwood grill of this market – it’s the default choice.

“We are known for being able to carry out a full gamut of applications, typically in areas that need a high degree of process control, quality and service. Using the new augmentations, we can look into new markets to increase activity, such as pharmaceuticals and healthcare.

“Our productivity is up 20% because of the AVT and Martin installations – this is good, robust, reliable technology that we will continue to invest in.”

The AVT Helios system is billed by its Israeli manufacturer as a market leader. It uses complex algorithms to spot defects in print jobs, as well as keeping archives and sending reports. It cost OPM £100,000, with a further £400,000 spent on the Martin units.

Martin’s butt splicers can run at speeds up to 152m/min with a web width up to 330mm, while the US manufacturer’s automatic turret rewinder runs at transfer speeds up to 305m/min.

Ellison said that the augmentations to its FA6 were only the beginning of a broader automation initiative that will see a brand new 450mm Nilpeter FA4 brought onto the firm’s 5,574sqm premises in September together with a full workflow from Martin.

Though Ellison did not reveal what Martin machines would come with the press, he said that the investment would take OPM “well beyond” the £500,000 already spent this year.

OPM Group employs 74 members of staff and currently turns over £17m, with a view to reach £20m in the next year.

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