Me & my: Brausse Forza 900 C3
Monday, March 18, 2019
Glossop Cartons is a 37-year-old carton printing and conversion company based in Reddish, a suburb of Stockport.
As the name suggests, it was first set up in 1982 in nearby Glossop, a small former mill town in the foothills of the Pennines a few miles to the east, although it soon moved to nearby Padfield. In 2015, Glossop Cartons acquired Contact Print & Packaging, almost doubling its business size. It moved operations, people and machinery to Contact’s spacious modern factory in Reddish, leaving its increasingly cramped former mill building behind.
Husband and wife Brian Sidebottom and Jacky Sidebottom-Every have run the company since the death of Jacky’s father Raymond Joseph Every, the original founder, in 1984. Both the old and the new factories have been named the Raymond Joseph Works in his memory. Until last year, Jacky was sales director, but moved to joint MD on the appointment of Wayne Fitzpatrick as sales director.
Over the past decade, the company has embraced high-profile marketing in a sector usually noted for self-effacement. This is backed by a willingness to embrace new tech, and buying UK firsts has become a habit at Glossop. Both of the current presses (a 2009 Mitsubishi V3000LC and a 2016 RMGT 1050) were UK firsts and Glossop also took the first carton version of the Imprint MIS in 2016. There’s a JDF workflow between pre-press and production, and the artwork services now include augmented reality features that can be displayed on smartphones and tablets.
Running the UK’s first Highcon Euclid laser-polymer cutting and creasing system won Glossop a lot of publicity in 2013; this was joined in 2016 by a beta of the faster Beam models, which will shortly be replaced by a production model.
Last year, Glossop Cartons followed its own tradition by buying the first Brausse Forza 900 C3 folder-gluer, a brand new model with an advanced control system and user interface. This is the subject of our story this week. The 900 followed an earlier Forza 1100 C3, installed in 2017.
Brian Sidebottom says the 1100 is used for comparatively simple straight-line gluing, but the slightly narrower 900 is for crashlock and other complex designs, which take more setting up. “Increasing automation is very exciting and we have examples of that automation on many machines,” says Sidebottom. “But we have to be mindful that we manufacture a lot of cartons, some with regular styles, skillets and tuck end, but also quite a few that are non-standard. As a result we needed versatile machines for these. Gluing automation is important, but for the special styles it’s not relevant.”
What’s the Forza 900?
The Brausse Forza 900 is a 900mm wide automatic folder-gluer that can handle solid board up to 800gsm. It can be set up to handle complex box shapes with mainly manual adjustments through hand wheels. Its maximum speed is 320m/min. “It has many new features – for example, alignment correction when entering the compression section and a completely new revision of the GUI,” he says.
Brausse is a brand owned by Gordon Ltd, the holding company for China-based Shanghai Eternal Machinery Company, in which Bobst Group bought a majority share in 2011 and acquired the rest of the shares in 2015.
Brausse Europe is based in Holland and maintains a separate entry-level brand identity and product line to Bobst itself. However, increasingly Bobst technology is being adopted for new Brausse machines and there’s interchangeability of parts, including tools. The Forza 900 is a case in point, being more “Bobst” than the previous Forza 1100 that Glossop Cartons also bought – most notably it has a simplified version of the Bobst Cube user interface on its touch-screen control panel.
“The GUI on the 900 makes a massive difference and is no relation to the 1100. It’s comfortable for the operators to use. It’s not as comprehensive as Bobst’s Cube, but that’s a good thing as it’s easier to find things in the menus.”
Why did Glossop choose it?
The Forza 1100 and the all-new Forza 900 replaced a pair of older Jagenberg folder-gluers that had been inherited when Glossop Cartons took over Contact Print & Packaging. “The Jagenberg machines were old technology and had been good workhorses in their day, but were well worn and in need of replacing,” says Sidebottom. “We needed to increase our output as the old machines were not capable of delivering our required production and were restricting us with our expansion plans. After careful consideration we choose Brausse, as they were the manufacturer we felt gave us our best deal. The machines were value for money, great quality and came from the Bobst stable.”
The UK and Ireland agent for Brausse is Ipack solutions, run by John Hall as MD, who himself worked for Bobst for many years. Sidebottom says: “John was coming in to talk to us about putting a semi-automatic packer on the newer Jagenberg. But we’d had a bad week with the older Jagenberg and it was getting silly. We’d already put feelers out for a new gluer, when John said he sold Brausse gluers too.
“We originally wanted one straight-line machine and one crash-lock machine. The straight line was an immediate requirement and having discussed this with Brausse, they had no issues in setting us up with an 1100 within a few weeks, which was perfect and helped immensely with the pressure we were under to increase our output.”
Brausse had a Forza 1100 already built – it was destined for an existing buyer that didn’t actually need it for a few months, so Glossop got that one and Brausse built a replacement for the original customer.
“In relation to the crash-lock machine, quality was always at the forefront of our mind, and the 900 with its improvements made perfect sense, so we went with that. We got a deal for the two, although not signed on the same day – we did it as a gentleman’s agreement. It came in April last year, five months after the 1100 installation. We also found Ipack very easy to do business with, and the reaction time and speed that we could put the deal together was impressive – we would highly recommend them to anyone.”
Did they look at any alternatives?
“We did have a look at a number of different options, many great machines being offered to us, but in all honesty no other supplier could deliver a high-quality two-machine deal in the timeframe that we needed,” Sidebottom says.
How has it been in practise?
Sidebottom says: “The Jagenbergs in their day were fantastic machines, but the controls were outdated by the time we retired them. In comparison, the Brausse machines make setup and running much more straightforward and very easy, thanks to the additional features and improved functionality. The machines offer another degree of flexibility and strengthen our ability to meet very particular customer specifications.
“Brausse is a very good supplier to work with, and any issues were always resolved in record time. They’ve been very proactive and their support is appreciated.”
Pros and cons?
Pros: “The new user interface is very good, as is the alignment correction when entering the compression section and trombone section, which means we can glue shallow cartons much easier than before,” says Sidebottom.
Cons: “The feeder set up on the 1100 is really very good and saves a lot of time. However, the same set up unfortunately did not transition across to the 900, which is a shame as our operatives really do prefer the 1100 feeder.”
Would he buy it again? “Most certainly. We’re extremely happy with the 900 and would recommend it to other carton manufacturers.”
Max sheet size 900x800mm (WxL)
Min sheet size 126x60mm (WxL) or 76x60mm (with optional small box device)
Materials Solid board up to 800gsm, corrugated up to E-flute
Max belt speed 320m/min
Price About £200,000 depending on specification
Contact Ipack Solutions, 0161 428 8396, www.ipacksolutions.net
Glossop Cartons was established in 1982 and offers primarily litho printing and conversion of folding cartons. Primary production equipment includes two Mitsubishi/RMGT presses, Bobst Autoplatens and a mix of Bobst and Brausse folder-gluers, plus a Highcon Beam digital cutting and creasing machine.
Key accounts range over food and drink, vape and household cartons, as well as pharmaceutical and personal care products, working to appropriate ISO standards. The £8m-turnover firm employs 95 staff and currently runs double day shifts, but is working towards three shift manufacturing later this year.
In the past 10 years, it has bought two companies and according to joint MD Brian Sidebottom “is always in the market to consider further acquisitions,” adding: “We are looking towards 2019 investment plans to be revealed later in the year.”
What has it brought to the company?
“It’s certainly made life easier thanks to the new features. Additionally it gives us reliable faster running speeds, improved consistency, and an overall reduction in the power consumption we use. Our make ready times on the Brausses are now more in line with the Bobst ExpertFold, speeding up our output.”