Me & my: CMC One

Simon Creasey
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

One part of the printing industry that’s experiencing lots of innovation, investment and interest at the moment is mailing room technology, specifically wrapping equipment. Much of this activity has been driven by the environmental concerns of mailing house customers, such as publishers.

Earlier this year, The Guardian newspaper proudly announced it was switching from a traditional plastic polybag to a new compostable wrapping film made from waste potatoes. A couple of months later Which? magazine also embraced a starch-based wrapper. And plastic wrapping was swapped for paper at both BBC Countryfile and Wildlife magazines around the same time Which? made the switch to a greener material.

“Everyone is talking about poly as if it’s a swear word today,” says Richard Pennie,  business development manager at direct mail specialist Mailing & Marketing Solutions (MAMS). “Publishers are pushing away  from it and nobody really wants to use it anymore because of the environmental impact  it has had.”

Prior to joining MAMS Pennie spent the bulk of his career selling envelopes to clients. However, now he has a new type of paper covering. That’s because earlier this year MAMS took delivery of two CMC One paper wrapping lines with hybrid capabilities for film; the company is awaiting delivery of a third machine to its Leeds site at the moment. The circa £1m plus investment is part of the company’s strategy to transition away from plastic-based polywrapping to meet growing demands from customers for a more environmentally friendly solution.

“We’ve still got the polywrap line, but it’s something we don’t really push anymore,” says Pennie. “This is a new investment into the business and since the paper wrap machines came in they’ve been working non-stop. Lots of new customers have come on board and business is growing.”

MAMS is currently using the machines on a wide variety of direct mailing applications for its clients, including multiple-insert magazines, in sizes from C6 to C4; the aforementioned BBC magazines that switched to paper wrap are one recent addition to MAMS’ growing client list

The company plumped for the CMC One machines having been impressed by what they could do during demonstrations at the manufacturer’s Italian base. Pennie is reluctant to divulge whether or not the mailing house looked at options from other manufacturers as he says MAMS intends to explore the possibility of purchasing further wrapping machines around the turn of the year and the company wants to keep everyone on their toes when it comes to pricing.  

Installation of the original two machines ran smoothly, thanks largely to the fact they were delivered to MAMS’ large new facility in Leeds. “The new factory is huge,” says Pennie. “It’s got more space than we need so we are comfortable there at the moment. There is plenty of space for further equipment to go in and there is some older equipment that can be moved out. In the future we won’t be looking to do any polywrapping, so somewhere down the line that [the old polywrapping equipment] will come out.”

Any teething problems typically associated with taking delivery of a new piece of equipment were eradicated thanks to MAMS opting for an on-site support package from CMC. Pennie thinks this, coupled with the fact MAMS has multiple machines, gives the company a USP over rival mailing houses who have also recently invested in paper wrapping technology to capitalise on growing demand. 

“I keep reading about other mailing houses getting one paper wrapping machine, but where’s your disaster recovery scenario? If you’re offering paper wrapping and your only machine breaks down what happens? Where are you going to go? They are all jumping in and getting one paper wrapping machine, but we’ve got three.”

Pennie says the other major upside to the CMC machines is they are pretty straight forward to use. The CMC One features an operator-friendly design with touch panel controller. The manufacturer says that users can quickly switch between its two wrapping capabilities – paper and film – and back through the webbing of the new material and presets on the touchscreen. The system is equipped with a glue system/high speed rotary cutter for paper and temperature controlled longitudinal/cross sealer for film. It can wrap 20,000 pieces/hr in paper and 25,000 pieces/hr in film. The CMC One has a maximum format of 300x420mm and can handle paper pack thicknesses up to 20mm and film pack thickness up to30mm.

Tinker to tailor

Pennie says the company is still “tinkering” to see all the machine can do, but it has dealt with everything MAMS has fed it so far. One of the key things he likes about it is its flexibility. 

“We were able to turn a job from being landscape to portrait just to keep it under the 16.5x24cm size,” says Pennie. The switch saved the customer money as does the opportunity to print on the paper wrap itself. 

“We deal with a client and there is a danger their pack weight can go over 250 grams and the cost of the postage on that becomes significantly different. However, you can actually print what would have been a loose insert, for example, onto the paper wrap, which helps to keep the weight down. And you can produce a paper wrap with the cover of the magazine [inside the pack] emblazoned over it as long as you leave a white out box for the address to be lasered on.”

That’s just one of many things that have impressed him about the CMC machines. “The wrap doesn’t crease or fold, it just goes around the magazine or whatever is inside, so you don’t crease or damage the fibres,” says Pennie. “The wrap retains its core strength, whereas with an envelope they’re creased and scored and folded over and that’s when you weaken the fibres.” 

He adds that lead times are shorter and  the machine is quick, which makes the pro- position even more compelling. Thanks to  this combination of factors Pennie says it’s been pretty easy to sell the new service line  to customers.

“MAMS is a bit of a sleeping giant. The market doesn’t really know a great dealing about us because we haven’t really advertised ourselves or put ourselves out there yet, so when we speak to people about this [technology] they’re intrigued. I’m opening doors on a regular basis because people are interested about this  new venture.”

He admits that selling the proposition to some customers has proven a little more difficult as they had encountered paper wrapping in the past and hadn’t been particularly impressed by it. 

“We had a big retailer come in recently for a look at the new paper wrapping machines and they said they’d used it before and it didn’t go very well for them. But then we showed them our work and suddenly they were interested. The quality we are supplying is stunning.” 

It’s been a busy couple of years for MAMS on the investment front with the company taking delivery of two Buhrs Kern 4300 10-station enclosing machines last year. And the spending spree isn’t going to end when the third CMC One is put in place.

“There is lots of exciting new investment planned,” says Pennie, who doesn’t rule out the company taking further paper wrapping machines. “These machines tend to need bigger volume, so we’re looking to potentially bring in a couple of pieces of kit to support smaller volume work. A lot of publishers have small volumes and we don’t want to be turning that kind of work away.”

Given the growing interest and demand for environmentally friendly products, it looks like MAMS’ gamble on this technology is set to pay off handsomely in the future with the firm well placed to profit from the wrapping trend. 


COMPANY PROFILE

West Yorkshire-based Mailing & Marketing Solutions (MAMS) is a traditional mailing house with envelope enclosing lines and polywrapping. The company was founded around five years ago and employs more  than 120 people. MAMS recently moved to a large new facility in Leeds to meet growing demand for its services and also to accommodate investment in new mailing technology. Per annum, the company produces more than 150 million direct  mail packs.

Why was it bought...

The company wanted to move away from polywrap towards more eco-friendly paper wrap technology, as customers were increasingly asking for the latter.

How has it performed...

So far so good, according to Pennie. Lead times are quick, the quality is “stunning” and the company has snared new business and customers off the back of the investment.


SPECIFICATIONS

Min format 100x120mm

Max format 300x420mm

Max thickness with paper 20mm

Max thickness with film 30mm

Max mechanical speed 20,000pcs/hr with paper 25,000pcs/hr with film

Price MAMS paid a little over £1m for the three CMC One machines

Contact CMC +39 075 8518006  www.cmcmachinery.com

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