They are never far from the limelight and always on the cutting edge when it comes to machine choices. And that is all because the company’s owner, John Kelley, is a self-professed ‘student of packaging’. It is not uncommon to see Kelley at trade events in Europe or making private visits to see machinery in action at box plants throughout Europe – why? “We might only be a single site, family owned company, but it is technology that keeps us ahead of the pack,” says Kelley, the third generation owner. “Ultimately, I see us a technology business first and foremost – a technology business that makes boxes.”
Kelley is proud of a recently won contract, working for a leading European retail fashion company. But it meant having to add new capabilities to his converting department – and something that would take time to research and ensure the right machine was chosen.
“Like almost every box plant in the U.S., the boom in e-commerce has opened up plenty of opportunities for Dusobox as well,” explains Kelley. “But this particular customer presented us with some special challenges in terms of manufacturing 6-corner e-commerce boxes. I asked them to send me samples of what they were doing in Europe and when I saw them, I knew we would have to rethink our manufacturing strategy. I asked them who was producing the most challenging box in their portfolio in Europe and they told me it was a leading multi-national integrated, at one of their sites in Spain. I found out what machine the box was running on and from there, I managed to secure a visit to go see the job running.”
Dusobox is no stranger to high-end specialty gluers; they already run a Bahmüller Turbox and a BOBST EXPERTFOLD. But what Kelley saw running in Spain was going to be hard to replicate on his existing equipment, so he began researching for an appropriate machine. However, there was an arduous deadline of October 31 – less than six months from when he met the customer. “That was tough, as we would have to source a machine, install it and train on it in a very short time frame,” recounts Kelley. “Knowing that this job was being run on a Tanabe JD BoxR, I called my old friend, Doeke Holtrop, to discuss things. Within a week, I was on a plane to visit their new manufacturing facility to see this machine in action.”
The relationship between Kelley and the team at JD Engineers goes way back. “I remember meeting Jasper and Doeke sometime after I read about ‘Two Men and a Toolbox’ in your magazine,” he continues. “Back then, they were a small business, but with some resourceful and innovative solutions. Fast forward 15+ years and they are a totally different business – in terms of numbers, manufacturing capabilities and much more. JD Engineers have delivered great training for us at Dusobox and we have had some of their ancillary items running in our plant for over a year – so when we started talking about the BoxR, we felt most comfortable.”
Kelley adds, “We focused in on the prime reason we needed a new machine – we had to be able to run 6-corner e-commerce boxes. Doeke told me about a special unit they have developed, which can apply tape, release liners, tear-strips and even an identifying label that can be applied to the inside of the box. Coupled with complete inspection and fault ejection system, we knew this gluer would do everything we needed. And what clinched the deal was we could get the machine in and running several weeks ahead of the October 31 deadline – with Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Christmas right around the corner, we could not afford to miss the deadline.”
As previously mentioned, Dusobox has a wide array of equipment at their disposal. “We now have three state-of-the-art specialty gluers, which is quite unusual for a company of our size,” says Kelley. “One thing it has enabled us to do is create a cluster of highly skilled gluer operators – and getting the first crew running the BoxR was relatively straightforward. The machine is easy to set-up, thanks to oversized computer screens and all the inspection systems one can think of. The operators have all taken to it well and the ongoing support from JD for training and troubleshooting has been excellent.”
Kelley concludes, “We have learned a great deal from running these new box styles for this fashion retail customer. So much so, we are now looking at how we can leverage that knowledge to help other customers enhance their own packaging. Running 6-corner e-commerce styles is quite rare here in the U.S., but it is common in Europe – without our desire to travel to Europe to ‘learn’ more about corrugated, chances are we would never have stood a chance of winning this contract. And without the BoxR, we would never have been able to deliver packaging to this new customer on October 31, it is as simple as that.”