Pictured above, left to right: Dave Barnes, Les Swanick and Julian Freeman.
Rigid Containers has recently commissioned a four colour Mitsubishi Evol flexo folder gluer at its plant in Selby, Yorkshire. It is only the third such machine in the UK and one of just over a dozen in operation in Europe. The machine was ordered by Rigid’s parent company, VPK Group, in 2015; it was part of an order by the group with Mitsubishi, that consisted of two Evol and a complete corrugator. Total investment for the project at Selby was a little over £3.5 million.
“We opted for this machine to help increase productivity further from Selby’s converting department and one of the key reasons we chose this machine is the accuracy of box formation in a single process at high speed,” says Julian Freeman, Sales & Marketing Director at Rigid Containers. “We are working even more closely with our customers to ensure they get the highest quality boxes possible. More and more of our customers are utilising high speed case erecting machinery and this type of equipment needs perfectly formed boxes, or the machines easily jam and cause downtime. The Evol is recognised globally as one of the highest quality flexo folder gluers available and we are delighted to put this new four colour machine into action at Selby.”
With over 260 machines already installed around the world, the Evol flexo folder gluer was launched by Mitsubishi in 2003. The machine has gained a reputation for being a high performance, quick-set casemaker, capable of running at speeds of 350 blanks per minute. With a maximum sheet size of 950 x 2555mm and a minimum sheet size of 250 x 690mm, it is a fixed architecture, four colour machine and can be equipped with automatic pre-feeder and palletiser to ensure the highest levels of output.
Over the last two years or so, the machine has received a series of upgrades, now making it even more attractive for converters. With the remit of shortening set-up time considerably, an upgraded inking system has resulted in reduced ink wash up time and leads to enhanced efficiencies. “The latest machines benefit from a reduction in ink loss,” explains Giovanni Bettini, Sales and Marketing Director for MHI Europe. “The Evol is well known for its efficient inking system, but the new generation of machine has a superior ink control system that has been proven to show as little as 100cc of ink loss per colour unit per job. Another significant feature of the new inking system is that it uses less than 6.5 litres of water per wash-up, which is a significant environmental plus for the converter.”
The latest generation Evol has had its average set-up time reduced even further and now jobs can be set it two minutes, confirms the company. Once the blank has been printed and die-cut, it moves to the folding and gluing section, an area of which Mitsubishi is proud. “Folding accuracy is one of the key selling points of this machine,” states Mr Bettini. “Thanks to our special designs, boxes pass through our folding system without hitch, and our sophisticated machine design ensures the highest levels of fold accuracy for any flexo folder gluer in the market. The fact that VPK Group has ordered two machines is some testament to its quality and reliability.” Finally, a new counter ejector – the CE8 – improves on the already accurate bundle formation.
To ensure maximum productivity, the new Evol at Selby is fitted with an Alliance pre-feeder for efficient sheet presentation and an end of line palletising unit, manufactured by Dücker Corrpal. The palletising unit efficiently bundles and stacks the completed batches of printed cases, which are bundle tied on a Signode ISB unit.
“This is one of the smoothest, most carefully planned installations we have undertaken within the group,” says Dave Barnes, Operations Manager. “We were really impressed with the Mitsubishi installation engineers, both from their European and Japanese offices. We were up and running, on schedule and totally within budget. I have been really pleased with how well the machine has started up.”
“The level of accuracy during installation meant that the first boxes being run through the machine were actually saleable,” says Les Swanick, Site Director for Selby and Desborough. “The training was first class and the operators have got to grips with the machine very quickly indeed. The Japanese installation engineers made sure that every last detail was taken care of, meaning we hit the ground running. Even during training, the boxes we were running were delivered to customers. It has been a wonderful start up.”
“VPK Group has committed to these high speed machines — both at Rigid in the UK and also VPK in the Netherlands,” continues Mr Freeman. “Our Technical team have been most impressed with the performance, having seen the machines in action in Japan and Europe. This is a real game changer for Selby and we are excited to be able to offer this machine as a way of setting ourselves apart from the competition.”