Corrugated Folding Carton

20 percent increase in capacity for 2018

Welcoming the international media to company headquarters in Rockford, Illinois, VP Sales & Marketing, Gavin Rittmeyer, said US-based Martin Automatic was delighted to be celebrating 50 years of global leadership in web automation that embraces both the essential and the extremes of engineering.

Established in 1968 by the late John Martin, and now owned by his son Jordan, the company is vertically integrated, with all design, manufacturing and production at headquarters in Rockford, where 165 employees, including sales and service personnel located around the world, have successfully installed and maintained more than 7,500 high-performance unwind, rewind and tension control machines across 56 countries in its 50-year history. Today, around half of all machines sold are based on standard models, with the remainder being purpose designed and manufactured to order.

Along the way, the company has patented many of its inventions, including the inertia compensated dancer roller, the basis for tension control across the company’s wide range of splicing and web handling equipment. More recently, the development of Airnertia™ idler rollers is beginning to gain global acceptance for the way in which it transports delicate wide webs in high speed, low tension processes. “We have technology to automate processes that run from 10 to 900m/min, web widths from 25 to 4000mm and rolls up to 8000kg with diameters up to 2400mm. Equally, we have run 30-micron LDPE and 600-Micron paperboard on the same machine – we know of no-one else that has run this wide a range of materials on a single machine,” he added.

The substrates mentioned hint at the broad range of markets served, from labels, laminates and cartons, to non-wovens like disposable hygienics – and this list is far from comprehensive. Currently, business is split approximately 25% each between narrow web, non-woven, board and other specials. But, whatever the industry or market, the Martin mantra remains unchanged – to give the customer the fastest return on investment (ROI) and lowest total cost of ownership (TCO).

Earlier this year Martin created an extra 20% production capacity by streamlining its shop floor to cope with increased demand for some of its larger machine types. It typifies the company’s careful husbandry of resources, where improved efficiency of existing facilities is prioritised over straightforward expansion.

The day was topped off with a visit to the Martin corporate headquarters nearby. Originally built for John Martin when his previous house burnt down, it is the largest steel structure the company has ever made and marks the ‘extreme’ end of the company’s engineering skills. It is striking architecturally, and a fitting legacy to Martin Automatic’s founder.

The house that Martin built!