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More than Just Engineering Synergy!

There’s one thing about Denmark and the Danes – a type of mental bonding that manifests itself in industrial cooperation and mutual help.  Nick Coombes visited Grafisk Maskinfabrik in Birkerød and spoke with firm CEO Uffe Nielsen to seek out out extra. 

Grafisk Maskinfabrik A/S, or GM as it’s extra often recognized, started life in 1980 manufacturing digital controls for a variety of various engineering corporations, and as such developed a extremely expert and educated workforce that was capable of flip its hand to extra than simply electronics.  By 1983 the choice was made to diversify the enterprise and GM engaged in manufacturing in its personal proper, and commenced to develop a variety of slitters, die-cutters, and sheeters for the slender net sector.  In the mid 90s, fellow Danish firm Nilpeter requested the experience of GM to develop ending strains for digital print, and this grew to become the beginning of a journey in the direction of totally automated device free laser-based ending programs.

According to GM’s CEO Uffe Nielsen: “There is one thing of a Danish hub in manufacturing, which from a rustic of solely 5 million folks makes us relatively particular – in actual fact it’s a coverage that’s actively inspired by the Danish authorities who’re eager to determine a level of independence and a high-quality pedigree in design and manufacture.  And it’s not simply in industrial merchandise – have a look at Danish furnishings, glassware, and different shopper gadgets – they’ve a method of their very own, and a fame for high quality.”

Over the subsequent 15 years, GM prospered but in addition observed the expansion of digital know-how within the label market – digital know-how that included printing however little else.  “Having reduce our tooth in manufacturing with easy however cost-effective changing tools, we noticed a distinct segment for one thing extra bold in the best way of an entire ending line.  Flexo label presses provided this single go to completed product, digital presses didn’t, and we took the chance to fill that hole,” defined Nielsen.

To make such a leap required large extra funding, and with assistance from Dansk Ejerkapital, GM turned itself nearly in a single day from a small artisan workshop into a contemporary manufacturing outfit that has seen workers numbers rise from 60 to 140, and gross sales enhance by nearly 30%.  But transferring into ending required the assimilation of recent methods and know-how, together with floor therapy of the digitally printed net previous to it being additional processed.

“We knew of corona therapy however little extra than that till we investigated the market and located the pioneers and know-how leaders weren’t solely Danish, however solely two hours away from our HQ.  To say the remaining is historical past exaggerates the purpose, however when you could have Vetaphone’s huge wealth of knowhow and expertise to attract on, in a typical language and the identical time-zone, and with an R&D philosophy that mirrors our personal, why would we glance elsewhere?”  he added.

The cooperative partnership successfully started in 1998 and has thrived ever since.  With run lengths seemingly in everlasting decline as model house owners draw back from giant inventories, what label converters want right this moment is a versatile manufacturing functionality that gives most on-shelf affect.  “We purchase with our eyes,” mentioned Nielsen, “so labels want to draw consideration in addition to provide very important data, a lot of it ruled by worldwide laws.  The label might be the toughest working factor in printed packaging, so making certain that it’s all the time of top-quality is important – re-runs are wasteful and expensive, so all manufacturing components must carry out reliably – and assured appropriate floor therapy on a few of right this moment’s difficult substrates is the distinction between revenue and loss.”

With a world person base to assist, GM can be grateful for the worldwide back-up provided by Vetaphone and its gross sales and repair community.  Today’s aggressive market makes no allowances for sustained intervals of downtime in manufacturing, and this is applicable to printing and changing as a lot as another course of.  Printed packaging is the biggest sector of the print market and is predicted to proceed its speedy development as extra of the world strikes into shopping for branded items, so getting it proper first time, each time, is important.

But the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a significant change in enterprise habits and processes.  Long intervals of lockdown prevented gross sales and assist workers from travelling to see prospects in particular person, and GM, together with Vetaphone, has invested closely in showroom and demonstration services that enable on-line shows of know-how that no exhibition might handle.  Speaking for Vetaphone, CSO Jan Eisby commented: “The probability of most of our potential prospects ever visiting us in Denmark is slim – so, with the dearth of commerce gala’s to exhibit our know-how we set about creating a method of taking Vetaphone know-how out to the world.”

This chimes properly with Uffe Nielsen, whose totally geared up demo facility at Birkerød has added scope to the corporate’s gross sales and advertising strategy.  “With our in depth vary of kit today, the flexibility to carry reside on-line demos is a good gross sales device.  Whether potential prospects are occupied with a normal overview of our know-how of one thing extra particular, now we have the ability to accommodate their wants,” he mentioned.

Knowing the 2 corporations and seeing their services and capabilities makes this complete ‘Danish hub’ idea come to life.  Both exude an air of assured competence based mostly on an in-depth understanding of their respective know-how and a focus to element each internally by R&D and manufacturing, but in addition externally by listening rigorously to every buyer’s particular necessities.  As Eisby concluded: “We are very pleased with our heritage as an organization and as a nation, and if this interprets into offering a top quality product and high quality service to our prospects in partnership with different producers, that appears like a profitable method to me!”

Today, each corporations are acknowledged as market leaders of their respective sectors of operation, with the continuing dedication to R&D and high quality management which are requisites for Industry 4.0.  As the demand for extra refined packaging continues to develop, shut cooperative partnerships of this kind might be important to fulfill the calls for of brand name house owners and legislators alike.

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