Peter Redmond, formerly operations director of Komori International Europe, has joined Bobst as zone business director to lead its webfed division in the UK and Ireland.
The appointment reflects the growing importance of flexo and gravure presses in the UK following the acquisition of what is now the Firenze division of Bobst, a producer of label presses. This adds to its core flexo press interests as well as emerging trends in half-width presses to cope with shorter production runs.
The move also mirrors the Bobst sheeted division which has been a direct sales and service organisation in the UK for many years. However, Redmond says that Bobst will continue to work through agents into the label sector while the imminent retirement of Lawrence Wild, Edlon Machinery, provides a reason for Bobst to take this in-house.
“I will be helping support the agents and in the CI flexo area with the agent looking to retire, that has been a natural progression,” he says. “And there’s also a natural progression into mid web flexo which will fall under my remit.
“Bobst is creating very clear divisional lines for anything other than its web metallisation products which will still come out of Manchester.”
The appointment comes as the packaging sector shapes up to cope with shorter production runs and faster turnaround. Bobst has developed a mid-width flexo press and has been instrumental in the Revo project which focuses on standard set up for a press, changing only the plates to bring start up waste down to 20 metres of material, regardless of switching from films to boards and running Pantone spot colours without washing up between jobs. Makeready times are halved, according to Americk Packaging, which has been involved in testing the Revo concept.
“That is happening because Bobst knows that there is pressure to improve and change,” says Redmond.
There will be pressure to improve results in the UK. In the 2016 results, the company says that while sales in Europe rose CHF9 million in 2016, lower sales in Germany, Poland and the UK eroded significant improvement in Switzerland, Italy and Ukraine. Overall a very strong demand from the corrugated industry helped push sales 8.7% higher to CHF1.45 billion compared to 2015.
At Interpack this week, the company has been one of the largest exhibitors from the printing sector. Erik Bothorel, head of the webfed business unit says: “Just last year alone we launched multiple new products that pushed forward what packaging manufacturers can achieve: from opening up new markets and digital flexo, the UV flexo printing of food packaging and new barrier coatings to substantiatlly increasing the productivity of processes such as die cutting and folding and gluing.”
In the next year the company will be moving forwards with its inkjet developments in corrugated and carton production and plans to open a third manufacturing plant in China.
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