Somic Packaging showed off the advantages of retail-ready automation with its 424 W3 wraparound case packer at PACK EXPO International. But the company’s message about flexibility wasn’t only about using standard functional groups to make it easier to reconfigure operations; it also came in the form of a new strategy for servicing U.S. customers.
In the past year, Somic Packaging has begun commissioning all its North American machines from its headquarters in Eagan, Minn. Engineering and design of the packaging machines will continue at the Somic parent company in Germany, explains Peter Fox, CEO of Somic Packaging. Seven German colleagues are staying in the U.S. right now to cross-train employees to make sure that the commissioning is done from Eagan exactly how it was previously done from Germany, Fox adds.
Besides the convenience of commissioning machines for the North American market out of the Minnesota location—saving time and money with a local staff—it takes a lot of the pressure away from the current climate of uncertainty in the shipping world, Fox notes. It also helps with the workload in Germany.
“The volume coming out of North America has been putting additional pressure on our manufacturing in Germany,” Fox says. Somic Packaging absorbing commissioning responsibilities should go a long way as local sales continue to grow. “We anticipate that Somic Packaging will account for 50% of the volume within the next four years.”
With the wraparound case packer it had on display at PACK EXPO International, Somic showed a further extent of the flexibility it enables. The 424 series produces up to 25 cases per minute in a small footprint. Somic is able to configure its standard machine to meet customer needs, using standard functional groups to quickly achieve packaging needs. “This gives our customers and us the flexibility to change for future needs,” Fox says.
This is particularly important in the labor situation that so many companies face these days, Fox notes. “Nobody has any labor anymore,” he says, noting that automation investments are based on the need to get jobs done. “ROI doesn’t even come up in our discussions.”
The 424 W3 wraparound case packer is suited to companies that need automation but don’t have the space.