GCI Partners with BOBST to Boost Customer Offering Further

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In November 2019, BOBST visited GCI's facility to explore their capabilities and learn about what makes them the premier choice in folding carton packaging.

How BOBST has helped General Converting to boost its incredible customer offering even further

Every company in a service industry says they put the customer first, but only some truly live and breathe that philosophy. General Converting is one of those. The company – which has grown from three people with a single press in 1982 to 65 employees working in 122,000 sq. ft. of space filled with state-of-the-art equipment today – is known for not letting anything get in the way of its ability to respond to its customers. David Mickiewicz, the Sales Manager at GCI who has just celebrated his 20th year at the company, is the embodiment of this philosophy.

“We have a responsibility to produce a high-quality product that exceeds our customers’ demands and performs on their equipment day in and day out,” he says.

“And the foundation of that starts with our fantastic people. Nobody has titles internally here – we don’t want titles to get in the way of getting the job done.  We work as a family, with genuine partnership and teamwork. We are all fully bought into the company ethos and we all truly care about our customers. Schedules change constantly and emergencies happen daily and we are set up to respond quickly and efficiently. The biggest reason clients come to GCI is for peace of mind – they know that our packaging will be on time, perform well on their equipment and have consistent quality from run to run.”

Quality from the start 

GCI operates in the folding carton industry predominantly on behalf of confectionary and food companies, but also has a hand in other industries including electronics, cosmetics, automotive and pharmaceutical. It has the highest level of SQF (Safe Quality Food) Certification available, achieving a perfect score of 100. The company has offset printing equipment with capabilities to print up to 8 colors plus aqueous coating or 7 colors plus inline UV coating.

“We believe in building quality into our products from the start which, as well as having the best people, means having the best materials and equipment available,” says David. A key source of equipment for GCI is BOBST, one of the world’s leading suppliers of substrate processing, printing and converting equipment and services for the folding carton industry (as well as the label, flexible packaging and corrugated industries).

BOBST and GCI have enjoyed a partnership for even longer than David’s tenure at the company. “When I began my career with GCI in 1999, the owner of our company, Bob Ruebenson always talked about how reliable our BOBST equipment was and I can attest that 20 years later that still holds true,” he says. “Having three CER 102s gave us the flexibility to interchange jobs between machines if one were to experience an issue, which is rare, and meant we had minimal downtime.”

Taking die cutting and gluing to the next level

Sometimes thriving companies can be victims of their own success. One of the biggest challenges for GCI since adding new presses a few years ago, was a backlog in die cutting. The presses were printing consistently at 18,000 sheets per hour, which well outpaced the die cutting equipment.  “As we experienced a yearly growth in 2018 of 20% – our largest ever – this became a situation we needed to remedy asap,” says David. “We chose to go with BOBST again due to the speeds that could be achieved in both production and make ready, longevity of the equipment, and excellent service and support.” 

The company decided to purchase a MASTERFOLD 110 A3 – the world’s most productive folder-gluer – and a MASTERCUT 106 PER, the most highly automated and ergonomic die cutter on the market.

MASTERFOLD 110 A3 produces straight-line, auto-bottom and 4 corner boxes at the highest speeds possible in the industry, enabling a drastic increase in GCI’s output. The machine includes SPEEDWAVE 3, the fastest way to run crash-lock boxes, reducing the company’s set-up times on auto-bottoms, reducing set-up times through reduced tooling, and streamlining their new operator training workflow.

The MASTERFOLD line includes EASYFEEDER 4 and the CARTONPACK 4 automated packer. CARTONPACK 4 is reducing an operator’s repeat set-up by half by physically moving elements of the machine into place.

Meanwhile, MASTERCUT 106 PER​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ is a top of the range machine, delivering unmatched productivity thanks to fast, uninterrupted production and exceptionally short set-up times, while also providing superb quality of the finished product. MATIC allows the operator to save 25% to 30% in make-ready times. When a repeat job is recalled, the machine sets itself automatically. MASTERCUT achieves a high percentage of jobs running at full speed thanks to the Power Register system, which virtually eliminates feeder stops because of registration errors, allowing customers to benefit from the maximum running speed of 11,000 sheets per hour.

So, how have the new machines worked out for David and his team? “Adding the new machines has really helped to reduce the previous backlog,” he says. “We have seen increased speeds in both our die cutting and gluing departments, allowing us to respond to customer’s demands quicker and help us to become even more flexible. We have always been known in the industry for our quick turn times, but this has allowed us to respond even faster to customer’s ever-changing demands with the utmost quality. We couldn’t be happier.”