23 August 2019

In conversation with PCMC as they mark 100 years

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We spoke to Rodney Pennings, director of sales at Paper Converting Machine Company (PCMC), about this very special milestone, and how both the company and the industry have evolved over the years. This will be their first time exhibiting at Labelexpo Europe.

Happy birthday! Tell us about PCMC's incredible 100-year milestone.
One hundred years ago, a father-son duo with big start-up dreams worked out of their little garage to build Bay City Machine Company. Through hard work and great service, their success snowballed and led to a more permanent location and the eventual name change in 1923 to Paper Converting Machine Company. Since then, PCMC has grown into a premier global manufacturing company while staying true to our roots buried deep in Northeast Wisconsin soil.

In 1946, L.G. Wood became president, and he successfully led the company through an expansion into Europe, the opening of our present-day headquarters and entry into the flexographic printing and nonwovens industries. Shortly after his passing, the Baer family took an active role in our company’s leadership and remained there until Barry-Wehmiller acquired the company in 2005.

Since joining the BW family more than 10 years ago, PCMC experienced a newfound sense of direction powered by a people-centric culture and sound business strategy. We’ve embraced lean philosophies and challenge our teammates to find their own ways to build a better world through our business that will last for years to come.

Over the last several years, PCMC has continually expanded services in the flexographic printing industry while developing new, exciting innovations. In 2017, PCMC acquired Graphbury Machines, a machine manufacturer and engineering-services provider for the flexible packaging industry. The acquisition has allowed PCMC to offer a wide range of products that improve flexographic printers’ production and performance.

In May 2019, PCMC was a recipient of the Flexographic Technical Association’s Technical Innovation Award for its recent introduction of SteadyPrint, a print-stabilization technology. In October 2019, Hudson-Sharp will be joining PCMC allowing for growth and expansion in the flexible packaging and bag converting industry.

We’ve arrived at this 100-year milestone through nothing less than commitment, hard work and sacrifice.

How has the industry changed in that time and how has PCMC responded to that?
Originally, flexographic printing was rudimentary in quality. Until recently, high-quality labels have generally been printed using the offset process, but great advances geared towards label printers have been made.

New inline platforms allow printers to go wider and faster. Enhanced drying and register control help optimize production efficiencies. Central Impression (CI) press features are being integrated into the new inline platforms, offering even more options for label printing. The versatility of an inline press allows one operator to do the work of several, and it won’t require as much floorspace or various offline equipment. Going inline eliminates multiple processes. 

PCMC is combining technology from both inline and wide web CI presses to produce a fast changeover inline press, the ELS-MAX, which holds extremely tight register. Printers will save as much as 50-75% in both waste and setup time by having the capability to store and recall virtually every setting on the press. Stored jobs can also be shared between multiple presses with just a touch of a button. The ELS-MAX is rated to run solvent ink, along with our standard water-based and UV inks, and offers the ability to quickly change press parameters to make it run extremely efficient on many types of material.

In today’s package printing environment, the cost of wasted time is higher than ever. Putting a stop to color matching struggles and breakdowns in quality control will be essential to operating at peak efficiency and keeping customers satisfied.

Maintaining optimum anilox performance is essential to high-quality, efficient printing.

When applying ink, adhesive, lotion, or other solutions during a converting operation, it is critical for a consistent application with tooling that is as close to a like-new condition as possible. Our Meridian laser anilox cleaner provides a deeper clean to enhance repeatability and print consistency. It also speeds up cleaning cycles and reduces downtime.

What are you showcasing at Labelexpo Europe 2019?
We will be showcasing our Meridian laser anilox cleaner with live cleaning demonstrations. The Meridian removes deposited particles inside of the cells. This cleaning technology extends the life of anilox rolls and does not require any chemicals, sodium bicarbonate, polymer beads, water or detergents—making it a sustainable cleaning technology with a very low environmental impact. PCMC’s newest Meridian models are designed for the narrow web market and include a new internal traversing vacuum system.

Have you exhibited at Labelexpo Europe before?
We’ve exhibited at Labelexpo Americas, but this is our inaugural year exhibiting in Europe.

What key trends are likely to have an impact on the region in 2019, and how do you think the industry will change in the next few years?
The development of artificial intelligence and Industry 4.0 is poised to have a significant impact in label and package printing. Printers that embrace AI will likely see improvements in both the quality and consistency of their output. Predictive analytics in packaging is another area of opportunity. Increased connectivity and predictive maintenance will improve efficiency and reduce equipment downtime.

Environmental concerns and impact will also continue to drive the package printing industry in the next few years. 

What message do you have for visitors to the 40th anniversary edition of Labelexpo Europe 2019?
We’re very excited to welcome people into our stand to view the new innovations on our Meridian firsthand. We know they’ll be impressed by its technology, speed and effectiveness.