Esko (www.esko.com) announces that Abbott-Action has invested in two Esko Kongsberg C64 finishing tables—including the 10,000th built by Esko Kongsberg—as part of its effort to build an automated production ecosystem, partly based on Esko solutions. When complete, it will allow customers to participate in a seamless, connected experience from quote request to delivery. The two Kongsberg tables will be delivered to the Abbott-Action Attleboro, MA (USA) facility and will also include the new Esko iBF feeder and iMS material stacking systems, part of the Kongsberg Automate solution that helps to automate certain areas of the finishing workflow.
Taking waste and idle time out of the process
Today’s corrugated print providers need to look beyond the digital cutting table to the silos of inefficiencies in their workflow—starting from a quote through design and finally shipment. When a digital printer is involved, it is important to avoid bottlenecking files to printer. A faster printer and finishing table is of little value if the tools are not in place to maximize output from both. What counts the most is overall equipment efficiency. Abbott-Action’s visionaries have invested in these Kongsberg tables as a part of a complete solution, understanding the need for automation and integration from start to finish.
“The news from Abbott-Action is significant for two reasons. First, we are excited to celebrate our 10,000th Kongsberg table. We have a proud history and proven track record of building equipment that withstands the test of time. You can still find tables from the 1980s in daily use around the world. Over the last several years that philosophy has only improved as we adopt the renowned lean manufacturing practices of our parent company, Danaher. We leverage our manufacturing practices along with our strengths as a software development company to enable our customers to comfortably enter this latest age of industrial manufacturing. Our focus moving forward is on reducing waste in the manufacturing process, connecting systems to make information available further upstream, automating production through robotics, and leveraging advancements in software technology such as augmented reality and cloud-based computing,” comments George Folickman, Esko Business Development, Digital Finishing. “We are just as pleased to have an exciting new innovation partner in Abbott-Action, who will provide product feedback to help us best develop new ways to bring ideas to market.”
Abbott-Action: Building a completely new, lean manufacturing ecosystem
As a third-generation business founded in 1935, Abbott-Action is the most comprehensive supplier of corrugated containers, wood shipping crates, protective packaging and display solutions in the northeast United States today. Through multiple acquisitions and transitions over the years Abbott-Action has built a rich history on lean manufacturing practices and production excellence. Today they stand on the cutting edge of technology after incorporating numerous innovations into the business. Both the ISOWA IBIS and Barberan Jetmaster 1890 Digital Printer installations have proven to be revolutionary to the production process. Abbott-Action’s state-of-the-art facility is completely solar powered. It’s through a commitment and dedication to sustainability that they implement energy saving projects whenever possible.
Abbott-Action continues to expand product offering regularly. New technology continues to provide more opportunities at every turn. Evolving with the ever-changing needs of the market is the highest priority. Newly hired Marketing Manager, Marcia Robbins seeks to bring Abbott-Action to the forefront of today’s market as part of the latest sales strategy.
Working with Esko, Abbott-Action will be building a digital workflow system utilizing Esko Automation Engine and WebCenter that will allow customers to submit, approve, and track orders from virtually anywhere in the world and in a completely automated fashion. Both Esko software and hardware will let their customers enjoy a seamless, timely transaction from request to delivery.
“Esko has committed to partnering with us to build a corrugated ecosystem. We have always been happy with the performance of the Kongsberg tables we have operated in the past. We know they are proven, and our plan of installing two Kongsberg C64 tables offers us added capacity and new opportunities for growth,” comments Chuck Slingerland, Esko EcoSystem Project Manager, Abbott-Action. “We are transitioning our traditional corrugated display company to utilize more than one substrate, quickly expanding our product offering. For example, we now have North American distribution rights to a new display system, Faster Displays, a patented POP system that folds out within seconds.”
“Each day, month and year there is a continuous evolution of digital workflow, software, printing and greater capacity,” adds Slingerland. “With our new Barberan digital printer we are working in an industrial environment, requiring an industrial manufacturing platform. Ultimately, our benefits are speed to market and creativity in design.”
With seasonality and marketing trends, Abbott-Action sees smaller order quantities with more order cycles. With these changes, the economies of scale have been reduced and the changeover rate has increased.
Kongsberg: A remarkable 52-year heritage and a bright future
Kongsberg digital die cutting tables are among the industry’s most cost-effective machines, producing more finished pieces over a longer lifespan than any similar table on the market. They are rich with unique features that save time and improve sample and product quality—configurable to virtually any imaginable need. A fully digital workflow combined with a Kongsberg table will eliminate the cost and waiting time for a cutting die—and leaves high capacity production equipment undisturbed.
Kongsberg tables were developed in Kongsberg, Norway, where they have manufactured plotter- cutters for more than fifty years. “Building an exceptional table is about creating the perfect balance. You need a rock-solid base like the frame and the tabletop to control the raw power of the movement of the arm along the axis, and the continuous G forces. This all has to be done with precision, all the way down to the knife’s edge. However, at the end of the day, the most important facet of a digital finishing table is about creating the operator experience—the right quality, touch and feel and try,” says Einar Ek, Esko Digital Finishing Market Manager.”
Kongsberg tables are built upon great engineering. Over the years, Esko Kongsberg has introduced numerous advancements in cutting technology including the first dual-head table introduced over 20 years ago, the first fully automated feeding and stacking system, the only digital finishing tables to incorporate a carbon fiber traverse, and now the largest available corrugated cutting table (Kongsberg C66). With the addition of the new automated iBF board feeding and iMS material stacking systems to impressive robotic systems that can simultaneously serve two tables, Kongsberg Automate provides the only complete suite of modular automation solutions available.
Ten years ago hardware manufacturing of all Kongsberg tables moved to a new production plant in Brno in the Czech Republic where production capacity has steadily expanded to accommodate the continuous rising demand for Esko’s Kongsberg tables.
A true partnership with innovative goals
“While this is certainly reason to recognize a milestone for our Kongsberg tables, we are just as excited to have found a partner in Abbott-Action who believes, like we do, that innovation and investment in technology are key to meeting the challenges of this digital age,” comments Folickman. “A truly lean manufacturing solution requires cutting-edge hardware, innovative new software, and a ‘digital nerve center’ tying all the pieces together. Esko software and Kongsberg finishing systems will enable Abbott-Action to respond to their customers’ increasing demands while offering the flexibility and technology to offer creative solutions that drive new business successes. We look forward to meeting this challenge.”
“When we have implemented the entire Esko ecosystem, there will be more flexibility in manufacturing,” adds Slingerland. “With Esko, our major drivers are speed to market and creativity.”