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Premier Packaging Ups Capacity With New Latitude Machinery Investment

Article first published in the April 2020 issue of Board Converting News

About Premier Packaging

Premier Packaging began in 1994 in Louisville, Kentucky, as a single sheet plant. Increasing demand from the Indianapolis/Chicago region led the company to open its new facility in Indianapolis in 2016. From an order-quantity standpoint, the Indianapolis plant is far from the average sheet plant–its average order quantity is around 5,500 pieces,where most sheet plants are averaging orders of around 1,000 or 1,500 pieces. In the 2018 peak season between October to December, the company was producing boxes using a 50-inch Serenco, which was running seven days a week, 24 hours per day in Indianapolis. The staff was running shifts around the clock: two 10-hour shifts during the week and two 12-hour shifts on the weekends.

The ability to manufacture inside/outside print boxes has allowed Premier Packaging to meet the needs of the massive e-commerce market.

In order to reduce labor costs and the amount of overtime, and to meet the growing volume demand, Premier Packaging was in need of a machine that could produce very big truckload quantities for high capacity customers. Concurrently, they also required a machine capable of quick changeovers, as they field orders as small as 100 pieces that meet the needs of local mom-and-pop businesses as well. “We produce pretty much everything, from a full die-cut all the way up to inside/outside print boxes, regular slotted carton (RSC) boxes, full overlap (FOL) boxes, and beyond,” says Bryan Fitch, General Manager of Premier Packaging’s Indianapolis facility. “When we’re not in our peak season, we need to be able to change order to order so we can stay cost-competitive in the corrugated industry.”

An Investment in LMC

“We needed to invest in machinery in order to grow and keep our operating expenses down, and after installing our new Latitude Machinery Corporation (LMC) investment, the difference was immediate,” says Fitch. The Indianapolis facility was outfitted with a 3-color Latitude Flexo Folder Gluer PP1230. The increase in output since the changeover has been noticeable for the management of the facility and for the bottom line of the organization. Premier Packaging is able to run 37 to 38 million square-feet per month, while simultaneously decreasing the shifts they had been running. In the peak season of October through December of 2019, following the installation of the new LMC machine, the Indianapolis facility produced 25 percent more footage of corrugated while staffing only two weekday shifts.

“The Latitude machine has definitely helped our bottom line and has opened up capacity for us,” says Fitch. “In the past, a lot of items might have caused us to raise our inventory levels through peak season. But because of the speeds of the machine, the capacity it has and the quick turnaround time on setups, we are now able to get a lot more done in the same amount of time.”

The ecommerce industry is growing at 15 percent per year in North America–Amazon alone has more than 250,000 staffers in 110 facilities in North America alone. Premier Packaging’s investment in the Latitude machine helped them to meet the current needs of the e-commerce market while planning for future growth in this rapidly expanding vertical.

Support From SUN Automation

The installation of the new Latitude machine began in late August of 2019 with the goal of an October 1 start date. Because of the output demands of peak season for Premier Packaging, they needed to start off with a full understanding of the machinery so that they could run at maximum capacity and not compromise margin and output. Premier Packaging staff training with the SUN Automation Group and Latitude experts began early in the process, with the goal of maximum efficiency and profitability. Starting October 1, the machine was able to operate at top speed. This was a major factor in their record-setting three-month window during peak season in 2019.

Earlier in 2019, SUN Automation became the exclusive representative in North America and Central America for LMC., providing machinery, parts and support. LMC is a world-class manufacturer of corrugated converting equipment, specializing in flexo folder gluers and rotary diecutters. Known for its reliability, Latitude equipment is a global success with machine sizes ranging from mini to jumbo. The Taiwan-based company has partnered with SUN Automation to offer new and existing North and Central American customers like Premier Packaging the trusted service, support of a North-American based industry leader.

The intuitive Latitude machines are easy for the staff of Premier Packaging to use when setting up orders. And with the technology available with modern machines from Latitude, technicians are able to remotely access the machines to help troubleshoot in real time without always having to send a technician to the facility or explain solutions remotely. “The machine is very easily operated and self-explanatory. All of the buttons are self-explanatory–the dimensions and how to move the machine around are very simple,” says Dennis Wood, Director of Manufacturing at Premier Packaging. “Our crews picked up on the machine very well. And the communication with SUN Automation Group works very well. SUN has been very responsive–we have a 24-hour hotline to call if there are issues.”

The key to keeping the machine running at maximum efficiency is keeping it clean. The fixed-frame architecture of the Latitude machine, as well as the ease of opening up the machine for service and maintenance, keeps downtime to a minimum. Premier Packaging shuts the machine down for only six hours per week, typically Thursday morning or Thursday night. Timing straddles the shift changeovers, which means that crews from both shifts are able to split the cleaning duties up between them.

Helping Premier Packaging Deliver

Serving a wide range of industries and companies ranging in size from mom and pop to global brands have given Premier Packaging a reputation for quality and dependability. With its new Latitude machine and the training, service, and maintenance support from SUN Automation, Premier now has the tools and the capacity to continue to live up to its name.

 

Watch the customer testimonial video:

SUN AUTOMATION GROUP CELEBRATES 35 YEARS OF SUCCESS

GLEN ARM, MD, May 5, 2020— SUN Automation Group®, a leading global provider of innovative equipment to the corrugated industry, celebrates 35 years of continuous operation this week.  The company, founded in 1985, plans to virtually celebrate its 35 years with its employee-owners around the globe and continuing to provide the highest level of support and service to its customers stretching across six continents.

What began in a small townhouse in northern Baltimore County, Maryland, has grown into one of the most well-respected equipment and product development companies serving the global corrugated industry. SUN was founded in 1985 by corrugated industry veterans Lou Sardella and Pat O’Connor with a mission to provide innovative corrugated-industry product solutions.

Among SUN’s most notable achievements are the 1987 introduction of the Lead Edge Feeder to the corrugated industry.  This innovation helped revolutionize corrugated sheet feeding by providing increased accuracy, efficiency and precision.  By working directly with corrugated converters and global equipment partners (OEM customers) for more than three decades, SUN has been able to adapt this technology to over 11,000 machines around the globe.

Building on the success of the Lead Edge Feeder, SUN developed unique printing innovations in the years that followed, including its introduction of Rainbow Graphics and its Spectrum Color Unit to the corrugated market.  In 2000, SUN introduced the MicroGrind Die Cut Accuracy Trimmer and acquired the Langston Corporation in 2001 which more than doubled the company’s size.

Following other notable innovations, like its ColorMaster Blade System and several other retrofit solutions like the SunTrac Vacuum Transfer and SunSet Control Systems, SUN transitioned to an ESOP in 2003 and officially became an OEM in 2012 with the introduction of the SUN625 Rotary Die Cutter.  In 2016, SUN expanded to a 180,000 square foot facility in Glen Arm, Maryland and installed the world’s first Aqueous Ink Single Pass Digital Printer for Corrugated which is still in full production today.   In 2019, SUN partnered with Latitude Machinery Corporation to become its exclusive representative and service provider throughout North and Central America.

SUN has built locations and partnerships around the globe, with SUN facilities in Guangzhou, China; Bristol, UK; and its headquarters in Glen Arm, Maryland.

“As we step into our 35th year amidst a global pandemic, SUN reflects on the resilience of its employees, the company and the corrugated industry,” says Chris Kyger, President, SUN Automation Group. “It’s remarkable to consider that since 1985, SUN Automation has supported corrugated converters through three wars, two recessions, many natural disasters and now the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.  We intend to continue to support the industry for years to come.”

In 2016, SUN adopted its new “Where You’ll Find Everything Corrugated Under SUN” tagline. With a strong foundation, committed employee-owners and a robust understanding of the corrugated industry of the past, present and future, it is clear that the future of SUN is bright.

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SUN AUTOMATION GROUP® CONTINUES FULL 24/7/365 ON-SITE AND REMOTE SERVICE & SUPPORT DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

–Company’s No-Contract Service Program Highlights SUN’s Customer-Centric Approach–

Glen Arm, MD— As a leading global provider of innovative solutions to the corrugated industry, SUN Automation Group® remains fully operational, offering on-site, remote and online diagnostic, repairs, surveys, assessments, troubleshooting and more for Latitude Machinery Corporation (LMC) equipment, SUN/Langston equipment and other OEMs machinery to support its customers during the COVID-19 crisis.

As SUN and the rest of the corrugated industry continues to  face tremendous challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis, SUN is providing customers with all the support they need, without interruption and with no service plan needed.  This commitment to service enables customers to stay supported and run optimally during this critical time when box-making plants are pushed to capacity and the supply chain faces ongoing challenges.

When on-site support is required, SUN’s expert technicians are fully prepared with all necessary personal protective equipment like masks and gloves when the customer requests it and follow rigorous protocols including frequent hand-washing, personal hand sanitizer use, and by utilizing social distancing measures when appropriate.  In addition to our own safety measures, all SUN field service technicians are willing and prepared to follow each customer facilities’ safety protocols.

“Our customers are under uncommon production pressures and staffing challenges during these difficult times,” says Greg Jones, Executive Vice President, SUN Automation Group. “We remain more committed than ever to providing them the uninterrupted service and support they demand and deserve,” says Jones.

With a growing staff of service and support technicians around the world, SUN continues to shine, even when so much of the world goes dark.  To contact SUN Automation Group Service Team day or night, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, visit www.sunautomation.com/service.

 

 

SUN Automation Group’s response to COVID-19

During this time of uncertainty due to COVID-19, SUN Automation Group wants to reassure our customers that we are running full operations and intend to continue servicing all of your equipment, parts and support needs without interruption.

The health and safety of our employees is of utmost importance and SUN has taken the necessary precautions suggested by our local, state and federal authorities to further stop the spread of COVID-19. Each and every employee-owner at SUN Automation Group is dedicated to preserving the health and safety of their colleagues and yours. All SUN employee-owners have committed to following the CDC’s recommended hygiene practices. Through our investments in technology, SUN Automation administrative employees are able to work at full capacity, both in the office and remotely. Additionally, all SUN field service technicians are willing and prepared to follow each customer facilities’ safety protocols, with a commitment to providing the same quality of support you know and trust.

Should there be any changes in our ability to provide SUN equipment, parts and/or service, we will notify all affected customers and partners immediately. Until that time, SUN administrative offices will remain open, Monday through Friday from 8:30AM to 5:00PM, in addition, SUN Service and Support teams will continue to provide services 24/7.

  • To contact our US headquarters, call +1-410-472-2900
  • To contact our 24/7 Support line, call +1-800-253-7278 and dial 1 for parts or dial 2 for service
  • To contact our UK location, call +44 117 940 1777
  • To contact our China location, call +86-20-2860-6593

Thank you for your continued support during these challenging times. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to your SUN contact person. We truly appreciate you and we wish you, your colleagues and your loved ones health and safety.

Best Wishes,

SUN Automation Group’s Senior Leadership Team

SUN AUTOMATION GROUP PROMOTES NEW DIRECTOR OF SALES IN NORTH AMERICA

– SUN Automation Group Promotes Frank Reynolds to Director of Sales –

 

Frank Reynolds SUN Automation

Frank Reynolds, Director of Sales

Glen Arm, Maryland (November 3, 2019) – SUN Automation Group®, a leading global provider of innovative equipment to the corrugated industry, is pleased to announce Frank Reynolds has been promoted to Director of Sales. In this new role, Reynolds will be leading the direct external sales team to drive growth and profitability of core SUN products and new products across the North American market.

Reynold’s expanded responsibilities will also include managing the product development cycle and collaborating cross-functionally across the SUN organization to ensure all activities align with bringing value to box plants. He will continue report to Greg Jones, Vice President of Global Sales and Aftermarket.

“Promoting Frank to Director of Sales significantly strengthens our pivotal growth around the external direct domestic sales team. His accumulated industry knowledge and leadership skills will empower our sales team to continue to grow our business,” commented Jones.

Reynolds has been in the industry over 34 years, and has served SUN in many roles in both the engineering and sales sectors for the past 28 years. “Although I have a strong engineering background, I’ve connected deeply with the sales arm of the business. Cultivating relationships with customers and prospects to address their business needs is tremendously fulfilling,” said Reynolds.

“Frank has unequivocally contributed to SUN’s exponential growth for the better part of three decades. He’s proven his abilities as an engineer and sales manager, and we look forward to his team leadership,” said Jones.

About SUN Automation Group®

SUN Automation Group® is a global industry leader providing corrugated box plants with innovative equipment for feeding, printing and converting. The wide range of products are proven solutions for increasing production, efficiency, and profitability. With 24/7 on-site technical support, SUN Automation is known for its exceptional service and care. Headquartered outside of Baltimore, MD, SUN Automation has service centers around the globe. To keep up to date with SUN Automation’s innovations and news, visit www.sunautomation.com or follow the company on twitter @SUN Automation.

SUN AUTOMATION GROUP ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH GREENE HOUSE GROUP

– Greene House Group to Represent SUN Automation Group’s Line of Solutions for the Corrugated Industry –

Hayden Greene and Frank Greene of Greene House Group

Glen Arm, Maryland (October 1, 2019) – SUN Automation Group®, a leading global provider of innovative equipment to the corrugated industry, is excited to announce Greene House Group will represent SUN equipment and parts to its customers in California, Oregon, and Washington.

Frank Greene, Greene House Group’s founder and President, brings over 30 years of experience in both the corrugated and converting segments of the industry. His vast skillset and knowledge base translates to consistently providing top of the line equipment solutions for box plant corrugators. Working alongside Greene is his son, Hayden Greene, whose industry acumen and sales aptitude further enhance Greene House Group’s capabilities.

“I’ve long admired SUN Automation Group’s dedication to innovation and its commitment to listening and responding to customers’ needs. As their newest regional sales representative, I’m excited to share with my customers how SUN’s products deliver efficiencies and maximize ROI,” says Frank Greene.

SUN believes this partnership will enhance its presence in these regions, resulting in increased market share. “We’re proud to be represented by Greene House Group, and have full confidence in their ability to convey SUN’s value to customers. Our network of sales partnerships continues to be an integral component of our growth strategy,” says Greg Jones, Vice President of Global Sales & Aftermarket at SUN Automation Group.

SUN Automation Group Enters Exclusive Strategic Partnership Agreement with Latitude Machinery Corporation

Glen Arm, MD (May 6, 2019)—SUN Automation Group (SUN), a global leader in providing innovative solutions to the global corrugated industry, is proud to announce it has entered into an exclusive strategic partnership agreement with Latitude Machinery Corporation (LMC). Effective August 16, 2019, SUN will be the exclusive North and Central America representative of all LMC machinery and support its current customers with parts and service.

LMC is a rapidly growing and world-class manufacturer of Flexo Folder Gluers and other solutions to the corrugated industry, with approximately 100 machines in the field across North America.

“SUN continues to expand around the world,” said Chris Kyger, President of SUN Automation Group.  “On behalf of our board, senior leadership team and our employee-owners, we welcome LMC to the SUN Family.”

Under the leadership of retiring LMC USA President Lance Head, the company has enjoyed growth and earned a  reputation for providing reliable and dependable FFG machines. Head and his team of professionals have grown LMC’s customer base from 30 machines in the field to almost 100 in just seven years.

“We established a good reputation in the marketplace for LMC and this agreement with SUN Automation Group will continue the excellent sales and service support our customers have come to expect and deserve,” said Head.

SUN leadership also views the partnership with LMC as an opportunity to expand its technology and service offerings to its current customers.

“We are honored to work with LMC management and excited to introduce LMC’s technology solutions to our current customers in North and Central America,” said Greg Jones, Vice President of Global Sales and Aftermarket, SUN Automation Group.  “Under Lance Head’s leadership and his working closely with Pamila Lin of LMC, the company has experienced consistent growth in the United States,” said Jones.  “We are excited to continue that growth and support LMC’s current and future customers with SUN’s world-class parts and service. Additionally we look forward to working with Lance and his team to make this a seamless transition for the LMC customer base.”

This partnership agreement is just the latest example of SUN’s revolutionary ‘culture of listening and responding to customers needs’ at work– which enables SUN to invest in innovation and devise customized customer solutions.  SUN Automation Group currently fields a team of 12 internal parts and service coordinators, 15 field service technicians, and the largest inventory of parts in North America which will be on hand to support LMC’s current and future customers.

About SUN Automation Group®

SUN Automation Group®, as an OEM, services the corrugated industry with innovative new equipment to customers around the world.  The company SUN engineers and builds the SUN625® Rotary Die Cutter and CorrStream® Single Pass Aqueous Ink Digital Printers.  SUN is also the OEM source for Langston/Staley equipment parts and service. With 24/7 on-site technical support, SUN is known for its exceptional service and customer support. SUN is headquartered in their 184,000ft2 facility near Baltimore MD, with SUN has service centers throughout the globe. To keep up to date with SUN Automation’s innovations and news, visit www.sunautomation.com or follow the company on twitter @SUN Automation.

JOIN SUN AUTOMATION GROUP AT THE DIGITAL CORRUGATED EVENT OF THE YEAR IN CHARLOTTE NC

Sean Moloney, SUN Automation Group’s Global Product Manager- CorrStream will be leading an informative session on February 28th at 11:15am on the “Sales Value Proposition for Digital.”

With over 20 years in the corrugated industry Sean is well placed to provide first hand insight on both sides of the technology use case. Hear Sean explain a day in the life of a true water based, single pass digital printer providing true access to packaging products, as well as display type solutions.

Many box plants see over 90% of their output focused on packaging applications… especially in the sensitive food and beverage sectors. Lets take a look at some real world examples of packaging being produced digitally.

Realistic ink % to box price
Opening new markets
Increased flexibility with sensible costs
Ultimate flexibility to switch between papers
Producing more than the box!

Learn more here! http://sunautomation.digital/aiccdigitalxperience/

Looking forward to seeing you in Charlotte!

SUN AUTOMATION GROUP ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH SUBA SOLUTIONS TO REPRESENT SUN’S INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS IN INDIA

–Suba Solutions bring over 15 years of engineering, sales, marketing and customer service experience to SUN’s Customers in India—

Glen Arm, Maryland (July 2, 2018)  SUN Automation Group®, a leading global provider of innovative equipment to the corrugated industry, is pleased to announce a partnership with Suba Solutions to provide equipment and parts and support its customers in India.  

Suba Solutions headquartered in Chennai, India, specializes in value-added solutions for the folding carton packaging and corrugated packaging industry. Founded in 2003 initially as an offline UV curing manufacturer, the company shifted its focus to machine trading in early 2005. Today, Suba Solutions has over 900 machines installed throughout India, Sri Lanka, the Middle East and Africa. Suba’s territory in India for SUN Automation Group includes Southern States of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Pondicherry.

At the helm of Suba Solution’s management are four dynamic professionals, each heading separate product divisions and supported by over 90 colleagues situated across India. Of the partnership, Director of Suba Solutions Mr. C Naresh said, “This partnership will increase Suba Solution’s value proposition to its customers in India by offering them SUN Automation Group’s world class solutions and exceptional customer service and support  for the corrugated industry.”

“We are thrilled Suba Solutions is adding our products to their portfolio of solutions for the corrugated industry in India,” says Greg Jones, Vice President Global Sales & Aftermarket.  “SUN is perfectly poised to meet the high demand for corrugated packaging technology in India in a way that reduces costs while enhancing efficiencies.”

SUN AUTOMATION GROUP FEATURED ON MARYLAND’S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WEBSITE

SUN Automation is proud to be featured as a Maryland Success on open.maryland.gov.  We’re in great company too, surrounded by other successful Maryland businesses like Marriott International and McCormick!

“We thought outside the box when choosing Sun Automation Group for a success story. Have you ever thought about where your pizza box or Amazon delivery box comes from? It all starts in Baltimore County, where Sun Automation creates equipment to transform corrugated materials into boxes,” said Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill. “We want to make sure Maryland – and the rest of the world – knows about our impressive manufacturing industry and Sun Automation’s global presence.”

Visit the website to see our story and a video featuring our very own Greg Jones.