BAR GRAPHIC MACHINERY SUCCEEDS WITH OPM GROUP

Sue & Chris Ellison

Bar Graphic Machinery now has six finishing machines in operation at OPM Group, following the recent installation of a second BGM Elite 550 Multiflex rewinder.

This latest Generation 2 Elite Multiflex has a 550mm web width and is capable of finishing a wide variety of supported and unsupported films, plastics, foils, papers, self-adhesive papers and light carton substrates.  

The machine is fitted with a 1 metre capacity unwind, is 100% servo-controlled and has a 100% inspection module with slow-down festoon, precise error placement and waste rewind take-up unit.

OPM Group is one of Europe’s foremost converters of medium / short run flexible packaging print and a specialist self-adhesive labels producer.  

From The Colour Box, its 60,000 sq. ft. state-of-art facility in Leeds, OPM Group serves recognised global brand leaders in a variety of market sectors such as food & beverage, automotive, medical/pharma, health & beauty, vets /pets and medical whose familiar brands can be found on retailer shelves across Europe and beyond.

OPM co-owners Chris and Sue Ellison explain the challenge OPM must routinely overcome:

“OPM offer both self-adhesive labels and flexible packaging printed products to clients who want total control of colour consistency and quality across a range. This means we work with a wide range of substrates to manufacture self-adhesives, sachet laminate, lidding film, flow wrap and pouches,” says managing director Chris. “Maintaining consistency across all those substrates requires that you eradicate undesirable variables from every stage of the process, and nowhere is that more critical than in finishing.

Chris and Sue are keen to emphasise the importance of effective teamwork, which is totally ingrained into OPM’s corporate culture. “A vital of OPM’s track record of year-on-year success is down to the unique way in which we appoint ‘lead partners’ in each of our mission-critical areas. BGM has been our lead partner in finishing for several years now, and they can be extremely proud of what we’ve achieved as a strong partnership”, says Sue.

“The contribution of BGM’s chairman and technical director Bill Rhodes to get the results we want has been immense. Bill’s early career was in label & packaging print which has given BGM an unrivalled insight into what we’re trying to achieve as flexible packaging and label printers, this has provided invaluable technical innovation based on an informed background.”

Like OPM, Bar Graphic Machinery is an established family-owned and operated business, built on firm financial foundations. And like OPM, BGM is enjoying expansion and an order book that is growing both at home and overseas.

Recent investment and increased production capacity at BGM’s Bradford facility has been further augmented with a brand new purpose-designed showroom and customer demonstration suite capable of housing the entire BGM range.

BGM’s managing director Annemarie Rhodes is understandably proud of the new facility: “We’ve always welcomed customers new and old to the factory, with our new showroom and demonstration suite fully operational, we can guarantee that customers can get truly hands-on with the full range of BGM products.  Customers, like OPM need to see that BGM machines can effectively handle the wide variety of printed substrates they offer in their portfolio, whilst always looking to innovate for the future”.

Working with clients like OPM who are proactive in their lean manufacture have helped BGM understand the waste and speed constraints that have to be taken into account on a daily basis  by all print converters and still achieve growth and invest. A key focus for BGM is to understand how to reduce waste for their clients, the drive to minimise waste when substrate cost and tight margins may mean the difference between a job making a profit or not. “BGM machines excel in minimising output waste, and with our demonstration suite now fully operational we can show this right across the range”, said Annemarie. “We recognise clients of BGM customers constantly ‘push the envelope’, in an effort to control costs, get more out of current substrates or produce with exciting new ones”.

Some of BGM’s customers, like OPM Group for example, have an ongoing commitment to research and development and involve key strategic partners like BGM at an early stage of new product development. Explains BGM chairman and technical director Bill Rhodes: “When flexible packaging and label printers and their clients are looking at innovative ways of doing things, working with new substrates or wanting to see how the capabilities of existing substrates might be expanded, the focus needs to be just as much about finishing as it is about getting the ink on right in the first place.

“Sometimes unfortunately, finishing can be something of an after-thought – However if we’re invited to the party early, we can often contribute in ways that will save time and, ultimately, cost. At BGM we love a technical challenge and thrive on making the seemingly impossible, possible”.

This burning desire to create engineering excellence has been the driving force behind BGM since Bill and Annemarie founded the business back in 1992. These days the company recruits from among some of the brightest engineering graduates, harnessing their brains and enthusiasm to new technologies and proven engineering excellence, in the process propelling BGM to new heights on the back of an order book that is fast expanding both at home and overseas.

Walking down BGM’s busy factory production line, sales manager Daniel Carr – a BGM veteran of 14 years - points out that while each machine is easily identified by its model type, each will be uniquely configured to its buyers’ specific requirements.

Says Daniel: “These days, competition is such that every customer almost without exception is looking to gain an ‘edge’ over their competitors, which usually involves working faster, with more challenging substrates, with less down-time and less wastage.

 “The general capabilities, reliability and cost-effectiveness of any BGM machine is a given. What’s just as valuable to customers in today’s fast-moving, highly competitive market is BGM’s ability to help provide that elusive commercial ‘edge’”

Whilst the future for BGM has never looked brighter, unsurprisingly there’ll be no resting on laurels. “To be recognised as a lead partner at a world class company like OPM Group, to have six BGM mission critical machines running there twenty four seven, is just about the highest accolade one could wish for in this business”, says BGM chairman and technical director Bill Rhodes. “In a way we’re like climbers: we’ve scaled every peak so far, from small beginnings to snow-capped giants, but our drive is relentless, so we’ll go on and scale even more”.