(First published in International Paperboard Packaging Industries, North American Special Issue, Fall 2022)
For over 100 years, Acme Corrugated Box Company has provided packaging and packaging services for customers in the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond. From a humble beginning selling scrap paper and seconds in Old City Philadelphia, Acme has evolved into one of the Mid-Atlantic’s leading box makers serving customers from their soon to be 320,000 square feet facility in Hatboro, PA (Acme is nearing the completion of a major facility expansion).
Acme’s newest die cutter line includes an Apstar 1632 2-over-3 color die cutter mated to a Geo. M. Martin SBX: SCRUBBER® Stacker with SQC (Sheet Quality Control) Diverter. The installation allows Acme to produce single-sided or inside-outside printed die cuts at speeds up to 12,000 sheets per hour.
“The Apstar is a high-performance die cutter,” says Jeremy Cohen, Acme’s VP. “It’s also a very versatile machine. We can blow-n-go at eleven or twelve-thousand sheets an hour, or we can run 3-colors outside and 2-colors inside at high-speed in a single pass. We run a wide variety of jobs, many of which are multi-outs. Sometimes we can nick them, sometimes the customer doesn’t want them nicked. So, we were looking for a machine that could maximize not only the performance, but the versatility of the Apstar.”
“We put together a list of our requirements, safety, of course, was at the top; it’s a core value for me and our Company. Other features that were important were sheet control, max speed, scrap removal and maximum uptime. After looking at what the market had to offer, we selected the Geo. Martin SBX Scrubber and chose to configure it with the SQC Diverter.”
The SQC Diverter plays a big part in both safety and efficiency by allowing automatic ejection of samples as well as non-conforming sheets. “The safety and wellbeing of our employees are key concerns for us. The SBX has some safety features that we didn’t find in the other machines. It’s well guarded, and we especially liked the light-fence around the deck and hopper areas which prevents the deck from lowering if someone enters the area while the machine is running. The SQC Diverter also brings a new level of safety to the operation. The days of operators reaching over the deck or trying to grab sample sheets from the hopper are gone. They can manually eject sheets at the push of a button, or they can set it to eject samples at programmed intervals — 100, 250, 500, whatever the job requires — and it delivers the samples right to the machine side for inspection. The operators don’t need to worry about when it’s time to take a sample. They don’t have to pause the feed. They don’t need to get close to the moving machinery. They can pull samples throughout the order without interrupting production. It lets them focus on other tasks and allows more consistent QC sampling.”
“The SBX also allows us to separate the blanks without the need for a bundle breaker. If we’re running 2, 3 or 4-out, we can separate them on the deck before they get to the hopper where the blanks are formed into the stacks and bundles.”
“We’re basically selling machine time to our customers, so keeping our machines safely running is very important. The SBX controls and job parameter recall give us very short set-up times on the stacker, an average of 8-10 minutes or less,” says Cohen.
“With the complexity of a full line start up you always expect some small issues to arise, but we didn’t experience anything unexpected. Installation and startup went smoothly. The control system on the SBX is intuitive and user friendly. The [Geo.] Martin technician provided excellent training for our crews and the learning curve was short.”