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Australia  

JAMESTRONG'S METALSTAR 3 PRINTER NEARS READINESS

12/01/2017

(To read the rest of this edition, click here.)

Jamestrong Packaging has successfully installed its $13 million KBA MetalStar 3 printing line at its Milperra, New South Wales plant and is now in testing mode for full production as all staff complete training in its use.

Like Jamestrong's recently opened dedicated infant formula can production line at its Kyabram plant in Victoria, the KBA MetalStar 3 printer has been installed in a purpose-built facility with the capability to operate in a 'red line' positive air-pressure environment - equivalent to the HEP3 air filtration used by fillers in their production environments.

The KBA MetalStar 3 - the world's fastest metal printing press - is currently in the commissioning and training phase, and Jamestrong expects that it can reach full production by second quarter 2017.

Jamestrong Packaging print manager Tim Bright said the plant was highly impressed by the MetalStar 3's capabilities during trials.

"All early signs of the machine confirm it absolutely flies. Jobs that used to take us four passes can now be done with a single pass. It's a real job-eater.

"With our older metal printers we used to put about 500 finished sheets on the floor in an hour. Now with the MS3 press we think - and it's only early days - that figure per hour will increase to 4000 finished sheets. That's impressive.

"If you multiply that by hours we can have the machine in production potentially 24-hours per day, six days per week - that's a phenomenal potential output."

Manufacturing manager Greg Bessant said that the printer is theoretically already capable of producing non-food cans, however he said food can qualification and validation is a lengthy process, regardless of the particular metal printer in use.

"Food can validation can take up to three months and that has to happen. We're anxious to use its capabilities now, but it's a necessary roadblock. We can't produce anything food grade until we have final contamination clearance."

Mr Bessant also said that Jamestrong is making a large investment in specialist staff recruitment and operator training before full production can commence.

"We have made a huge investment in the new metal printer but we are also investing in a highly skilled workforce. We have brought three full-time specialist KBA operators into the business who are sharing their knowledge with our existing operators and vice-versa. All 20 of our print staff will have completed operator training by Q2 2017."

Mr Bessant said the Milperra plant is itching to bring the MetalStar 3 printer to full capacity.

"We're really looking forward to unleashing its capabilities for our clients. The extra flexibility it offers is going to be a huge benefit for us and our customers."

(To read the rest of this edition, click here.)

 
 
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