Autobond celebrates first sale via social networking

UK-based laminator and inkjet spot UV manufacturer Autobond is celebrating further success in the North American market following the sale of a Mini 76 THCC sheet fed thermal laminator with flying knife cross cutter to Walsworth Publishing Company.

Significantly, the deal materialised following market research by the US company who came across a video demonstration of an Autobond laminator on the company’s YouTube page and consequently contacted the UK company’s US office via social networking site LinkedIn.

The commercial and yearbook publishing company based in Marceline, Missouri, specialises in digital, sheet fed and web fed printing in addition to offering a full line of specialty and standard coating services. Operating for over 75 years, it offers a full range of finishing styles and techniques including the lamination of placards and books covers.

While Walsworth and Autobond appear well suited in terms of their mutual dedication to customer service and innovation, it was a deal that may never have happened without social media.

Social media is a dynamic tool that brings businesses together and enables small to medium companies to bring awareness and excitement to their products, enabling them to stand out in a competitive market space,” explains Shane Hutson, bindery manager of Walsworth Publishing Company. “In effect social media is the bullhorn that has allowed David to compete with Goliath on the international stage. If neither Autobond nor our company had access to YouTube or LinkedIn this deal may not have never have come about – I’m obviously delighted that it did.

I first encountered Autobond following some in-depth market research. We were looking to find a vendor that would not only provide the technology to increase our lamination capabilities – increasing both quality and productivity – but we wanted a like-minded partner that shared our vision of the market and could offer comprehensive service and support. We came across a video of Autobond’s Mini 76 THCC in action on the company’s YouTube page. Impressed, I subsequently contacted Autobond VP Oran Gilmore using LinkedIn. Following initial correspondence regarding what we were looking for and certain technical specifications, Autobond invited me to go over for a live demonstration of the Mini 76 THCC at its main factory in the UK. The company quickly became a serious option.” At the UK factory in Derbyshire Autobond demonstrated its robust Mini 76 THCC, a 30” wide x 41” long, thermal film laminator fitted with a Heidelberg Speedmaster 74 feed head, and a high speed flying knife cross cutter.  The flying knife cutter is an option that adds versatility to the Mini 76 TH enabling the laminator to run polypropylene (OPP), polyester (PET) and nylon films at up to 200 feet per minute leaving a clean edge. The flying knife is also available as a 41” wide version to run in-line with Autobond’s Mini 105 TH series.

“It was the best demo I have ever experienced in my 25 years of working in the industry,” says Hutson.  “Not only was I allowed to grill the technicians on every aspect of the machine, but I was allowed to be present during the make-ready.  The machine easily laminated my 22” X 12” Xerox sheets without any wrinkles and with great adhesion. The best features of the machine were the quality of the components, its modularity to add options in the future and the amount of nip pressure that can be applied. I was instantly sold on both the technology and the company.

We have already estimated that at a running speed rate of 60% we will reduce manufacturing labor costs by 30%.  We also improve on delivery time due to the increased capacity to work through high volume peaks more efficiently. I cannot wait for the machine to arrive. It is an investment that partners us with a company that has powerful and visionary ideas, offering us the crucial support and servicing to the machine to ensure we deliver immediate and optimum service. Working with Autobond will give us the flexibility and foresight to take advantage of the many opportunities in the US market.” Oran Gilmore comments: “We are thrilled to have gained our first sale via social networking. Not only does it show that there is great demand in the US market for high quality lamination and added-value print but it demonstrates the increasing power of social networking to bring companies together. We have established a great partnership with Shane Hutson and Walsworth Publishing Company and look forward to making new connections and further utilising the marketing potential of social networking.”