C&T Matrix looks at the challenges being faced by die makers in 2022

Stephen Williams, UK sales technical director at C&T Channel Matrix discusses some of the issues being faced by die makers when it comes to converting and the solutions that C&T Channel Matrix can provide.

The challenges:

As an industry, we are dealing with a well acknowledged shortage of solid board and raw materials for packaging, plus an increase in cost and long lead times from mills. More topically, the impact of COVID-19 is still taking its toll on the industry. With die cutting requiring a significant amount of labour, high volumes of people isolating is adding additional pressure. Pharma, beverage, cosmetics and food industries are under immense pressure, and board shortages are already apparent, which was increased in the run up to Christmas.

At C&T, we are sympathetic to these challenges, and are pleased to have developed solutions to help alleviate pressure on die makers through collaboration. Such solutions include new products, stock solutions, and helping makers to overcome production issues through technical support, advice and effective solutions.

The solutions:

C&T is developing solutions in response to the various issues facing the die cutting industry.  We have increased stock levels to prevent shortages, and to keep the flow of die production moving. The C&T team have regular updates and conversations where we pick up on current trends and demands to make sure that our customers can access a consistent and well stocked supply of products. We listen to clients to ensure they have an immediate stock, so shortages do not stop production.

One of the solutions is to offer consignment stock to both our die maker and end user customers. Designed to provide an improved service to customers, the consignment policy removes the need for customers to manage their own stock, instead providing them with a consignment stock from which they can take product as and when it’s needed. C&T is looking to expand the consignment service to other UK and Irish users. We want to remove from customers, the hassle of having to manage raw material stocks and reduce their financial burden.

Over recent years C&T has also been providing a wide range of more specialist products so clients can obtain quality products from a reliable supplier. Items such as gripper bars and steel plates, pins, pin holders and frames are of a high quality with some made to OEM specifications. We are supporting our customers with selection and installation of these items, and provision of ongoing technical support.

SpeedX is another new product and is a high-performance die ejection rubber, to help die makers speed up the cutting process and improve efficiency. SpeedX guarantees a rapid recovery on-press, meaning that it is ideal for high-speed auto platens. Its distinctive closed cell structure results in consistent compressibility on die by absorbing the energy applied under platen pressure. When released, the stored energy quickly allows the structure to recover and provides a fast and powerful ejection, ensuring maximum speed on-press. SpeedX also has a food safety certificate (ISEGA), and die makers can promote their brand and expertise by personalising the colour rubber they would like, helping them to stand out from the competition.

At C&T we are well positioned to help customers with installation support and equipment recommendations and supply. We recently assisted our client Affinity Packaging, who purchased a second-hand machine due to the high demand for dies. We were able to provide the client with advice and new equipment for the machine, such as gripper bars and blankets. We gave technical advice to help them to upgrade the machine to increase its efficiency and production.

The bottom line is that the packaging market is stretched, and pressure on people and production is at an all time high. C&T understands this pressure and can provide responsive, immediate support to small independents and large manufacturers alike. The challenges can be so diverse and unique, but C&T are the experts, and we are confident that we can help find quick solutions to the many requirements of packaging conversion.