Odd Joergenrud: Automation is packaging industry’s future

Headquartered in Oak Brook, near Chicago, Illinois, USA, Maxcess provides automated web handling solutions for the print and packaging industry. The CEO, Odd Joergenrud spoke to Disha Chakraborty about the new R&D centre which is set up in Mumbai and plans of setting up a new repair centre

10 Jun 2023 | By Disha Chakraborty

CEO, Odd Joergenrud with general manager Niraj Muni (l): Maxcess is present in 30 locations globally; spread across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia Pacific

Disha Chakraborty (DC): Congratulations on the new office, what are the plans with this R&D centre?
Odd J (OJ):
We have two areas of focus opening a new office. One is for the Indian market where we want to continue our expansion. Second, we want to build an engineering team that operates out of India. If we set up our localised R&D centre in Mumbai, it will benefit our product development and support the Maxcess product lines. Especially when India is becoming more and more dominated by software.

DC: When will the repair centre be up and running?
By the beginning of August, this centre will be up and running. We already have property in Goregaon, which is the industrial hub in the city. There we will have a facility for repair and refurbishing of our RotoMetrics line of products like Magnetic and Anvil cylinders.  Additionally, we resharpen solid rotary dies, which helps customers keep converting lines running. The facility allows Maxcess to guarantee a faster turnaround time on repair orders.

DC: How does Maxcess supply technologies to categories like MSMEs and SME companies who dominate the Indian landscape?
For the print converters, we service and support everything from the small and large printing presses. Maxcess also offers solutions for huge manufacturing plants for steel, rubber and non-woven industries. That is the range of solutions we have for various customers. We serve all types of printers and other converting customers, irrespective of their size; whether it is MSME or not.

DC: Are there support centres available in case of a machine breakdown or failure?
Firstly, we cooperate with a number of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to be able to serve customers better. Secondly, we also have a global network for service and repair set up in close proximity to the majority of our customers. We have technical service and support in the places our customers do business. In case of a machine breakdown, our engineers visit the site, and get it up and running again.

DC: How can the print and packaging industry adopt strategies in terms of Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 and automation has already made its entrance into this industry. It gives you faster line speeds, quicker changeovers, better quality, improved accuracy, and more safer operations. For instance, Industry 4.0 solutions eliminate risky operations like manual adjustments of sharp knives or other potentially unsafe equipment. That's where industry 4.0 with connectivity comes in. You are able to better assess the situation via sensors, to evaluate what exactly is going on in the system.  The operations leader can get the data on his computer and make better decisions.

DC: Challenges that come along with Industry 4.0?
We need to ensure people are using the data correctly.  If you have multiple shifts and multiple operators, you can identify the specific problems linked to the individual operator. Perhaps you need to train the operator better or you can also use automation for predictive and preventative maintenance. When we deliver a die, the customer can identify the die with the help of QR code. So while the die is being used in a machine, the automated system will count the number of revolutions. You can get the data that helps you determine the rotary die condition, discard it after it wears out and reorder a new die. Thereby, you avoid having temporary stops and downtime during the manufacturing process.

DC: How does Maxcess score on the sustainability background?
Maxcess has an initiative that says “planet is a major priority”. All the products we develop are aimed at producing less scrap and using less energy. The product lines we have are helping the customer to save material usage and reduce waste. Some our manufacturing plants have already installed solar to supply energy.

DC: What was Maxcess’ track record last year?
Last year was very good. Even during Covid, we had robust business results and achieved our financial targets. This year, we kicked-off a bit slower because of factors such as the subdued economy in Europe, the war in Ukraine and the impact of the energy crisis. By the end of the year, we will catch up again.

DC: How has the Indian market been for Maxcess?
India numbers have been very strong.

DC: What does 2023 and 2024 look like for Maxcess?
We have new innovative products which we are going to launch to help our customers work better, faster and smarter.

DC: When?
There will be a big launch of new products at Labelexpo which will be held in Brussels in September. We will be launching technologies that are not only linked to a single product line, but combining Maxcess technologies in products such as automated die stations.

DC: Printing and packaging is the fifth largest industry in India at this point. Your inputs for the Indian printing industry about how to scale up and how to acclimate themselves to the new technologies that have been launched in the other parts of the world?
I think lots of good things are already happening in India. Now, Indian converters should embrace new technology opportunities to improve the quality. Also they must enhance, update and improve the working environment to attract young talent. The next generation is much- more ambitious and technologically advanced.

DC: That's the big challenge for all of us. As to how do we attract the young generation into the industry?
True. Also how do we train them quicker because we might not have the chance to educate them over years. That is where I think Industry 4.0 can help attract them with the use of AI and all other automation tools.

DC: If a converting company wants to invest in an automation project which Maxcess offers, what is the typical investment?
Investment in any machine automation can vary and it increases with the level of upgrading. An adjustable die station can require a minimum of a few thousand USD and with each update, the additional investment can go up to USD 10,000-20,000 depending on the level of automation the customer select.

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