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In just over ten years since it was formed, Proseal has developed into a leading manufacturer of heat-sealing machinery and tooling for the food packaging industry. At the heart of its success is its willingness to go ‘the extra mile’ in terms of service and support. It expects the same from its suppliers also.
The old adage that success breeds success is true of Proseal, the Adlington, Cheshire-based manufacturer of heat sealing equipment used by food manufacturers to seal a variety of food packaging for products such as ready meals, sandwiches, fresh meat, poultry, fish and fruit. Formed in 1998 when it operated out of two small units with six employees, the company now operates from three large industrial units, employs some 200 people worldwide and has just taken on another 40 people in the last three months of 2010.
Throughout that time service, support and ongoing investment have played a crucial part in the growth. “Constant investment in machine tools is vital to our success and to ensure that everything is running at optimum performance. This investment means that we are constantly improving and we are faster and more productive year on year,” says Paul Wilson, Proseal’s manufacturing supervisor.
In addition to manufacturing the packaging machines, Proseal also produces the form tools that help create the vacuum seal. 2010 saw its busiest year to date, with upwards of 700 tools being produced on its 13 machining centres. With these sorts of production levels it is vital that machines are available for as many hours as possible and herein lay a problem for Proseal. The company was finding that it was stopping a machine on a weekly basis to completely drain the coolant system and replace it with a fresh mix.
Proseal therefore took the decision top source a new supplier of cutting fluids with Jemtech (UK) and its Blaser Swisslube range of coolants being selected on the basis of promises of extended sump life and the cost savings that this would bring. “Typically, we were cleaning out at least one machine each week, which is expensive in downtime, labour and consumables with the coolants from our previous supplier,” says Paul Wilson. The faith placed in Jemtech has been repaid many times over as Proseal are finding that they only clean out the sump of each machine once a year now, with the sumps being topped up in between to maintain the correct mix and fluid levels.
The cost savings as a result are quite significant, with an average machine cleanout taking four hours and the number of times this now has to be done reduced from 52 to 13. Proseal has therefore gained back a considerable number of production hours and made savings in labour costs, in addition to a major reduction in the volume of cutting fluid being used and, therefore, reduced disposal costs. “When we were first told that our coolant would last 12 months between sump cleaning there was a lot of disbelief from the machine operators. But, if we are honest, the only reason we do it at 12 months is from a housekeeping point of view to remove any tramp oil and other contaminants from the sump,” says Paul Wilson.
The cutting fluid being used by Proseal is Blasocut BC 25 MD, supplied by Jemtech UK, sole distributor for Blaser Swisslube products in the UK. Blasocut BC 25 MD is a water miscible, chlorine free, mineral oil-based with special additives making it ideal for non-ferrous materials such as the aluminium being machined at Proseal, as well as being able to be used for general machining of cast iron and steel.
The lack of bactericides, and EP additives within Blasocut BC 25 MD make it a very mild formulation and as a result provides extremely good human skin compatibility. “As a progressive company we are very aware of what is expected of us in regards to health and safety,” says Paul Wilson. “At the end of the day when you are using cutting fluids you are handling chemicals, and if you can take as many of those chemicals out of the equation, as Blaser have done, it has to be a major benefit. The proof of this is that since we have changed over from our previous supplier to Blasocut we have not had a single complaint about skin irritation; and, if the guys on the shopfloor are happy we are all happy.”