J.S. McCarthy, a folding carton printer located in Augusta, Maine, is one of the oldest and largest sheetfed printers in the state. Established in 1947, the business is 100% employee-owned and has a well-known reputation for exemplary service, world class owner-operators and leading-edge technology and equipment. When combined, the result is a high-quality finished product.
Established in the high-end commercial print and finishing market, the business has expanded to serve the needs of the growing folding carton market, with an emphasis on the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries.
J.S. McCarthy attributes this growth to strong direct mill relationships and strategic and continuous investment in technology such as a sheeter, two 41" eight-color presses, and a range of BOBST equipment. The business operates from an expansive 150,000 sq. ft. facility, employing 160 individuals operating 24/7.
J.S. McCarthy recognizes that, across the folding carton sector, there are a handful of key pressure points for which its experience in commercial printing brings key advantages. These include accessing and processing feedstock, reducing lead times, and exceeding service levels in challenging market conditions.
The business uses multiple BOBST solutions, including two SP104-BM machines, which offer both die-cutting and hot foil stamping capabilities, designed to meet the needs of the folding carton market. With this technology in place, the business is able to die cut and strip in a simple, straightforward workflow.
Since purchasing the SP104-BMs, J.S. McCarthy further invested in BOBST solutions including two EXPERTFOLD 110 folder-gluers, a VISIONFOLD 110 folder-gluer, and an EXPERTCUT 106 PER flatbed die-cutter with a second on order, scheduled to be online in late 2023.
EXPERTCUT 106 PER provides the versatility, reliability, and productivity that packaging converters need to compete. Alongside effortless precision and perfect stripping, waste removal and batch alignment for blanking, EXPERTCUT features a highly productive workflow, enabling job changeovers in under eight minutes.
Hailed as the ‘ultimate all-rounder’ in folding-gluing, the VISIONFOLD 110 line delivers consistent quality and handles an impressively diverse range of box styles. The machine processes multi-fold packaging with a choice of left, right or simultaneous folding. With exceptional stability and precise folding, VISIONFOLD is a durable, cost-efficient, and high-speed solution for the folding carton market.
Jon Tardiff, president at J.S. McCarthy, explains: “We first expanded into the folding carton market around 17 years ago, and it now accounts for between 60-70% of our business. Our goal is clear; we aim to not just meet the printing needs of our customers, but exceed expectations in quality and speed, time and again. To do that, we invest in market-leading technology.
“We work closely with BOBST, particularly on our VISIONFOLD. At the time it was the only one in the world with a scoring shaft — and it may still be. We use it for a lot of our high-volume greeting cards and self-mailers where we are scoring and plow folding in line. We are currently operating three BOBST folder-gluers, with plans to add a fourth in the near future.
“Ultimately, we have a reputation for stellar customer service, and that’s something we’ve worked on over many years. We bring a commercial print mindset to the packaging world, and with investments in our technology, we can consistently elevate our service level even further.
“One of the biggest benefits BOBST offers to the business is productivity.”
Tardiff continues, “When we switched from our previous machines to BOBST equipment, we saw a huge leap forward in how much we were able to accomplish in the same timeframe. We’re talking 30-50% improvements in a lot of cases. The IT and digital integration are also a big jump forward for us from a productivity standpoint.
“Something that particularly impressed us about BOBST was the training available on both the die-cutters and folder-gluers, which I cannot say enough about. There is a huge amount of market knowledge, and if a machine can run at 9,000 sheets per hour, they will train you to run it at 9,000 sheets per hour! With a constant point of contact and regular site visits, they’re constantly pushing productivity. We are also impressed with the durability of BOBST equipment. The machines are built to last and perform at a top level, so the lifetime value is fantastic and that’s quality that you can rely on. Our blanker runs for close to four shifts now, and it’s just made to do it.”
The productivity advantages offered by J.S. McCarthy’s BOBST equipment portfolio, including EXPERTCUT and VISIONFOLD, became even clearer during the pandemic.
“As COVID-19 brought a labor crunch, we struggled to find people for the hand stripping of blanks. BOBST EXPERTCUT technology allowed us to remain productive and profitable with fewer people. For example, we’d need up to 20 people air-chiseling and removing waste to keep up with our plant. Instead, we’re doing it with a blanker.
“BOBST is built to last and to perform every single day. You get what you pay for and, with BOBST, that’s productivity and throughput. It performs as advertised, and to be honest, I think it does even more than that.”