“We are extremely proud of achieving these world records. We finally managed them through a combination of our incredible people and an incredible machine.”
Ahmed Hamdy Mansour, Factory General Manager at First Co. For Industrial Development in Egypt, is talking about the two world production records that his company have achieved. On February 2nd 2018, with the help of the first installed FFG 8.20 DISCOVERY – one of BOBST’s latest Flexo-Folder-Gluers – the company set a new productivity record for the number of square meters a single 8-hour shift (62,811 square meters). One month later, on March 1st 2018, the second FFG 8.20 DISCOVERY installed by First Co. beat the world record for the number of boxes produced in a single 8-hour shift (a staggering 117,995 boxes).
First Co. is a company familiar with producing high-quality packaging material under pressure – after all, it is one of the leaders in the paper and packaging market in Egypt. Its customers include multinationals such as McDonald’s, Proctor & Gamble, Unilever and Samsung. But Mr Mansour – who has been with the company since it was founded in 2007 – wanted to go the extra mile.
“The world record was important to everyone at the company,” he said. “We had tried to achieve it before but never managed it. It made us more determined and we really pushed ourselves – everyone in our team has a fighting spirit and a will to achieve something amazing, and I am so proud of them. But it is not just the people. Not any machine could have done this. We needed a BOBST machine to reach this next level.”
Discovering a next generation Flexo-Folder-Gluer
The machine in question – the FFG 8.20 DISCOVERY – is a super-efficient Flexo-Folder-Gluer. With a two-minute set up time and easy drive with only two operators, it is simple to use. And it’s advertised production rate of 18,000 boxes per hour is eye-catching.
What else specifically appealed to First Co.?
“We immediately liked the ease and accuracy of feeding; the mechanism of the feeder is excellent,” said Mansour. “The Rapidset system for changing orders was also very appealing. The folder and counter ejector are very good; the folder mechanism overcomes fishtailing and any other such problems during folding. It is also extremely reliable.”
So other than the world records, what has this meant for business?
“Of course, as you can see from the world records, our production has increased,” Mansour continued. “We have also increased our level of quality. Our customers are rightly very exacting when it comes to quality control. All of this ultimately means that we have increased our market share, so we are very happy with the two FFG 8.20 DISCOVERY machines we purchased.”
Success based on building partnerships
First Co. has become one of the leading players in the Egyptian paper and packaging market with a focus on quality, service, competitive prices and new product innovation.
But it also prides itself on another aspect, which helps to differentiate it from its competitors: building genuine partnerships, with both customers and suppliers.
“This is actually one of the main things that First Co. offers – it is not just a supplier-customer relationship with our customers – we are genuine partners; we want to understand what they are trying to achieve, and we try to help them to accomplish that. We always try to be flexible to accommodate what they need. If a customer of ours is expanding, we will take that into consideration, investing heavily so we can meet their needs. Ultimately it is still a family business, so establishing those relationships is very important to us.”
The same is true of the company’s relationship with BOBST, which it views as a trusted partner, not just a supplier.
First Co. signed its first deal with BOBST in 2007, for ten machines, and following four years of successful production with this equipment, the company invested in a further two machines. The twelve lines within First Co. plants include four SPO corrugated die-cutters, a large format SPeria die-cutter, a Foilmaster 104 hot foil stamping press and six folder-gluer lines including two high performance EXPERTFOLD 11 A2s
“BOBST for us is not a supplier of machines,” explained Mr Mansour. “They are our partners. They are a completely reliable company – not only in terms of the performance of their machines, but their after-sales service as well. You name it, everything is perfect concerning our partnership with BOBST.”
And what about the future? Does Mr Mansour think productivity can be improved even further?
“Yes, absolutely,” he said. “We are always working on that. It is an increasingly competitive marketplace in Egypt, you can never rest. To be among the very top companies, you have to keep increasing your numbers, whether that’s in terms of productivity, raw materials, machines – so we are not going to stop.
Indeed, we are looking to have two more BOBST Flexo-Folder-Gluers – the FFG 924 NT RS and the FFG 1228 NT – in order to have a complete combination of machines to be able to achieve all box dimensions that are needed for our customers.”