Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Tour around PSI

On Friday, Mike and I drove up to Maryland to PSI, a company who makes all of our boxes. We're wanting some more custom boxes made but are unsure of what size so we were invited up to their plant where they could help us with our needs and show us how things are done.
 We started by looking at a few of their sample boxes to see how they folded and the print methods. Once we had some ideas we went to the design shop where their team helped us to decide on 3 sizes which they would make while we were having our tour.
I spotted this up on a shelf, a little Geico gimmick that they'd replicated with corrugated card.
Then at last it was off into the factory, I love seeing how things are made. The plant holds over 4.5 million square feet of cardboard, has 18 loading bays and can turn around jobs in 24 hours. The first thing Andy, the Sales Manager, told us was how green the plant is. All the solvents are cleaned off, filtered and the waste barely fills a trash bag at the end of the week.
A big cyclone above the roof sucks the scrap from production then feeds this machinery which chops it up, compacts it and then bales it. All left over cardboard goes in here and the bales are sold to China who themselves make boxes from them.
 The top image is a rack of templates for cutting different style boxes and immediately above are clients' print plates. I couldn't see Emblemax's.
 Of course a PSI stamp goes on every box.
This machine is PSI's new baby. It cost about  $3.5 million and can create 13-33 hundred boxes an hour. It can cut the boxes and print them.
This beast may be the only one of its kind on the east coast. It makes the big boxes,eg. for electrical appliances like fridges or ovens. It only needs a number punched in and then can be left to make and print the boxes. There is no waste from this machine. Apparently most box making machines are Italian or German.
 This machine is making partitions. There's also a machine which only scours lines on boxes or partitions for easier folding.
 Here's a machine in action.
 Andy explaining a  part of production. This guy knew his stuff and held our attention the whole time.
The die cutting machines here come apart and can be mixed and matched as they each perform a different task.
Part of their huge storage facility.
This is a lazy susan style stapling machine. It's punching huge staples to assemble these reels which may go on to hold up to $20,000 of gold connectors.
 PSI don't only make boxes. They provide all the packaging materials and once had a 2 year contract to supply foam for packing missiles being sent to Iraq. Even their scrap foam is not wasted. This is solidified by a machine here and then goes off to be made into composite decking. PSI also supply cut glass to many hardware stores.
Finished boxes are sent down their huge roller system to their loading docks. All too soon our tour was finished and we headed back to the design room. It had certainly been an impressive introduction to the box industry and I was also impressed at how clean and safety conscious the plant was. And Andy even encouraged me to take photos but of course I ensured no client names were revealed in my images.
We got back and found a stack of boxes ready for us, perfectly made and certainly ideal for what we had in mind. Now we had seen first hand how these were printed in the plant, I could go back to my desk and start thinking about artwork. This had been an enjoyable and educational morning. Thank you Packaging Services Inc.

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