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Sustained Growth Is in the Bag

Jan. 27, 2009
Bag and Pouch Machine Builder Continues to Expand With Smart Employees, Strategic Acquisitions and One Eye Always on Technology

By Mike Bacidore, Managing Editor

With more than 50 patents issued, not to mention the dozens in process, CMD, Appleton, Wis., aims to lead the industry in technology, service and new solutions by recruiting, hiring and retaining exceptional people. Its 150 employees design and manufacture bag and pouch machines, bag winders and folders, unwinds and a variety of complementary equipment, including drawtape bag equipment, bubble slit sealers, bubble post gusseters, rotary die cutters and sine wave cutters. CMD also offers system integration services, retrofitting, process validation services and proprietary projects.

What began in 1979 with the development of its signature, high-speed rotary bag equipment has evolved into a machine builder with customers on five continents, including the Middle East. Through the introduction of multiple machine patents, numerous acquisitions, expansion and construction of facilities and licensing of technology, CMD has nurtured and grown its organization with attention to automation.

Where the Work Gets Done

“We have 44 engineers and technicians total on our technical bench,” says Lisa M. Kain, corporate market manager, research and communications, at CMD. “They include eight electrical engineers, two electrical designers, four mechanical engineers, nine mechanical designers, six project managers, most of whom are PEs, six technical service reps, two R&D techs, two test and training techs, one technical service assistant, one technical writer, one estimator, one engineering assistant and a vice president of product development and engineering, who’s also a PE. We also ramp up with contract technicians and engineers when necessary. The bench can swell to 50 or more, depending on the project load.”

Joel Borree, electrical assembler, completes systems wiring on a CMD 4213RO Rotary Overlap Bag Winder.
Source: CMD
The work is allocated among its three business units. CMD Converting Solutions designs and manufactures plastic film converting equipment for the blown-film industry. This business unit converts plastic film, either in line with an extruder or from roll stock, into a flexible container, or bag. CMD Packaging Systems designs and manufactures pre-made pouch systems for use as packages in a variety of applications. The design and manufacture of vertical form fill, seal (VFFS) packaging equipment also is part of this unit. The CMD Technology Center provides engineers and technicians to assist in the development of proprietary processes and systems.

Center of Attention

Greg Nackers is senior electrical engineer at the CMD Technology Center, and he knows the company’s automation strengths. “Servo drives are common across all our machines to provide precise position and speed control,” he explains. “Data collection, process monitoring and automated packaging functions are also provided on some equipment to meet customers’ high demands on quality control. Most of our controls are PLC-based, using high-end PLC products that are integrated to provide a full range of function from human-machine interface to high-performance servos. Some newer systems are PC-based with controls that integrate into a PC platform but are not impacted by Microsoft Windows overhead. High-performance PC-based systems will become more prevalent.”

Hardwiring is common for power and control at CMD. “Ethernet and SERCOS communication platforms are used throughout our equipment lines,” says Nackers. “All our equipment must meet machinery safety requirements for OSHA and CE. Safety components and systems, including safety relays, guard interlock and light-curtain guarding, that meet Cat. 3 or better are incorporated into our designs.”

Nackers also predicts wireless technologies will continue to improve. “We are just beginning to develop wireless solutions that use networking or cell-phone technologies for some functions,” he says.

After the Sale, Then What?

For post-sales support, CMD staffs and deploys in-house service technicians, trained and experienced in electromechanical systems from both CMD and competitive equipment, explains Kain. “We fully staff and deploy trained and experienced parts coordinators,” she says. “We provide quick parts turnaround and emergency parts deployment. We offer complete process validation services for our clients, which involves a scientific, Six-Sigma process to thoroughly center-line the equipment with the materials and personnel used in the production of each specific product. This service can be conducted at our technology center so equipment is virtually out-of-the-box and ready to run at the specified quality, speed and performance criteria when the customer receives it. This eliminates a long ramp-up time and saves the customer the cost of downtime, lost production, scrap and rejected product. We also offer a machine-optimization program, for clients who wish to get the most out of existing equipment through extensive personnel training, machinery audits, upgrades, process validation and preventive maintenance.”

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