OPM invests with Martin Automatic to refine productivityMay 9, 2018
When one of the UK’s leading exponents of narrow web technology endorses a manufacturer’s design and engineering skills, the market needs to take notice, especially when he is the current President of FINAT.
For Chris Ellison, who co-owns OPM with his wife Susan, the only thing that matters is quality. It’s a common thread that runs through the entire company from people to technology, and from customer service to end-product. It is a mantra, which has served the company very well indeed. Established 40 years ago as an engineering concern, the Ellison’s acquired the business in 1988 and began to print plain and self-adhesive labels. Then, in 1999, they added filmic substrates, laminates, and multi-layer flexible packaging production to the OPM portfolio. In 2013, the company moved to its present 56,000 sq. ft. site in Leeds, since which time it has invested more than £5m in new technology. Today, the OPM Group employs 75 staff and will enjoy a sales turnover of almost £19m in 2018.
“Our focus is on added-value narrow to mid web complex products supplied to niche markets – it’s a long-term strategy, and we gear our production capability accordingly,” he explained. Printing is carried out on a variety of Nilpeter and MPS presses and the production process includes automated MIS and pre-press systems, and 100% inspection of finished product. A broad portfolio of self-adhesive labels and flexible packaging is now delivered to more than 700 customers worldwide in sectors ranging from pharmaceutical, health and beauty, home care, automotive, beverage and food.
All OPM products are produced to ISO 9001:2015, BRC/IoP Global Standard Food Packaging Standards Grade AA, and PS9000:2016, and with food-safe low migration inks.
“We set high standards in all we do here, and that includes the training and development of our people, who are, after all, our greatest asset,” he explained, commenting that today’s market and technology require different skills from the emerging generation of workers. This was the reason OPM instigated its own in-house training programme in 2012. The quality of OPM staff has given Chris and Sue Ellison the confidence to allow key staff to lead, make decisions and manage the day to day running of the business effectively. “There is always a temptation to micro-manage,” she said, “but if you empower the people to run the business within budget, they feel and act as if it’s their own – this allows Chris and me to focus on the future strategy of OPM, driving technical innovation and direction of sales.”
The range of products manufactured at OPM is indicative of the company’s technical capability. They include multi-ply peel and reveal, peel and reseal labels, security, tamper evident, Braille, and tactile labels. In addition to printing multi colours, decorative features including scenting, glow in the dark, screen printing, cold and hot foiling, embossing and holograms are a selection of the added value techniques on offer. OPM’s flexible products include flow wraps, wet wipe wraps, high barrier laminations, lidding films, blister foils, pouches, and laminated sachets, all manufactured to exacting standards.
It was into this highly critical production environment that Martin Automatic was first asked to supply unwind and rewind technology back in 2016. Following discussions with other converters, who rated the operational ease and reliability of Martin technology in everyday production, Chris Ellison and his Technical Manager Jamie Hyde decided to work with the American manufacturer.