GA-based converter Iconex invests in more Martin Automatic splicing technology for label production

“We installed our first Martin butt splicer in 1991, and it still never misses a beat,” says Jim Price, dir.-Technical Innovation at GA-based Iconex LLC. Over the past 32 years, the company, which is the largest global supplier of receipts and a leading label manufacturer, has added numerous Martin Automatic splicers company-wide.  Selecting the right technology has been critical to Iconex’s success, as driving operational efficiency is at the heart of its aim to deliver value and serve its customers.

ABOVE: Jim Price says Iconex’s 30-year-old Martin butt splicer still never misses a beat.

Most recently, Iconex has specified Martin MBS butt splicers for new converting lines installed to support the company’s growth in innovative labels. Speaking from more than 12 years of label industry experience, and 34 years in manufacturing, Price notes that a Martin splicer on a label press typically reduces waste by 40% and increases production by 12% when compared to presses without automatic splicing. Also, on the label side of Iconex’s business, investments in Martin non-stop splicing technology include MBS models fitted to ETI Cohesio lines, with one splicer for face stock and one for liner on each.

“At Martin, we always listen closely to our customers’ precise requirements and deliver technology to match. That we are still doing so here at Iconex after three decades illustrates the degree of mutual trust and reliable performance of our machinery,” explains Martin Automatic Regional Sales Manager Craig Thomson.  This reference to reliability is echoed by Wesley Stone, Iconex plant manager, “Martin has been a great business partner to Iconex. The reliability of their equipment represents best in class.  Their proven technology is key to minimizing waste and downtime, and maintaining our Martin equipment with their help and support keeps it running well.”

Martin Automatic has always approached machine design from a ‘KIS’ (Keep It Simple) standpoint, even with its most complex technology, relying on basic physics for reliable operation. And it’s this approach to problem-solving that appeals to so many international OEMs, who are happy to integrate the performance of Martin equipment with their own, knowing that it will enhance their own brand’s reputation.

The Iconex coworkers who use the Martin splicers on a daily basis attest to their reliability. Senior Operator Edward McLean says, “I like how easy it is to manipulate the rolls. The splicer itself is straightforward to set and align the two webs for splicing.  Other than routine maintenance, it needs no attention from me.”  Press Operator Renea Smith, who has been operating the Martin for two years, adds, “I’d say it saves five to ten minutes per roll change compared with manual operation and takes me only three minutes to set it up on the line I run.  I found it easy to learn, and there are no issues switching web widths – it’s seamless.”

Thomson says, “Our MBS butt splicer, which is the model that Iconex has fitted to a variety of production lines, is designed as a very flexible tool. In standard configuration it can handle web widths up to 26 in. and roll diameters up to 50 in., but we can customize it to suit different process requirements, running a variety of substrates from paper to film, laminate, and board.”

With the global pandemic having had a ‘turbo-charged’ effect on demand for variable information receipts and labels, Iconex is operating on all cylinders to meet customer demand. “Shopping habits were already evolving thanks to the Internet, but the pace has accelerated at a rate nobody could have predicted. It’s at times like this that you need to have suppliers you can work with closely,” explains Rob Epler, Iconex vp-Label Operations, adding, “You can’t go anywhere these days without seeing an Iconex product. That’s the volume the company produces, so production machine reliability must be assured.”

Iconex invented the paper receipt over 100 years ago and its ongoing work in labels and business solutions has seen its network spread worldwide. It has plants in seven US states as well as in Mexico and the UK.  With a total workforce now of more than 500, Iconex is acknowledged as one of the industry’s major players, so the company is well positioned for sustainable long-term growth with increased efficiency and a reduction in waste, thanks to the integration of the Martin splicers.