Crosland VK Endures

February 2008 (Download Article As PDF)

For decades, Crosland has been a household name in the UK sheet plant industry, having been around since 1872

Moreover, the company also claims to be one of the world's largest independent manufacturers and suppliers of hand fed and automatic cutting and creasing machinery.

Since 2000, Crosland VK has been the UK importer of Young Shin automatic and semi-automatic die-cutters, which complements the Crosland range of hand platens - from the CVK980 (770mm x 980mm) up to the CVK 3500 (2000mm x 3500mm) - for which the Manchester, UK-based manufacturer has become so well known. All the hand platens feature overhead control panels and have three modes of operation - single, continuous and timed dwell. Hardened ground steel cutting plates with quick release for fast make-ready are standard, as is a worm gear jam release system, instant pressure adjustment and central lubrication system.

The Young Shin range encompasses the YT-SA at 1300 x 950mm, through to the YT-SA with a platen size of 2500 x 1700mm. Over 40 have been installed in the past three years, and all are said to be engineered to a very high specification, full of safety features, and designed to achieve non stop production at high speed.

Few would deny that a great deal (though not all) of the converting equipment currently being imported from the Far East is of a far higher standard than it has been in the past. However, it pays to be careful when it comes to the specification, a point which is echoed by Crosland's Group Sales Director, Steve Waterhouse, "We sometimes have to remind prospective customers of what it is that they will be getting with a Crosland machine, and sometimes I will ask to see the detailed specification of a machine that is said to be cheaper than ours. Often, it turns out to be cheaper, but nowhere near the advanced specification of our own equipment. For twenty-five years Crosland has been importing castings and gears from China, since it became cost-prohibitive to produce them in the UK, but over that time we've forged strategic alliances with a number of manufacturers to get the quality and specifications that we need. At our Manchester factory we carry out the assembly of our platens, fit the lubrication systems, wiring looms, guarding and double port safety valves. We spend a great deal of time and money making sure that we adhere to all the current health and safety regulations, so we consider it to be important for the customer to look beyond the price of the equipment and to be sure that what they buy is as safe as it can be."

Multi-million turnover Crosland VK operates from a 20,000 square foot unit on the vast Trafford Park Industrial Estate, boasting a fully equipped engineering workshop with CNC, capstans, centre lathes, millers and grinders, and around £250,000 worth of spares in stock. An important part of the business is, and always has been, the refurbishment and re-sale of used machinery. At any one time there can be £2 million in new and used machinery stock at the factory. Mr Waterhouse says, "We've been around a long time, and our reputation is such that our customers can part with their deposit with complete peace of mind." It is this kind of confidence that was expressed recently by Rob Booth of Alfreton, Derbyshire based Bridgeshire Packaging and Display, when he said, "We've just ordered our second Young Shin semi-automatic die-cutter inside eighteen months. This machine will add to our overall efficiency in production terms, but Crosland VK is equally strong in its servicing and support functions."

The company can count among its satisfied customers clients as far away as the Ukraine, where Vesna Publishing House have purchased four machines from Crosland VK, and Mexico, where a global labelling and product identification specialist purchased three hand fed platens. Mr Waterhouse continues, "Our catalogue isn't confined to die-cutters, because we sell all manner of corrugated and cartonboard converting machinery. Because of our deep-rooted engineering ethos, we are able to take in almost any die-cutter in part exchange. Every used machine is stripped right down to the basic frame and completely refurbished. We also undertake factory removals and we have our own fleet of articulated vehicles, as well as the second largest lorry mounted crane in the UK. We have a team of service engineers mainly covering the UK, but they are ready to go anywhere in the world when required, and we carry out a full range of preventative maintenance and service work. We also have a network of twelve agents globally, including in the US, Australia, and both Eastern and Western Europe. When we appoint an agent, it's a pre-requisite that they have their own service engineers on their books." It is the proud boast of Crosland VK that service is the foundation of its business, and that its success as a business relies on the results that it achieves for its clients. Certainly the longevity of the business, albeit with some changes of ownership over the years, bears testament to the worth of its name and its reputation in the packaging industry. Certainly the longevity of the business, albeit with some changes of ownership over the years, bears testament to the worth of its name and its reputation in the packaging industry.

Article Written By Don Haines

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