Breaking into the Malaysian packaging industry is traditionally difficult. The industry remains largely fragmented, with the country’s printing and finishing resources typically focused on commercial printing or publishing. In this context, the success of the Malaysian printer Marathon Press is incredibly impressive.
Founded in 1989 in Melaka (Malacca City), the company has enjoyed significant growth since then, with a plant situated in an 80,000-square-foot site on the banks of the famous Melaka river. While its continued presence in a difficult sector was impressive, its rapid growth over the last decade is even more so.
Marathon Press is now turning over RM22m a year, making it one of the successful Malaysian-owned printing companies operating in the country. According to operations manager Alvin Teoh, their decision to partner with Bobst in 2012 is a key part of that growth.
“We knew Bobst was and still is reputable for being the market leader in packaging machinery,” he explains. “They offered realistic solutions to our needs in terms of their equipment and training and maintenance support.”
This line of thinking led to Marathon’s investment in an Ambition 106 folder-gluer. This machine’s ease of setting and quick changeover delivered excellent results with the quality and consistency required. “It improved our overall process lead time,” added Teoh.
Marathon Press is ready to serve food and pharma industry
Following such strong results, it was only a matter of time before Ambition 106 was joined by other Bobst solutions. As Marathon’s inventory grew with the addition of a Novacut 106 flatbed diecutter, an Expertfold 110 folder-gluer with the Accucheck quality control system, and most recently – a Novacut 106 ER flatbed diecutter, Marathon was able to expand its market offering.
“We now have the capacity to work with pharmaceutical packaging, retail supermarket boxes, offset printed paper or corrugate boxes, and more,” Teoh explains. “We can now serve more sectors than ever, mainly pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, and retail, but recently we have seen a lot of demand in the rubber glove industry specifically.”
The need to serve all these sectors with greater throughput and product quality during the pandemic meant that, in 2021, Marathon required additional high-end diecutting capability. “Customers are demanding shorter delivery lead times and zero-fault packaging,” Teoh says, reflecting the views of many in the global packaging industry.
He was in no doubt about where to look for a solution. “We knew the Expertfold 110 with Accucheck was working well for us, so it made sense to invest in the Novacut 106 ER as it had perfect synergy with our existing processes to help us achieve our goals.
“With the inline stripping and blanking system, we can eliminate manual stripping and improve the overall blank quality of our folding cartons. It operates at an average speed of 7,000 sheets per hour and has more advanced automation features than anything else on the market.
“The machine is easy to operate thanks to its simple make-ready system and HMI interface. Both new and existing operators can cope with the new machine easily. All of this has translated into a 36% increase in our productivity.”
Marathon has grown rapidly but still has plenty of headroom to grow further by its existence in the Malaysian packaging market. It is clear that having trusted Bobst to deliver its growth so far, the company will continue to do so in future.
“Bobst machines are precise and durable. Bobst also provides excellent training and after-sales support on all its equipment,” Teoh adds. “It is always innovating and upgrading its technology to stay ahead in the packaging business, and this means we’re well-placed to venture into the corrugated carton industry to respond to the growing demand for sustainable packaging.”