In the nine years that ABG International, which employs nearly 350 people at plants at Bridlington, Driffield and in Germany, has been partnering with PP Control & Automation, the firm has seen its turnover grow almost 50%.

“We operate in very similar ways and, once we had seen PP Control & Automation’s capabilities at its world class facility, we knew there were lots of synergies and a relationship to forge,” said Phil Robson, operations manager at ABG International.

“PP was originally tasked with producing the electrical back panels on our new Digicon 3 digital print finishing machine and then delivering them to our Bridlington factory where we would fit the cables and harnesses, a labour-intensive job that would usually take between 2 to 3 days.”

He continued: “It didn’t take long until engineers from both companies came up with a new way of assembly that involved developing a more standard enclosure system, which would allow the panel to be easily slid into the machine.”

Tony Hague, CEO of PP Control & Automation, said: “Once we had come up with the enclosure design, we then started considering the cable harnessing and the interconnectivity around the machines.

“It became apparent that a modular approach would be a lot more effective and we worked together to design a process that would see the modules assembled in the West Midlands.

“Working with the modular concept, means engineers at PP can look at the specific machine ‘make up’ and configuration and immediately calculate both the circuit protection requirements and the cable lengths, based on standard routings - providing a quicker installation for the team.”

Phil Robson went on to add: “Full interconnectivity solutions being designed/ introduced and creating a ‘plug and play’ scenario not only speeds up initial build, but also supports very efficient machine commissioning in the field - allowing machines to be up and running more quickly on site.

“The ‘plug and play’ approach is 60% faster than the previous assembly process and has eliminated 700 days of production each year, which can now be re-allocated to other areas of manufacturing and thus increasing our machine build capacity.

“Digital print is taking over from conventional printing, so we anticipate the market to expand rapidly over the next decade,” concluded Phil.

“Thanks to our commitment to outsourcing, we are now more efficient and have cut production and sales lead times significantly. Importantly, PP has also given us the additional capacity that allows us to go after new business safe in the knowledge we can quickly ramp up production to cope with it.”