Canadian inline label-coating and converting-machinery manufacturer leverages production excellence and technological expertise to redefine the industry’s value chain dynamics
Self-sufficiency is a much sought-after core competence for companies in virtually any business field, and for Montreal-based ETI Converting Equipment, being a master of its own destiny has been a driving force behind the company’s success in the global markets for inline label printing, coating and converting machinery.
Long before disruption became the trendy new buzzword and euphemism for game-changing innovation, company founder Francois Bayzelon had already embarked on a bold journey to shake up the existing label manufacturing supply chain models by helping label printers and converters take complete ownership and control of all their production needs in-house with innovative, leading-edge machinery distinguished by high levels of automation and technological excellence.
After arriving to Canada from France with a degree in mechanical engineering and a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Bayzelon proceeded to put his talents to use by founding Aquaflex in 1980.
Specializing in flexographic printing presses, the company is credited with revolutionizing the printing industry by launching the concept of quick-change cassette system, while becoming renowned for the quality and affordability of its equipment.
After selling Aquaflex years later, Bayzelon initiated a new project guided by the vision of enabling label printers to manufacture their self-adhesive labels from scratch, than merely decorate them after receiving the label stock from their suppliers—essentially eliminating the middleman from the equation.
To realize his game-changing vision, Bayzelon joined forces with an engineering firm IMAC to launch Equipements de Transformation IMAC (E.T.I.) Inc. in 2000.
The Longueuil, Que.-based company is now headed by the founder’s son Maxime Bayzelon, the firm’s principal shareholder, in partnership with three other co-owners.
A holder of a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Maxime joined ETI in 2007 to work in a variety of engineering, manufacturing, product development and market development roles, before becoming company president in 2012.
In 2017, the company moved to its new current location in Longueuil, Que., on the outskirts of Montreal, to accommodate its growing business and to integrate its machining and manufacturing functions under one roof.
Employing 85 people, the rebuilt plant houses all of the company’s departments, including the machining workshop, assembly, engineering, sales and marketing, project management and administration.
This centralized mode of operation allows the company to retain full control of the manufacturing process to produce high-quality inline printing, coating and converting equipment for label producers around the world, building its systems from scratch to match the customers’ exact specifications and applications.
“As a pioneer in the art of in-house coating, our expertise lies in creating specialized equipment for self-adhesive label printing, coating and converting that delivers a unique competitive edge through technical advantages, environmental sustainability, material cost-savings, linerless label capabilities, creativity and flexibility,” says Maxime Bayzelon.
“Our equipment is modular, flexible and scalable,” Bayzelon points out, “and our machines are always configured according to our clients’ specific needs, which may include printing, silicone coating, adhesive coating/laminating, die cutting, and/or other converting processes.”
Having sold over 200 machines since its inception, with installations in over 40 countries, ETI enjoys a well-earned reputation as a pioneering trailblazer in many aspects of the label and narrow-web converting businesses, according to Bayzelon.
“ETI was the first to introduce the concept of inline coating for narrow-web converting,” says Bayzelon, citing other notable patented technological innovations that include:
- Pellicut die-cutting station to cut on very thin liners ;
- Cold slot-die coating station for water-based acrylic adhesive application;
- Pattern hotmelt roll coating station for adhesive application in any shape and size, with capability to produce striped coating at very low coat weights.
Says Bayzelon: “ETI has always been able to offer innovative solutions to its customers and has been recognized for its audacity and ability to undertake special projects that sometimes had a high level of complexity.
“We have sold to all major label printers around the world,” says Bayzelon, citing the company’s stalwart product portfolio offering label producers powerful in-house converting capabilities, including:
- The Cohesio brand of narrow-web printing, coating and converting equipment for inline label manufacturing;
- The LinerO series of linerless label manufacturing equipment;
- The Acuro line of flexible narrow and mid-web coating and laminating machine for label stock and tape manufacturing;
- The Metronome range of flexo printing and die-cutting equipment for inline pressure-sensitive adhesive label manufacturing;
- Custom web coating equipment and other custom solutions for made-to-measure labeling products.
As Bayzelon points out, ETI designs and manufactures all of the production units that go into making its machines, including printing, silicone coating, adhesive coating, and die-cutting stations.
“The fact that the machines are modular and scalable allows our customers to grow their product portfolio over time as needed by adding specific stations to their original machine,” he explains.
With about 95 per cent of its machines exported outside of Canada, “ETI is recognized as the solution that offers the most ROI (return-on-investment) for clients looking for innovative solutions to produce high-volume products at lower costs,” Bayzelon says, “or unique specialty products with technical features that can’t be done otherwise than by coating in-house.
“Our technology represents a real paradigm shift,” says Bayzelon, adding ETI works in close partnership with all its customers to demonstrate many benefits of having more control of their label converting process in-house.
“The technology and solutions we propose create a significant change in their operations: like a shift from purchasing label stock and printing/converting it, to producing their own self-adhesive materials inline,” he elaborates.
“Once they take the leap and see all the benefits, a large portion of our customers have gone on to purchase subsequent machines,” Bayzelon states.
Built with multiple inline operations, ETI machines require skillful integration of various powerful process and motion control technologies and automation technologies to keep these interconnected systems perform with unfailing reliability, precision and accuracy.
To ensure these requirements are met, ETI has leveraged new control and automation technologies from the leading industrial automation supplier Bosch Rexroth Canada to maximize its machines’ performance and reliability.
“We started to do business with Bosch Rexroth approximately 15 years ago,” Bayzelon recalls, “when we switched to servomotors for all our machines.
“The support they have provided has greatly helped us in the realization of some clients’ special projects and has contributed to our own R&D,” says Bayzelon, lauding the Bosch Rexroth components and control software for their leading-edge Industry 4.0 capabilities.
Says Bayzelon: “The connectivity that is made possible by their equipment allows us to be even more efficient when it comes to assisting our clients, since we can access data in real time and intervene in a more targeted manner.”
Some of the most critical up-to-date technologies supplied by Bosch Rexroth to ETI in recent years include:
- New-generation MS2N motors, combining high dynamics with compact dimensions and optimal energy efficiency, while offering more torque and higher speeds. Available with low- and medium-inertia rotors, the MS2N motors serve as data sources in the Industry 4.0 environment to enable fully intelligent automation solutions.
- The IndraControl XM platform for high-performance automation of a variety of motion logic applications, whereby the local connection of the S20 I/O modules extends the control flexibly for high-performance process connection. The platform allows for easy integration of decentralized I/O stations for a robust design that design simplifies handling and allows for a wider range of applications.
- The SafeMotion drive-integrated safety technology, designed to form the basis for avoiding unintentional machine movements and ensuring safe braking, holding, moving and position monitoring throughout the process.
- The SafeLogic freely programmable safety PLC (programmable logic control) solution designed for complex machines and large-scale systems with a decentralized distributed periphery. In terms of hardware, SafeLogic upgrades the standard CML control components through the addition of a function module—enabling the non-safe and safe application to be centrally processed using only one control system.
- The VR Panel PC series from the ctrlX HMI (human-machine interface) range, combining the best attributes of box PCs (PR) and the positioned multi-touch displays (DR). Featuring versatile display format scaling, high performance and a variety of expansion options and standard interfaces, including real-time Ethernet communication, the Panel PCs feature TPM 2.0 chips to provide the necessary safety in the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) environment, making it ideal for robust Industry 4.0 applications.
- The compact ctrlX DRIVE modular drive system, providing space-saving dimensions, maximum scalability, wide range of combination options, sophisticated engineering tools, and high energy efficiency.
- The XMD double-axis inverters of the ctrlX DRIVE range, using direct voltage to generate a controlled AC output voltage of variable amplitude and frequency for the operation of two motors.
- Planetary gearboxes and AFX-Series high-speed, high-performance gearboxes from Bosch Rexroth’s technology partner Apex Dynamics, Inc.
As Bayzelon concurs, the technological prowess, quality and reliability of Bosch Rexroth automation devices and software make it a natural fit for a technology-driven company like ETI, which is fully committed to continuous R&D (research-and-development) and product innovation.
“We have a dedicated R&D department,” says Bayzelon, “and innovation has played a large role in ETI’s success.
“The company has always striven to provide a technical edge to its clients through product development and a high level of expertise,” says Bayzelon, citing the company’s on-site Technology Center as compelling proof of the company’s commitment to customer service excellence.
Says Bayzelon: “It’s a one-stop test and trial facility for label industry suppliers, printers and converters) looking to test and/or develop new label constructions; evaluate sample performance at our in-house state-of-the-art laboratory; determine ways to reduce the cost of manufacturing; benchmark new products and production methods; and access our team of in-house project managers.”
According to Bayzelon, the company’s worldwide installation base is a testament not only to its technological know-how, but also to its overall strategic approach to the label business.
“ETI has clients worldwide, “ he says, “with a concentration of machines sold in the U.S. and in Europe.
“The proximity of the American market certainly plays in our favor,” Bayzelon notes, “but despite the geographical distance between us and some of our clients, we have always made ourselves available to respond to our clients’ needs promptly at all stages of the cycle, no matter where they are on the globe.
“We have technical experts who travel for installations, training and support,” says Bayzelon, adding these experts also act as effective ambassadors for the company’s broader mission of enabling label makers take greater control of their processes.
“By removing the need for printers and converters to outsource the market for labelstock, ETI has created a revolutionary alternative that has led to a seismic shift in the value chain,” he states.
“In essence, we’ve developed the equipment and resources to help customers produce the pressure-sensitive material themselves, using their choice of raw materials including paper or filmic substrate, silicone and adhesive.
“ETI allows pressure-sensitive label manufacturers and converters to have more control over their production and more freedom in label creation,” Bayzelon concludes, “resulting in more economy, greater flexibility in the process, and increased profits.”