Mosca Direct Ltd is the wholly owned UK subsidiary of Mosca, the world leading supplier of automated bundle and pallet strapping machines designed for use in operations with very high output levels, needing high levels of reliability. Mosca Direct supplies the full range of Mosca bundle and pallet strapping machines and strapping materials, supported by a nationwide servicing and spare parts supply network.
In recent years Mosca has been leading the international strapping machine market in terms of innovation with SoniXs, its groundbreaking strapping head technology, which features ultrasonic sealing technology and is cleaner, faster and simpler to use.
With the growing emphasis on greenness, Mosca’s strapping machines are built to achieve maximum efficiency with cutting-edge technology. With Mosca, customers can be sure that the machines they buy can back up the claims the manufacturers make about sustainability. Mosca’s systems are now labelled “GET Inside,” standing for their Green Efficient Technology, which is exclusive to Mosca.
Mosca Direct Chairman Peter Foster spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News.
WLN – First of all, Peter, what does your role as Chairman of Mosca Direct entail?
This is a new role created following the promotion of our Operations Director, Gaye Tate, to the position of Managing Director. I will be remaining in the business for the whole of 2012 in a mentoring role.
WLN – Do you get personally involved in developing solutions for individual clients?
Yes, but now in an advisory capacity. Our Sales Director Nick Booth leads this area, with support from our sales and technical teams. Our customers value the fact that they get a very hands-on approach to dealing with their requirements.
WLN – Who else is on the UK management team besides you?
Gaye Tate – Managing Director and Nick Booth – Sales Director make up the management team.
WLN – How are you set up to meet the needs of customers in the warehouse and logistics sector?
WLN – When was Mosca founded, and who by? Who owns it now?
The company was founded by Gerd Mosca as Gerd Mosca GmbH in Hilden, Germany in 1966. In 2002, the business was renamed Maschinenfabrike Gerd Mosca AG and is now owned by Gerd’s son, Timo. Mosca remains an independent family-owned and managed enterprise. Mosca has grown to a worldwide organisation with subsidiaries in 12 countries, and operates through agents and distributors in over 68 others.
WLN – When did you set up here in the UK?
Mosca Direct was established in 2000 and has expanded from an initial seven employees to a current workforce of 24, including very experienced sales, customer service and engineering teams to respond to customers’ needs. Prior to 2000, Mosca equipment was sold into the UK via various distributors, but Mosca quickly recognised the value of having a wholly owned subsidiary to capitalise on this important market. The UK premises provides a dedicated warehouse, distribution and service centre for Mosca’s UK customer base. After achieving several major orders within months, we soon outgrew our original 5,000 sq ft facility and moved to the present 10,000 sq ft site on the same industrial park in Cotgrave, Nottinghamshire in 2001.
WLN – What were you doing before that?
Before setting up Mosca Direct Ltd, I was Managing Director of the previous Mosca distributor, Payne’s Strapping Systems, before they were acquired.
WLN – How big is Mosca worldwide now?
Mosca employ approximately 750 people worldwide, 500 of these are based at the German manufacturing plants located in Waldbrunn and Mukental with turnover close to EUR 100m.
Mosca is the world’s largest manufacturer of narrow strapping systems and global market leader in many sectors; e.g. strapping in the distribution industry, in the corrugated industry, in the print industry, in the pharmaceutical, roof tiles and meat industries as well as in cash handling and direct mail industries.
Mosca has subsidiaries in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Spain, Finland, Poland, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and – since 2011 – Shanghai, China. Mosca Direct is the UK subsidiary.
WLN – How big is Mosca in the UK?
WLN – Where do you develop and manufacture the strapping machines you sell here?
Most of the strapping machines and equipment for a variety of industries are designed and manufactured in Waldbrunn in Odenwald, Germany, where Mosca AG has had its headquarters for more than 40 years.
WLN – What different types of strapping machines do you supply?
Mosca manufactures a wide range of semi-automatic, automatic and fully automated strapping systems, pallet packaging presses, pallet strapping machines, both horizontal and vertical, and as a complimentary product we also supply stretch wrapping equipment.
WLN – For the uninitiated, can you talk us through these different types of machine and explain when you would use each of them?
Strapping machines are available in horizontal and vertical orientations and can seal at the top, side or bottom. Semi-automatic strapping machines are ideal for smaller users and assist the operator to automatically tension, seal and cut the strapping to give an effective fastening. Automatic strapping machines allow hands free securing of parcels with automatically tensioned, sealed and cut strapping. They are best suited for applications where speed and efficiency is a major factor and can be integrated into conveyor lines. Fully automated machines are designed to fit into automated packaging lines.
WLN – For the uninitiated, please can you talk us through the principles of strapping machines? How do they work? What do people use them to do?
Strapping machines feed strap around a pack or pallet, tension it, seal it and cut it to secure the product. The methods of sealing are:
– Heat seal, which is generally used with PP strapping on the smaller machines
– Friction weld, which can be used with either PP or PET strapping usually on larger machines including pallet strapping machines
– SoniXs seal, which is the latest technology and uses a sonic wave to give a stronger seal joint strength and faster operation.
SoniXs machines are self- calibrating to accept both PP and PET strapping without adjustment. SoniXs is the most environmentally friendly solution and currently only available from Mosca.
WLN – What do you see as the major drivers in demand for strapping machines in the UK?
The key factors are cost saving and sustainability, which are central issues for all industries.
WLN – Which industry sectors are your customers in?
Mosca distinguishes between six different industry sectors: newspapers and graphics, corrugated cardboard and paper, mail order and logistics, construction materials and ceramics, pharmaceuticals and food and beverage production – anywhere effective transit protection and security is needed.
WLN – What level of throughput do you need to be working at to warrant the use of automated strapping machinery?
There is no hard and fast answer to this question. Mosca’s automated strapping equipment saves on labour, and straps the product consistently. Our machines are available for customers running at fewer than 30 bundles a minute to well over 35 and from fewer than 60 pallets per hour to more than 200.
WLN – What’s your specific proposition for warehousing and logistics professionals?
Mosca’s innovative technology gives the highest throughput with optimum reliability, all backed up by an unrivalled after sales service including 24 hour support.
WLN – Do you supply your solutions direct or through distributors?
Mosca equipment is available in the UK from Mosca Direct. We work 90% directly with customers, but also have relationships with a number of OEM’s in various industries including warehousing and logistics.
WLN – Can your strapping systems link up with conveyors and other automated handling equipment?
Mosca strapping machines are easily integrated into conveyor lines, and can link with other automated handling equipment thanks to their modular design and sturdy construction.
WLN – If people already have strapping machines in place and are thinking of updating them, what are the tell tale signs that it’s time to change?
Generally speaking, companies know when old equipment needs to be replaced. Maybe a piece of kit is not as reliable as it once was, perhaps its speed is no longer enough to keep pace with the demands of production, or possibly it’s just too bulky, an inefficient use of space when newer models are more compact and ergonomic.
In the current climate it’s easy for companies to question whether they should invest in new equipment. Deferring or delaying purchasing decisions means a healthier balance sheet now, but in the long-term it can be a disastrous choice. It’s easy to say, “We’ll get one more year out of it,” only to find the machine breaks down after nine or ten months and brings production crashing to a halt. Any cost savings made during that period are undone by the downtime.
WLN – In a nutshell, what sets you apart from other strapping suppliers?
Our points of difference are innovation, quality and service. The Mosca name is synonymous with fast throughputs, reliable performance and user-friendly operation. Mosca is committed to being a responsible manufacturer and helping our customers achieve cost savings and sustainability in their businesses. Our first priority is to provide customers with machinery that is cost and energy-efficient and at the same time, features the latest technology available. Due to the quality and reliability of our machines, we are able to offer extended warranties on all Mosca equipment.
WLN – How do your strapping machines achieve cost savings for customers? How are they sustainable?
High build quality, direct drive technology, sealed bearings and SoniXs technology give the customer the ultimate in reliability and minimum production down time. In addition, the low maintenance costs make Mosca machines the lowest whole life cost machines in their class.
WLN – How green are your strapping machines?
A good example of how green our strapping machines can be is the high-speed pallet press, which straps over 200 pallets per hour using the equivalent power consumption of a domestic hairdryer.
Our core product, strapping machinery, exemplifies sustainability. It ensures that transported goods are secured with minimal use of materials. Even the PET straps are manufactured in a climate-neutral process.
WLN – Can you talk us through your ‘Green Efficient Technology,’ and what it entails?
Certified machines can now be identified at a glance: they bear a green and blue label reading “GET inside”, which is short for “Green Efficiency Technology inside”. To be awarded this label, the machines need to fulfil a number of criteria.
Depending on their area of application, machines bearing the GET Inside logo must include a SoniXs sealing head, wear-free direct drives and electrical rather than pneumatic systems. They also need to be able to work with recycled carbon-neutral PET straps.
The integrated SoniXs sealing head saves energy by using ultrasonic welding to join the strap ends together, rather than the traditional heat sealing process. At the same time, this technology has a longer working life, is quieter during operation and creates zero emissions. In comparison with machines using heat sealing heads, it offers up to 50 per cent longer working life while the cost of sealing components is reduced by up to 80 per cent. It is also 75 per cent quieter in operation as conventional machines. As a patented product, this sealing head perfectly expresses Mosca’s concept of sustainability.
Mosca has been using wear-free direct drives for strapping heads since the early 1990s. This technology not only reduces the need for service-intensive mechanical components, but also guarantees quiet operation with minimal friction. At the same time, the machines are almost entirely wear and maintenance-free.
Mosca is increasingly replacing energy-intensive pneumatic and hydraulic drives with electric systems to generate the compression force needed by pallet packing presses, or to feed edge protection around corrugated cardboard stacks during strapping. As a result, the strapping machines save resources by working faster.
In the long run, it is intended that all Mosca products will fulfil the criteria of the GET Inside label.
WLN – What are the service intervals like with your machines? Do you offer service and maintenance? Do your systems need on site maintenance staff? If so, do you supply them?
Mosca offer both day to day engineering support and training, as well as pre planned preventative maintenance. Our pre planned maintenance contracts are designed to suit the production schedule of our customers; these can vary from two service visits per year to monthly maintenance plans for high demand production areas and help our customers to optimise production costs.
Our systems do not require on site maintenance staff; this can be handled by one of Mosca’s eight directly employed UK engineers. In addition, we offer both operator and engineering training courses at customer site or at our HQ in Nottingham to assist learning for on site maintenance staff at every level.
Most spare parts are available from our centrally located UK premises in Nottingham, and this service is available 24 / 7 when needed. This is backed up by a further comprehensive spares stock at Mosca AG Germany, who can despatch parts throughout Europe within 24 hours upon request. Mosca Direct also offers an out of hours emergency contact service.
WLN – When did you bring out the SoniXs ultrasonic strapping head technology? What was the story behind its development?
First launched in Europe in 2007, and available in the UK from 2009, SoniXs was developed using ultrasonics to make a faster, stronger, more consistently secure strap seal with lower maintenance costs than heat seal or friction weld machines.
WLN – Can you talk us through SoniXs, and explain why it’s so different from what’s gone before?
It’s fast and clean, eliminating smoke, fumes or plastic build-up as with heater based systems, and is much simpler mechanically, with less inertial motion than either heater or friction based sealing systems.
The use of ultrasound technology to weld strap ends together creates zero emissions. But it also offers a working life up to 50 per cent longer than a heat-sealing head and can reduce component cost by as much as 80 per cent.
SoniXs strapping heads are also designed to provide a much reduced service requirement, representing a further saving. The service interval is longer than other machines and an automatic blowout clears dust from the sealing head, rather than the disassembly, cleaning and reassembly needed on other heads.
SoniXs can seal either PP or PET straps with no changes needed to adapt the machine, enabling users to optimise strap use based on package requirements rather than on machine limitations.
SoniXs is also an on-demand system requiring power only during the sealing cycle. In addition, the DC brushless motors and drives are maintenance free and low energy consumers, offering increased energy efficiency for users. SoniXs has facilitated the development of the world’s first and only fully wash down machine which is IP56 rated.
WLN – Does SoniXs consume a great deal of energy?
On the contrary, it consumes minimal energy. As an example of this, we have recently launched a high-speed pallet press capable of over 200 pallets per hour, which uses the equivalent energy consumption to a domestic hairdryer. This could not have been achieved without SoniXs.
WLN – Are SoniXs strapping heads now standard components in all Mosca machines? Can you choose to have them instead of the standard strapping heads these come with?
The SoniXs range is widely available across the bundle and pallet strapping machine ranges and this continues to be expanded. Mosca still offers a range of machines with heat and friction sealing technology.
WLN – What different strapping materials do you supply? (PP or PET strap) Do Mosca make these? If not, do you have links with any particular strapping suppliers? How ‘green’ are your strapping materials?
Mosca manufactures both PP and PET strapping. Mosca PET straps are made from 100 per cent recycled plastic bottle flakes, produced in one of the most modern plants in Europe in Muckental, southern Germany, where the energy used in production is generated by solar panels on the factory roof. After use, the straps can easily be recycled again.
At Interpack 2011, Mosca showed a new strapping band made of polylactic acid (PLA). This is a plastic made up of many chemically linked lactic acid molecules that can be deformed by heat and behaves bio-compatibly. The extrusion process to produce PLA strapping has been patented by Mosca. This represents a further development towards conserving resources. The PLA bio-plastic is produced from renewable raw materials, such as potato or cornstarch, and can be industrially composted after use.
WLN – What’s the lifespan for your strapping machines? How long do they take to show a return on investment?
A high-quality strapping machine is energy efficient and designed to minimise maintenance for long-term performance and reliability, so customers begin to see a return on their investment straight away. Today’s top-end strapping machines, if looked after properly, will perform to the highest standard for 10-15 years.
WLN – Do you offer leasing services for companies who are, dare I say it, ‘strapped’ for cash?
Leasing is a flexible and economical alternative to purchasing a strapping machine. No capital investment is required, and there is no credit to arrange. Mosca can directly offer its customer flexible payment terms and offers leasing via a third party. Customers benefit from the immediate savings realised by our sophisticated strapping machinery in operation whilst retaining flexibility.
WLN – Can you tell us about some of your major customers and what you do for them? Do you publish customer case studies?
Mosca has the technology and innovation to offer a strapping solution to virtually every industry. The key industries where we are major suppliers are: wholesale news, corrugated, pharmaceutical distribution, timber, construction, food and drink and newspapers and magazines.
Many of the blue chip companies in these sectors are in operation 24/7, and some even 365 days per year. Mosca offers a comprehensive out of hours service, giving easy access to our UK based stock of spares and strapping available for despatch at any time. We also offer out of hours telephone engineering support.
We publish regular press releases in partnership with customers and the occasional case study. Here are a few examples:
• Leading wholesale distributor Menzies Distribution has bespoke strapping equipment from Mosca, designed specifically to bundle magazines picked and stacked using the specialist HS News System.
• Corby-based magazine manufacturer Apex Print Finishers purchased an automatic cross-strapping machine from Mosca, underlining the company’s long-term satisfaction with Mosca quality.
• eCorrugated Ltd, a joint venture between Sheet Direct and The Boxshop, invested more than £1.2m in the first phase of the eCorrugated business in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, including purchasing a Mosca MCB-2 bundle strapping machine and a Mosca KCK-121 pallet strapping machine.
• To coincide with a move to a new factory, corrugated board and box manufacturer CBS Packaging has purchased a Mosca KCR121-18 Pallet Press, which incorporates Mosca’s SoniXs head technology featuring two sealing heads and can process up to 120 double strapped pallets an hour under compression, and a Mosca WAH4 Stretch Wrapper, a fully automatic stretch wrapping machine with rotating arm, which offers a capacity of up to 70 pallets per hour.
For more details please see below.
WLN – Where can potential customers go to see your machines in action? Do you have any pilot sites?
We have a number of customers with whom we work in partnership, who are willing to allow visitors. There are even a couple who will allow us to bring competitors to site.
WLN – Are you exhibiting at any industry shows this year?
We aren’t in the UK, however, our parent, Maschinenfabrik Mosca AG will be exhibiting at DRUPA (the largest international printing and converting exhibition in the world) in Dusseldorf from the 3rd to 16th May 2012. Our American subsidiary, EAM Mosca will be exhibiting at SuperCorrExpo (the largest tradeshow in the Western hemisphere catering for the corrugated industry) in Atlanta, USA from the 1st to 4th October 2012.
WLN – What external factors do you see affecting demand for your machines?
Across industry, there continues to be a major focus on cost and sustainability. Strapping remains the most minimalistic form of securing a pack or pallet for transit.
WLN – Finally, where do you see Mosca Direct going from here?
Having the best equipment is very important, but the true differentiator in business today is the quality of customer service. One of the company’s priorities going forward is to further enhance our level of customer service, one of the ways in which we will achieve this is by investment in new software to further improve the information flow and analysis capability of our Engineering Services division, we will also have the ability to identify potential problems in a more proactive way.
The company is well placed to enjoy a second decade of success as it has maintained an impressive record even during the recession, thanks to its strong customer service ethos and the quality of Mosca equipment.
Mosca Direct (UK)
Tel: 0115 989 0209