Made in Yorkshire

On arrival at CMB Engineering you really feel the sense of pride from the workforce for this long standing Yorkshire engineering company. One thing you will notice immediately about the people on site is the depth of experience, knowledge, passion for the business and the length of service many of those employed have contributed to the global can making sector.

Andrew Truelove, general manager and long standing employee himself, explains that the culture of CMB Engineering is based on honesty, hard work and reliability. This breeds loyalty and an environment that encourages new ideas and a platform to develop new products and solutions.

“It’s more than just being where we are from though, it’s about the culture,” he says. “If that culture is right, it allows our people to develop and grow. The demise of any company will always be employees not feeling valued, unable to grow and feeling lost within a business; that’s the single most important part of our jobs.”

Head of sales, Marc Hoche, adds: “We have high staff retention rates at CMB Engineering and that’s due to the culture we encourage. We work hard to ensure our employees are always challenged and are contributing regularly. That’s why we don’t have a high turnover and goes some way to explain why our people are proud to be from here.”

A number of the staff have been involved with CMB Engineering for in excess of 20 years and Truelove himself, a CMB Engineering veteran, started as an apprentice some 22 years ago. A clear indication that CMB values it’s apprentices and sends a strong message of career development for young aspiring engineers. CMB’s four-year apprenticeship scheme is highly valued, as completion of the course leads many down the path of a long career within the company.

At the open day there was a large industry presence with all major players represented to celebrate the manufacture of its 1000th 5000 series Bodymaker and 100th 3400 Die Necker. Tours around the facility were undertaken by employees from various departments including grinding, assembly, the academy, research and design and engineering. For Truelove, the real stars were not the machinery on show, but the workforce.

“The feedback from the day was overwhelmingly positive. The real talking point wasn’t necessarily the machines on display, but the people within our organisation.” notes Truelove. “The number one piece of feedback we received from the day was how engaging our people are and how friendly and professional they are.”


The open day gave the industry an opportunity to have a sneak peak of CMB’s latest machinery and its new reformat developments now filtering into the market. Reformat is underpinned by a range of machinery which includes its new reformat Lacquer Spray Machine. Allowing for faster presentation of cans without reducing the spray window, or dwell period, the machine is not dependent on a mechanical method of indexing. This ensures the spray window can always be the optimum length to ensure consistent coating of the can at any run speed. For Truelove, the reformat brand allows the company to present itself as a truly contemporary manufacturer of can making machinery.

“The philosophy behind everything we produce going forward centres around reformat.” says Truelove. “That’s to be quick change, to be energy efficient, to be easy to use, and where possible smart. Smart technology means having the machine communicating to the operators.

“Condition monitoring is a word familiar in engineering terms. We want our machines to be communicating with the operators in advance of a potential problem.”

Similarly, Hoche’s view of reformat is that it allows CMB’s customers to have a greater autonomy and flexibility on production.

“These developments stem from our customers having a greater focus on real life situations such as total cost of ownership and that’s very important to us,” he says. “This is where the idea of smart technology comes from; it helps lower the total cost of ownership through things like monitoring and providing better operator information.”

The new reformat Lacquer Spray Machine has a number of key benefits. The improved electrical control allows the machine to run at slower speeds when line control requires it; a feature that means the machine will not run out of cans and stop unnecessarily. In traditional machines this can cause the lacquer to begin to harden and block the spray guns. There are also improved vacuum channels and chucks which ensure that vacuum usage is significantly less than on traditional machines. Maintenance is subsequently reduced as the machine has far fewer consumable components than traditional spray machines; downtime is also reduced when converting can sizes.

Keeping in theme with the idea of smart technology, the machine has the option to be controlled remotely from a tablet computer, in addition, a wireless control option is available for individual control of machines within the spray bank. These developments ensure energy efficiency is at the forefront of the approach to reformat.

The philosophy behind everything CMB produces going forward centres around reformat. “We first unveiled the brand in China,” adds Karl Hatfield-Waites, CMB’s marketing manager. “From the first push of the start button, we knew instantly it was the fastest spraying machine we’ve ever had, running it in production for six months gave us an opportunity to monitor and analyse its performance. Based on that monitoring phase, we made some further adjustments and modifications to enhance the machines performance. This was the machine we then showed off at the show in Denver.

“Reformat is certainly a brand within a brand for us and my role is to make sure it is visible to our customers from a brand management point of view, but also highlighting the capabilities of the equipment and developments going forward. In addition to this will be communicating around the globe, making sure key players in the industry are aware of the brand’s many benefits.”

Early feedback is very positive having just sold their first two machines. In an industry that is traditionally ambivalent towards change, it does appear that the reformat developments are a welcome response to a changing demand from the market. Truelove appears to share this viewpoint when quizzed.

“We are responding to our customers’ and market demands welcoming direction from them. This type of customer engagement challenges our technical team and allows us to see what issues are out there and how can we address them through the introduction of technology.”

“Yes the industry has been conservative, but everyone at some point has to embrace modern technology or fear being left behind in challenging markets. Hopefully we will be one of the first.

“All our machines will follow the same path – to be flexible, energy efficient, easy to use, with smart feedback that will enhance performance.

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