While its name has changed, BMG remains focused on investment and innovation 

Formerly known as Brown Machine Group, BMG Solutions (BMG) is a world-leading provider of forming, tooling, and automation solutions for the global packaging industry. Although the company name has evolved, its commitment to customer service, innovation, and quality remains at its core.

The business is formed of a group of highly-respected, premium brands – Brown, Lyle, GN, Freeman, and NAS, – integrated to deliver superior service and technical support with the aim of fueling the success of its customers’ businesses across the globe. Specifically, Brown, Lyle, and GN focus on forming solutions; GN also offers tooling alongside Freeman; while NAS provide automation like robotic material handling and end-of-arm tooling.

At group level, BMG stands as a pioneer, presenting a spectrum of solutions. From compact, low-volume systems with a minimal footprint to the pinnacle of high-volume thermoformers globally, the company caters to the entire range. Notably, it boosts a specialized facility solely committed to crafting the industry’s highest quality forming tooling. Complementing its extensive product range, BMG further enhances operational efficiency with cutting-edge packaging automation solutions, seamlessly orchestrating product flow.

“Our business is a combination of multiple companies we’ve acquired over time, with the foundational arm, Brown, beginning in the 1950s,” opens Koben Miceli, BMG’s CEO. “Brown started off as a pioneer by developing thermoforming machines in Michigan, gradually adding other brands to our portfolio to offer complete engineered solutions for our customers, a large majority of which are from the food packaging industry.

“It goes without saying that each company comes with its own culture and specific ways of working, so we’ve recently gone through an extensive rebranding process both externally and internally to move forward as one united organization with a positive culture and renewed focus. It has required a lot of open communication and a huge upfront effort in terms of planning to consider how it would be received by both customers and employees.”

Jake Kowalewski, Chief Commercial Officer at BMG, who was largely responsible for the integration, adds: “We had to figure out a mutual understanding of where we’re currently at, how we want to be perceived, and where we’re heading in the future. Once established, we asked a lot of questions and brought in branding experts to ensure our strong alignment with the industry’s current and future positions. The key was getting our teams engaged very early on in the process to get their input and drive an internal rebranding before it officially launched to the public and to our customers.”

Turning to the group’s products, Koben explains: “Our technology stack covers the entire spectrum of the market right now, from startup companies that require one small machine to large global businesses that demand high-end ranges. While our primary service is thermoforming, we’ve recently invested in complementary technologies including tooling and automation to expand our offering and deliver a full turn-key solution to the market.

“Our automated solutions are very much tailored to the packaging of fiber or polymer-based packaging solutions. We create very efficient back-end automation to enable our customers to be cost-competitive. It has additional benefits too, like safety enhancements by eliminating repetitive tasks, and, of course, this also means our customers’ employees can focus on value added activities and continuous improvement rather than repetitive jobs.

“Automation within the manufacturing process has dramatically enhanced our customers efficiency,” he continues. “Historically, we’d have a large team of packers and manual laborers, but now BMG’s automation solutions streamline the process from production all the way to placing the product in the delivery vehicle.”

With sustainability playing a key role in nearly every business in all industries, BMG is no exception. “We’re embracing sustainability in a couple of key ways,” Koben states. “Firstly, we’re developing our foundational service, thermoforming, to shift the focus from forming plastic to fiber. We’re essentially applying decades of experience and expertise in thermoforming to a new material, in which we launched a new and products that are capable of thermoforming paperboard at very high speeds.”

“The other, more recent piece in our sustainability journey is our response to increasing demands for sustainable packaging. Our business strategy has enabled us to invest in our own capabilities to ensure that we can manufacture fiber-based food packaging for protein as well as produce like fruit and vegetables. Specifically, we’ve invested in a food grade packaging suite with the capacity to produce hundreds of millions of packaging solutions every year.”

Jake adds: “To meet the swift pace of change required in packaging material this suite has allowed us to prototype and test products at a very rapid pace compared to conventional methods. We’ve accelerated product development with our end-users to the point where customers receive prototypes within three-to-four weeks, as opposed to traditional wait times of six-to-12 months. In fact, many of our customers are shocked at how quickly we can design, prototype, and test products all under one organization.

“We’re also partnering with some of the world’s largest producers of paperboard and collaborating with industry experts to find sustainable alternatives for coatings that enable paper-based packaging to behave like plastic, yet still be recyclable or compostable.”

As our conversation draws to a close, talk turns to the future. “I think the market is still trying to figure out where it’s going to a certain extent, particularly around material considerations with legacy materials like plastics versus more sustainable options such as fiber-based materials,” Koben proposes. “There’s no perfect solution right now, so we’ll continue to do what we’ve always done best – provide a full breadth of solutions for various materials and products out there in the packaging industry that meet our customers’ goals in terms of both financial and sustainability goals.

“Further afield, my focus is to build a company that will be around for the next 50 years,” he concludes. “The key is continuous investment in research and development, innovation, and our engineering teams. My overall goal is to see us grow and prosper as a machine builder and tool designer that manufactures product efficiently, sustainability, and to a superior standard.”