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“Oh, Guido…”

“Oh, Guido…”

This from the Needham Man’s lips for the umpteenth time in the last three weeks.

The good news: our new labeling machine finally arrived – after almost six months of waiting!

The bad news: we think Guido (our flow-wrapping machine) is jealous.

Manufactured in Italy in the 1950’s or 60’s, Guido is a mechanical workhorse of gears and chains. Strap on a big roll of plastic packaging film and feed him Needhams, and he can go for hours, neatly wrapping each piece.

When he feels like cooperating.

When he doesn’t, well, it’s not pretty.

Guido came with the deal when we took ownership of the Maine Needham Company in the spring of 2019. He was bought second-hand (or maybe third or fourth-hand) from a well-know local whoopie pie company who had purchased him from a doughnut maker. There was no owner’s manual, and the manufacturing company was no longer in business. So, before Guido started packaging Needhams, he was shipped to the University of Maine’s Engineering department to see if the students there could figure out how to adjust him to do the job.

The students got Guido working the way he needed to, but he still needs frequent readjusting. A little shifting here, a little gapping there and we can go from great to ghastly in no time flat. I can’t tell you how many hours (days!) we’ve spent trying to get him back on track when things go awry. We get him set almost perfect and try to make a final, small adjustment, and just like that, we’re back to square one. It’s like trying to stack crayons.

We know we’re going to have to invest in a new flow-wrapper someday, but Guido is like part of the family, and we’d be in a bad spot without him. So, we’ll keep tweaking and petting, and finessing him to keep him going as long as we can, and we’ll make sure he gets a primo spot in the Needham Museum we’ll have one day.

In the meantime, “Don’t mess with Guido!”

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