Italy's SCA Packaging Italia, Ondulati ed Imballaggi del Friuli install Bobst Masterflex-L machines for in-line die-cutting, corrugated board printing
November 2, 2011
– Thanks to the ease with which in-line die-cutting can be integrated with BOBST MASTERFLEX-L machines, SCA Packaging Italia and Ondulati ed Imballaggi del Friuli are producing top quality finished packaging in a single pass.
BOBST MASTERFLEX-L printing presses, now well established in the market, can help to develop new opportunities and win new markets. The presses print corrugated board, from triple-wall to micro-flute, using 1 to 8 colors, and are available in two formats - 1,700 or 2,100 mm in width by a length of 1,300 mm. The features of the MASTERFLEX series are seen at their best when in-line with die-cutting, which ensures productivity, flexibility, and efficiency, and guarantees the production of just-in-time finished packaging in a single pass, without in-process inventory, with fast response to market demands, and with on-time deliveries.
We visited two Italian companies to take a closer look at the advantages of in-line printing and die-cutting: SCA Packaging Italia and Ondulati ed Imballaggi del Friuli.
Working better for added value
SCA Packaging Italia belongs to the SCA group, a Swedish multinational that is active in the forestry, graphic paper, hygiene, sanitary products and packaging sectors.
SCA Packaging Italia is one of Italy’s leading manufacturers of corrugated board packaging, with a 15% market share, 1,480 employees, and 22 production units, including integrated full-cycle factories, corrugators, box plants, and a paper mill.
Solutions range from consumer and display packaging to personalized protective packing for transport, as well as industrial packaging for the chemical, automotive, and food industries, among others. Annual production sees the conversion of some 420 thousand tons of paper and 900 million square meters of board, 50% of which is for boxes.
SCA Packaging Italia operates a cluster structure of business units consisting of factories that collaborate very closely, have interchangeable production capabilities, and are centrally managed with uniform goals and decision-making. Performance is also assessed by clusters rather than single units. Roberto Crippa, General Manager of the integrated factories in Casarile (MI), Cornuda (TV), Pessione (TO) and Quargnento (AL), with a total of 350 employees and annual productivity of 160 million square meters of corrugated board packaging, heads up the North Cluster.
“The advantages of a cluster are clear: the factories have the same characteristics and, above all, the same brand because we only have BOBST machines. Our production is based on the concept that it must be possible to transfer all basic jobs from one site to another without any problems and this is possible because all four factories have the same printing plates, the same machines, the same anilox cylinders, and the same inks. If there’s an overload at Casarile we finish the order at Quargnento, and this possibility of switching orders has led to excellent results,” says Crippa.
There are many active production systems in the factories including case makers, folder-gluers, rotary die-cutters, and 15 flat-bed BOBST die-cutting machines with in-line printing, five of which are 5-color printing presses, illustrating the strong bond between the Swiss company and the packaging giant. Two of these are 5-color MASTERFLEX-L presses with in-line die-cutting: the first was installed at the Pessione facility in 2005 when it was also the first in Italy; the second has been producing at the Quargnento facility for a few months now.
Crippa is a convinced supporter of in-line manufacturing because he has found it to be the most productive and flexible of solutions. Thanks to rapid die changing and quick start-ups, printing and cutting are executed quickly, with better control of the finished product. It is easier to change from one order to another and start-up times are reduced. Thanks to digital control, settings and corrections can be memorized. The printing plate fixing system and the centering system make it simple to repeat orders. Naturally this method calls for great precision, but MASTERFLEX guarantees perfect workmanship.
“In-line manufacturing calls for a much more logical and orderly layout in the factory. All lines are parallel, so operators can exchange information about corrections, errors, or adjustments with greater ease. Job programming is also much simpler because it’s possible to repeat an order in 25-30 minutes. Maintenance is also simplified because there is better access to the machine and spare parts management is easier and more economical,” says Crippa. “Today the market wants fast, on-demand deliveries, average printing runs are becoming shorter while the demand for quality is on the rise and there are many more requests for promotions. All these factors call for a quick response and in-line manufacturing is the only answer. We achieve speeds of 3,500-4,000 sheet/hour all in: long start-up, handling a new and complex job, start-up in the presence of the customer. We can complete an order and deliver the finished product in three days”.
“Medium-term prospects for expansion of the corrugated board market are not great; however the market does demand more products with high-quality printing. The beverage sector is a leader in this sense: just 10 years ago, boxes with 2- or 3-colour printing were acceptable, but today at least 5 are expected. In this situation it’s important to create new solutions for customers, such as shelf-ready boxes that are opening new markets,” Crippa comments. “We are well-positioned in our clusters in terms of quality, productivity, and flexibility. Thanks to our in-line MASTERFLEX-L machines, we are certain we can fully satisfy the requests of the sector today”.
Innovation at the service of the customer
Ondulati ed Imballaggi del Friuli produces RSC and die-cut boxes of all types and sizes. Founded by Mario Gollino in 1970, the company has 200 employees and three factories: Villesse (GO), Venzone (UD), and Cormons (GO). It serves the industrial, furniture, and food sectors. The main factory in Villesse works three shifts with six conversion lines to serve north eastern Italy and Eastern Europe, which accounts for 30% of total revenue. The group also holds a small share of a production unit in Hungary.
An important aspect to be noted is the company's innovative approach to logistics. The company has entrusted warehouse and delivery management to Cover Logistica. Cover Logistica has a warehouse annex at the Villesse factory where its IT system is integrated with that of Ondulati ed Imballaggi del Friuli. Thanks to this joint management, optimal shipping and punctual deliveries are guaranteed with around 60 transport vehicles leaving Villesse every day. Company organization is another strong point. The company has always invested in human resources and R&D, and its labs are constantly involved with research and experiments into raw materials and the control of finished products. They are also at the service of customers for analysis, consulting, studies, and the production of prototypes and samples.
You need to have the right technology to achieve these results,” says Stefano Gollino, the company’s Production Manager. “That’s why we invested in the BOBST MASTERFLEX-L in 2005, running with in-line die-cutting, up to 5 colors and high-definition guaranteed by 320 line anilox cylinders”.
Reliability is an essential characteristic for Ondulati ed Imballaggi del Friuli because the company works around the clock, and this has been achieved thanks to BOBST solutions. As Gollino says, “the MASTERFLEX-L with in-line die-cutting phased in immediately and gave us the results we expected in terms of productivity. Our goal was to make the best possible use of the maximum sheet size and we have succeeded: we have reached an average surface of more than one and a half meters, which is 70% of the available maximum”.
The quality of MASTERFLEX-L printing has opened up new markets for the company that it could not satisfy in the past, especially the food sector. The advantages of in-line manufacturing have been fundamental: greater productivity, better product control, and fewer personnel at the machine. “MASTERFLEX ensures good productivity because we have a compact line and we have succeeded in optimizing performance. The same team can perform both printing and cutting. We can respond immediately to the market and we can also implement a change to an order while the machine is in production, without losing print registration,” remarks Gollino. “We are very satisfied because we got a quick return on our investment. The BOBST machine is also an excellent investment in terms of the future because it has a good level of residual value”, Gollino concludes.
There are new investments on the horizon for Ondulati ed Imballaggi del Friuli and there’s “a little more euphoria”, as Gollino declares with optimism. In fact, with the recent signs of a recovery, though still somewhat pale, the company is ready to further upgrade its equipment.