Packaging

A kit with something in “Plus”

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Eliminate the costs of pre-spread paper by choosing a solution that prefers plain kraft paper as packaging materials. This is now possible with an innovative system designed for the tissue production and converting sector, an upgrade of two technologies already familiar to companies in the industry. The new system acts on the unwinding area of the reel in the wrapping machine, ensuring greater sustainability from an environmental and economic point of view.

Compliance with the most stringent environmental regulations, but also maximum attention to reducing costs and maintaining one’s competitiveness; in a word: sustainability.

If we are then talking about paper – and, specifically, paper for household, hygienic and sanitary use or tissue – compliance with these parameters becomes even more of a requirement, since the market we are addressing and to which we need to respond is the final one, that of the ultimate consumer of the good produced, to be clear. This is even more true with regard to that part of sustainability that has to do with the impact on the environment and the use of resources.

With these goals in mind, companies in the paper manufacturing and converting sector are moving in search of technological and innovative solutions. An area in which collaboration with supplier companies is becoming increasingly close.

Sustainability researched

In the utmost attention now being paid to issues related to the environment and the impact of production activities on it, packaging plays a leading role. It is not simply a means of protecting the product and communicating with the market, but also an element of comparison at the European level. The reduction of packaging and the preference for using packaging that is recyclable and helps contain the amount of plastic waste have long been issues in the international debate.

Germany’s Körber Group – and more specifically its tissue division – has been addressing these very issues. According to data published by Euromonitor International, say the company, the growing concern about plastic waste management, especially in the area of packaging, to date is at the center of consumers’ purchasing logic for as many as 54 percent of them. Here’s where relying on technologically advanced solutions that can ensure greater sustainability is crucial for industry players.

Körber business area Tissue designs and manufactures tissue converting lines characterized by a high level of technology for which, by the way, it is also structured to offer equally adequate service. Underlying the technologies it makes for the industry, the German group’s tissue unit pays constant attention to research, precisely in order to make its products and services increasingly sustainable. Specifically, it has recently developed a product innovation that makes it possible to replace polyethylene packaging materials with plain kraft paper.

Packaging: the transition to paper

The new product is called Kit Bio Pack plus, was developed and tested in the R&D of the packaging division of Körber business area Tissue and has been patented. With this new solution, explains Nicolò Squarzoni, product manager – Packaging & digital Körber business area Tissue, “we wanted to go beyond the first steps taken, upgrading the Kit Bio Pack full and Kit Bio Pack light systems, two already successful technologies that allow the use of pre-spread paper and bioplastics. Although these solutions make the packaging of converted tissue products more sustainable,” he says, “we decided to further evolve our offering to make our customers’ investments even more profitable.”

The new Bio Pack plus kit is an add-on system on the unwinding area of the reel in the packaging machine that excludes the need to use paper that has been pre-coated with heat-sealing glue, to the advantage of a more environmentally and economically sustainable solution.

In essence, the paper in the reel, before reaching the perforation, goes through a double pass consisting of an encoder and a set of nozzles. The insight of Körber’s designers lies precisely in this technical aspect, the company explains: the encoder phases the unwinding of the reel with the application of glue by the nozzles. The technological innovation is thus able to apply glue on a reel that unwinds at up to a speed of 200 sheets per minute, guaranteeing precision in pinpointing exact application points, avoiding smearing and ensuring rapid glue drying. The ability to dictate the required amount of adhesive for each specific package format, Körber engineers point out, thus means minimizing waste. This ensures that more sustainable products are obtained, while also making the entire packaging process even more environmentally sustainable.

The new kit, Squarzoni continues, is “installable on all existing Bio Pack Kit packaging machines. This unprecedented patented solution therefore represents both a retrofit for older generation systems and an optional extra for new machines, in favor of high quality and speed.”

Reduce costs

The benefits to be gained from using this product innovation, however, are not only environmental. Sustainability, it has been said, must also be economic, and for a new technology to have a positive impact it must be economically viable and must be able to represent a benefit to the company in these terms as well. Thus, in addition to higher product quality and speed of execution, there is, the manager continued, “a reduction in the cost of packaging and a higher sales margin on the final product.” The additional advantage that a tissue company can derive from Kit Bio Pack plus, in fact, is very interesting. It comes, they explain, from the approximately 45-50 percent lower price of kraft paper compared to that of pre-glued paper: respectively, they specify, it is 3 €/kg compared to 5.5 €/kg.

On balance, the savings become really interesting. Körber experts have made some calculation assumptions. Taking into account the many variables, in terms of the needs of paper converters and the production conditions of the lines,” they explain, “on a wrapping machine working under certain circumstances-for example, 300 days a year for 16 hours a day, with machine availability at 70 percent and paper wrapping for 30 percent of the total, at a speed of 120 ppm and with 50 gsm paper weight-for an estimated paper consumption of 72,500 kg, the use of kraft paper with glue compared to pre-processed paper allows a cost reduction of more than 42 percent. This means, they say, that tissue producing or converting companies can potentially get to cut their procurement costs in half and, at the same time, manage to maximize the return on the investment made. 

A closer look

To find out all the advantages of the new Kit Bio Pack plus, to better understand what it entails to install this new version of the kit, designed for the paper production and converting sector, and to find out its prospects for further development, we interviewed Nicolò Squarzoni himself.

The new Kit Bio Pack plus technology was launched this year. Have there been any further developments in recent months or do you plan to implement any in the short term?

“The prototype of Kit Bio pack plus was officially presented to customers at an open house held recently in the packaging division of Körber business area Tissue, in Bologna, as well as a webinar as part of Körber’s Tissue Innovation Days. Since then, a process of industrialization of the prototype has been initiated for seamless integration into packaging machines.”

Kit Bio Pack plus is an innovation also suitable for retrofit-which is always an important aspect for paper mills-what does it entail for the company installing it? What does the paper mill or processor need to modify or retrofit about their plant?

“In the context of retrofits, two scenarios arise. In the first, if the customer’s existing machine already has the Bio pack light kit or the Bio pack full kit installed, it will be sufficient to add the Bio pack plus kit on the unwinding part, with no need to make further changes. In the second case, if the packaging machine works only with polythene, a simple synthetic polymer, and the company wishes to move toward using paper as a packaging material, it will, in the first instance, have to install the Bio pack light or full Kit in order to ensure proper unwinding and sealing.”

Were the earlier models from which the plus version is derived also suitable for installation on existing machines?

“Absolutely so. The success of the Bio pack full, for example, comes precisely from the possibility of installing the technology on existing machines, which translates into a benefit for companies that decide to make such an upgrade, in total simplicity.”

How has the paper industry responded to these product innovations, compared to both the previous systems – Kit Bio Pack full and Kit Bio Pack light – and the new Kit Bio Pack plus?

“The response from the industry is very positive. First of all, in both cases, these innovative solutions make it possible to generate products that match what is demanded by the market, ensuring that client companies remain competitive in a highly dynamic and competitive business such as tissue. What’s more, with the Bio pack plus kit, they can also drastically reduce procurement costs. Finally, preliminary feedback from those who attended the prototype presentation confirms that the technology is very viable.”

What remittance have paper manufacturers gotten and are getting instead from the end market (consumers, mass retailers, etc.)?

“The Bio pack plus kit, soon to be on the market, translates into a benefit for the end consumer as well. Thanks to the minimal amount of glue applied, in fact, the paper packaging will be able to be recyclable or biodegradable, in favor of an eco-friendly and environmentally friendly product.”

New perspectives of the Tissue area

 Körber is an international technology group with more than 100 locations worldwide-headquartered in Hamburg, Germany-and employs about 13,000 people. It operates in various sectors through its different business areas-Digital, Pharma, Supply Chain, Tissue, and Tobacco.

For one of these, more precisely the Körber business area Tissue last July the German group reached an agreement to be acquired by Valmet, a global technology and services player.

An integrated, global supplier of advanced solutions for the tissue converting industry, Körber business area Tissue has a portfolio of high-tech solutions that can be applied in the tissue industry along the entire value chain, from roll to folding, converting to packaging. These are integrated, automated and easy-to-use solutions.