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Stockholm-based SCA has recently launched its new Arcwise technology, whose aim is to support box producers in integrating the typical rigidity of corrugated board with graphic design and curved shaped packaging solutions.

By Roberto Carminati

Innovation manager Magnus Viström.
Innovation manager Magnus Viström.

Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget is a leading global player in the forest products and hygiene segments, with headquarters in Stockholm and sales in about 100 countries, thanks to which the company could post last year a 12,3 billion euros revenue. Recently, the producer has introduced a proprietary technology dubbed Arcwise, in order to fulfill the needs of the packaging industry and to give it the opportunity to create new and attractive boxes, suitable to a number of different items. In fact, Arcwise ensures box providers with the capability to integrate curved shaped packaging with graphic design and with the traditional rigidity of corrugated board. The solution, which does not require manufacturers any further, significant investment, and that can be implemented in conventional corrugated board plants, is exclusively available through license agreements. And corrugated packaging building upon SCA’s technology can only be purchased from certified brands.

As the company states, «Arcwise packaging can be shipped flat from corrugated packaging producers to fillers and attain a curved shape in the erecting or filling process. Furthermore, according to SCA, «in points-of-sales, attractive curved shaped packaging designs are set to boost sales among brand owners». Arcwise is the result of an intense activity of dedicated research and development that the Swedish producer has been committed to since 2011. «And the goal», as Innovation manager Magnus Viström told Paper Industry World, «was in fact to provide displays and packaging with curved shapes that would stand out in points of sale. The project proved successful, since, often, a graphic design is to portray a round-shaped object, like a bottle or a can for instance, and Arcwise technology implies that the shape of this object can be integrated with the shape of the packaging. Therefore, the packaging can now resemble the product in a more emphasized way, which may be an interesting manner to make a product stand out on the shelves».

This could offer manufacturers an important series of competitive advantages, given the fact that brands might want the precise shape of their items to be reflected in the packaging too. While researches also suggest that, as Viström said, «the shape of an object has a critical influence on how people react to it and objects having curved shapes are preferred before objects with sharp edges». Additional benefits, Viström pointed out, come from the evidence that Arcwise can ensure smooth curvatures and that, hence, boxes can be provided with round corners, for example, without incurring in any kink or irregularity on the material. Arcwise can also witness a superior stacking strength, as shown by specific box-compression tests (BCT); and ensures a 30% material reduction over the entire manufacturing process. «Rigidity», Viström explained, «is an inherent property of curved shaped objects. There are many examples in nature where objects seek a curved shape to optimize their strength. The level of material weight reduction depends on the specific applications and will vary depending on the material itself and on the packaging’s shape. We are helping box manufacturers to find efficient solutions. Because of the good material utilization and since the material originates from a renewable resource, the Arcwise® concept will help brand owners to enhance sustainability standards: the CO2 footprint is directly affected by the material reduction».

At the moment, SCA is looking forward to launching new tray, wrap around and bag-in-box solutions, confident that «brand owners willing to develop new packaging ideas for their high-end premium products will consider the Arcwise technology most interesting». Nonetheless further, but yet undisclosed initiatives, are underway, while SCA is already working to provide clients with a series of support services. In fact, its target is to offer manufacturers assistance in the production start-up and certification processes; and in the erecting and filling operations too. In addition to this, the company is to organize special design workshops to deliver design agencies, brand owners and box manufacturers the skills they need in order to design curved-shaped packaging solutions by using the Arcwise proprietary technology. Last but not least, SCA can offer its customers consultancy services about material optimization and packaging design and prototyping activities: «Packaging applications», Viström concluded, «are a main focus for the Arcwise business. However, since SCA also manages kraftliner mills, producing the outer layer of corrugated board. Know-how about the end-use applications is always an important input to product development».