Flexibility and sustainability lead packaging machinery innovation

Published: 30/08/2023

An interesting project realised for a British company in the beverage industry offered Baumer – a historical Italian company based in the Modena area, which has been producing packaging machines for approximately fifty years – the opportunity to introduce a new wrap around case packer, an extremely flexible and intrinsically plastic free machine.

The special feature of this new case packer is its ability not only to select several formats on the same machine, but also and above all to select the type of incoming cardboard: corrugated cardboard or solid cardboard.

The distinctive features of solid cardboard

In the beverage industry, solid cardboard is an increasingly growing trend, mainly due to its light weight and graphic features that obtain a high quality print while offering branding opportunities. This is why manufacturers wishing to place their product in a premium segment choose it.  An additional, interesting feature of this material is a good protection for fresh and deep frozen products.

Other qualities include a lower thickness compared to corrugated cardboard, so as to cut raw material costs, while making it extremely eco-friendly and reducing the storage space.

Innovation based on problem solving

“We designed this new machine referring on demand of a major brewing client who needed a new wrap around packaging line, as flexible as possible, not just in terms of formats but also of materials”, states Mr Marco Stanzani, Marketing Manager at Baumer. 

“Beside processing traditional corrugated cardboard, the client asked to be able to process solid cardboard too, which is thinner and offers graphic features that can obtain a premium look. The solid cardboard is lighter and can keep packaged products fresher; it is usually employed in the food industry, however, in this case, it would package beer”. 

The client shall apply two kinds of material, depending on where the product is to be be positioned on the shelf. Baumer began to work on a new case packer starting from its own wrap around solution. The new machine, on show at the latest Drinktec exhibition, is a modular unit that can be put in line with other machines, e.g. a tray packer, to complete the packaging operation.

“Cans enter the case packer where the packaging is realised using solid cardboard; later on, packs are processed on a tray packer that compacts and puts them on a tray” explains Mr. Stanzani. “The flexibility of the new case packer – in this case developed for a brewing company- consists in being able to pack several product lines on the same machine, while processing different materials that allow positioning the product in different segments and within different price ranges.

Benefits for businesses and the environment

“Before setting up this new solution, the client should have equipped its plant with two packaging machines, one for corrugated cardboard and one for solid cardboard”, adds Mr Stanzani.

Hence, the flexible new wrap around unit, beside optimising the packaging process, also allowed cutting costs, while preventing the purchase of two different machines. A further benefit of such a solution is a smaller storage space. In fact, solid cardboard is by one third thinner than standard cardboard.

Last but not least, let’s consider sustainability. With solid cardboard the client saves raw material. On the other hand, making this type of cardboard is more expensive.

Further, this packaging line is plastic free. Solid cardboard joined within a tray, allows for a ready-for-sale packaging without having to wrap the pack in a plastic film. The finished pack looks like a box with a wide surface to show the brand, beside communicating sustainability values.

The value of flexibility

Depending on the type of product to be packed and the target market, one can choose the most appropriate material. This elasticity allows for a leaner and more flexible line, with a significant cost benefit.

This solution is now on the market, within a wider Baumer range in the secondary packaging industry, in line with the mission of the company aiming at meeting the demand of the final user with customised machines in various business segments such as bottling, food, preserves, personal care.

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