Redacción Alabrent“We keep our customers by providing a very flexible service,” says Marco Ballan, Director of Imballi S.p.A, the Italian corrugated box and display company. “To achieve this we have to continuously invest in advanced technology. This state-of-the-art equipment, and the know-how we have, distinguishes us in the market. It gives us a flexibility to meet the needs of customers that other companies do not have.”
In 2011, the company installed a BOBST MASTERFOLD 350 A4 folder-gluer with a POLYJOINER unit and LOGIPACK packer. The line allowed the company to better produce large format, multi-point boxes with partitions - and to produce them highly efficiently. Thanks to the success of the investment, Imballi has just ordered a second MASTERFOLD line, along with a MASTERCUT die-cutter.
Based in the northern Italian town of Castelfranco Veneto, 30 minutes west of Treviso and 45 km from Venice, Imballi has a customer base that includes a number of nationally and internationally renowned brands, and even exports as far as France, Belgium and Poland. Growth, driven by this customer base, has led to Imballi reaching a turnover of €25 million, with the company’s target being to reach an annual figure of €30 million in the near future.
Established just over twenty years ago, Imballi S.p.A originally operated from two separate sites, but in 2006 moved to a single 11,000 square metre plant which also has room for expansion. The company employs 120 staff over two shifts, with extra shifts laid on in the busy autumn and spring periods.
The core business for Imballi is made up of mailing packs printed with integrated bar codes, boxes with apertures and large format displays. Among its box production, much consists of added-value products such as boxes with windows, paper handles, glued reinforcements, or inside printing, as well as boxes using special papers or treatments. The company also produces difficult-to-manufacture packaging such as boxes printed onto gold coloured surfaces using UV inks and varnishes.
Expanding product range
Just over two years ago the company reviewed the market for folder-gluers as it searched for a machine that could help it expand its range of large-size boxes as well as boxes with one or two partitions. While BOBST was the only manufacturer offering the 350cm size that Imballi wanted, the Italian company was also very keen on what the MASTERFOLD would be able to do for them in terms of capability, flexibility and performance.
“We ran trails at the BOBST Competence Center in Switzerland, just with some plain, unprinted blanks,” recalls Mr Ballan. “We were very enthusiastic about the results. We produce a lot of 6-corner boxes and boxes made with two partitions here. The MASTERFOLD line with POLYJOINER could fold and glue all of this work, in all the sizes we wanted, and also produce packaging in three parts. Also, repeat jobs were much faster with the MASTERFOLD, they could be saved on the CUBE3 and we could see that work which we were running at 2,000 boxes an hour could run at double that speed with this line.” The company also noted improved quality of the finished products thanks to the MASTERFOLD’s rear stacker corrector.
The MASTERFOLD 350 A4 is capable of handling micro-flutes, litho-laminates, single and double wall corrugated, as well as heavy solid board, processing straight line, crash-lock, 4- and 6-corner designs. Its easy-to-set Accufeed section, with built-in blank aligner, provides the precise alignment that users need to run consistently at high speed, making the most of the MASTERFOLD's 250 metres per minute running speed.
With a potentially much faster line, Imballi S.p.A. needed to investigate how it would handle the end of line delivery of its products and opted for a BOBST LOGIPACK robotic packer. Fast enough to keep up with the MASTERFOLD, unlike human operatives, LOGIPACK also means that less people are required to run the line, saving money. When quality is as important as it is at Imballi, LOGIPACK delivers the quick and gentle packing required to batch boxes reliably without marking or scuffing.
New BOBST lines
Today, with the complete MASTERFOLD 350 line well established, Imballi has ordered additional lines from BOBST to help it reach its €30 million turnover target. In the next few months a MASTERFOLD 130 with a BOBST Palletizer will supplement the plant’s existing BOBST ALPINA folder-gluer of the same size, giving the company additional folding and gluing capacity in small to medium formats. Around the same time a MASTERCUT 1.7 will replace an existing SPO 160, giving the plant much needed additional width for its die-cut blanks. This machine will complement the plant’s two BOBST SP-162 CER blankers.
These new machines will join two BOBST ASITRADE lines which provide Imballi with its litho-laminated board, the top sheets having been printed on a six-colour Speedmaster XL 162, which was the first of its configuration in Italy. To ensure the high production flexibility needed to satisfy short notice customer orders, which can at times be for large quantities, Imballi operates a system that ensures the constant availability of paperboard in rolls from its warehouse.
"Like everyone in the industry we are facing the need to improve operational efficiency in many areas so that we can respond to the increasing demands of our customers," says Mr Ballan. "Technology like we get from the BOBST lines means we can keep ahead of the competition."