SIBO Verpackungen, one of Europe’s leading specialists in short run bespoke corrugated and carton packaging has invested in new folder gluer technology from Duran Machinery to boost its carton capacity. Nick Coombes visited Olpe, in Germany’s Sauerland, to find out what lies behind previous and current investments.
If your concept of a corrugated sheet plant is one where daily production consists of a few box styles manufactured with almost monotonous regularity, you have never seen a company like SiBO Verpackungen. There is almost nothing standard about corrugated and carton production here – other than the attention to detail and the highest level of customer service, an essential when dealing with short run bespoke packaging that forms the basis of SiBO’s business. Founded in 1948 as Siepe & Berger (Olpe), the company was the subject of a management buyout by the present Chairman, Bernd Hesse, in 1986, who, with sons Peter and Christian as Managing Director, has grown the business to an annual turnover in excess of €40 million, that converted 20 million square meters of corrugated board and 2,000 tonnes of cartonboard in 2013. Today, in addition to the main production site and separate warehouse facilities in Olpe, the company has a production plant in Lepseny, on the shores of Lake Balaton, south west of Budapest (Hungary) which was established in 1997 and a smaller facility in Kaunas (Lithuania) which opened in 2003. Overall, the group employs more than 400 staff.
With such a well-established business supplying special corrugated products to the automotive and engineering industries, SiBO looked for ways to expand its markets. Peter Hesse explained: ”We decided to build on our strength, which is creative work for specialist applications in the engineering market. We knew our existing customers needed folding cartons because we used to outsource them on their behalf. This made it a simple decision to bring cartonmaking in-house.” Initially, the cartons, which are printed on a Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 102, were processed on a variety of three older folder gluers, but with the decision to become more pro-active in this market, SiBO soon discovered they needed new technology to be able to meet their own quality standards. It was around this time in 2011 that Peter Hesse began to take more of an active role in managing the company’s folding carton division, and in particular the plan to grow the carton side of the company’s output. A meeting with Paul van den Bos, whose company Van den Bos STS BV represents Duran Machinery in the Benelux and Germany, alerted Hesse to the advantages of the Omega range of folder gluers. The decision was made to install an Omega 160, one of Duran’s best all round machines. Capable of handling blanks up to 1600mm wide and 1000mm in length, it allows SiBO to process a variety of cartonboards from 300 – 600 gsm and also E, B, C, EB, and EC flute corrugated board. Specified with the optional servo back folding system for 4-corner boxes, it has the standard crashlock attachment and a belt speed of 250m/min. Explaining the sale to SiBO, Paul van den Bos said, “The timing was good for both companies as it marked the beginning of younger generation management with a successful installation that has forged an excellent working partnership. SiBO, Duran, and our company have great synergy we are all family businesses with a hands-on management style that gets things done quickly and efficiently. We are all of a size that allows us the flexibility to respond to changes in market demand.” The Omega 160 has been running well since being commissioned, with SiBO appreciating the larger format sizes it can handle compared with its previous folder gluers. Key to its success is the ability to make ready quickly and keep job changeover times to a minimum. The servo driven adjustment plays an important part in this, with typical run lengths being 500 1000 boxes.
Peter Hesse commented, “The Omega has allowed us to bring this work inhouse, which gives us control of quality and turnaround times. We use it mostly for crashlock style boxes and the fact that it is easy and quick to make ready is more important than the running speed on our very short runs.”
So pleased is Hesse with what the Omega 160 has achieved, that when the time came for another, and smaller folder gluer, he again chose an Omega although not before taking stock of what else was available on the market. “It’s a very competitive market, with little to choose between different machine capabilities. In the end, the decision was to stay with Duran and Van den Bos because we believe building an ongoing relationship offers better support and develops a deeper understanding of specific requirements,” he said.
The new Omega folder gluer is a Performa 80 model, fitted with side register, servo back folding for 4-corner boxes, motorised carriers and one of the new Omega Prefeeder units. It has a belt speed of 300m/min. Significantly, according to SiBO, it has cut setting times and its greater accuracy has reduced rejected blanks by more than 40 per cent, which as a production waste cost means that the payback time (ROI) on the new machine has been very good. In particular, the Prefeeder, which is a ‘wheel-away’ unit that allows manual feeding when required, has made for improved efficiency on some of SiBO’s longer run work. Designed to allow the machine operator to pre-load a large stack of blanks, the Prefeeder ensures continuous running of the folder gluer without the need for constant attention. This allows the operator time to work on other tasks, such as making ready the next job, or in many applications, it allows one operator to run two or more machines. The Omega Prefeeder is available for pairing with models from 55cm to 145cm wide. “We need to compete globally. At present, around 90 per cent of our output is delivered by our own fleet of 35 trucks to customers in Germany. If we could double the size of our export trade in the short term, I’d consider that a good result, but to do that we need to continue to invest in new technology. The two Omega machines have shown us the way forward,” Hesse
“It’s a very competitive market, with little to choose between different machine capabilities.”