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Competitive advantages on the hotly contested packaging market

Why Cartonajes Torralba in Spain installed two LOTUS SF laminating systems from Steinemann Technology in a short space of time ((Intro)) High laminating quality and productivity, combined with favourable operating costs ­ Spanish packaging manufacturer Cartonajes Torralba has paved the way to future growth by purchasing two LOTUS SF laminating systems from Swiss mechanical engineering company Steinemann Technology. Cartonajes Torralba is today a leading supplier on the domestic market. ((Body)) "We've constantly been acquiring new customers since we installed a LOTUS SF. That's one of the reasons why we were in a financial position to buy a second of these laminating systems from Steinemann Technology just 20 months later," says a happy Juan Torralba, describing the growth of packaging manufacturer Cartonajes Torralba, which has its headquarters in Alicante in the Valencia region on the Costa Blanca. Be it packaging for shoes, toys, confectionery ­ particularly Turrón, a typical speciality from Alicante ­ or other products, he says demand for laminated packagings is increasing all the time. "Our customers want to enhance the attractiveness of their products at the point of sale in order to boost their turnover. It's a wellknown fact that consumers partly shop with their eyes ­ and what they see often decides what they buy," says the Managing Director of the company, which was established in 1986 and whose modern production capacities have since enabled it to become a leading service provider on the Spanish market. Word is spreading about the quality of the company's packagings, and that is attracting a constant flow of new orders. The decision in favour of the first LOTUS SF was taken for several reasons. "In view of the very fierce competition on our market, quality isn't the only factor that plays a key role, but also the operating costs and productivity of our technical equipment. It's in that respect that the LOTUS SF stands out with the best values by far, compared to all other laminating systems available on the market. On top of which, the mature process offers dependability and ecological benefits," says Torralba, recalling the decision-making criteria applied at the time. "And because these competitive advantages then really did materialise in day-to-day business, we didn't have to think long before deciding to invest in a second LOTUS SF." In addition to which, he says no other system on the market combines polyurethane technology with the advantage of horizontal sheet transport. And Steinemann's good image also played a role when installing both systems.

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AR Cartonajes Torralba

Redaktionsbüro Maruschzik

June 2011

Page 1

Low production costs are a decisive competitive advantage The LOTUS SF achieves a production speed of up to 100 m/min and demonstrates very low adhesive consumption levels. Depending on the substrate and the laminating film used, it consumes a mere 1.8 to 3.5 g polyurethane adhesive per square metre. This figure is very low in comparison with other systems, and the LOTUS SF owes it to a heatable calendering system in combination with rotating sheet-cleaning brushes. That makes for smooth, powder-free surfaces on the substrates before laminating. Says Torralba: "If the printed sheets are dirty, the calender and the double sheet-cleaning brush greatly improve the quality of the end product." Thoroughly cleaned sheets also reduce the level of adhesive consumption, and thus the costs for this consumable. Cartonajes Torralba uses polyurethane adhesives manufactured by Morchem from Spain and Coim from Italy ­ two very high-quality adhesives. On top of all this, the LOTUS SF is also characterised by low power consumption, and thus by very low energy costs. The reason for this is that, unlike other laminating systems, it does not need a drier. The polyurethane adhesive applied to the printed substrates is cured by the moisture in the air. According to Torralba's calculations, "The LOTUS SF gives us a production cost advantage of roughly 20% in the marketplace." Flexible use From the point of view of the packaging manufacturer, the systems are moreover suitable for universal use ­ an important prerequisite for success on the market. Because of the widely varying demands of its enormously diverse customer portfolio, Cartonajes Torralba has to process a host of very different substrates ­ from thin papers for 'top sheets' that are subsequently laminated onto corrugated cardboard, all the way to thick cardboard packagings with sheet weights of up to 600 g/m². The LOTUS SF is capable of processing sheet formats between 22 x 30 cm and 102 x 142 cm. "Particularly in packaging production, there are no standard formats, since the sheet size is usually optimised in relation to the number of blanks. For that reason alone, we have to be very flexible when it comes to laminating different formats," says Torralba, explaining the background. Above and beyond this, the LOTUS SF also proves to be extremely versatile as regards the laminating films with thicknesses of between 8 and 100 µm that it can apply. Among other things, it processes glossy, matt and metallised BOPP films, as well as glossy, matt, coloured or metallised PET films. It can also handle glossy, matt or coloured PE and acetate films. Even the latest generation of biodegradable PLA films can be used without difficulty. These films react

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Redaktionsbüro Maruschzik

June 2011

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very sensitively to heat and can therefore be applied particularly effectively by the cold polyurethane laminating process. Which of these materials are ultimately used in day-to-day business at Cartonajes Torralba depends on the prevailing requirements of the individual customers. The LOTUS SF covers the entire range with ease. Precise sheet cutting with the 'Hot Knife' The rotary 'Hot Knife' cuts the sheets cleanly and without tension over the full sheet width as soon as they leave the laminating roller ­ completely regardless of the running speed of the machine, the laminating films used and the thickness of the substrates. Cutting is performed automatically and is geared to the trailing edge of the sheet. "No matter which films we use, the Hot Knife always ensures outstandingly precise quality of the cuts. Particularly when using polyester films, this knife is the only one that permits reliable, precise cutting at any machine speed," reports the Managing Director. He says cutting systems from other manufacturers are very slow and less accurate in comparison. In addition to which, they require time-consuming resetting. Thanks to the unique, horizontal sheet transport system, the laminated sheets remain flat at all times in the LOTUS SF and display no warping whatsoever. The cold laminating process and the low pressure applied prevent any sheet distortion. The stacks emerging on the delivery side are immediately ready for finishing. Standstill times are minimised by the ease of operation and the fact that system change-overs take only a few minutes. Easy to operate / Environmentally friendly process "The LOTUS SF permits simple, one-man operation via the Touch Panel with its easy-tounderstand graphic user interface," says Torralba, also praising the system's intuitive operator prompting that likewise contributes to minimising setup times. He says the electric lifting platform makes for additional convenience, since it gives easy access to the components for setup and cleaning. All these reasons make it possible for Cartonajes Torralba to exploit the high productivity of its LOTUS SF systems to the full ­ an important factor in view of the pressure of deadlines that usually prevails. From the point of view of both the staff and the customers, the SF process ­ SF stands for solvent-free ­ is a unique selling proposition that has decisive advantages. For instance, the low consumption figures have a positive impact on the machine's eco-balance. In addition to which, the polyurethane adhesive is based on solid, totally solvent-free components, suitable for all types of film and, after polymerisation, resistant to thermal effects during finishing.

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AR Cartonajes Torralba

Redaktionsbüro Maruschzik

June 2011

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"Apart from the consistently high laminating quality, our customers are particularly enthusiastic about the good adhesion of the laminated films and the flexible finishing options. Everybody has different requirements in that respect, and we can easily cover them all with the LOTUS SF," says Torralba, describing key factors that have enabled the packaging provider to be a success with existing and new customer alike, thanks to its new production capabilities. And when will Cartonajes Torralba be ordering the third LOTUS SF? "Let's wait and see. If we carry on growing like we are at the moment, it really won't be very long until we do." ((Captions)) ((Photo: Juan Torralba)) Juan Torralba, Managing Director of packaging producer Cartonajes Torralba, with one of his two LOTUS SF high-speed, solvent-free laminating systems: "We've constantly been acquiring new customers since we installed a LOTUS SF. That's one of the reasons why we were in a financial position to buy a second of these laminating systems from Steinemann Technology just 20 months later." ((Photo: LOTUS)) The LOTUS SF from Steinemann Technology is characterised by very low adhesive consumption in combination with a high production speed. ((Photo: HotKnife)) After laminating, the Hot Knife cuts the sheets cleanly and without tension over the full sheet width ­ regardless of the running speed of the machine, the laminating films used and the thickness of the substrates. ((Photo: Sheet_Cleaning)) The double sheet-cleaning brush makes for smooth, powder-free surfaces on the substrates, thereby significantly reducing adhesive consumption, and thus the costs for this consumable.

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AR Cartonajes Torralba

Redaktionsbüro Maruschzik

June 2011

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