The European corrugated sector is under ever-increasing pressure to prove its sustainability credentials and meet regulatory requirements on reducing waste. Hot on the heels of its commitment to the Circular Economy package published by the European Commission, global corrugated industry leader SUN Automation Group® has outlined the measures the company is taking to help customers improve their eco-credentials whilst also making savings to the bottom line.
SUN Automation’s General Manager EMEA, Rob Dal Lago explained: “The corrugated sector already has an excellent environmental record. In the UK alone, corrugated boxes contain on average 76% recycled fibre, and after use up to 80% of corrugated packaging is collected for recycling. However, many European plants still have outstanding issues to address in the printing process; not least waste-related issues with ink use, wash-up water, and scrap material.”
Over-use of ink and wash-up costs are a particular challenge for plants, which are under pressure to squeeze maximum performance from traditional equipment. The double hit of ink loss when draining – depending on how much can be recovered – plus the cost per litre of the wash-up water and its disposal can hit profits hard. In addition, the feeding systems on traditional machines often result in large amounts of scrap which is waste in more senses than one: literally throwing away part of the original board cost as well as paying to have it removed from the plant.
SUN Automation is using its extensive experience in technical innovation to help European corrugated box plants implement new efficiencies in their processes without the need for massive investment. For example, the company’s world renowned Extend-O-Feed® Lead Edge Feeder feeds over nearly the whole width of the board, will tolerate lower quality substrates, and requires minimal maintenance – all of which helps to reduce scrap and production downtime while increasing sheet speed and accuracy.
Similarly, SUN Automation’s AccuPrint® chambered ink system has an Eco-Wash recirculating feature that requires less water during wash-up, not to mention a significant reduction in ink loss at wash-up (that does not get into the wash water) – only 0.56 litre lost compared to 3.9 litres for a typical two-roll system. A total clean is achieved in just five minutes, a quarter of the time for a regular wash-up. Again, savings are made directly as well as increased efficiencies which ultimately contribute to the bottom line.
Rob Dal Lago concluded: “There’s no doubt that European corrugated printers are facing higher than ever levels of environmental regulation, which is echoed by a genuine desire from many companies to improve their sustainability credentials – but without impacting negatively on profits. The beauty about SUN Automation’s retro-fitted systems is that they can achieve the former objective instantly as well as impacting positively on profit margins.
“SUN Automation has established a long-standing reputation in Europe for technical excellence, reliability and unrivalled service levels. We’re constantly researching and developing even better ways for our customers to maximise the functionality of their existing machinery and we’re confident that there will be many more innovations to come.”