Solpap adds flexo fire power
Original article reprinted from The Packaging Portal
Solpap was founded in 1999, following in the family tradition of corrugated packaging production started by František Nutil in 1938 in Solnice. Today, the company is run by Michal Nutil, grandson of the founder (pictured left, above).
In terms of its customer base, Solpap produces corrugated packaging and displays for quite a wide variety of industries. Wholesalers and packaging manufacturers account for about 45% of annual production; glass industry 12%; engineering 8%; food 7%; electrical 7%; healthcare and pharmaceuticals 6%; household goods 6%, along with customers in animal feed, furniture, textiles, plastic and rubber products and beverages. Most customers are within 200km in the Czech Republic. The others come from Slovakia, Austria, Germany and Denmark.
Today, the business employs 70 skilled operators and office staff, generating over €10m in sales. In 2022, the company converted in excess of 12 million sqm of board. “We always design tailor-made solutions to make boxes strong enough to protect products while at the same time being cost-effective,” says Michal Nutil, CEO. “We work with the best suppliers of corrugated board, Progroup. We also try to constantly upgrade our materials, so we also offer ‘Next Board’ ecological board.”
“Our investment project really centred on a need for a generational change of the existing converting line and a requirement to increase the automation of the entire production process of finished boxes,” explains Nutil. “When deciding on the choice of the most suitable converting equipment, it is always important for us that a new machine must offer a new and innovative solution, preferably one that has the potential to appeal to our customers. What is also important is that we find a solution which our competition does not have yet, meaning we get a competitive advantage and a chance to increase our share of the domestic packaging market.”
“An equally important factor in our decision is certainly the reputation of the manufacturer of this equipment itself, the availability of spare parts, service, warranty, and of course the price also plays a role,” adds Jiří Horák, Commercial Director (pictured right, next to Michal Nutil). “Obviously, there are many parameters for the selection process, but for us, one of the most important things is that the G-Grafix 12600 FFG can print inside-outside in one pass, and overall, it best met our specifications. Inside-outside print meets our requirement to gain a competitive advantage.”
“Inside-outside printing is currently about 1% of our production,” continues Nutil. “Packaging with internal printing is not a complete novelty for us, we have already supplied these type of boxes to customers; these were mostly digitally printed covers, only a small part of them were printed by flexo printing. In both cases, however, it involved a double pass through the machine. On the new G-Grafix, this problem is eliminated.”
The installation of the equipment in Solpap’s production hall was not a simple matter, because they had to dismantle the old equipment, make adjustments to the floor space and then install a new production line, all while operating at full capacity on the other machines.
“The time schedule was important; we had to factor in the negative consequences of supply chain disruptions caused by COVID,” recounts Horák. “But we overcame the problems together with the technicians of BW Papersystem. We solved operational problems and successfully installed and put the line into operation. The subsequent training of our operators was intensive and we are still in contact with BWP technicians who help us in solving situations that we have not had experience with so far.”
The G-Grafix Flexo Folder Gluer was designed for sophistication and simplicity. This open and close machine offers versatility in both size and print. With features like PC-based computer controls with remote diagnostics and backwards compatible controls, the G-Grafix FFG is ready to increase efficiency and production for your line. Single pass inside and outside printing can be achieved with the G-Grafix FFG with the addition of one or multiple top-printing print units. The G-Grafix FFG is available in three sizes:
- 9.24 G-Grafix FFG – 950 x 2440mm
- 12.29 G-Grafix FFG – 1270 x 2870mm
- 16.32 G-Grafix FFG – 1676 x 3175mm
For Solpap, the new G-Grafix will add significant converting capacity, that is for sure. But the project is not over just yet.
“We will certainly be looking to increase the automation levels within the business,” adds Horákk. “We will be looking to add peripheral equipment, such as pre-feeders, palletisers and other useful items in due course. We are also looking to add more warehousing. But with energy prices being steep at the moment, our latest investment has been focussed on installation of a photovoltaic power plant with an output of 498 kWp. This investment will help us keep our electricity costs within acceptable limits and maintain our competitiveness in the coming years.”
“We want to continue to be innovators and, above all, reliable suppliers for our customers,” concludes Nutil. “Therefore, we will also have to deal with the current problems that the whole European corrugated industry is facing. It is not easy and the current decline in industrial production, expensive energy and inflation are all challenges we have to contend with. But the addition of new equipment, such as the G-Grafix, will allow us to overcome these issues, we are sure of it.”