Star Product: Stelda AR500 CGT

This cold-glue case sealer from Mumbai-based Impel Services was recently recognised with the Pacmachine 2017 award by Indian Institute of Packaging. This machine promises to be a comprehensive solution in end of the line packaging for brands. Priya Raju finds out how

14 Nov 2017 | By Priya Raju

What does it do?
Stelda AR500 CGT is a fully automatic random case sealing machine for corrugated shipper cartons. Stelda is an acronym for security, tamper evidence, low damages in the application of tertiary packaging. The product is designed and developed with indigenous expertise in order to address the various challenges in the supply chain as the name suggests. The machine can handle boxes ranging from 200x200x200mm to a maximum size of 650x500x500mm. The Stelda range of case forming and sealing machines offer multiple sealing options such as hotmelt adhesive, BOPP tapes, cold glue and a hybrid sealing with a combination of glue and tapes. The ‘Made in India’ Stelda AR500 CGT model uses cold-glue to seal the shipper flaps, perhaps first in the world to use this medium to seal corrugated boxes. Impel Services works with OEMs partners like Nordson, Henkel, and Econocorp. 
When was it launched, and what is the background for its development?
The upgraded version of Stelda AR500 CGT was launched at Interpack 2017, in Düsseldorf Germany. P Sajith, director, Impel Services, says, “We see a lot of damages and pilferage happens because of poor sealing of boxes. This is then offset by over-engineering of boxes with reinforcements like stretch wrapping and strapping. The transit time between shipping to shelf is often neglected in India which results in a compromise on the security and integrity of the product packed. Traditionally, shipper cartons or boxes are sealed using self-adhesive tapes or water activated tapes (WAT) or hotmelts in some cases. “It is seen that hybrid methods of sealing using more than one medium of sealing provide the best benefits, however, this increases the cost of production. The Stelda AR500 CGT is equipped with CG sealing technology which can deliver most robust method of sealing, in a cost-effective manner.” 
What were these challenges?
“In India, packaging automation starts and ends with primary packaging. Generally, the brand owners’ focus is mainly on the ability of packaging to communicate with the consumer. What is often neglected is the fact that this communication cannot be only through attractive designs and colours. The product has to be delivered to the consumer without affecting the package integrity,” says Sajith.
Primary packaging in India is predominantly flexible, supply chain logistics are pretty demanding and brands are faced with serious problems of damages and pilferage in transit. Brand owners need to focus on ensuring product security by reinforcing the secondary and tertiary packaging.
An effective packaging needs to sell and protect the merchandise while being cost-efficient at the same time. Sajith says, “Automation in end-of-the-line packaging and introduction of better packaging materials are the only way to achieve this objective. To address these issues, Stelda range of machines was introduced with an aim to help the brand owner introduce systems and methods of secondary packaging that reduce or eliminate damages and pilferage in transit.”
Who is this machine aimed at?
The machine is an effective solution for all the brands in segments such as food, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, consumer durable segment to mitigate the problem discussed above. Also, 60-65% of the demand for corrugated boxes is emerging from FMCG companies. This is growing at 8-10% per year. Sajith explains, “One trend that we see is most FMCG companies are shifting from five-ply construction to a three-ply. The catchword is corrugate-reduction. They are looking at components that go into box manufacturing, the process of manufacturing boxes and the method of sealing with more focus than ever before.
What is the USP of the machine?
The unique selling point of this machine is that it offers sealing of cases using cold glue. The speed of the machine can be calibrated as per the packaging line speed. Sajith says, “Our aim was to provide solutions for product security during transit. That’s what Stelda aspires to achieve. We come from the huge experience in using adhesives in bookbinding with our Welbound brand of perfect binding machines– and know for sure that cold-glue is the best medium for securing paper in a most cost-effective manner.”
How easy is it to use?
The case sealer is a fully automated machine with no manual intervention and can be integrated with the existing packaging lines. Boxes of different sizes, coming in from multiple production lines can be channelised into the case sealer. The box dimensions are automatically measured, the machine is configured on the fly and the box is sealed. “All these features help in saving space, cost and labour. Plus the machines are built as per international safety standards,” adds Sajith.
How many machines have been installed and what is your future plan?
Since its launch, Stelda has garnered positive feedback from the end-user brands.  “We have introduced a method of case sealing that was not locally available. We have also introduced automation that will help form the cases, fill them and secure seal them. The trials were done and the conversions of these installations have shown that there are significant benefits in switching to a Stelda case packing process. Customers have seen the significant reduction in transit damages,” says Sajith.
He adds, “We have successful installations in snack food, edible oil, masala, engineering, lubricant and graphic arts industry. Supply chain logistics teams of these brands have fewer complaints and shrinkage claims to deal with. The overall productivity of their case packaging operations too has gone up. In order to take the line integration to the next level we now offer pick and place technology using robotic arms that will automate the operations leading to case sealing and thereby making it a comprehensive solution for the end of the line packaging.”
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