Pyramid Packaging unveils India’s first Bobst FFG 618 Quatro

Bengaluru-based Pyramid Packaging recently unveiled India’s first Bobst FFG 618 Quatro flexo folder gluer, which boasts of changing the way corrugated box is manufactured in the country.

13 Sep 2013 | By Ramu Ramanathan & Rushikesh Aravkar

Pyramid Packaging, part of Horizon Packs hosted an open house to showcase the FFG 618 Quatro along with a range of corrugation capabilities at their factory in Kanakpura near Bengaluru. The full day open house which included a live machine demonstration; also provided technical presentations by the Bobst team. The event was attended by top names from the Indian corrugation industry to see the FFG618 Quatro at top speed.
Kirit Modi, managing director of Horizon Packs, was a happy man, as he thanked the Bobst India team for a smooth installation of the Quatro in February 2013.

In his speech to an audience of 40 delegates, he outlined five key trends in the brown box segment. The first trend was the importance of an automated packing line and high-end converting equipment. The second trend, Modi highlighted was the boost to the fruits and vegetables segment; and multicolour graphics. The third trend was the entry of modern retail and the therefore multicolour and photorealistic images.  The fourth trend is the entry of modern retail and the new possibilities for printing on the brown outer surfaces. Modi stated the advent of international groups in the corrugated converting segment meant further development of the Indian corrugation industry and that the local corrugators have to tighten their belt to be prepared. This would raise the quality bar. And finally, he said customers are seeking light-weight boxes with the highest quality at attractive prices for the growing market for large-sized packages and logistic display. 
The FFG 618 installed at Pyramid seems to be poised to take on some of these challenges. It is a four-colour flexo machine, which is also capable of slitting, scoring, folding, gluing and rotary die-cutting inline. It also has a rapid set system for fast printing makereadies while machine is running and Posilock rotary die quick-locking system and other features helping in fast changeovers and help customers take short orders on machine.

12 changeovers in a day
To think out of the “box”
According to Subhasis Roy, business director, Bobst SA, 80% of the RSC (regular slotted container) boxes in the corrugation segment tend to have single or two colours and glued boxes. “Roy says, “these kinds of jobs could be converted on a FFG route very easily. Moreover there are some segments which demand three to four colors such as beverages, vegetable oil etc. Today, in India, this is being rendered by the offset litho laminated route but with a high-end FFG line, a converter can target these segments.
Next comes the replacement market. For example,  in India some of the packaging, such as pizza boxes or shelf ready packaging for food items is done with litho lamination due to the unavailability of the right level of flexo technology.  Roy feels, “with Bobst post-print flexo printing clubbed with offline flatbed die-cutting and folding gluing, can provide a cost effective solution for the Indian market.” This is true, as  the samples from South East Asia and Middle East, which were showcased in the Pyramid function area, illustrate the technical capabilities as they were visibly no different than a offset printed packaging from a consumer’s perspective.
20,000 boxes per minute
During the live demonstration, the machine was running at 20,000 boxes per hour. But the machine can produce RSC boxes upto 26,000 boxes per hour. FFG618 is a 1.8 metre width machine and can handle quick changeovers up to 12 in one shift.
Roy adds, “There is pressure on the corrugated industry by the end-users to delivery good quality and better strength board and glued boxes and better graphics. With the advent of JIT and short order changes and the automatic case-maker and case-formers in the corrugated board industry, it will push convertors to adopt better technology and automation in the process.”
While evaluating capital investment in converting lines , Roy seemed to suggest that the converters need to think out of the “ box”. He stressed on the variable cost component of the kit , mainly the wastage factors. According to Roy, even the  fixed cost component will be driven down when a converter shifts his offline operations to inline processes due to sheer productivity.
In his presentation, he touched upon a cost analysis study conducted with Indian converters and Indian raw materials. He states Bobst was keen to co-operate with Indian converters to understand, “pricing structures, payback, monthly EMI, per unit cost, funding sources and finance schemes.”
How to prevent loss in box-making
In his presentation, Russell Duarte, tech advisor corrugated packaging, Bobst India, highlighted the challenges in box-making and grey areas, where resources can be saved and cost reduction can be achieved. According to Duarte, “Wastage, work-in-progress and multiple handling are the three areas where we lose money in box-making.”  
Duarte adds, “Multiple and offline processes leads to caliper loss and flute crush. In order to produce quality boxes, we need to have control over folding issues of RSC boxes, such as un-square box, gap at manufacturer’s joint, fish-tailing etc. Also, improvement on printing quality and minimising flute crush and caliper loss are the parameters that need primary focus.”
According to Duarte, out of the total corrugated box volume in India, shipper cartons contribute to 80%, while the remaining 20% market share is by high graphic micro flute cartons. Roy compared the technology segmentation in micro flute business in India and globally. “While the worldwide statistics suggest that 40% of the micro flute cartons are litho-laminated, 25% are pre-printed and 35% are post-printed, in India, 100% of the micro flute cartons is dominated by litho-lamination,” says Duarte.
“The demand for POP display packaging and secondary packaging is increasing with the revolution in retail sector. Many end-users especially from the FMCG and food are demanding substantial improvement in quality of boxes,” adds Duarte. 
Then in the main thrust of his presentation, Duarte shared a case-study, which highlighted the qualitative and quantitative differences between an offline printer-slotter and Bobst FFG. The inferences of the case-study were: With Bobst FFG, the board is less pressed and hence strength is maintained, box compression strength is higher, production wastage is as low as 10 boxes per 20,000 run length and savings on board, ink and set-up time.
“In today’s retail boom, customers are looking at cost-effectiveness, convenience and creativity; while we as a box manufacturer need to achieve operational efficiency, customer loyalty, and innovation,” says Roy.  He mentioned that the main concerns are internal cost management, and how to achieve a balance between customers and suppliers. 
Duarte says, “Shifting to inline process is the key and the drivers are 40% increased production, 2% less wastage and above all 50% less manpower. The other benefits are consistent quality, less inventory and timely delivery.”   
The evening concluded with some of the top names in Indian packaging sharing their views. Pankaj Shah of Supack was impressed with what he saw. His view, “The machine was running smoothly, the board was flat, the speed was 20,000 boxes per hour which could be increased. Plus there was no fish-tails and it was well-designed for the operators.”

Speed of 20,000 boxes per hour which can be increased
Packaging consultant, Anshuman Roy who made a point during the Open House seminar stated, “The packaging must sell more than what it costs.”
This is what the FFG618 Quatro at Pyramid Packaging seems to be doing. 

Width  1.8 metre
Max speed  26,000 RSC boxes per hour
Contact Bobst India  Sarfaraz Pathan
+91 9850880208