Sappi is expanding its corrugated raw material product line with topliner and fluting with a new containerboard product group Containerboard. Bernd Gelder, Product Group Manager for Containerboard, is responsible for the enlarged product group.
The product group now includes corrugated paper (fluting) and topliner. The bright white Fusion® topliner is the primary topliner product, while the cartonboard Algro Design® and the new folding carton atelier™ can also be used as topliners. Weights from 90 g/m2 to 400 g/m2 are available. In Europe, Sappi now also offers the corrugating medium Ultraflute. The fluting was specially developed by Sappi in weights of 125 g/m2 to 165 g/m2 and is manufactured in South Africa for the global market.
"My goal is to establish Sappi as an attractive, long-term and innovative partner in the corrugated card industry with the Containerboard product group," says Bernd Gelder. "The trend toward high-quality yet environmentally friendly packaging solutions offers opportunities for growth for packaging converters and their brand owner clients. We help our customers to exploit these opportunities and make their products stand out from the rest of the market. Our products allow them to be visually distinct, save glue and weight, and make processing more efficient. They also benefit from our reliable service."
Austrian-born Bernd Gelder studied mechanical engineering and started his career as a trainee at speciality paper manufacturers Brigl & Bergmeister, where he worked for many years as Product and Sales Manager. He joined Sappi in 2010 as Sales Manager for Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and the Balkan states. Prior to this, he worked at EnBW Austria, Europapier and Mondi Coatings.
Containerboard exploits synergy effects
Fusion® topliner plays a vital role in the containerboard market. Compared with other topliners available on the market, it has an outstanding surface finish. It also enables exceptional colour brilliance with high shelf impact and an optimum look and feel for brand differentiation. Its raw material of bleached virgin fibres gives the topliner the essential advantages of high strength and flexibility, allowing lower weights to be used without sacrificing material strength. The flexibility of the fibre structure prevents cracked folds at the edges. Thanks to the functional coating on the back, glue absorption remains very constant, meaning the amount of glue required is considerably reduced. This not only saves costs and cuts drying times but also achieves a very good flatness.
Ultraflute is a new corrugating medium paper containing mostly virgin fibres from semi-chemical pulp and is the first choice for very high performance and post-processing requirements. Its high strength makes Ultraflute especially suitable for high-end applications, and the paper retains its shape even in damp conditions. This makes it possible to reduce flat weight significantly compared with existing corrugated board systems and also achieves synergy effects with Fusion®. Using Fusion® as the topliner and Ultraflute as the fluting, weight can be reduced while still maintaining the high strength of the corrugated card packaging.
Rising demand for Fusion®
In response to the high demand for Fusion® topliner, Sappi has started production at a second site in Ehingen in addition to the Alfeld factory. "With a 5.60-metre-wide paper machine and modern coating equipment, Ehingen has the ideal technical capabilities for the production of Fusion®,” explains Rainer Lex, Manager PQM (Process, Quality & Technology Management) at Sappi Ehingen. “Through the investments we have made, we are strengthening our special paper business and therefore also the Ehingen factory."
By expanding its special paper business to other European locations, Sappi is expanding on an existing strategy. Following the conversion of the Alfeld factory into a competence centre for special paper and board, and scaling up the production of FBB in Maastricht, Ehingen is now Sappi's third European production site for special papers and board.
Previously, Ehingen produced only high-quality matt and silk graphic papers with single to triple coatings. As a result of the production of Fusion® in Ehingen and the associated further quality development, a slightly adapted range of product weights is now offered. Instead of 130 and 140 g/m2, Fusion® is now available in 135 g/m2 and, for the first time, 110 g/m2. This offers corrugated card processors even more options and creative possibilities.
Sappi is continuing to develop the new Containerboard product group. One aspect of development is the range of supported printing processes. With digital printing set to become ever more important in the years ahead, Sappi is collaborating closely with selected digital printing machine manufacturers and is achieving good results with Fusion® across various applications.
Another new development is barrier solutions for corrugated card. The MOB liner/Leine Guard with special barrier layer (MOSH/MOAH barrier) has already undergone successful market testing as an inner liner. Watch this space for more exciting new developments in the Containerboard product family from Sappi!