In May this year the SCA group’s German arm, SCA Packaging Deutschland, fired up a Rapida 162a at its Hanau offset plant in May this year. The six-colour coater press with extensive automation and packaging printing capability is the third large-format press and the second of this type in Hanau, where the main products are offset-laminated packaging and displays, some for other group operations.
SCA has around 45,000 employees worldwide, 15,200 of them at 170-plus sites run by SCA Packaging, Europe’s second-largest manufacturer of corrugated base paper. SCA Packaging has over 20 production plants in Germany alone, where 2,300 employees generated sales of €493m ($678m) in 2010. The Hanau operation, SCA Packaging + Display, can trace its roots back to 1874, when it started printed labels on a lithographic press. Following its acquisition by SCA Packaging in 2002 the buildings and equipment were regularly upgraded.
Most customers today are brand names in food processing, indulgence foods, beverages, toys and household chemicals. They include Nestlé, Unilever, Henkel and Playmobil. SCA Packaging regularly wins awards for product quality, and in 2010 carried off German Packaging Awards in two categories. The Hanau plant has its own design centre for creating innovative packaging, and the only inline double-wall corrugated laminating machine in Germany. Its core competence also spans pre-press, press, die-cutting and automatic gluing facilities for offset-laminated products, and its display production line bristles with specialised equipment.
Ten printing and coating units for greater flexibility
The new KBA Rapida 162a has ten printing and coating units plus a triple delivery extension, and is almost 35 metres (115ft) long. SCA’s Hanau plant thus has one of the longest and most advanced offset packaging press lines in Germany and beyond. Standing on a 420mm (16.3in) plinth, the press boasts an array of automation features for minimising makeready times, including logistics systems at the feeder and delivery. For SCA Packaging’s Hanau plant manager Erich Mäder, fast job changes are key. Along with automatic plate changing it is simultaneous washing cycles and other processes that deliver the biggest reduction in makeready time. A second big factor is the high level of flexibility afforded by inline coating. Two coaters and extended interdeck and end-of-press dryers support a wide choice of coatings including matt/gloss with primer and UV – plus, of course, a broad range of metallic effects.
Major advance in large format
Erich Mäder has no doubts: “With the new press we have achieved a huge boost in output.” Helmut Seuffert, print production manager at SCA Packaging, is more precise: “We run up to colour much faster and more reliably.”
The enhanced performance is primarily driven by two factors:
the press consistently operates at close to its maximum rated output of 12,000 sheets per hour and
quality has improved enormously because inline colour control and sheet inspection with QualiTronic Professional have slashed waste.
At present the press crews are focusing on mastering the complex technology, but in the next quarter Erich Mäder and Helmut Seuffert are confident that they can boost performance still further once inline quality control has been expanded with DensiTronic PDF, an online system for comparing prints with the original PDF from pre-press or the customer. This will help the company enhance quality and cut waste still further by detecting errors in copy and images prior to the print run, thus making production even more reliable.
Focus on packaging safety
For SCA Packaging, safety is a prime focus. When printing food and toy packaging, migration and other issues play a major role. In Hanau, the use of fossil-free inks and adhesives is a given. In-house research laboratories apply their formidable expertise and materials testing facilities to deliver new advances in packaging production.
Sustainability is another longstanding corporate philosophy. The group’s environmental objectives include a reduction in carbon emissions and water consumption, and the elimination of wood fibres from questionable sources. SCA has the biggest area of privately owned forest in Europe – 2.6m hectares (6.4m acres). The net carbon absorption by these forests is roughly equivalent to the total carbon emissions of all SCA’s production plants. For every tree felled SCA plants an average of three new ones. The group achieved Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification back in 1999. SCA Packaging Deutschland is also FSC-certified, including the plant in Hanau. Customers can select packaging and displays with the FSC logo to demonstrate their own commitment to sustainability.
SCA Packaging + Display Hanau also has ISO 14001 environmental accreditation, ISO 9001 quality management, BRC/IoP hygiene management and ISO 12647-2 offset standard.
With the new press the Hanau plant is well placed to address future demands in both its headline sectors.