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Independent Carton Group Commences 35th Year in Service to the Industry’s Independents

Press release from the issuing company

Highlights Members’ Recent Successes

Newtowm, Conn. – The Independent Carton Group (ICG) is pleased to be entering its 35th year in service to its members. What began with a few visionaries talking in an airport lounge in the early 1980s is now a major force in the packaging industry. Today, the group’s members, independently owned and operated folding carton manufacturers who are not affiliated with a major paper mill, represent a collective $800 million in annual sales.

“Much has changed over the years. Our membership has grown; we currently have 19 companies on our member roster. We also offer more programs to our members today than we did 35 years ago, one of the most notable being the group purchasing program that began in the late 1990s,” said Jay Willie, executive director of the Independent Carton Group. “One thing that remains the same, though, is that these companies never cease to amaze me with their accomplishments.”

Vista Color (Miami, Fla.), the ICG’s newest member, received national acclaim when the U.S. Department of Commerce named it National Minority Manufacturing Firm of the Year for 2017. Last month, following a rigorous review process, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs certified Disc Graphics (Hauppauge, N.Y.) as a Veteran-Owned Small Business. The ICG also counts among its members several Women’s Business Enterprises: Accurate Box (Paterson, N.J.), Diamond Packaging(Rochester, N.Y.) and Thoro Packaging (Corona, Calif.). 

Investing in Production and People 

ICG members understand the importance of making investments in their facilities, equipment and workforce. Collectively, the 19 companies occupy approximately 3.5 million square feet of real estate across the United States and Canada, and they are continually expanding and updating their operations. ICG members invest millions of dollars in equipment and technologies each year, resulting in increased production capacity, efficiencies and new capabilities. They are also known for their family-like cultures and people investments that drive high employee tenure.

In recent months …

  • Accord Carton (Alsip, Ill.) brought an adjacent plant into operation and installed a new folder-gluer. The company also upgraded its lighting system to include motion sensors.
  • Accurate Box completed its 200,000 sq. ft. expansion and installed a new sheeter. A seven-color KBA press with UV capabilities will arrive this spring.
  • Colbert Packaging (Lake Forest, Ill.) installed a Heidelberg press for the production of paper inserts, a Brausse die cutter, and plate makers in two of its facilities. On January 1, vice president of operations John Lackner was promoted to chief operating officer.
  • Curtis Packaging (Sandy Hook, Conn.) made a $2.5 million investment in a project that included natural gas conversion, energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, and a solar array. The company also reached 100 percent landfill-free status.
  • 3C Packaging (Clayton, N.C.) promoted Sparky Cullen to president and completed an office renovation. Recent investments include a KBA Iberica die cutter, a 10-color press for its label/flexible packaging product line, and a Vijuk Patented MV-11 Triple Knife folder for inserts/outserts, which can fold up to 350 panels – the most in the industry.
  • Disc Graphics purchased a Leary glue extrusion/detection system with a LearyVIEW inline 100 percent print inspection system, as well as a gluer that will be delivered within the next month or two.
  • El Paso Paper Box (El Paso, Texas) brought a new KBA 106 perfecting press online. The new press has full UV capabilities, allowing for a wide variety of inks and coatings to be used in addition to printing the front and back simultaneously. The company has also purchased a new Baysek rotary anvil die cutter, slated for installation in early 2018.
  • Frankston Packaging (Frankston, Texas) has been tracking data and tweaking existing equipment effectiveness. They also continue to expand their flexographic operation.
  • Indiana Carton (Bremen, Ind.) purchased an adjacent 29,000 sq. ft. building to use as a finished goods warehouse. They also installed a new Heidelberg seven-color flexo press.
  • Jones Packaging, Inc. (London, Ontario) welcomed Terry MacLeod as senior vice president for its Printed Packaging division following the retirement of Richard Pileski, who previously held the role. Jones would like to recognize and thank Pileski for his commitment and service. Recent investments and installations include a new Bobst gluer, die cutter and automatic packer – all of which are currently operational.
  • Royal Paper Box (Montebello, Calif.) has been demonstrating an ongoing commitment to reinvesting in their people through training and efficiency programs. 
  • Sonderen Packaging (Spokane, Wash.) installed a seven-color manroland perfecting press with UV capabilities, a POLAR ream cutter and a Rubberplot 500 in their new die making room. The company also replaced over 3,000 florescent light bulbs with high-efficiency LEDs to further their ongoing sustainability efforts.
  • Thoro Packaging has continued to fine-tune the company’s new 38,000 sq. ft. addition for maximum efficiency. Thoro also built a new ink room and invested in supplemental equipment that adds to better ergonomics and efficiency.
  • Wausau Container (Wausau, Wis.) installed several new pieces of equipment, including a sheetfed die cutter and an auto case packer, which was added to an existing gluer.
  • Zumbiel Packaging (Hebron, Ky.) installed a 50” Zerand die cutter capable of producing at speeds of up to 1,000 feet per minute, as well as a new hybrid flexo digital press. 

Celebrating Longevity and Innovation

Members represent nearly 1,500 years of packaging history and innovation. In 2018, several will celebrate anniversaries: Zumbiel Packaging, 175 years; Indiana Carton, 85 years; Sonderen Packaging, 55 years; Thoro Packaging and Vista Color, 50 years; and Wausau Container, 25 years. Last year, Jones Packagingcelebrated 135 years; and Frankston Packaging, 60 years.

While longevity alone is proof of their ability to evolve alongside the industry, further evidence of members’ innovation can be seen in the awards, patents and certifications they have earned.

In recent months …

  • All Packaging (Aurora, Colo.) received industry accolades for its SideLocker package.
  • Colbert Packaging was awarded another patent for its MedLock EZ solution. 
  • 3C Packaging upgraded its ISO certification.
  • Diamond Packaging won multiple industry awards for extensive sustainability efforts and their zero manufacturing waste to landfill status. 
  • Disc Graphics was granted additional patent rights on its NEO media package, its fifth, and the company also achieved GMI Prime certification. 
  • El Paso Paper Box received G7 and ISO certifications.
  • Jones Packaging, Inc. was named the 2018 Corporate Icon award winner by the London Chamber of Commerce, recognizing the company’s substantial impact on economic progress in London, Ontario, Canada, and area. The company also won multiple PAC Canadian Leadership Awards from PAC, Packaging Consortium, recognizing unique prepress and printing capabilities.
  • Sonderen Packaging achieved G7 Master Printer certification; their prepress manager, a G7 Professional, was certified at the Expert level.
  • Thoro Packaging won the PPC’s Folding Carton of the Year Award in 2017. The company also passed the new ISO upgrade certification following a three-day audit, and it continues to lead the way in extended color gamut technology.

Coming Together, Learning New Things 

In 2017, the ICG’s general membership meetings brought members together in three unique locations, each of which offered an intimate setting and ample opportunities for members to connect with friends, establish meaningful connections and learn new things from one another.

Dee Packaging (Chester, Pa.) hosted the March meeting, which included a touch of Philadelphia history. In August, members enjoyed beautiful golf courses and a dinner cruise in Lake Geneva, Wis., with meeting host Colbert Packaging. In November, the ICG returned to Wisconsin for a meeting hosted by Wausau Container, who arranged for members to learn the sport of curling.

This year’s meeting hosts include Accurate Box, Jones Packaging and Zumbiel Packaging.


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