Premium folding carton manufacturer’s goal: attain higher quality for its customers with more efficiency
- Better print quality and greater throughput are reasons to invest in Rapida 105 PRO
- Chose Koenig & Bauer for its long, leading, established relationship with packaging market
- Celebrating 25 years in Wausau, WI
Ever since it was established 25 years ago as a paperboard packaging specialist, Wausau Container Corporation has found tremendous growth opportunities by being nimble and flexible, able to establish its dominance in a short-run niche that others didn't embrace, and continuing to invest in innovative printing technology. Over the past four years, the Wisconsin-based premium folding carton manufacturer has flexed its muscles by expanding its facility by 30,000 sq ft to 100,000 sq ft and adding a 28-inch 10-color flexo press/cutter line, a six-color waterless digital offset press, and additional automation in its finishing department with two auto packers and a folder/gluer. But its most highly anticipated new piece of machinery arrives in the fall: a new fully automated Koenig & Bauer Rapida 105 PRO six color sheetfed press, its first from the leading press manufacturer and Wausau's first 41-inch sheetfed press.
The firm, led by Chuck Plier, plans to harness the power and automation of its new Rapida 105 PRO to solve the challenges brought on by market trends, such as shorter run lengths, higher quality requirements; and competitive pricing.
"We chose the Rapida 105 PRO over its competitors to provide us with greater throughput, better print quality, and a larger format (31.72" x 41.34") than we have at present,” says Plier. "We were thrilled that Koenig & Bauer could build this special size for us. It is a special larger maximum sheet size and larger maximum image size than is normal for a standard Rapida 105 PRO press-a Koenig & Bauer exclusive. Another important consideration was the ability by the new press to provide precise press documentation to support our customers. The automation on the Rapida 105 PRO distinguishes itself with its inline inspection system by capturing each and every sheet, even while running at top speeds, to ensure that the job matches what the customer has sent to us. It provides us with a high level of reporting for credibility that we can share with our clients."
"We congratulate Wausau Container on its first Koenig & Bauer press investment and are appreciative of the strong partnership that we've quickly forged," says Steve Korn, Koenig & Bauer Director of National and Key Accounts. "We applaud Wausau's extraordinary growth and its customer-focused approach. It's clear that's why an avalanche of additional business is coming its way. We are confident that its new Koenig & Bauer press will increase Wausau Container's capacity and help continue Wausau's high quality production and on-time leadership position with its existing and future clients for many years to come."
Currently, Wausau Container offers a mix of 90% flexo and 10% offset. Plier's goal, he says, is to reduce the flexo output to 60% and increase the offset production to 40%. Its corporate office headquartered in Wisconsin borders three states that has driven the firm to domination within the food industry, noting that 60% of its work comes from that market segment followed closely by beverage and supplements. Its clients include small entrepreneurs, regional manufacturers, and national and internationally recognized corporations.
"We seized the opportunity to offer vibrant, shiny, eye-catching colorful packaging," says Plier. "Our containers help our customers to sell their products. There's no need to build complicated combinations of multiple items. In today's fast changing marketplace, our customers want to order what they want when they want it. To remain competitive, they have to quickly adjust to changing product demand. We've partnered with our customers giving them the ability to bring on new customers rapidly, shorten their lead times that eliminates long range forecasting, and reduce their inventory and reduce exposure to copy obsolescence"
Catering to customers with short run lengths and exact color and design requirements, Wausau chose to equip its new press with the popular QualiTronic ColorControl inline color control. With this system on board, Wausau's operators can be on autopilot regarding measurement and control directly on the Rapida 105 PRO.
“This press has all the bells and whistles available," says Plier. "Of course, we're anticipating the need for this high level of automation to produce high quality jobs for our customers. But we also felt that the automation lends itself to new, lesser experienced operators who are part of the millennial generation that are technically proficient with computers."
Wausau feels that the new Koenig & Bauer Rapida 105 PRO will be a welcome addition to its pressroom. After careful consideration, management felt that the Koenig & Bauer press was absolutely the best press suited to the paperboard world than other competitive offerings. The consensus was that the new press would fit well in its workflow and the larger sheet will better fit its larger volume items.
"The culture of our company and manufacturing process is specifically geared toward meeting a wide range of needs," says Plier. "We're printing up to nine color plus coating in a single pass using aqueous, UV-cured, and tactile coatings. We convert SBS, SUS, and CRB. Mostly we print onto paperboard. Customers can request inside printing, embossing, blister coating, and a wide range of finishing options to include straight line gluing, auto-bottom, envelopes, and set-up trays. We have a dedicated department for CAD/CAM structural development and sample making, in which we can produce ultra-small quantity sales samples and market test orders. Our new Rapida 105 PRO will support our continued significant growth and win new job opportunities."
Wausau Container Corporation specializes in the printing, die cutting, and finishing of custom paperboard packaging. It has been producing paperboard packaging for a wide range of goods since 1993. The Wisconsin-based firm helped to pioneer the application of flexographic printing to the manufacture of high-quality consumer oriented folding cartons. Its efforts to seek out and employ the latest in technological innovations continue. Starting with one press, one gluer, and one customer in what seemed a spacious 14,000 square foot building, the firm soon ran out of room and capacity. It has since expanded its facility on repeated occasions and made numerous investments in productive capacity. Today Wausau Container occupies nearly 100,000 square feet and operates multiple presses and supporting equipment. As critical as the application of technology is to the success of Wausau Container, its most important asset is the people of Wausau Container. They are involved and committed with a clear understanding of the essential importance of customer satisfaction.
Left to right: Jeff Plier, Wausau’s vice president of sales and marketing, and Chuck Plier, Wausau’s president, feel their new soon-to-arrive fully automated Koenig & Bauer Rapida 105 PRO 41-inch six color sheetfed press will solve market challenges such as shorter run lengths, higher quality requirements; and competitive pricing.