A century of continuous innovations and adaptation to the changing world
The evolution of corrugated packaging production techniques has shown rapid growth. It has accompanied the industrial revolution and has responded to the steady demand for more transport packaging. Corrugated production volumes closely follow economic activity.
Today, the material adapts very quickly to the constant evolution of the retail trade and its continually changing logistics requirements.
Since the end of the 19th century, many changes have occurred and remarkable progress has been made in raw materials (paper) , machinery and equipment, production processes and printing techniques.
Some examples are listed below:
- The number of paper grades used for the production of corrugated is continuously increasing. The choice and the quality of all different liners and fluting are constantly improving. Corrugated packaging meets the demand of flexibility and efficiency required by customers and retailers.
- The production speed has increased dramatically thanks to the improvement of equipment. This is also true on the user side, thanks to high speed case erectors, fillers and closers.
- The use of information technology has revolutionized the industry by permitting continuous running with fewer and shorter machine stops. Its impact has also been considerable on pack design and order processing.
- New printing techniques are responsible for the most dramatic evolutions. The changing role of packaging from logistics to marketing functions and the use of bar codes for product identification have all required improvements in the quality of graphics printed on corrugated packaging.
- In the last decade, probably some new printing techniques are responsible for the most dramatic evolutions. The changing role of packaging from logistics to marketing functions and the use of bar codes for product identification have all required improvements in the quality of graphics printed on corrugated packaging.
- Small flutes and high-quality paper enable the manufacturers to achieve high standard of graphics which offers new prospects in end-use markets.
- The future developments in nanotechnologies and RFID might bring new challenges.
- Corrugators up to 3,30 m width, speeds up to 400 m/min and more, progress in the process control systems, increasing of the print quality, decreasing of the average paper and corrugated board basis weight, microflutes, cooler corrugating, zero defect technology, improvements of the overall efficiency of corrugators.
- The digital print technology allows now offline as well as online direct print on the corrugated board. It helps meeting fast orders and makes individualisation of the packaging possible. Currently the digital printers are working mainly offline but the increasing number of digital printers is running already online. The future will show how digital print will develop in competition with the classic flexo print.