Smart and sustainable solutions showcased at FEFCO Technical Seminar

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Some 816 representatives from the corrugated board industry and machinery manufacturers gathered at the Bella Centre in Copenhagen for the FEFCO Technical Seminar on October 20-22 to debate the latest ideas and innovations in the industry. The event also highlighted the sector’s moves to comply with the EU’s Green Deal goals including digital transformation, sustainability and climate neutrality.

The latest digital printing systems and other smart technologies were showcased at the event which was dedicated to the theme ‘Towards intelligent manufacturing – the digitalisation of the corrugated industry’.

The programme generated exceptional interest, with 22 speakers, 62 separate spotlight sessions and a panel discussion with high-level Industry representatives.

On the exhibition floor, there were 117 stands and 80 exhibitors from 30 countries showing off their products and services.

FEFCO brought together buyers and suppliers from Europe and beyond to debate innovations, industry trends and how the corrugated sector can adapt to the EU’s ongoing overhaul of sustainability regulations. They presented ideas and solutions aimed at producing boxes more efficiently, more sustainably and with a reduced CO2 footprint.

FEFCO President Fady Gemayel

In his welcome address, FEFCO President Fady Gemayel noted that corrugated, first developed in the 19th century, is still proving itself as an indispensable packaging option. “We are socially responsible. We are part of a circular economy: we recycle, and we reuse the fibre,” he said. “And we have proven during this pandemic how essential corrugated is. We are a real value to society. The corrugated board industry doesn’t sit back but is preparing proactively. As industry 4.0 unfolds, we want to lead the way.”

 

The participants discussed how factories can adopt integrative planning, build an automated storage system, control temperature and moisture, as well as how to use predictive maintenance to resolve problems before they happen. Other essential topics were related to whether and when to switch to digital printing and understand digital data to improve workflows.

Eleni Despotou, new General Secretary of Fefco

FEFCO’s new Director General Eleni Despotou said the event showed how the corrugated sector continued to innovate and adapt to challenges. Despite the pandemic, the strong presence in Copenhagen showed the resilience of the corrugated community. “Our world is changing faster than ever, but we are committed to ensuring that our smart and sustainable board packaging solutions are adapting” she said. “Europe’s packaging companies today operate in a very complex industry, with new environmental regulations, global competition, intelligent packages and high-tech factors. But the sector is still thinking big, thinking green, thinking smart and thinking sustainable”.

FEFCO crowns corrugated industry supplier champions in Copenhagen

 

The smartest and most sustainable industry suppliers in the corrugated industry were honoured with awards. FEFCO issued seven awards at the end of the three-day event in Copenhagen.

The most prestigious FEFCO prize was for Best Innovation, and this year the Gold Award went to Ilmay Karamanlar from Dücker Conveyor Systems for a research and development pilot project on customed and automated loading of finished product pallets on trucks.

The Silver Award went to Javier Quesada from Kento for a project integrating two printing technologies (flexo analogue and digital) in one hybrid machine, combining flexibility in printing technologies and reducing print costs. The Italian company Celmacch is involved in this project

The Bronze Award went to Constantin Ritter from BHS Intralogistics for flexible paper roll handling on the corrugator, reducing manning and limiting unsafe clamp truck movements.

The Health and Safety Award was given to Tristany Serra from SERRA for the use of electronic sensors for forklifts, making them dummy-proof and rendering plants safer.

The Sustainability Award went to Elizabeth Staab from H.B.Fuller for the effort to make adhesives, starch additives and adhesive coated tapes more sustainable.

The Best Presentation Award, out of some 62 six-minute spotlights delivered during the Copenhagen seminar, was won by Bernhard Mueller and Christin Haubner, from BHS Corrugated, for their inspiring interactive presentation. Their solution simplifies the interlinked connection between BHS material and corrugated processes.

And the most Inspiring New FEFCO Member Award went to Openpack’s CEO and Managing Director Stefan Uebelacker and Head of Innovation and Business Development Kurt Salman for creating a dedicated corrugated app connecting all the players in the corrugated industry.

There was also a Lifetime Achievement Award, for Peter Dücker from the Dücker Group, for his dedication to the corrugated industry and for his valuable input in developing, introducing, and supporting high level and innovative material handling technology.