Pictured above, left to right: Alonso Gómez and Juan Javier González.
Located in Tepotzotlán, 40km north of Mexico City, Cartró traces its roots back 32 years, to when three young men who were finishing their MBAs decided to enter the corrugated business through a leveraged buyout from the former owners. Without knowing anything about corrugated packaging, the three partners borrowed some money and bought a small corrugated plant, equipped with a 53” oil heated corrugator, a letter press, a folder gluer and a stitcher. In those early days the company was processing 150 metric tons of paper per month.
As you would expect of a business under new ownership, all the profits were reinvested to upgrade their production equipment; and after 32 years, Cartró is now one of the biggest independent corrugated converters in Mexico. The company is converting more than 15,000 metric tons of paper per month, with three different lines of business, including sheet feeding, industrial packaging, and automotive packaging. This offering is run from two manufacturing facilities and two distribution centres, with annual sales in excess of $200m.
“Sheet feeding in central Mexico is our biggest business, we like to think of ourselves as partners of the many sheet plants that are thriving in the dynamic Mexican corrugated market, so we do everything we can to support and advise the sheet plants, because their success is also ours,” explains Juan Javier Gonzalez, CEO. “In the past, the Mexican corrugated market was dominated by corrugator plants, but now the sheet plants are claiming a significant share of the market. Carto has been instrumental in this new industry profile. These new players are energetic entrepreneurs and we are proud to be part of their success. And as we continue to add more capacity and grow further, we are already considering different sheet feeding projects in North America as well.”
In the company’s main corrugating plant, they run two BW Papersystems 2.5m (98”) corrugators. “The first one was installed in 2013,” continues Gonzalez. “It is a very productive machine that allowed us to be recognised as the most reliable sheet supplier in Central Mexico. We were so satisfied with this machine that in 2022, we installed the second corrugator at our plant.”
In the converting side of the business, Cartró run three rotary die-cutters (two of them from BW Papersystems), two flexo folder gluers and a jumbo printer slotter. The plants run AMTECH software for scheduling and cost estimating.
In looking to increase corrugated board output considerably, the company opted to install a second corrugator in 2022. “We were running the first one 24/7 and needed more capacity to give the service our customers expect,” explains Gonzalez. “Based on the service level we got from BW Papersystems and the performance of the first corrugator, we decided to stick with them and ordered a twin machine. Total investment was in excess of $12m.”
The machine was commissioned in April 2022 after a smooth installation and startup. “The project began in June 2021, as we had to move all the converting equipment to an adjacent building so we could install the new corrugator,” continues Gonzalez. “Also we needed to do some adjustments to the outgoing conveyors of the first corrugator, so it could handle the output of two corrugators.”
He adds, “Since we were so happy with the first machine, the second one is practically a twin machine except for some fine-tuning that we consider an advantage to us. I can certainly say that the second machine start-up was exemplary, it certainly reflects the professionalism of both our own team and that of BW Papersystems. As many of our team were already familiar with the way BW Papersystems machines work, we had a great training experience, so it was business as usual after less than six or seven weeks.”
Gonzalez concludes, “We have a long relationship with BW Papersystems on the supply of converting equipment as well as on the corrugator. Part of the stellar performance of our machines is due to the support team at BW Papersystems. Their entire team are the kind of people we want to do business with, of course they are knowledgeable and professional but the main thing for me is that their culture fits very well with ours: one of our core values is “Always Do The Right Thing”, they seem to think the same way.”