Mondi Bupak sro operates within the Mondi Corrugated Solutions segment, which is part of the Corrugated Packaging business unit, located in the town of České Budějovice, about 150km south of Prague in Czech Republic. The plant has been owned by Mondi since 2012. The facility is well equipped, running a diverse range of printing and converting equipment. With HQPP and standard flexo post print, the plant produces packaging for e-commerce as well as premium retail packaging. The plant adheres to the highest operating standards, with certification for ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ČSN OHSAS 18001, ISO 22000 and FSC.
The company was looking to enhance the site and identified that a new corrugator would be the core part of its development strategy for Bupak. The decision to invest in a new 2.8m corrugator, designed by BHS Corrugated, was made in May 2019 with the project planned for the end of Q1 2020. Little did either company know about the ensuing chaos that would be caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020!
The project would see not only the installation of a new 2.8m corrugator, but also the core components of upgraded power supply, starch kitchen and boiler for steam production. But as the project got underway, the borders began to lock down, meaning Mondi’s internal engineering team of experts, coupled with a small team from BHS Corrugated, were facing an unknown situation.
“It was a common decision of Mondi and BHS Corrugated during the full lockdown period to go ahead together,” explains Lars Engel, Managing Director, BHS Corrugated. “We decided to take the lead and to prove our pioneering role in development of online technologies that would enable the start-up of a machine with fewer people, yet still on time and within budget.”
BHS Corrugated has designed its entire portfolio for Industry 4.0. The benefit resulting from the consistent implementation of this approach can be seen in all areas of the corrugated board production process and in the success of this project at Bupak. “iCorr® is the vision of BHS Corrugated for a comprehensive digital service platform – the basis for intelligent corrugated board production,” continues Lars Engel. “The use of iCorr® | Operations Support as well as iCorr® | Assist Glasses has proven to be especially important. These solutions not only help you to face the challenges of Industry 4.0 but they also make our customers less vulnerable during shut down periods.”
This state-of-the-art machinery is one of many new investments in Mondi’s comprehensive digitalisation of its business, as the Group moves to using more advanced analytics, automation and robotics to better serve its customers with innovative and sustainable packaging and paper solutions.
The new corrugator is already fulfilling the target of Mondi for high performance with specific production towards e-commerce business. A flexible wet-end with the Modul Facer MF-A belt technology guarantees fast flute and grade changes. The machine is equipped with pivoting modules for flute changes. The latest generation Splicer ensures the highest splice speed performances with all kinds of paper grades. BHS Corrugated delivers a full range package including all necessary superordinate software solutions. The Target Speed Control (TSC) system guarantees that any corrugated board quality is produced at the highest possible speed. The system combines parameters from the wet-end and the dry-end and supports the operator by use of machine intelligence. For maximum board quality and high efficiency, the steam solution is designed for heat exchanger operation.
The dry-end is equipped with line speed waste disposal and a high performance Cut Off HQ-M which allows maximum speed across the entire product spectrum of Mondi. The performance potential of this corrugator is addressing the mid-term perspective of an average permanent production speed of 300m per min. The corrugator at Mondi České Budějovice has a performance reserve and potential for an expansion to 450m per min.
“The result of this joint project management was a start-up on time on 31st March 2020,” adds Lars Engel. “Thanks to our local representation in Tachov, Czech Republic, and the ongoing support via remote support from our technical team at the headquarters in Weiherhammer, Germany, only four technicians where needed to be on-site. The main commissioning of the physical machines was performed via iCorr® products. With iCorr® | Operations Support we have the possibility to monitor approximately 3,400 points of measurements for intelligent alarms. Therefore, we have set up a rule engine with about 500 predefined rules in order to know in advance if malfunctions occur. In addition to iCorr® | Operations Support, we have the possibility with the help of iCorr® | Assist Glasses to carry out start-up as well as service interventions without having specialists present at different sites.”
“In times of crisis, you realise who you can rely on – the installation project of the corrugator at Bupak has certainly proved this point,” says Robin de Jong, Regional Director, Central Europe, Mondi Corrugated Solutions. “Both teams from BHS Corrugated and Mondi did an excellent job and their commitment went beyond the ordinary.”
He continues, “We installed the corrugator at Mondi Bupak during the initial height of the Corona pandemic and had the ramp up of another one at Mondi Ansbach, Germany, which was another successful collaboration with BHS Corrugated. We really appreciate the commitment of BHS Corrugated and their teams, who without hesitation came to Bupak just before border lock down and then decided to stay on site to ensure a proper installation. The co-operation throughout this project and after the start up went very well. I am grateful to our Mondi teams in Ansbach and Bupak, who – in cooperation with BHS Corrugated – delivered an excellent execution, even in times of crisis.”
“Digitalisation has already changed the way we live our personal lives and the way we work – even prior to the recent Covid pandemic,” adds Robin de Jong. “At Mondi, we want to make sure we harness its future potential to the best advantage of our customers, employees and all stakeholders. Therefore, investments in the latest technology and machinery, just as the development of our employee’s expertise and knowledge in this field, makes Mondi the go-to partner for customer support with sustainable and innovative packaging solutions.”
“BHS Corrugated sees itself as a Lifecycle Partner and will continue to actively support the operator with continued training courses for continuous performance improvements of the plant,” concludes Lars Engel. “In this project, we had a common goal and both sides were committed to a successful outcome. The start-up curve has been totally in line with our standard parameters and we certainly appreciated the huge lengths that Mondi went to in ensuring the safely and well-being of our employees who remained on site during the installation and start-up. The team at Mondi Bupak did an excellent job.”