Located about one hour to the south west of Lyon, Viallon Emballage is one of the few remaining independently owned corrugated board plants in France. In a market that is so fiercely dominated by the leading multi-national integrated companies, it is good to see independent companies investing in state-of-the-art converting equipment.
Having installed a Bahmüller Turbox with Powerpacker II and MuK robotic palletising unit to bolster its gluing capacity back in 2016, this French, privately owned corrugated producer has taken yet another bold move as it grows its business, particularly in the wine industry – with the installation of a six colour BGM flexo folder gluer in September 2018.
Investment in the facility has been on-going since it was built in 1996 and the converting hall is well equipped with a broad range of packaging production machinery. For the larger style boxes, the company operates a Göpfert 4.8m slotter and two stitchers – one Bahmüller machine and a Sodeme unit. For in-line production, the company utilises a two colour Martin 616 casemaker and a four colour Martin 1636 casemaker, as well as a four colour Martin 924 and a six colour Martin 924NT, installed in 2012. For higher quality print, the company runs a four colour Bobst Dynaflex, with Bobst 1.7 and 2.1 Mastercut flat bed die-cutters. Once die-cut, the printed pieces are then folded and glued on a Bobst Pacific and the most recent additions of the Bahmüller Turbox with in-line PowerPacker II module. Throughout the factory, from corrugator through converting, materials are moved by way of a Seemi materials handling system, which utilises both traditional rollers as well as plastic chain conveyors.
For the safe storage of both flat bed and rotary dies, as well as printing plates, the company installed a significant semi-automatic storage system from bcm Transtech. “With health and safety being a key consideration for us, we chose to install the semi-automatic system, meaning that the operators do not have to move heavy dies around the factory,” explains Christian Viallon, CEO.
Originally installed in the late 1990s, the Fosber corrugator has undergone a series of upgrades over the last few years. The 2.5m machine, which can run C, B and E flute, as well as BC and EB doubelwall, had a new single facer in 2010, a new take-off and stacker in 2015 and in December 2018 had a new hot plate section and rotary shear. “We have been very happy with the corrugator since its installation,” confirms Christophe Viallon, General Manager.
“The quality of the board is excellent and the service and support from Fosber has been great. We are rather unusual in that the corrugator does not dictate what happens in the plant – it is the other way around. The converting department specifies what volume and type of board is needed. It is almost like we are a sheet plant that has the ability to make its own sheets.”
Viallon Emballage is well known throughout France as one of the best printers of corrugated packaging. Judging by the number of World Star Diamond, Gold, Silver and Bronze awards displayed in the meeting room, stretching back to the early 2000s, it is clear that the company prides itself on its quality.
“In France, there is very little point trying to compete for brown box work,” continues Christian Viallon. “There is a lot of competition amongst the integrated companies, who are far better suited to the high volume, brown box work. Instead, we focus on design – both graphical and structural – and producing high quality printed packaging for high value items. But is not just print that we are known for, we are respected for the high levels of service and innovation.”
The BGM Caseline CL 11/25-P installed in September is a set-while-run, quick set Flexo Folder Gluer for a high volume production of printed, slotted, die-cut, folded and sealed boxes.
The machine is equipped with six printing units and all necessary options for HQPP – including automatic change of anilox rolls in less than five minutes, ink conditioning system for monitoring of temperature, viscosity and pH, dryer system on every printing unit, register control, dimension control and a 100% print inspection camera with single sheet ejection system.
The dryers are all supplied by JB Machinery. Viallon also chose the Kleenplate hickie removal and plate cleaning system for the ultimate in print clarity. “For us, print quality is paramount,” says Christophe Viallon. “For the wine industry, print is critical and thanks to our investment in some of the best printing machines, with associated quality control devices, we are able to service wine customers throughout France.” The company supplies wine producers as far away as 400km, testament not only to the print quality, but also the levels of service achieved.
Another important feature of the new machine specification was the quick change of the anilox rolls. A trolley system is able to remove the anilox roll quickly and then run it through an anilox roll cleaning system, which has been supplied by Flexo Wash of Denmark. “Looking after the anilox rolls not only extends their working life, but also ensures repeat print quality, week after week, month after month. It is a good system,” confirms Christophe Viallon.
The BGM CL 1125 also features ‘Flow Belt’ Technology. Three direct drive sectional folding belts with a special shape help achieve best folding results. The new belt design gives a great folding experience, without relative movement during the process. It is suitable for regular box operation, as well as for ‘multibox’. ‘Multibox’ is a common feature that allows users to increase machine output. All boxes are folded with highest precision and the BGM CL 1125 is equipped with the latest non-contact glue system from Baumer HHS, as part of the zero-defect offering.
Should a defective box be seen on the line, it is marked either from the print section or by the glue inspection system and then diverted by the ‘Speed Eject’ unit towards the operator side. The SAT counter ejector is able to handle any batch size and ensures maximum output of the line.
“It is nice to see how quickly the operators have learned to run the machine,” says Ralf Schiffmann, Managing Director, Göpfert Maschinen. “They are achieving great results on the machine in a short period of time. The company has embraced what can be achieved with this new line, from the owners right down to the operators in each crew. We are grateful to Viallon Emballage for the faith they put in the BGM Case Line. It is also interesting to see that the company is investing in a new ink mixing and storage system, which will further enhance their print quality to even higher levels.”
Long Standing Relationship
“It has been an excellent experience working closely with the owners and production crews at Viallon Emballage,” states Oliver Weinmann, Area Sales Manager, Bahmüller GmbH. “It is great to have two high quality lines, such as the Turbox and the Case Line, running at the same site. It is good testament to the quality of the machinery we are able to supply.”
“We had no doubt about choosing this new BGM Case Line,” confirms Christian Viallon. “We first met Göpfert back in 1998, when we chose the single colour printer slotter with rotary die-cutter. This jumbo machine, which is still running today, feeds the two stitchers and produces excellent quality, large format boxes for general industry.”
He continues, “We have worked very well with Laurent Vayssiere from Furic, who is the agent for both Bahmüller and Göpfert, for many years. Furic have supplied many of the lines and systems at our company and we are very happy with the service from them.”
Left to right: Oliver Weinmann (Bahmüller), Laurent Vayssiere (Furic), Christoph Viallon, Christian Viallon, Cedric Viallon and Ralf Schiffmann (Göpfert).