El Paso Paper Box adds windowing capacity

An article by Daniel Brunton. Pictured above, Alain Ciclet (Heiber +Schröder) and Paul Patrick Malooly (General Maager, EPPB).

El Paso Paper Box (EPPB) is located in El Paso, Texas, on the northern border of Mexico. The company manufactures a wide variety of paperboard packaging for customers around the U.S. and in the Caribbean. Markets served include electronics, automotive, consumer goods, beauty, food, and healthcare. Around 40% of annual production is shipped to customers within 100 miles, but the company services customers across the U.S., event as far as New York and California.

The company founder, Paul Malooly, got his start in the folding carton industry in 1995 making jean flashers – paper labels sewn on the back of jeans. El Paso was considered the jean capital of the world. Eventually, that business was outsourced to other countries, but by that time Malooly had established EPPB as a paperboard printer.

A turning point in the company’s growth came in 1999 when a leading integrated company shut down a folding carton facility in El Paso. Malooly hired several of the employees, including Carlos Espinoza, EPPB Vice President & Sales Manager, as well as key customer service representatives and production staff, all of who are still with him today.

In 2000, the company moved to a 55,000 sq ft facility and added new equipment. EPPB then relocated to its current 100,000 sq ft facility in 2013. The company has 200 employees and operates three shifts.

EPPB is one of the largest carton providers in the region. “That is a testament to my father’s vision and to the people we have here that we’ve been able to compete with multi-nationals,” says Paul Patrick Malooly, General Manager. “My father has a really strong personality. When he puts his mind to something he gets it done. He’s a visionary with a will to succeed.”

Patrick, as he is referred, joined the business a few years ago, but he has had a big impact on the business already. “When I joined, we were utilizing external logistics contractors and the busier we became, the more frequently we would get let down by truck drivers,” explains Patrick. “So I went to my father and asked if we could bring some of the trucking in house; he agreed, so we set up our own trucking company. We started small, but we are not fully in control of our logistics, which really sets us apart in the market.”

Opportunity Knocks

Like any business, it is all about timing. One recent development saw the company win a significant account for a tissue manufacturer. “We have window patchers in our facility – two of them – but when we saw this particular contract, we knew we would be underpowered in terms of equipment,” recounts Patrick. “We had heard the Heiber + Schröder had opened a new facility in Atlanta, so we were interested to talk with them to see what they had in their portfolio that would suit this tissue box customer. Having had long conversations and a visit from Alain Ciclet, their Sales Manager here in North America, we were convinced it would be right for us.”

EPPB ordered a WP Master 1400. “We took delivery in December and really hit the ground running, due to the combination of experience of our opertors and the exceptional training and support from H+S,” expands Patrick. “The Master is a beast of a machine; we needed a wide format machine that would allow us great volume and thanks to the two lane set up, we can churn out massive numbers, We also added an auto stacker, as it is bordering on too big for manual take off!”

He continues, “With our previous two machines, which were smaller format, we were able to run around 8,000 cartons per hour, but with the new Master, we have the potential for 50,000 per hour. We are not there yet, but the operators are certainly hitting 25 to 20,000 per hour already.”

But it is not just tissue boxes they run on the machine. “There is a massive shift away from single use plastics, and a lot of fresh produce, bakery and fast food producers who want to switch to cartons now,” says Patrick. “We are running a lot of 4 and 6-corner cartons with windows for bakeries, as well as clamshells for fast food.”

The WP Master 1400 is a window patching machine that has been designed for massive production. “When it comes to speed and functionality the Master leads the market in state-of-the-art technology,” says Alain Ciclet, Sales Manager USA and Canada, H+S. “Its intelligent operating panel makes it easy to use and offers the customer extra value by simultaneously acting as a visual library of finished carton styles for fast job recall and set-up. We are delighted to be working with Patrick and the team at El Paso Paper Box with this high volume window patcher. The Master is your way to produce more efficiently – every day.”

Bright Future

Investment at EPPB is part of its DNA. “We never sit still if we can help it,” says Patrick. “Our next project is to add a further 30,000 sq ft extension onto the facility, to accommodate some new equipment and storage of finished goods.”

He concludes, “In H+S, we have found the right partner that will allow us to grow further. Their holistic sales approach challenged us to look at choice of board, accuracy of die-cutting, stacking of the finished product and so much more. We really feel that they want us to succeed, and a major aspect of our decision making process was that they had a dedicated facility, with spares and support engineers in Atlanta. If they did not have that, we probably would not have gone with them; having a facility in mainland U.S. means minimum downtime if something goes wrong, and parts available within 24-48 hours. It really is a great position to be in with your equipment supplier.”

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