The Italian corrugated packaging producer Industria Cartone Ondulato (ICO) has launched a newly optimised business model with the ability to deliver orders within hours, thanks to the successful integration of the HP PageWide C500 digital corrugated press into its production workflow.
Today, ICO is operating a single-pass HP C500 alongside its flexo presses, as it moves to transforms its business toward a more agile production model. The press was installed in late November 2019 at its Pianella headquarters on the southeast coast of Italy.
ICO is now able to offer its customers faster turnaround – from design to production – with delivery times reduced up to 40%.
The offset-matching HP C500 corrugated press is now allowing optimisation of workload at ICO. This is achieved by moving projects requiring short runs, expanded SKUs and rush jobs to the HP C500, thereby freeing the flexo press for longer runs, while ensuring seamless conversion between analog and digital.
“Thanks to ICO’s digital transformation, we are now able to offer customers faster time-to-market and flexible production batches, while keeping quality consistency across printing solutions,” said Stefano Di Mattia, the newly appointed General Manager at ICO. “Digital print allows us to answer the shifting needs from our customers, who witnessed their supply chain undergoing strong stress moments, with sudden contractions and expansions, also as a consequence of the COVID crisis and further mutations in procurement models.”
Di Mattia continues, “Since the start of the pandemic, ICO has been operating uninterrupted to support the supply of essential goods for the Italian economy, aided by the continuous supply of inks and parts by HP alongside remote support using HP C500 Control Tower technology.”
Business growth with digital
Founded in 1952, ICO has grown steadily over the years to become one of Italy’s leading privately owned corrugated business, now employing over 250 people and operating at four plants. ICO is aiming to differentiate itself by focusing on the shortest lead times, fast response and efficient logistics – giving superb service to its brands.
Identifying the changes in the consumer market, ICO chose a growth strategy based on the production of better board and digital print. At the heart of this investment plan was the installation of a Quantum² corrugator, (which was installed a few years ago) and the HP C500, with its true HP thermal inkjet water-based inks. The digital technology helps to ensure safe packaging for its packaging orders, half of which are supplied to the food industry.
Digital printing capabilities is providing greater agility and flexibility for ICO’s customers throughout Italy, including major and more local brands requiring smaller quantities and short delivery times. Moreover, digital technology enables a fast response to modifications in box graphics, sizes and branding, therefore reducing inventory for the brands.
ICO is also taking advantage of the HP C500 print quality to move to higher-value, high-quality printed corrugated boxes and displays.
Following the installation of the Quantum corrugator in 2018, the company was able to harness the first machine of its type in the world, shaking up traditional corrugating technology and allowing unprecedented process control and doublewall sheet printability.
In June 2020, ICO completed the installation of the automated warehouse with controlled atmosphere that offers inventory control in a very efficient way – giving even a better service to its customers.