The growth of the global footprint of DS Smith has been noticeable since Miles Roberts was appointed CEO in 2010. The latest news that he has been recognised as RISI’s European CEO of the Year possibly comes as no surprise, especially considering the aggressive move into the USA with the acquisition of Interstate Resources Inc. However, prior to this, Roberts led the company on a series of acquisitions that would see DS Smith enhance its presence in key European markets.
One of those was Spain, where up until a few years ago, they had a 25% minority stake in the Lantero Group, but little else. Then came the news in November 2014 that it was acquiring Andopack, a privately owned Spanish corrugated board producer. Andopack had been a well invested and growing business with good access to both Barcelona and Madrid. The acquisition gave DS Smith a direct market position in Spain, allowing them to meet the demands from pan-European customers to have a presence in this market. A year later, DS Smith then bought the other 75% of Lantero Group, catapulting the company into an even stronger position in the Iberian peninsula – with the acquisition of Gopaca of Portugal then taking place in 2016.
At the time of the Andopack acquisition, Miles Roberts, Group Chief Executive, said, “The acquisition of Andopack in Spain is an exciting development for DS Smith as we continue to strengthen our pan-European customer offering. Andopack has high quality assets and we look forward to growing it further as we expand in this attractive market.”
DS Smith Andorra
Located in the small town of Andorra, about 120km south-east of Zaragoza and conveniently situated midway between Barcelona and Madrid, DS Smith Andorra is based in a factory that was built as a greenfield site back in 2002. The site is well invested – a 2.5m corrugator feeds a wide range of converting lines. A little over half of all production is for agricultural use, with the plant serving customers across Spain.
Over the last year, the company has invested in two additional converting lines to complement the existing equipment. “For the first time, we chose two German suppliers – namely Bahmüller and Göpfert,” explains Rafael Vázquez, Operations Director at DS Smith Andorra. “It was a bit of a challenge, as the operators had no experience with these German machines, but thanks to excellent training from both suppliers, we certainly hit the ground running and we are very satisfied with the output from the four colour Ovation and the Turbox speciality gluer. Because we are located in a small town, finding good operators can be a challenge. We do a lot of the training ourselves, but with the new machines, we have worked very closely with both suppliers to ensure our people get the best possible training on the lines.”
DS Smith opted for the Göpfert Ovation in an off-line configuration, allowing them to produce high quality post printed sheets. A four colour machine was installed in December 2016, being commissioned in January 2017. By printing off-line, the machine can feed several die-cutters. The Göpfert pre-feeder and vacuum lead edge feeder uses belts instead of friction rolls in order to eliminate marks on the liner when using coated papers and running E and F-flute sheets. The optional sheet cleaner removes dust from the sheet prior to printing. The high end inking system with chamber doctor blade system and ceramic anilox roll system ensures excellent print quality. The tool-less doctor blade clamping system makes maintenance easy for the operators.
The Ovation also uses Anti Print Enlargement (APM) and Auto-lock plate mounting with motorised angular plate adjustment for perfect register. Kiss touch print is made possible as the anilox roll and impression cylinder gap can be precisely set in 1/100 mm increments.
Smaller jobs and fast turn-around times are key to satisfying the demand of DS Smith’s customers. Machine automation, like the automatic anilox roll change system, make it possible and offer highest flexibility. Within less than five minutes, all flexo printing units can be re-equipped with one of four different anilox rolls stored within the machine at a push of a button. There is no need to plan production depending on the required printing screen. IR dryersseamlessly integrated into the Ovation, ensuring excellent print results and performance. The Ink Conditioning System (ICS) controls ink viscosity, temperature and ph, which is vital for constant print quality. All the ink characteristics can be individually configured, as an option specified by DS Smith.
“DS Smith not only opted for the highest machine technology, but for a tailor made solution,” explains Sven Klöckner, Area Sales Manager at Göpfert. “We understand that an investment like this requires professional planning, execution and service support to meet expectations. We believe we have achieved this with DS Smith Andorra and the on-going support of our service technicians ensure maximum uptime and productivity.”
Following the installation of the Ovation, DS Smith Andorra then wanted to increase speciality gluing capacity, as well as add the ability to glue two piece boxes, especially for wine boxes. In the spring of 2017, they approached Jose Barea from Plegaservice, the Iberian agent for Bahmüller. The decision was made to install a Turbox with Topmatcher, only the second such machine of its type for Spain. A visit at DS Smith Fulda in Germany led to a full specification machine being ordered.
The machine is able to handle multi-piece boxes of almost any kind from 140mm in width and 140mm feed length for the upper part of the box and 455mm in width and as low as 160mm in feed length for the base carrier. Advanced servo controlled cams ensure proper alignment and maximum production speed. DS Smith Andorra has reported 8,000 and more feeds per hour can be achieved on the line.
Due to its design, the Topmatcher can be used as a standard feeder as well. The ‘Unique Fold’ completes the high level specification of this gluer and enables the sales and design team of DS Smith Andorra to approach customers with more advanced design possibilities.
Equipped with ‘Unique Eject’ and advanced control features, misfolded products and any detected errors can be ejected without stopping production. Latest health and safety standards are included and grant easy accessibility for the crew.
“We installed the machine in February 2017, with the line being commissioned in late March 2017,” says Oliver Wienmann, Sales Manager at Bahmüller. “We undertook five weeks of training with the crews at DS Smith Andorra and they seemed to learn the machine quite quickly.”
“The installation of both machines went smoothly and we are happy with the quality of the products being produced,” concludes Vázquez. “With the specification of the machines, we are able to handle some sophisticated jobs for other plants within our Group in Spain. The Iberian peninsula is a key market for DS Smith, with the Group confirming that it will be building a greenfield site in Spain within the next few years to cater for our continuing growth.”