Box Marche of Italy minimises physical strain on its packing staff with Ergosa C and Virtuo packing machines from Canadian manufacturer IMPACK
Discussing previous and current investment plans, Tonino Dominici, CEO of Box Marche, explains, “We want our actions and packaging solutions to create added value for everyone.” Founded in 1969 and based in Corinaldo, center/east of Italy, Dominici sees his company as the hub of a community that has more than just its own interests in mind. Indeed, the packaging manufacturer is well-known for its commitment to social programmes in Ancona and neighbouring provinces. Moreover, the company doesn’t just talk about issues like employee well-being and close partnerships with customers and suppliers, it does something about them.
“Our employees are entitled to work in a stress-free environment, with as little physical strain as possible. To make that happen, we installed an Ergosa C Universal Packer and an automated Virtuo Packer from IMPACK of Canada on our two folder gluer lines in 2008”, Dominici explains. Now that they’re in operation, no one at Box Marche has to lift heavy stacks of boxes any more. “On top of that, we can now better exploit the productivity of our folder gluer lines. They can run at a faster rate and our team can produce more cartons in the same amount of time with less effort.”
As he describes the advantages, Dominici hands us samples of protective sleeves for cookware. Box Marche produces this special type of packaging for a regional customer using the folder gluer line with the Ergosa C at its exit. “I don’t think there’s any other packing machine around that can handle packaging like this,” he says, praising the versatility of this configurable system. Compatible with all folder gluers, the Ergosa was developed by IMPACK for packing small to medium-sized boxes made of carton and corrugated board. It usually processes straight-line, 4-corner and 6-corner boxes, but at Box Marche it also accepts special formats, like the cookware protective sleeves.
The Ergosa C model combines semi-automatic with automatic packing. It is equipped with an IN2 box turner that turns products coming off the folder gluer line by 90 degrees. This way, the glue flaps on the protective sleeves are facing up when each row is removed from the Ergosa C’s conveyor and filled into the cases. With the glue flaps on top, the stacks are more stable and packing line workers can place them in the cases more easily. If packaging products do not need to be turned, they simply pass straight through the box turner.
Left to right: Tonino Dominici, Owner and Marie-Soleil Boutet, Sales Representative for Impack.
Short setup times are another advantage of the Ergosa C. “The average production run for the protective sleeves is 1,000 units. We change the machine setup up to fifteen times per shift,” says Dominici, underlining the need for fast job changeovers. With the Ergosa C, it takes next to no time to switch the format. “Our setup time with this packing machine is virtually zero. It’s very easy to operate and works effectively. In addition, it offers a very good price-performance ratio. What’s more, the machine has been running for over eleven years now without interruption,” Dominici explains.
Box Marche has a basic system installed in production, which operates exclusively in horizontal mode. Packaging products “flow” off the folder gluer straight into the Ergosa C, where they are filled by packing staff into cases provided to the left of the conveyor. The cases are then automatically closed and conveyed to a palletising area. All of these steps are completed without any stress or strain on employees. And because the cases are positioned lower down in the Ergosa C, packing line workers don’t need to lift each row – they can simply slide it into a case. It’s surprising to see just how smooth and simple the packing process can be. If customers come to Box Marche with new requirements, the system can be expanded at any time to include additional modules, such as Pick & Place mode.
Another of Box Marche’s specialities is premium bag-in-box packaging for wine. The boxes are fabricated from laminated micro-flute in runs of up to 20,000 units. These straight-line boxes are folded and glued on the line that ends in the automatic Virtuo Packer.
IMPACK designed this compact system for medium to very large boxes made of carton and corrugated board. The Virtuo likewise boasts high ease-of-operation and versatility. But above all, it relieves staff significantly when filling cases with heavy stacks of this corrugated packaging. As with the Ergosa, Box Marche benefits from the Virtuo’s short setup times. The setup of this machine is changed up to five times per shift.
In early 2019, the Virtuo was updated with the latest model. “The new system runs about 10% faster. With it, we can pack up to 30,000 bag-in-box units an hour into the cases,” Dominici says. As a result, the folder gluer line can also run faster. Case handling, for example, has been streamlined on the new packer to help boost productivity. The same applies to its improved ergonomics, which translate into greater ease-of-operation for employees. Thanks to the longer conveyor, they have more time to feed empty cases to the Virtuo. The working height of the machine has been adapted as well, making it easier for packing staff to handle the cases.
The Virtuo is equipped with an IN3 box turner, which provides added flexibility for positioning boxes in the cases. Bag-in-box products are either turned to the left or they pass straight through the box turner if turning is unnecessary. In these and all other respects, the machine fulfils Box Marche’s every need when it comes to packing these products.
Apart from protective sleeves and bag-in-box products, Box Marche produces a variety of different packaging types for brand name manufacturers. Depending on production requirements, they are processed either by the folder gluer line with the Ergosa or the system with the Virtuo. Both packing machines offer the required degree of flexibility.
In early 2020, Box Marche will be installing a third folder gluer line for straight-line and crash-lock bottom boxes, which is likely to be equipped with an Ergosa.
Dominici also applies the latest management practices based on the principles of the Toyota Production System (TPS), which aims for maximum productivity combined with high quality and on-time delivery. His investments in packing machines from IMPACK are in line with this approach, as these systems are ideally suited to supporting all three TPS objectives. Box Marche’s technical leadership and focus on collaborative partnerships have won recognition from the market. Over 90% of its roughly 100 customers have been loyal to the company for a long time. Dominici sees growth potential in countries such as Germany, France and Great Britain.
With its workforce of 55 employees, Box Marche produces packaging for the food, beverage, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, fashion accessories and household goods industries. The company has garnered numerous accolades for its innovative packaging ideas. Box Marche exports some 10% of its products to Denmark, Sweden and other countries.