Steady Line for Thailand

Chaisith Containers and Paper Core Co Ltd recently commissioned its new 2.2m BHS Corrugated Steady Line to meet growing demand for high quality printed boxes, as more foreign electronics and other manufacturers decide to set up export factories in Thailand.

“We were looking for a fast installation. Our new Steady Line arrived last November. It was installed and ready to start up on 6 February 2023,” said Thana Hovijit, Managing Director, Chaisith Containers and Paper Core Co Ltd.  “Our new corrugator reached its maximum speed of 230 mpm right away. Our average running speed is 120 m/min, but if an order is suitable we can produce at 230 m/min comfortably.”

The Steady Line’s automated controls and monitoring systems have already helped Chaisith Containers’ improve its corrugating operational efficiency. “Now we can check all the data. For example, how many splicies are done manually; also, how many metres are done on the slitter-scorer knife and corrugating rolls too,” Thana said. “Using this information, our production managers can analyse what is happening. Manual splicing has decreased; in fact, our operators prefer to do splicing manually but we have explained to them that we need them to use auto-splicing for us to achieve fully automated machine operation.”

Among the special features that Chaisith Containers requested for its Steady Line is a rest roll monitor positioned on the mill roll stand to control paper roll use. The rest roll monitor checks the amount of paper remaining on a paper roll and records the length of paper roll that has been used already.

“For the slitter-scorer, we requested a line following that checks the printed paper, so the knife moves accordingly for pre-print jobs,” Thana noted. “Our Steady Line is fitted with premium high performance electrical components that comply with the EI4 standard.”

Paper roll handling has been automated to improve operational safety.  “We have installed a paper roll conveyor system, so we do not need to rely on fork lift drivers,” Thana added. “Our production team thinks that using a fork lift truck next to a corrugator is not safe, so the fork lift truck now takes the paper rolls to the conveyor. It’s more efficient and safe doing it that way.”

Chaisith Containers is pleased with the Steady Line’s paper consumption savings compared with the previous 2.2m corrugator it has replaced. “The BHS Steady Line’s paper consumption calculations are more precise than before,” Thana said. “Our previous corrugator allowed for 10% paper waste but now our overall paper wastage is 3%, including side trim waste which is less than 2%.”

Decades of Experience

Established in Bangkok in 1979 as a die-cutting specialist, Chaisith Containers moved to its present location in Samut Prakarn industrial area in Bangkok’s eastern outskirts in 1988.

Now an integrated corrugating and converting company, Chaisith Containers’ corrugating facilities runs two corrugators and a single facer. Converting equipment installed in the plant includes two FFGs and six flexo-printers.

The Steady Line is used to produce all sheets over 1.5m wide, Thana explained, while the company’s older 1.8m corrugator is used for sheet orders under 1.5m in width.

“Mostly we use our corrugated sheets to produce containers ourselves. Less than 10% of the sheets made on our Steady Line are for outside sale,” he continued. “Although we prefer to make boxes ourselves, we now see foreign manufacturers coming into the Thai market and they need to buy sheets to make their boxes, so it’s one area we are considering increasing our sheet production.”

Massive Fire

Chaisith Containers’ decision to buy a Steady Line to expand production capacity was made after the original 2.2m corrugator was damaged beyond use by a fire in December 2021, along with two FFGs and some other machines.

As part of plans to expand production in future, the company has rebuilt and expanded its covered factory area by almost half to 32,000 sqm to house the Steady Line and provide space for more converting lines and an automated warehouse system that is planned for installation in 2025.

“After the fire, we wanted to buy a new corrugator as part of our production expansion plan for the next 10 years,” Thana explained.  “When we looked at BHS Corrugated, we saw they could deliver the Steady Line as a complete project.”

The quicker return on investment by buying a Steady Line also attracted the company’s attention. “The savings we have made buying a BHS Corrugated line mean the return on investment is faster,” Thana explained.

In addition to reduced paper waste, the Steady Line is delivering energy cost savings. “Of course we are pleased with our new Steady Line,” Thana commented. “After just a few months operation we can see the result of using the closed steam energy system. The energy cost is a lot less than for our previous corrugator – about 30% lower. We expected a saving of about 15%, so we are pleased with this larger cost saving.”

Diverse Product Mix

Chaisith Containers factory currently works a single shift day. Single wall board currently accounts for about 65% of the Steady Line’s total output and doublewall sheets 35%.

“We expect to make more doublewall sheets in future on our Steady Line as our customers want boxes made from BE doublewall to pack their TV screens and protect their products,” Thana said. “The next increase in demand for electronics boxes will be for BE doublewall to pack computer and TV monitors, and air conditioner units.”

Fruit boxes made of BC doublewall are an important seasonal box market for Chaisith Containers. “Durian fruit boxes are famous and well known for their strength and in large demand during harvest season,” Thana said. “We run up to 60,000 sqm daily of BC doublewall just for durian boxes from April to August.”

Electronics packaging represent about 35% of total box orders while fruit boxes account for about 20% of orders. Beverage cartons represent a further 35% share of orders, while pizza and fried chicken boxes, pet food cartons, shoe boxes and other corrugated packaging make up the remaining 10% share of sales.

“For some electronics and electrical appliance customers we now make corrugated cushions to replace foam cushions they used previously used to pack their products,” Thana explained. “We use board from our Steady Line for this as the sheets require good gluing that penetrates through the whole sheet as the board is folded many times to act as a cushion.”

Meanwhile, Chaisith Containers will rely on its Steady Line to boost production in future to meet expected rising demand for the company’s corrugated sheets and cartons. “We expect to reach 5,000 tons a month –  equivalent to 7 million sqm per month – sales in five years’ time,” Thana said. “The box market in Thailand will grow as a lot of new investment in manufacturing is coming. For example, solar panel production is coming here as the Thai government is offering investment incentives to foreign companies – there are three solar panel manufacturers here already.”

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