Abercarn goes large with new prototyping facility

Darryl Danielli
Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Smurfit Kappa has installed a Kongsberg cutting table at its Abercarn factory as the centrepiece of its new ‘Big Box’ design suite, which offers a next day XXL packaging prototyping service.

Prior to the Kongsberg X46's arrival, samples were made at a sister plant
Prior to the Kongsberg X46's arrival, samples were made at a sister plant

“This is an exciting development for SK Abercarn and has made a huge difference to the way we operate. Our speed of response has improved dramatically,” said Richard Fishwick, sales director at Smurfit Kappa Abercarn.

“The table makes innovation and product development much easier now that we can produce and assess our own samples, we can develop our designs and prove that they work in minutes not days.”

The Abercarn factory runs an inhouse corrugator and specialises in large-format bulk box manufacturing for sectors including logistics, e-commerce, plastics, agriculture and automotive.

The site's Kongsberg X46 was installed earlier this year and was complemented by the creation of a new design suite and office at the 65-staff Abercarn factory in Newport Wales.

The new design suite went live last month.

Supplied direct by Kongsberg Precision Cutting Systems, the new table is capable of handling substrates up to 2.3x5.2m and has a cutting speed of up to 50m/min and four vacuum sections. It runs alongside a compression tester, which can analyse how much weight a package can withstand, up to five tonnes.

“Previously we had our samples made at a sister plant (SK Peterborough) which due to the size of their cutting table had to be made in two pieces, whereas we can now make them in one to reflect what we manufacture,” said Fishwick.

The unit can produce single piece box blanks up to 10sqm and two-piece up to 22sqm using a wide range of materials from lightweight single wall corrugated grades to CB ‘Supaflute’ grades and the heavy-duty ‘Rokboard’.

“It has the ability to convert samples from our lightweight eco-friendly doublewall board grades, right through to our specialist Heavy Duty materials that we use as a successful alternative/replacement to Correx, plastic bulk boxes, as well as plywood and timber crates,” added Fishwick.

Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Smurfit Kappa employs 46,000 staff and operates more than 350 production sites in 36 countries. The FTSE 100 company specialises in paper-based packaging solutions and in 2020 it generated sales of €8.5bn (£7.2bn).

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