One-pass productivity for complex luxury packaging applications

Wauters Group relies on Heidelberg

luxury packaging
Packaging printing company B.Pack visited Heidelberg to watch the final assembly of its second custom machine. Right to left Klaus-Peter Handermann (Final Assembly Printer), Carsten Deutsch (Account Manager), Abderrazak Benalia (Technical Director, Wauters Group), Jeremy Desbois (Pressroom Manager, B.Pack), Laurent Ambinat (Sales Consultant), Olav Spielmann (Packaging Sales Support, France) and Marco Salzinger (PMC instructor)

Packaging specialist B.Pack, a member of the Wauters Group, relies on Heidelberg technology for the highly productive manufacturing of luxury packagings. The company recently installed its second Speedmaster XL 75 custom machine from Heidelberg. This special machine configuration enables the back and front of folding cartons to be produced in one pass. This means, for example, that small luxury folding cartons with full-surface printing on the inside with two dark blue inks and protective coating followed by five colors on the outside with gloss coating, matt coating, or gold coating can be produced.

Coating prior to perfecting and various inking and coating units enable a high level of flexibility. The machine can also be used for collecting packagings, for example for three to five different perfume bottles, or for shower gel, deodorant, and perfume from one brand. These are produced for the airport duty-free sector, where the text is required more and more frequently on the inside of these cartons.

The new Speedmaster XL 75 with twelve units – an XL 75-2+LY-P-5+LYL – is in production at B.Pack at the Couches site in Burgundy, France. The pressroom has been home to a Speedmaster XL 75-6+LYY-1+L since the beginning of 2015. “We’re very happy with Heidelberg as a partner for the packaging industry. Following positive experiences in the past, we’re now looking forward to the new machine customized to our specific requirements to increase our flexibility in packaging applications,” explains Jeremy Desbois, Pressroom Manager at B.Pack on a visit to the Heidelberg site in Wiesloch-Walldorf.

Together with colleagues from the Wauters Group, he watched the final assembly of the Group’s new machine. “This means that we will then be able to combine two-sided coating and printing inline in one pass and offer our customers highly embellished luxury packagings with a range of different coating effects.” The machine will process cartons made from substrate thicknesses of up to 0.8 mm.

Over a history going back 110 years, the Wauters Group has evolved into the name for packagings for perfume, cosmetics, and spirits. It has a workforce of around 150, split between two sites in France. Large to medium-sized packagings are manufactured in long runs at the Group’s headquarters in Paris/Villebon-sur-Yvette. B.Pack in Couches specializes in smaller and medium runs with high levels of finishing.

“We see Heidelberg as a competent partner, who listened to us and configured and supplied exactly the machines we need for our luxury packagings,” confirms Abderrazak Benalia, Technical Director of the Wauters Group. “Already the installation of the first Speedmaster XL 75 in 2015 has taken our production to a new level. We were able to increase productivity by a third and halve makeready times. We have thus become an extremely attractive partner for our customers, as they require ever-smaller runs in ever shorter times. The sophisticated machine technology, in combination with the highly responsive service that Heidelberg provides, gives us the necessary reliability. We are known for our innovativeness, and Speedmaster technology lets us turn our ideas into reality.”

The service provided by Heidelberg was an important criterion for the purchase of another Speedmaster XL 75. “Already with the first machine, we were very impressed by the efficiency of the service during the few calls we had – whether remote or on-site. We have therefore extended the service contract, and also signed a contract for the new machine,” explains Abderrazak Benalia.

The new Speedmaster XL 75 is unequaled, with three coating units and special dryer combinations with UV, infrared, and hot-air dryers. In addition to a non-stop feeder and non-stop delivery, it features an extended delivery and, with the StaticStar Advanced package, all the preparations for uninterrupted sheet travel. The coating it uses is Saphira Pro UV 1000, which is optimally coordinated to the machine and delivers high gloss points.

“We know that the French market and the customers from the major brands have very specific requirements and high standards for packagings,” explains Rainer Wolf, Head of Sheetfed Product Management at Heidelberg. “With our broad application and mechanical engineering expertise, we work with our customers to find the optimal solution to combine quality and economy. The result is tailored to machine configurations with unique selling points and competitive advantages for our customers. Realizing such complex machine projects from the idea and technical execution to the successful implementation in the customer’s plant requires experts and teamwork in many fields from project planning and software, to development, service, and application technology. We’ve invested heavily here, and built up a strong, interdisciplinary team in the last few years. What this means for packaging printers for the luxury segments in particular is an opportunity for continued diversification. So we’re all the more pleased that the Wauters Group has ordered from us again and we’ve gotten to prove our leading role in packaging printing.”

In addition to the standard-production double-coating models in 50 x 70 format, two to three Speedmaster XL 75 are sold every year as custom models. The main markets for this are France, Germany, Poland, the USA, and Mexico. The number of custom machines is much higher in the 70 x 100 format, with every fifth machine a custom model. The number of all machines with individual customizations is well above 40%.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here