Leading crystal glass manufacturer delighted by D-flute

2017-09-28 –

Glass manufacturing is a traditional industry in Bavaria, made possible by wood from the region’s abundant forests. Zwiesel Kristallglas was founded here in 1872 and has remained at the forefront of crystal glass manufacturing ever since. For the company, demand for material and product innovations is only matched by their need for innovative packaging solutions.

All packaging must deliver excellent product protection with an aesthetic look that appeals to target consumers. Sustainability and optimised logistics are also important factors. To achieve the perfect balance of attributes, STI Group recommended its new D-flute profile.

’The highest quality and a sophisticated look are both essential for our packaging. Our main challenge has been to significantly reduce the storage volume for packaging blanks without compromising these primary requirements,’ explains Uli Wagner, Technical Buyer at Zwiesel Kristallglas. Until recently, the company almost exclusively used B-flute corrugated cardboard packaging because of its strength and stability. Switching from B-flute to the much finer E-flute profile would have been too great a leap.

’D-flute is the optimal solution for us, because it combines the best of both flute profiles,’ says Wagner. Product protection is essential but so it optimal flatness, because this allows the packaging blanks to be machine-assembled at Zwiesel plants. Lower than B-flute but still stable, the new D-flute profile offers the right qualities and also suits subsequent processing.   

Lean logistics and production

A positive side-effect from switching to D-flute has been a reduction in flute shadow, which improves the overall look of packaging graphics. ’Appearance is naturally very important to us but in our view, the single biggest advantage in using D-flute has been achieving what we set out to do: reduce our storage volumes. Where 500 blanks would previously fit on a pallet, we can now store 600. That 20% difference significantly impacts our logistics,’ adds Wagner.

The running performance of the assembly machines has also benefited from the smaller volume. More blanks can now be placed in each machine magazine, lightening the burden on machine staff who no longer need to refill as often.

’D-flute bridges that wide gap between B and E-flute," explains Daniel Benasch, Head of Design Center Packaging at STI Group. ’With these obvious benefits, many other customers are also changing to D-flute.’

At low grammages, D-flute achieves comparable stability to B-flute but with improved print quality. Flat crush resistance and ECT value, key measurements of stability, are approximately equal. ’But the aspect that won over Zwiesel Kristallglas is the decisive argument for many of our customers,’ says Benasch. ’With its lower volume, D-flute offers a more sustainable flute profile. It allows us to reduce material usage in many types of product and shelf-ready packaging. Processing thinner paper improves machinability as well as reducing overall storage and logistics costs.’ In turn, this cuts CO2 emissions and helps to protect the environment.

STI Group is currently analysing its portfolio of packaging and display solutions to establish for which items D-flute makes the most appropriate alternative, and is proactively contacting customers that would benefit from making the switch.