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Technical presentation on increasing efficiency through optimisation of packaging

Doing more with less – the Efficiency Agency NRW (efa) invited interested parties to a presentation on “Cost reduction through Resource Efficiency - Packaging Optimisation” hosted by the engineering company Horstmann Maschinenbau.

In his detailed presentation, Prof. Carsten Feldmann from the Münster University of Applied Sciences outlined the measures that can be taken to optimise packaging costs and reduce the required storage space. With the words “Packaging must suit the product like a good shoe fits your foot,” the expert underlined that only optimised features such as proper packaging size, secure protection of the packaged goods during storage and transport as well as appropriate portioning in production and use are decisive factors for efficient packaging. These measures also help considerably reduce the cost of transport and storage.

Prof. Feldmann made it clear that modern packaging management is even possible at low cost and used an example to present the different aspects of innovative solutions. By taking targeted measures and keeping an eye on resource efficiency, companies could counteract rising cost and environmental burdens, increase their competitiveness and tap into new areas of business.

Innovative packaging through intelligent engineering

Meinolf Stroth from Horstmann Maschinenbau GmbH gave a practical report on the topic “Individual packaging as a challenge for engineering”. He focused in particular on the innovative packaging machine from Horstmann: the BOXMAKER®.

Stroth provided numerous facts to convincingly demonstrate how the variability of the BOXMAKER® is a unique selling point.

From an economic perspective, Stroth pointed out the disadvantages of the staffing, cost and capital-intensive packaging method that many companies are still using.

Most companies keep several types of cardboard and packaging sizes in stock and thus need a lot of storage space.

From the perspective of equipment manufacturers and with reference to the BOXMAKER®, the expert provided several options that the engineering industry can offer its customers when it comes to individual and efficient packaging.

In this context, CEO Klaus Horstmann underlined the fact that the BOXMAKER® was developed with a focus on maximum speed.

Innovative packaging application at Holztechnik Schmeing

The company based in Ahaus employs about 185 employees at two plants. The furniture manufacturing department produces various models in a three-week cycle. The models consist of approximately 7,000 individual components, 5,500 of which are manufactured in-house. The remaining components are provided by suppliers, resulting in high packaging needs for shipment both to and from the plants.

CEO Alexander Schmeing reported on the company’s use of packaging solutions over the last few decades.

In the early days of the mass production of cabinet furniture, the furniture was still shipped to the furniture store without any packaging materials – furniture covers provided the only protection.

Changes in trade and production structures within the furniture industry – furniture components were transported in disassembled condition and central warehouses were introduced – meant that furniture from Holztechnik Schmeing could only be shipped with packaging. In the nineties, mostly lines of furniture with batch sizes ranging from 50 to 100 identical items were manufactured. Packaging was done using solid cardboard that had been previously ordered from the cardboard manufacturer. The CEO explained that due to changing product development and the related constantly changing and increasingly strict packaging standards the limits of this approach were quickly reached as it proved to be far too time-consuming and expensive.

What then followed was a period of ongoing adaptation and implementation of innovative packaging options.

In 2000, the wood technology company then implemented what was an optimised solution for the packaging standards of the time by investing in its own cardboard cutting machine.

Further adjustments followed. In 2007, the entire packaging concept was once again optimised with regard to the value-creation chain and costs in the packaging process.

Today Schmeing stands for an optimised and efficient two-component packaging method that uses a combination of corrugated cardboard and stretch film/foil.

Informative finale

A tour of the company with a presentation of the plant and a final discussion among the 35 participants rounded off the evening.

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