Automation And Integration Are Keys To Profitability
A Case Study on How German packaging giant Contego streamlined its operation across Europe
The Contego Packaging Group consists of two business divisions. One produces cartons for high-quality consumer products and the other pharmaceutical packaging for the healthcare industry. The two divisions comprise 14 locations throughout Europe and all manufacture packaging and labels using EFI Radius industry-specific software.
The 10 companies that form the healthcare sector specialise in printing folding boxes, packaging inserts, self-adhesive labels and printed foils for blister packs used in the pharmaceutical industry. To meet growth demands Contego built a new 6,200 square metre production facility in Wolfen, Germany.
One of the secrets to the Group’s success is that each site is focused on special product groups and strives to deliver the highest quality standards and productivity levels, whilst keeping costs as low as possible. Contego Wolfen specialises entirely in the production of printed, precisely folded, high-quality packaging inserts for high-speed packaging machines. Today, the new plant, additional new machines and a workforce of 98 employees allow the plant to produce up to one billion pharmaceutical leaflets.
On Contego’s website, customers can see its wide range of packaging inserts and they learn that the real skill is not so much in the printing but in folding the leaflets small enough so that healthcare firms can insert them as quickly and conveniently as possible when packaging pharmaceuticals. The regulation that stipulates that the font on information leaflets must be no smaller than 9 points has resulted in the production of larger leaflets, larger print formats and new challenges.
Radius customised software
EFI Radius automates and monitors the entire operation from prep to prepress to print and finishing, including all commercial processes. Stefan Kirchhof, production director for the Wolfen plant describes how Radius facilitates production throughout the operation.
In Radius, Contego setup the costs for all items and every step of the process such as plate production, paper, colour, etc. This way when a customer submits project specifications and quantities, Contego can provide an immediate price based on real costs.
Once the job is accepted, Radius then sends the necessary information to the various departments for job handling.
The production planning function lets Contego see every step in the workflow including current production capacity. The auto-scheduling function lets production planner, Sirko Hille see the fastest procedures for planning different jobs. He can then determine the priority of each individual order. Radius also lets Hille plan and monitor both sheet-fed and web-fed printing.
Kirchhof appreciates the ability to supervise of the overall production process in real time. Every step in the process—plate production, printing, cutting and folding starts and ends at the corresponding workstation, so each department can access its relevant work step. This means that employees no longer have to fill out time sheets. Production quantities, times, interruptions or errors of every job and each work step are recorded and documented automatically with absolute accuracy. The orders can then be recalculated against actual costs.
For quality assurance purposes, all processes are checked against the customer’s data and approved for production. After all the production steps have been completed, each order is subject to a final check to ensure that all parameters comply with customer requirements and specifications. It is only when quality assurance has approved the order for delivery in the system that a delivery note can be generated.
Radius completely automates the procurement of all materials. It generates material orders based on production forecasts, which saves time and money and reduces the error rate. Because production at Wolfen is so specialised, the module is used solely for paper orders and stock monitoring.
EFI Radius add-ons
EFI Radius offers a selection of add-ons, which are integrated with the basic modules. The system modules provide production data collection, quality management, finance management, customer relationship management, forecasts and dispatch management. And each is fully tailored to meet the needs of the packaging printer.
Real live data
“For our holding company, it is important that all our group’s operations are processed using the same industry-specific software, which has been created to meet our special requirements,” states commercial manager, David Bell.
“I am able to see the location and status of an order at any time,” says site manager Michael Pellert. “In contrast to our older software, we now have real live data for our production.” Another decisive factor, highlights Pellert, is the transparency of all production steps.
“Doing away with time sheets is an administrative advantage and it helps to save time for production staff,” adds Kirchhof.
To automate production for a new 6200 square-metre production facility that specialises in precisely folded leaflets for the healthcare industry.
EFI Radius automates and monitors the entire operation from prep to prepress to print and finishing, including all commercial processes.
“I am able to see the location and status of an order at any time. In contrast to our older software, we now have real live data for our production.