ECT Litho-lam Vs. Corrugated

October 24, 2014

Bruce asked,

 Do you have any information on singleface lam vs. corrugate with regards to stacking strength? Also, if a corrugated box is in 44 ect what would we run in the litho world to come up with the same board combination?

Thanks for the question. Okay, here we go. This made me do some a few new searches, make some new network contacts, and dust off some old paper files.  Click here to download a file created with the CD ring crush values for coated white top linerboards, C1S offset label, and SBS.  The latter two were difficult to find since the “white” products are measured for Taber stiffness and not with the methods we use in the containerboard and corrugated industry.  I had to reach out to my contact at the Renewable Bioproducts Institute at Georgia Tech for a comparison.

Be careful about converting from double wall to singlewall. With the loss of spring back caliper in the board construction, one will lose bending stiffness, while ECT may be the same.  Both physical properties make up box compression and performance.  Have you considered B/E double wall with ultra lightweight components?  Kapstone makes these grades at Longview, and maybe Port Townsend also.

So to construct a minimum 40 ECT a corrugator needs to combine a minimum of 216# of CD ring crush in the three or five components. Corrugators vary in their ability to maximize the inherent strengths in the linerboards and medium from plus 15% to minus 25%.  Do you know your sheet feeder’s profile?  To achieve a minimum 44# ECT the suppliers need a minimum of 235# of CD ring crush.

Converters vary in their ability to maintain the incoming ECT by plus 0 to minus 35%. Have you benchmarked your presses, people and process?  The Chalmers DST is an excellent instrument to measure your degradations factors.

Under ideal circumstances, corrugators and converters can obtain a minimum 40 ECT B flute with 36/30/36 and a minimum 44# ECT B flute with a 36/36/36 or a 42/26/42 combination. I prefer to put more substance and strength into the medium.  30/23/26/23/30 will give you more than enough for 44# ECT.  Is this a cost effective alternative?  Usually we see a 5-85 fibre savings.

— Ralph

Litho-lam effect on ECT

October 9, 2014

Steve asks:

We are laminating an 80 lb label to an outside liner. The combination needs to equal 44ect. Can we lighten our board combination with the addition of the label?

If so, what would the combination be? We buy 44ect with the following 42 x 36 x 42. Any insight into this matter is much appreciated.

I will give you a ballpark answer to your question. However, we can get an answer with far greater accuracy if we know the combined ring crush value obtained when the top sheet is laminating to the outside liner. Would any of your sheet suppliers be willing to send some samples to their mill suppliers to obtain the laminated ring crush values?

To answer in general terms. Depending on the strength values of the components and the quality of the corrugator’s combining ability, the range in ECT across the industry before converting, would be 42-57 PLI. Do you know what you are being supplied today and how much you are degrading the sheet during the converting process? I would not change a thing until we have answers to the previous three questions.


Training for First Line Supervisors

October 1, 2014

Phillip asks:

Could you recommend any hands on training classes for first line production supervisors? I can’t seem to find anything.

Training for First Line Supervisors is very import, even more so for first time supervisors. Often these employees are moving up through the ranks from an operator or mechanics position into a position where they now may be supervising those who they used to work beside.

AICC offers a number of training courses throughout the year that focus on production and production management. You can check the AICC Event Calendar for a list of current courses. If the desired courses are not currently on the schedule, you can contact Taryn Pyle at AICC for additional information and on-site training options.

Below are some of the AICC course that may fit your requirements.

Machine Mastery for RDCs and FFGs are courses offered through AICC and presented by Les Pickering. Each seminar is two days in length and address common best practices for RDC and FFG operation. Other topics included in these seminars include,

  • Identifying and understanding value and non-value work and process
  • Understanding the layout of an area to plan or change the environment to improve productivity
  • “Reading” the actions of the operator at job changeover to understand issues with the process.
  • Understanding and know best practices to control consistency of color on the run. Control ink quickly at start-up and throughout the run
  •  Learn uptime and downtime duties of the operator and the importance of countermeasure items in production.
  • How to reduce your job changeover time 20%-50%
  • Understand why the process performance is static and learn methods and acquire tools to increase productivity by 20%

Production Leadership for Profit is a two-day training course offered through AICC and presented by Scott Ellis and Scott Heilmann. The course is designed to enhance the attendee’s ability to manage people with confidence and to achieve outstanding performance on the production floor. The management disciplines that will be presented – some of the industry’s best production practices – have been perfected and implemented by numerous production personnel throughout the packaging industry with proven, exceptional results.

This course covers,

  •  Leadership Best Practices
  •  Time Management Skills
  •  Effective Measurement of the Production Process
  •  How to Build a Visual Workplace
  •  Critical Communication Skills
  • Building Accountability and Sustainability in a Company’s Best Practices

In the Spring of 2015 AICC will be introducing a new course focusing on leadership training for department managers and supervisors. Watch, your email and our BoxScore Magazine to see when this course becomes available.

That Still Small Voice

August 28, 2014

For those of us who know the story, we recall that something significant was not ushered in with a strong rushing wind or an earthquake, but in a small quiet calling. So it is with many signs of change that are not so evident unless we are sensitized to the calling. While many of us may not need to respond to global packaging initiatives because the end user does not ship all over the world; or we are not ultimately faced with declining fibre quality like the Europeans; or we may not manufacture UN Hazmat boxes; or we have a corrugator or sheet feeder that quantifies its board via certificates of analysis the physical properties of the corrugated it send us still, we are faced with change.

If you have built trust in customer relationships, go further! Bring differentiation and branding to the relationship. What separates you and your company from others? Be faster to respond, yes. Discuss the process controls you have in place that provides product assurance, yes. If you are not selling and delivering a perceived significant value, then the relationship defaults to price and the balance of power falls into the hands of the customer/buyer. Look at the progress of digital printing technology and the recent claims of printing at 8,000 sheets per hour. What a technology leap!

Become the specialist, the corrugated engineering expert. One success builds on another. Do not become diluted, keep that focus narrow. Always be testing competitor’s boxes, but not for basis weights or calipers, that’s not of any value. Consider third party evaluations. Learn the newest terminology and new methods of measuring board performance and multiple your value in the eyes of the packager. Create pathways of significance so that your customer cannot take your investment in them to a competitor.

Champion the changes that are coming, it’s not the unknown to your Association. Prepare yourselves and don’t be deceive by those who are not embracing better ways of design the corrugated structure and reducing variation in their processes. You can’t control what’s coming, but you can reduce the pain of not knowing. There are already pockets of excellence out there, the early innovators, and companies in the mid Atlantic, Texas, the Rocky Mountains, the upper Midwest, the Southwest and Los Angeles area.

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