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By AICC Staff

January 24, 2022


EFI Escada

Smurfit Kappa is one of the leading providers of paper-based packaging in the world. The company has 240 packaging plants, 34 paper mills and employs over 46,000 people in 35 countries. In the UK, the company operates around 40 facilities, manufacturing a wide range of corrugated packaging, folding cartons, POS displays and one of the larger sheet feeders to the sheet plant market. Smurfit Kappa has three sites in the UK that are dedicated to the production of corrugated sheets.

One of those sites is located in the Fishergate district of Norwich, in the east of the UK. The plant has been a customer of EFI for some time, as they chose to install EFI Escada Profile Process Control System in 2018. The plant saw an immediate improvement in board quality following the installation. Like all existing Escada Profile Process Control users, Smurfit Kappa Fishergate wanted to focus on improving their processes and efficiencies and invested in Escada’s “super user” training program, which not only provided further user system training, but identified areas of improvement within their process.

In early 2021, the Smurfit Kappa team undertook the 4-day, virtual “super user” course that provided advanced system user and process training. The course was structured in such a way that it allowed users and operators to interact with the Escada trainers, ensuring the best possible outcome. It also enabled the users to focus on their actual process and machinery, which once focused and corrected resulted in production improvement (quality), speed increases (output) and financial payback (ROI).

With tailored content, Escada trainers took users through the system and reviewed all the processes enabling them to evaluate what was actually happening on the machine when specific actions or changes were made.

An important learning from the sessions was that some of the users believed that they needed different settings for every single board grade. With the tailored approach, Smurfit Kappa were able to implement simplified settings and recipes, ensuring manageable settings were configured and used efficiently. This allowed the system to automatically make any minor adjustments, rather than having operator intervention.

Scott McKail, Production Supervisor, Smurfit Kappa Fishergate, comments: “Since the tailored remote super user training conducted for us here at Fishergate by one of the EFI Escada Process experts, we have seen an instant improvement on board quality and a reduction in customer complaints, especially for warped board which has always been our biggest cause for returned board.”

He continues: “During the training, the EFI Escada Process expert helped us come up with a more efficient run style for our corrugator by reducing all heat settings in the hotbeds and triple stack preheaters. Since this was changed, we saw a big improvement in all grades straight away and did not have a single warp complaint for over three weeks which has never happened here before. The biggest benefit we have noticed is that all supervisors, shift managers and wet-end operators have a much better understanding of how the system actually works and the importance of maintaining sensors, so we have accurate readings at all times.”

The refresher course was such a success that production increased overall. “We have also seen a steady improvement in line speeds as the supervisors understand the importance and benefits of running with cruise control turned on which before the training was not happening,” says McKail. “The production line speed [seen below] has seen an overall improvement so far this year. Due to the benefits and results we have seen from people receiving this training, we are going to organize more courses with EFI for further improvements that we can implement.”

As part of their commitment to enhancing customer experience, EFI has been working on several initiatives to help users of the EFI Escada solutions to stay up to date with the latest tips, methods and best practices by launching a video training hub in May of 2021. The hub delivers “espresso” style learning to users of Profile, Syncro and Clarity software solutions.