Cortec has taken another step towards vertical integration, cost cutting, and customization with a new on-demand box-making machine at Cortec Coated Products (CCP) in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. CCP manufactures Cortec’s versatile line of non-toxic, recyclable VpCI® papers that protect metal parts from corrosion during storage and shipment. With its new box machine, the plant will now be able to make its own packing boxes and expand into active production of VpCI CorrTainer® boxes, as well.
Cortec is the first company to get this upgraded model of on-demand box maker, which draws from six stacks of fanfold cardboard. The machine cuts, scores, and glues the cardboard so it can be folded into boxes of different shapes and sizes. A touchscreen allows CCP to easily select box style and dimensions and switch from one type of box to another for excellent flexibility and customizability. If a box accidentally rips during a 2,000-box order, the operators at CCP can quickly make a replacement and return to the main box run within a minute.
As CCP begins to make all of its own packing boxes, the site will be able to easily match boxes to custom order sizes for better fit and reduced waste. For example, when an order is placed for custom-sized VpCI paper rolls, CCP will now be able to make the exact number and size of packing boxes needed. Brad Johnson, Production Manager at CCP, explained how this solves a common dilemma: “We do so many custom sizes here, and there were times where we might have an order for, say, 10 boxes of a certain size. Well, our minimum order is 25. Now we’re stuck with 15 boxes that sit on the shelf for years. And a lot of times for a custom size you’re finding something that kind of fits. Now we can make an exact fit.”
Another benefit in terms of fit is that the flap holding the box together is now glued on the outside of the box rather than the inside, making it easier to slide rolls into the boxes without obstruction. Because the box machine can make custom sizes on demand, CCP will also be able to free up floor and shelf space that was previously needed for box storage.
Customizability will also be an important factor in expanding availability of Cortec’s CorrTainer boxes. In the past, it was difficult to provide samples of these corrosion inhibiting boxes because the minimum order required by the outside assembler was a truckload. This made it difficult to supply just one or two samples to customers interested in trying the box but not ready to make an order. Now the potential for easily making any number or size of CorrTainer will greatly open up the opportunity for samples and custom orders of this unique corrosion inhibiting box. If all goes well with the trial, CorrTainer availability is only a few weeks away.
With all these factors combined, Cortec is expecting to experience progressively reduced box costs as CCP box production increases. Savings could be significant judging by the example of a major e-commerce company who also implemented an on-demand box machine recently.
Cortec’s box rollout plan is to first make all boxes at CCP and then to gradually expand box supply to all of Cortec’s North American plants. Already, CCP has successfully fulfilled two large orders of boxes for Cortec Advanced Films and is busy setting up scheduling and batching for the new system.
As CCP continues to work out the best box-making implementation strategies, Cortec looks forward to offering better service to its customers thanks to the cost savings, customizability, and flexibility of its on-demand box options.