Green Bay Packaging uses atmospheric plasma surface treating to increase folder/gluer productivity.August 2009 by Tom Polischuk
When new technology can be acquired to improve product quality, increase productivity, and offer additional cost reductions with an attractive return on investment (ROI) it doesn't take long for a company to incorporate it into its operation. Such is the case for De Pere, Wis.-based Green Bay Packaging Inc.'s Folding Carton Division (www.gbp.com) and its recent investment in atmospheric plasma surface treating technology.
Green Bay Packaging Inc., founded in 1933, is a privately owned, integrated manufacturer of paperboard packaging, including pulp and paper mills, corrugated box plants, pressure-sensitive label stock, and folding cartons. The company has been producing folding cartons since 1942, and just two years ago, moved into a new facility built with the future in mind.
"We have a very experienced workforce, utilizing the newest technologies in a facility designed for future growth," says Bill Kelley, plant operations manager. "Our operating philosophy is to provide our customers with high-quality, consistently performing, and competitively priced product on time, all the time."
The Folding Carton Division supplies products to the paper, food and beverage, automotive, hardware, and cosmetics markets. It uses offset printing to produce the high-quality graphics required by these markets and incorporates Lean Manufacturing methods to focus on improving its processes on a daily basis, notes Kelley.
According to Kelley, Green Bay Packaging prides itself on using innovation as one pillar of its success. "You can't sit still. We're always on the lookout for new technology, new ideas, and new methods to maximize uptime and reduce waste," he says.
This philosophy led the company to identify atmospheric plasma surface treating technology as a means to improve adhesion for its polycoated folding cartons. It worked with Enercon Industries (Menomonee Falls, Wis., www.enerconind.com) to set up a trial system to test the technology in operation. The system made an immediate positive impact on the business, so Green Bay Packaging quickly placed an order for a new system and used the trial unit until the new system arrived.
Based on purchasing criteria that focused on performance, value, and cost, Green Bay Packaging selected Enercon's Dyne-A-Mite IT™ Elite blown-ion air plasma surface treater. The in-line system includes four treating heads that can be mounted above the company's various folder/gluers.
Enercon's atmospheric plasma treater pretreats the carton flaps prior to gluing by cleaning the surface of contaminants, micro-roughening the surface to create more bonding sites, and functionalizing it for adhesion. The key to success is a blown-ion discharge that bombards the surface with a high-speed discharge of ions. Positive ion bombardment provides micro-etching or scrubbing (ablation) to remove (desorb) organic and inorganic contaminants from the surface.