“We are seeing an increasing trend for large customers to want companies in the packaging industry to be able to deliver cartons for machines made by other companies. This constitutes a challenge for us – and we are meeting it by challenging our competitors ourselves”, comments Elopak’s Paul Sweeting in an interview with Ferd Magazine.

Elopak Roll Fed is a new product line intended for machines that produce flat top brick-shape beverage cartons. The product is in addition to Elopak’s Pure-Pak system with its well-known ‘gable’ across the top.

“The Roll Fed line is the biggest change in Elopak’s history as we have concentrated on gable top cartons for many years. The first customers to use our new product did so in 2013, and we are able to say that so far it has been a success”, comments Paul Sweeting, Director of the Roll Fed business unit at Elopak. He also stresses that Elopak is not planning on becoming a system supplier for brick-shaped cartons, and will not provide machines or other parts of the production line.  

Gable top and non-gable top
The production processes for gable top and non-gable top cartons are different. Flat top cartons are a simpler shape, which means they can be produced continuously from a large roll of pre-printed material that is then cut, shaped and put together in the filling machine itself. The more complex shape of gable top cartons means that what are known as ‘blanks’ have to be stamped out one at a time before they can be fed into the machine individually. This process is a little more expensive, but the result is a much more stable and user-friendly carton. Filling gable top cartons sterilely is, however, more demanding. Flat top cartons have accordingly dominated the market for aseptic products for a long time, which is to say the cartons typically found on the shelves of supermarkets rather than in chiller cabinets.

A trusting relationship
Beverage manufacturers are entirely dependent on being able to trust their packaging suppliers. There is a lot at stake; the consequences of both delays and even minor quality issues can be great. For Elopak, however, the significance of the customer’s need for a supplier it can trust cannot be overstated.

“Over the years, we have built up a high level of trust and a strong reputation, both among existing customers and in the beverage industry in general. Our marketing team are finding that there is a lot of interest in Elopak’s Roll Fed material all round Europe, and many companies active in the industry are saying that they regard it as extremely positive that they now have the option of choosing a different supplier. And we have time on our side. Every time we win a new customer, the market becomes more aware that Elopak is now an interesting alternative for this type of carton too, which is by far the most widely sold on a global basis”, concludes Paul Sweeting.

A longer version of this article is available in Norwegian in the Ferd Magazine by clicking here.

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