Canadian Packaging

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Canadian Packaging   

Three high-performance folder-gluers give corrugated-packaging solutions provider full flexibility for production of bespoke e-commerce packaging

Founded in 2003, WELLSTAR-Packaging GmbH ( is one of Germany’s leading manufacturers of corrugated-board packaging with self-adhesive closures.

Employing about 100 people, the family-owned enterprise is a sister company of company is a sister company of Straub-Verpackungen GmbH, a well-known manufacturer of corrugated board, leveraging that relationship to respond flexibly to individual customer requirements looking for complete packaging solutions, including converting, hazardous goods packaging, and filling and cushioning systems.

In mid-2021, WELLSTAR Packaging decided to invest in a BOBST EXPERTFOLD 165 folder-gluer with e-commerce option, which was installed later in the year.

With that investment, WELLSTAR now has three folder-gluers from BOBST (—covering the entire range of formats and applications required by customers in the e-commerce market.


“The overall concept of the e-commerce version of the EXPERTFOLD 165 meets our needs,” says Sebastian Würth, operations manager at WELLSTAR-Packaging.

“With this machine, we have optimized our efficiency in the production of medium-sized shipping packaging,” says Würth, adding the Bräunlingen-based company has been producing corrugated packaging for the e-commerce market since 2013.

Initially, it employed a BOBST MASTERFOLD 145 folder-gluer—configured specifically for its requirements—for this part of the business.

Four years later, it put it started up a MASTERFOLD 230 unit for handling larger packaging formats.

As Würth relates, the excellent experience with the quality and reliability of these folder-gluers made BOBST a natural choice when making a decision about investing in another machine for medium-sized formats.

All three BOBST folder-gluers at WELLSTAR are equipped with a GYROBOX module, which can rotate blanks at any angle from the running direction—optionally from left to right or from right to left. With a high degree of flexibility and at speeds up to 250 m/min, it allows single-pass production of very complex shipping boxes that would otherwise have to pass through the machine twice.

This not only reduces manufacturing costs, but also simplifies the production of packaging that require silicone strips and tear tapes, while boxes that do not need to be rotated can pass through the GYROBOX module at full machine speed.

In addition, WELLSTAR has had additional video cameras installed on the GYROBOX modules of all three folder-gluers, allowing operators to monitor the production process in great detail.

As Würth relates, “From our point of view, this inline variant is the best solution for the production of e-commerce packaging.”

The GYROBOX on WELLSTAR’s MASTERFOLD 230 folder-gluer consists of two large modules, which rotate the blanks of the larger shipping boxes with maximum stability and reliability.

“We achieve very good results with this configuration, and production downtime has been reduced to a minimum,” Würth relates.

“Meanwhile, a comparable GYROBOX configuration is available for the EXPERTFOLD 165 format range, and we will probably have our machine retrofitted with this option in the coming year,” he adds.

Noting that BOBST is continuously working on improving its machine technology, WELLSTAR enjoys a growing range of possibilities and new opportunities in packaging production.

“This is also an important element for us in our partnership with the Swiss company,” Würth states.

According to BOBST, the company’s ongoing development of technology and consistent focus on new requirements are reflected in various components of the EXPERTFOLD 165.

For example, the smooth and precise feeding of blanks with the integrated ACCUFEED alignment module contributes significantly to the high reliability in the production of medium-sized e-commerce packaging.

With its wider infeed transport, the alignment module guarantees highest folding quality even with heavier materials.

“We generally insert our die-cut blanks in a straight line. ACCUFEED ideally supports the smooth feeding of the blanks and their insertion into the EXPERTFOLD 165,” Würth explains.

From his point of view, the transport belts are optimally designed for processing corrugated board.

The technology for applying silicone strips and self-adhesive tapes is seamlessly integrated thanks to the special POLYVACUUM module. This not only reduces manufacturing costs, but also simplifies production.

For quality assurance, the individual machine modules are equipped with sensors, which measure the lengths of the boxes and stop the machine if any deviations from the specified parameters are detected.

The control system will indicate on the screen which sensor has triggered the stop, so the operators can quickly eliminate the cause of the problem. In short, the entire technology works together smoothly and seamlessly.

The delivery, which has been specially configured for the production of e-commerce packaging, also fits into this picture. Thanks to its sophisticated technology with separate drive and automatic apron centering, the finished boxes are delivered onto the belt aligned perfectly straight.

According to Würth, WELLSTAR usually produces order sizes of between about 2,000 and 50,000 in two-shift operation on the EXPERTFOLD 165, averaging about four job changeovers per day.

As a new-generation folder-gluer, the EXPERTFOLD 165 offers even greater ease of operation. For example, all sections have been equipped with individual command panels to shorten the distances for machine operators and enable them to react as quickly as possible.

“This means that our operators do not have to rely entirely on the remote control,” says Würth. “In addition, they can adjust the transport here via toggle switches without having to navigate through the menu on their remote controls.”

Moreover, the infeed transports of the EXPERTFOLD 165 can also be automatically locked and unlocked via a toggle switch, which on its own reduces make-ready times by up to five minutes.

“The machine’s ease-of-operation has been very well-received by our machine operators,” says Würth.

“They really enjoy working on the new folder-gluer,” he states, noting that the new technology has increased the company’s attractiveness as an employer, especially for younger workers comfortable with modern digital computer technologies.

As Würth points out, WELLSTAR stores all job data, including the positions of the transports, in the machine’s MATIC control system.

For repeat orders, accounting for a substantial part of the company’s business, these can be retrieved at the simple touch of a button.

“The EXPERTFOLD 165 makes it even easier for us to achieve the high quality we strive for in our e-commerce packaging,” says Würth.

“At the same time, its ease-of-operation, and the quick intervention of the machine operators in the event of a malfunction, have further minimized waste, which is recycled back into corrugated board production.”

According to Würth, being able to cover the market’s requirements to the fullest from a single source lies at the core of the company’s business philosophy.

“No matter what formats our customers require and whether they need printed or unprinted packaging, there is hardly anything we cannot do for the corrugated board sector,” states Würth, adding he is highly pleased with the flexibility WELLSTAR has achieved in its production.

In addition to bespoke packaging, the company offers around 350 different standard products, which it ships from stock to anywhere in Germany with the shortest delivery times.

“BOBST will continue to develop its technology and the company responds quickly and proactively to new market requirements—that is unmistakable,” Würth proclaims.

With its cornerstones of digitization, automation, connectivity and sustainability, BOBST’s vision for the future sets the tone.

For example, WELLSTAR now uses the convenience of the myBOBST online portal to quickly procure spare parts for its folder-gluers, while the new European spare parts warehouse in Genk, Belgium, will further improve availability.

Furthermore, the company’s MASTERFOLD and EXPERTFOLD machines are linked to the Helpline Plus technical support system, which enables BOBST technical experts to respond quickly online to any issues in production.

“BOBST’s technicians are very competent and friendly, and we maintain a very open relationship with each other,” Würth concludes. “The machines offer us great flexibility and we can cover the widest range of requirements.

“It all just works.”


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