Making the grade with fine paper

A leading partnership of corrugated cardboard packaging has developed a long term partnership with paper manufacturer Sappi to ensure it meets customer demand for quality.

Sustaining its position as a leading European producer of preprinted corrugated cardboard packaging is a challenge that THIMM meets by focusing on identifying innovative products to enhance its portfolio of these packaging solutions.

Using flexo, digital and offset printing processes, the company has made developing long term partnerships with paper manufacturers and investing in the best grades a cornerstone of its success. Its relationship with Sappi is a good example.

“We work in a highly competitive market so we are always interested in exploring groundbreaking products that can help us strengthen our position in key markets and give us the edge over competitors,” comments sales & marketing director Oliver Rokohl. “To achieve excellent printing performance you need a well engineered flexo-preprint technology and a top quality paper.”

Specifically designed for corrugated board, Sappi Fusion is an effective solution for a range of markets from corrugators, litho laminators, display manufacturers and folding box converters to direct mailers, printers, designers, agencies and co-packers. The lightweight, premium quality, high brightness, white top liner uses 100% bleached virgin fibres, ensuring it is a spotless paper. It can also be supplied FSC or PEFC certified.

“We were convinced the printing performance of our ThimmColor products can be improved by using this innovative paper so decided to integrate Sappi Fusion into our paper portfolio,” explains Rokohl.

“Sappi Fusion promises to deliver highest quality. It provides brilliant gloss characteristics and intense colours – which is important to differentiation.

“In addition, it offers an ecological alternative instead of using UV coatings and produces even finer printing dots as well as improved colour vignetting.

Whiter than white

“Thanks to Sappi Fusion, the flexo preprint reaches a quality level which is comparable to offset print even for lightweight grammages. It offers the utmost degree of whiteness, is FSC certified, suitable for direct contact with foodstuffs and efficient processing on the corrugators, die-cutters and flexo folder gluers.

“It provides more brilliance and higher quality in printing impression compared to conventional commodity papers such as coated Testliner and Krafliner.”

Accurate colour reproduction

“Fusion significantly enhances images and gives products stand-out shelf appeal,” comments Kerstin Dietze, Sappi’s marketing manager new business.

“The paper’s high brightness and whiteness makes it perfect for brands that demand highly accurate colour reproduction and opens up new creative packaging opportunities as it’s suitable for all finishing techniques including embossing, hot foil and varnishing.”

Rokohl says the grade easily handles the demands of high quality printing, in particular regarding variegation (number of colours), quality of illustrations and photorealistic images, grade of brilliance and screen definition.

The launch of Sappi Fusion is perfectly timed to accommodate the trend toward using more colours.

Over the past two years 70 % of the corrugated boxes sold in Germany were printed using some colour; of those 15% used three or more. Currently 20% of the orders at THIMM are multi-colour with nearly half printed with five or more.

 “Compared with our industry our ratio in pre-printed packaging is five times higher than the average,” continues Rokohl. “Since the end of the 1970s we have developed this market intensively and are convinced that there remains further potential for growth.”

Environmental considerations

The environment was another key consideration in THIMM’s decision to use Sappi Fusion.

“Consumers are increasingly demanding products that use sustainable materials,” explains Rokohl. “Corrugated board is a very eco-friendly packaging material and demand for packaging made from paper produced by certified forestry will continue to increase.”

THIMM is also witnessing growth potential in markets where secondary packaging supports the sale of products such as retail and shelf-ready packaging, especially in fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs). For example, packaging for electronic equipment features an illustration of the product and essential information with plain secondary packaging, while packaging for foodstuffs is supported with consistent branding.

“There is much potential for optimisation in this market,” says Rokohl.

He believes that companies that thrive in the long term have at their heart an ethos of using innovative products, quality orientation and flexibility for integration.  As such, THIMM’s philosophy is to link business processes so that it is better placed to network with customers, streamline packaging processes and produce higher quality packaging solutions.

Furthermore, the company believes it is essential that price and performance are proportionate. “Efficiently procuring raw materials and managing resources are as important as making the products via state-of-the-art manufacturing technology,” concludes Rokohl. “It is also important to anticipate how the market will evolve and how customers’ requirements may change; this must be communicated throughout the organisation.”


T: +49 518 177 266