In 2020, more and more cardboard manufacturers of post-Soviet market have chosen Japanese inlines
“Last year was unusual for everyone,” says Anna Salamandra, MHI Russia Business Development Director.
“When the pandemic started, no one knew how the market would react. We lost the ability to travel and to show running equipment to our clients.
“However, when in March 2020, at the height of the lockdown in Ukraine, Kyiv Cardboard & Paper Mill (Obukhiv, Kiev region) approached us with an inquiry for EVOL 100 FFG, we understood that life goes on.
“We communicated remotely by electronic means. And only in autumn, when we got a chance to fly to Kyiv, we presented to the plant management our calculations and equipment.
“The Ukrainian colleagues were interested in replacing their old miniline. But when they realized that EVOL 100 is capable to cover both mini- and midline formats, they decided to go with this machine.
“Traditionally in projects of replacing several lines with one EVOL, we study the current client’s production and make a simulation based on it for the EVOL.
“When studying orders information of two old in-lines of Kyiv CPM, our engineers were checking size of blanks, evaluating complicity of boxes etc., assuming real production of those boxes, and finally it became clear that a new machine is capable to replace two lines and cover current lines output.
“When preparing production simulation we make several assumptions and do not use maximum possible speeds, thus, in our calculations we use a speed of 300 bpm for regular boxes, 250 bpm — for double wall sheets etc.
“We also assume an increased set-up time (over 10-15 minutes per each order) and additionally add 10 minutes per each order for downtime of the line due to any possible reason.
“Such assumptions in a model are needed to help the client to evaluate the results of replacement in quite a pessimistic scenario but not under ideal conditions when the machine is operating at its maximum speeds, which of course should be always a target to aim at.
“According to our experience, statistically only one or two orders out of those given for the study are out of EVOL 100 specification and cannot be produced on the machine. Our analysis also showed the same for Kyiv CPM case.
“All the above work done brought us to a moment of successful signing of a contract for a 4-color EVOL 100 with Mitsubishi MPF-M prefeeder with Kyiv CPM at the end of November 2020.
“MPF-M is the newest prefeeder that MHI introduced to the global market at the beginning of 2016 to support a stable high speed operation of EVOLs. Now most of the cardboard manufacturers choose also MHI prefeeders when they place orders for EVOLs.
“The installation and start-up of the machine in Obukhiv is scheduled for January 2022. By the way, the contract with Kyiv CPM was only the first success in a series of sales in our region in 2020.
“Another happy and long-awaited event for us in Ukraine was the installation of EVOL 100 with MPF-M prefeeder at Trypilskiy Packaging Plant (Ukrainka, Kyiv region, a subsidiary of Rubezhnoye Cardboard and Packaging Mill), which started at the end of November 2020.
“By middle of December we could start up the first in Ukraine EVOL 100 and confirm its successful operation with an excellent quality of boxes at a maximum running speed of 350 bpm. The customer was very pleased with the results.
“Next contract was signed with Proletary JSC (Surazh, Bryansk region, Russia) at the end of December 2020. The customer placed an order for EVOL 100 with an automatic MPF-M prefeeder. Today Proletary JSC is actively upgrading and modernizing its equipment.
“Giovanni Bettini, Head of Sales, Corrugated Machinery Division, MHI Europe Ltd., met with representatives of JSC Proletary at one of the exhibitions in 2016.
“In summer 2018, I learned that a team of specialists from this company had visited Naberezhnye Chelny Board & Paper Mill (NKBK), where they got attracted by EVOL 100 performance, which has been operating there since end of 2017.
“By the way, it was the first supply of our EVOL together with MHI prefeeder in Russia (this very MHI prefeeder at NKBK was also one of the first installed in the world).
“Giovanni gave me the contact details of Proletary’s people and I called. This is how we started our communication. Then we visited the plant where we met with our customer in person, made a presentation and invited the customer’s specialists to visit reference plants to see the EVOL.
“Proletary‘s specialists visited several corrugated plants in Europe and Japan, saw how MHI assembles the lines at Mihara manufacturing plant in Japan and test them at all speeds and with different paper size before shipment.
“Fine adjustment and full testing of equipment prior shipment helps to start the line immediately and reach the maximum speed and quality right after its installation at the customer’s site.
“Surazh specialists liked EVOLs for their reliability, accuracy, high performance, unique self-stripping system and metal consumption.
“Our machines are 2 times heavier in average than those of other manufacturers. For example, EVOL 100 without a prefeeder weighs 94 ton. This weight dampens any vibration, so the quality of the product stays the same at the maximum production speed and does not change even after many years of operation.
“For decades we are the best in the world for folding accuracy and scrap removal, which is especially important when you produce complicated boxes.
“Today, more and more end-users utilize automatic lines for box erection, that’s why it is critical to have perfect geometry of the boxes without any unremoved scrap inside. And this is huge advantage of our lines.
“There’s a joke on the corrugated market that EVOLs run at speed of either 0 or 350. This is true, especially for Japan, where orders of 200-300 boxes are standard.
“The line quickly accelerates to maximum speed, completes an order in a few seconds, and then stops for set-up: swift acceleration and stop are one of the special features of our machines.
“Thus there is one more characteristic of Japanese lines: quick automatic set-up which takes no more than two minutes without cutting die change.
“EVOL lines are designed to run reliably and continuously 24/7 for many years. In this very mode EVOL 100 has been operating for four years already at Naberezhnye Chelny Board & Paper Mill, our first customer in Russia.
“The customer was so satisfied and happy with the machine that in a year and a half since start up they placed an order for another EVOL 100.
“Last December the operators of NKBK achieved another monthly record on the EVOL 100 having produced more than 9.1 mln boxes (5.5 mln sqm) with 24/7 operation!
“Mitsubsihi equipment is highly reliable and efficient. Nevertheless for the confidence of our customers who mainly operate 24/7, since 2018 we are keeping a stock of emergency spare parts in Moscow region.
“Only a small part of this stock is consumables, while main part is the parts the breakage of which links to complete stop or critical reduction in productivity.
“Practically this is a dead stock for us, since statistically not more than 2-3% of the total volume of stored emergency spare parts will be needed. Mitsubishi lines are that reliable!
“Customers in Ukraine are supported by a European warehouse in Almere, the Netherlands. By the end of 2020 area of the warehouse in Almere has doubled from 770 to 1,900 sqm.
“As the number of installed lines grows, we are increasing the number of service personnel.
“At the moment we already have an after-sales support manager Anton Nedelchenko and two service engineers Daniil Akhaltsev and Timur Maisky, available to help our customers 24/7.
“Also, since the beginning of last year, business development manager Yulia Sergeeva has joined us to promote our equipment to our dear customers.
“Both on holidays or weekends, our people are here for you. Call us, e-mail us, we will always help!”