W&H Announces it's Developing Digital Press for Flexible Packaging

While digital printing is already firmly established in the label and commercial printing sector, flexible packaging continues to be a challenge: An economical and stable digital printing process has yet to be developed. W&H, machine builder and specialist for flexible packaging, has reached a first milestone in its development project with a machine concept for a new digital printing machine. Now the technology leader starts onboarding partners, including leading inkjet printhead manufacturer Xaar. The digital printing machine from W&H is based on piezo inkjet technology.


"We see a need in the flexible packaging market to use digital printing in addition to the established processes. This is driven by the need for faster time-to-market and very short order lengths," explains Dr. Jürgen Vutz, CEO of W&H. "However, the application of flexible packaging has very special requirements, for example regarding the adhesion of the ink to the film. As specialists in this market, we bring expert knowledge to offer answers to these challenges. First, by continuously advancing the established processes such as flexo and gravure printing. Second, by opening up the possibilities of digital printing for flexible packaging."

W&H has been conducting research in the field of digital printing for several years. Since 2016, the digital printing team drives forward the implementation with a development project involving investments in the millions. "We first collected practical requirements, evaluated technologies and tested new approaches. This has resulted in a machine concept that stands out from all existing approaches and provides our customers with added value. We are now implementing this with suitable partners. The new digital machine concept from W&H is characterized by higher quality and higher speeds," explains Sven Michael, head of the digital team at W&H. "High availability and usability in daily use are our top priorities. Our goal is to go to market with a functioning and mature digital printing machine that delivers on the promises of digital printing for flexible packaging as well," summarizes Vutz.



W&H joins CEFLEX ‒ promoting circular economy as a common goal

W&H has joined the CEFLEX European recycling initiative

The European initiative CEFLEX aims to improve the contribution of flexible packaging to the circular economy. The aim is to find better system design solutions by 2025 through cooperation between the many players along the entire value chain. In May this year, German machine builder Windmöller&Hölscher joined CEFLEX.

CEFLEX is a collaboration project carried out by European companies that represent the entire flexible packaging value chain. The initiative looks at the entire life cycle of flexible packaging from production, consumption and collection to waste management and secondary raw materials. An important goal is to develop guidelines for flexible packaging that are recognized throughout Europe by 2020. Other working groups deal with new technologies, infrastructure and business models as well as end markets for recycled material.


Transforming flexible packaging into a closed material system will represent a major challenge for the flexible packaging industry in the future, explains W&H CEO Dr. Jürgen Vutz. “CEFLEX is an important step towards combining expertise in this area and working together to find circular economy solutions for flexible packaging. As the world market leader for machines for manufacturing flexible packaging, we can make an important contribution to the technological advancement, in particular,” states Vutz when explaining the involvement of W&H in the collaborative initiative.


In addition to Windmöller&Hölscher, more than 70 other companies and organizations are involved in the CEFLEX project – these range from raw material suppliers to packaging processers and brand owners. These stakeholders all hold important positions in the flexible packaging value chain.

AVENTUS ‒ the new specialist for solutions for packing of free-flowing loose goods up to finished pallets

Dr. Jürgen Vutz (CEO Windmöller & Hölscher), Kai Lammers (Managing Director Aventus) and Florian Festge (Managing Partner Haver & Boecker) announced the foundation of AVENTUS at the press conference during ACHEMA.

HAVER & BOECKER and WINDMÖLLER & HÖLSCHER introduce their new joint company at Achema

HAVER & BOECKER and WINDMÖLLER & HÖLSCHER present their new joint venture AVENTUS at the Achema trade fair today. AVENTUS is specialized on solutions for the packing of free-flowing loose goods up to finished pallets. The joint company was officially founded in June with each party holding a 50%share. NEWTEC, the HAVER & BOECKER subsidiary specialized in palletizing, is now a 100% subsidiary of AVENTUS. Once under full operation, AVENTUS will employ over 300 employees and reach sales of approximately 80 million Euros. With the joint company, the market leaders bundle their strengths to shape the future of filling and palletizing together.

“Today’s megatrends of globalization and digitalization are impacting the filling and palletizing markets,” Florian Festge, Managing Partner at HAVER & BOECKER, explains the motives behind the joint venture at the press conference. “Rapidly increasing innovation cycles, linked production processes worldwide along with higher demands for flexibility are only some of the challenges the market faces. In order to optimally fulfill the customer needs of today and tomorrow, we need a strong and focused team. With AVENTUS this is precisely what we will create,” says Festge.

The name AVENTUS is derived from the names of both parent companies. “Avena means Hafer (the German word for oats), and ventus means wind. The new name symbolizes the unification of the best of both companies,” saysDr. Jürgen Vutz, CEO at W&H. Appointed as Managing Director of AVENTUS is Kai Lammers. The graduate engineer worked at W&H for the last 16 years, most recently as Division Manager Service-Sales. “With Kai Lammers we have an experienced manager who possesses technical expertise as well as production and international experience,” says Vutz.

The portfolio of AVENTUS will include filling technology for open bags, FFS bags and big bags as well as palletizing and load securing technology. “With access to products of both HAVER & BOECKER and WINDMÖLLER &HÖLSCHER, AVENTUS covers the entire value-creation chain. With this broad product range, we are able to very specifically fulfil customer requirements: from standard to special applications, from low-speed to high-speed systems. The customer has one contact person and receives everything from a single source. ”The AVENTUS portfolio is especially interesting for customers from chemicals, food and animal feed markets.

For service AVENTUS will benefit from the structures of both parent companies. “AVENTUS will offer service on all 5 continents, with access to 52 service centers, and over 500 service technicians,” says Lammers. “Like its mother companies AVENTUS promises long-term service and guarantees service for existing machines from both companies as well as for new machines,” says Lammers.

Although the exact location is not yet decided, it is certain that AVENTUS will have its headquarters in Münsterland in Germany. By 2020 it will have its own production, R&D and other functions there. With NEWTEC a second production site is located in Alsace in France.

Lammers also offered a view of the future direction of innovation: “Based on the product portfolio of both companies, AVENTUS will keep developing the product range in the future. Topics such as the integration of the entire value-creation chain and increasing digitalization with respect to Industry 4.0 have already been worked on in both parent companies over the past years. At AVENTUS we will continue to drive these developments with bundled strengths and expertise. This will result in innovations that will be of great benefit to our customers."



Windmöller & Hölscher Remains Leader in Press Sales to the Flexible Packaging Market in 2017

Windmöller & Hölscher, a world-leading manufacturer of machinery for the production of flexible packaging, has announced record sales of above 840 million EUR for 2017. “We grew across all business units: Extrusion, printing and converting,” said CEO Dr. Jürgen Vutz. The printing division, consisting of flexographic and gravure presses, achieved 270 million EUR worldwide worldwide. With this result, W&H remains the clear market leader for printing machines in the field of flexible packaging.

North American subsidiary Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corporation, based in Lincoln, Rhode Island, was very satisfied with 2017 and imported more presses into North America than any other supplier. “Due to ground-breaking technologies launched at Drupa 2016 in Düsseldorf, our business has boomed and we are very optimistic that the new economic incentives in the modified tax law will pay great dividends,” stated Klaus Kleemann, VP of Sales at W&H North America.

The new technologies cited by Kleemann include the award winning and virtually maintenance-free TURBOCLEAN ADVANCED E inking and wash-up system and W&H’s own fully-integrated VISION assistance system. TURBOCLEAN ADVANCED E runs electric, pulsation-free pumps, which significantly reduce ink and energy consumption at low noise levels. The VISION package combines systems for web monitoring, bar code check, printing impression, register setting in one single operator interface and is the only system of its type currently available on the market. "The deep integration of the modules in the press means less data entry when starting a job, faster machine changeovers, and reliable, faultless print production – essentially, greater quality and efficiency," added Kleemann.

W&H and Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful Come Together for a Community Litter Clean-up Day


Keep Blackstone Valley Beautiful and Lincoln-based Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corporation (W&H) teamed up for a community litter pick-up along New England Way and its intersection with the heavily littered Albion Road this past Wednesday.

In under two hours, the group of 10 collected more than 20 bags of garbage, including cans, bottles and wrappers, along with several tires and vinyl siding, calling attention to the severity of the litter problem our community faces.

“It feels good, as a citizen, to be out there contributing to the community in a positive way, but picking up someone else’s garbage certainly adds a dose of frustration to the mix,” said Catherine Mattson, Marketing Communications Manager at W&H.

As a supplier of machinery for the production of flexible packaging, such as plastic films that package the food you buy at the supermarket or paper sacks that contain cement powder, W&H is concerned about what happens to that packaging at the end of its initial life cycle.

Andrew Wheeler, President of W&H, said, “We as a company went out to support the clean up activities that are desperately needed in our immediate community. Today the area looks great, but we’re well aware that within the coming weeks and months, litter will be strewn about again.”

“Legislators are threatening bans as a solution. But a huge part of the overall problem is the atrocious behavior of individuals disposing of their garbage on the roads,” added Wheeler.

Much of the litter that was picked up was made of easily recyclable and already recycled items such as aluminum, glass and plastic.



Sigma Plastics Group Places Large Blown Film Line Order with Windmoeller & Hoelscher

The Sigma Plastics Group has placed an order for blown film lines from W&H for Republic Bags of Houston, TX, and McNeeley Plastics of Clinton, MS, and completed an installation at ISOFlex Packaging in Washington, IN.

“Sigma Plastics Group and W&H have been business partners for roughly 15 years,” said Alfred Teo, CEO of Sigma Plastics Group.  “We value the first-class film quality and reliable machinery, as well as the excellent and dependable after-sales service and spare parts.”

Six OPTIMEX FFS lines will be up and running at Republic Bags by the end of summer 2018. This significant investment marks Sigma Plastic Group’s first foray into the FFS sack film market. The lines will help keep up with the growing resin export demands brought on by new crackers being built in the area. The OPTIMEX FFS lines produce multicolor printed, gusseted PE film ready for FFS (Form-Fill-Seal) packing. Sigma estimates approximately 45 million pounds of annual capacity from these lines.

 Meanwhile, McNeeley Plastics has ordered two additional VAREX II blown film extrusion lines, for a total of six in that plant. The 63” 3-layer line has a dual FILMATIC S winder with reverse wind capability. The second line has five layers and is equipped with the TURBOCLEAN resin purging and quick-changeover system along with a FILMATIC S winder with reverse-wind capability. This investment will support McNeely’s expanding business in converter-grade films.

Last week, a 5-layer VAREX II line started at Sigma’s ISOFlex plant in Washington, IN. President David McKinney, CO-COO of ISOFlex, said the installation went extremely well and the line was producing high-quality product within only a few hours of powering the line. This is ISOFlex’s third VAREX in that facility.

To date, over 40 W&H lines are running at various Sigma Plastics Group plants.

The Sigma Plastics Group

The Sigma Plastics Group was founded in 1978 by Alfred Teo and is the largest privately owned film extrusion group in North America. Based in Pompano Beach, Florida, the company has 42 manufacturing facilities producing an annual throughput of over 2 billion pounds of resin and employs over 4,700 people. Sigma manufactures a variety of flexible packaging products servicing the industrial, agricultural, food, medical, retail, and converter film markets.