- October 01, 2009, By Edward Boyle, Contributing Editor
IKEA's line of modern home furnishings is virtually synonymous with the phrase “Scandinavian design.” But one Sweden-based wallpaper manufacturer was using the same sleek design philosophy decades before the famed retailer made it fashionable.
Eco-Borastapeter, established in 1905, describes its wallpaper brands as “a young, trend-conscious expression,” and “a masculine collection featuring graphic patterns and medallions used in a new and creative way.”
“Our design is not so complicated,” explains Fredrik Larsson, production manager. “It's more simple and modern looking. In the US, wallpaper is a very classical product; they don't think of modern design. In our country, it's just the opposite.”
Eco-Borastapeter recently has begun to incorporate its “sleek” approach to wallpaper design into its production process as well. Larsson explains that the company, which formerly operated 12 production lines at its 16,000-sq-m facility, has begun the laborious process of consolidating those lines to improve workflow.
Screen printing is accomplished on Stork equipment, and gravure printing is done on Schiavi (Bobst Group) and Emerson & Renwick presses.
“The special thing about our Emerson & Renwick gravure press is that it has a lot of drying equipment,” says Larsson. “It allows us to run very fast. We feed mill rolls into it, and take pallets off the other end.”
Printing and converting, which formerly were completed as separate processes, ultimately will be combined as lines are merged.
The first step in that transformation was the installation two years ago of an Elsner Engineering Model GWR-760/OW-30-C High Speed Roll Packaging System for rewinding, labeling, and overwrapping various substrates of retail rolls of wallpaper. The 30-in. machine, which produces up to 25 rolls or 620 ft of wallpaper/min, will be integrated on a Schiavi line.
Eco-Borastapeter's most recent purchase was the Elsner Model RRW-1400-W Wallcovering Rewinder for converting various substrates of commercial and retail rolls of wallpaper in-line with the Stork screen press. The converted products are nonwoven-based wallcoverings.
The Elsner high-speed rewinder operates at 650 fpm and is designed specifically for in-line application with printing and embossing equipment. It has cut lengths from 32.8 ft minimum to a maximum finished diameter of 10 in. It has a heavy duty, servo driven, rotary shear-type cutoff knife assembly for straight cut edge and a three-station winding turret with servo-controlled indexing for winding tension control.
Larsson explains that the most recent Elsner machine allows Eco-Borastapeter to go from mill roll to finished product in one pass. As a result, the company is able to offer same-day shipping. The company's plan is for other lines to be consolidated as well, improving both speed and efficiency.
“We are in the process of re-engineering our production into an in-line process, and that requires very good, reliable machinery,” Larsson says of the decision to install the Elsner converting equipment. “We looked around quite a lot and had experience with other suppliers as well. This new machine has to take various materials — from the thinnest nonwoven to very heavy board. It meets the demand on the winding machinery that no one else can meet.”
In addition, Larsson says, “This was a big investment for us, but it was in line with our thinking of an in-line process, from mill roll to a ready consumer product.”
He adds, “We try to do it different from the high-volume producers. We differ from mainstream offerings in low-cost product.”
Rolls of wallpaper are converted in widths from 20-48 in. The wider rolls typically are used in commercial applications, while smaller rolls are for home use.
“Each market has different demands,” says Larsson. “One thing is that we are specialized on non-PVC [polyvinyl chloride] products. All of our products are nonwovens. We use water-based coatings and water-based printing inks, and that is quite different from the mainstream wallpaper volume in the world, which is made of PVC.
“PVC has its benefits in production and durability, but we never took that path,” he explains. “We stick to the simple nonwoven and paper-based products, which are now good for us from environmental aspects.”
Eco-Borastapeter's primary market is Scandinavia (Finland and Norway). Russia is its largest export market, with “good development” in the UK, Greece, and Turkey, among others. Stresses Larsson, “We have a lot going on.”
Eco-Borastapeter | Box 1, SE-503 01 Boras, Sweden | www.ecobt.se
Contributing editor Edward Boyle, based in Reading, PA, has covered the converting industry for more than 24 years. Contact him at EJB Communications; 610-670-4680; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elsner Celebrates 75th Anniversary
When Frank and Johanna Elsner arrived in Hanover in 1928, they did not realize that economic events would have them starting an engineering and machinery manufacturing business six years later. In the depths of the depression, a former sweeping broom factory was purchased, metal working machinery was acquired, and Elsner Engineering Works was founded.
Today, the company is one of the leading world suppliers of converting and packaging machinery to rewind, fold, and package consumer-sized products. Typical products manufactured on Elsner machines are giftwrap, wallcovering, self-adhesive paper, tear-perforated wet wipes and fabric softener sheets, baby wipes, industrial wipes, cosmetic wipes, household aluminum foil, and kitchen wrap.
Initially employing three people and occupying a multi-story building, the firm now has nearly 70 employees and is operated by the founder's grandsons, Rusty and Bertram. It is situated in a modern, one story, air-conditioned factory building on ten acres of land in Hanover, PA. The firm also operates a sales office located in Bremen, Germany. Currently, the company services and supports more than 2,400 Elsner machines in nearly 60 countries around the world.