A German mill with a long history of producing coated papers, Scheufelen has developed a new range of premium coated board with a high capacity for embossing and lamination, ideal for use in high-quality presentation boxes for spirits and fine wines. Beverage Packaging Innovation speaks to sales director Horst Lamparter, and takes a look at a company rooted in tradition yet focused on innovation.
Scheufelen has been producing coated papers since 1892, the very first on the European continent to do so. In fact, were it not pipped to the post by a British mill just two years before, it might have called itself the first in all of Europe.
Today, the UK is in Scheufelen's sights instead as one of its most important markets after its native Germany. Present across Europe and active in more than 40 countries, the company's network of employees and local agents supports its customers globally. The US, China, Hong Kong, Australia and South Africa are particularly significant.
Scheufelen's mainstay remains coated papers; specifically the premium coated papers for which it is a European market leader. Demand has steadily swelled for these high-end products, as advertisers look to ensure the print work used alongside digital campaigns is of the highest possible quality.
Scheufelen is well placed to oblige in this respect. Each year, it produces 140,000t of high-quality coated wood-free premium paper and premium board from FSC/PEFC-certified pulp. With an optimal mix of long and short fibres, and a large proportion of pulp, the paper and board boast excellent stiffness and thickness, alongside a high-quality finish.
Such premium papers and board also lend themselveswell to beverage packaging, and, in particular, the luxury secondary packaging of high-end spirits and fine wines. It's no surprise, therefore, that Scheufelen is starting to make its mark in this industry, alongside an increased focus on developing and producing these premium lines over and above standard coated papers.
One such development is its latest innovation, Phoenolux, launched in March 2015 and ideal for use in luxury and premium presentation boxes for bottles. With a very smooth surface, the board has a high capacity for embossing and allows top-quality finishes, such as gold and silver foil laminations, to be applied easily. A special coating composition allows excellent folding results, and the product can be coated on one or both sides.
It also offers one of the highest degrees of whiteness available in board. Packaging manufacturers' reactions have been fittingly bright, reveals Scheufelen sales director Horst Lamparter.
"For the design of packaging, and especially for the OTC business, it can be very attractive, because your product looks whiter and cleaner than when you use a regular board," Lamparter says. "It's a very strong advantage and this is what we see when we present Phoenolux to our customers - they very much like the shade in the whiteness of this board."
Another product offering outstanding clarity is Heaven 42. In fact, it is currently the whitest coated paper in the world, offering a unique soft, matte surface that allows high-contrast, brilliant colour printing. Largely used to date in-graphic print work such as brochures, the product has nevertheless seen some inventive and highly effective uses in beverage packaging.
"A very interesting example is a client in Russia; a business that uses it on labels for high-end vodka bottles," Lamparter says. "Because of the high-whiteness of Heaven 42, the bottles cannot be copied; it actually acts as a hallmark for the authenticity and purity of that original product."
A focus on purity also extends to Scheufelen's environmental outlook, in keeping with its nature-rich surroundings as the only paper manufacturer with a production site in the Swabian Alps, a biosphere reserve. Scheufelen has a commitment to sustainable processes and a strong sense of responsibility in this regard; something that stands it in good stead with the expectations of many clients.
But Scheufelen is also eager to meet customer expectations in other ways, Lamparter believes.
"We have a paper machine, very well designed for the highest basis weights, and we can even adjust this further," he says. "We have a very strong R&D department for creating innovative new board products like Phoenolux and we aim to become a very strong player in the high-end solid bleached sulphate (SBS) board market."