Interview with Ludo Gielen, Chief Innovation Officer of SCHOELLER ALLIBERTAdministador
Schoeller Allibert, the Reusable Transit Packaging (RTP) leader in Europe, will attend the ALL4PACK exhibition, in Paris, on November 14th-17th, 2016. Ludo Gielen, Chief Innovation Officer, explains why Schoeller Allibert is so attached to this fair.
You have been in RTP for decades. What are the core advantages of Schoeller Allibert?
Schoeller Allibert has been inventing, developing, designing and manufacturing Returnable Transit Packaging (RTP) for more than 60 years. We have a rich heritage, having been formed from the key players: Schoeller, Wavin, Perstorp, BiPP, Arca, Linpac, Allibert, Paxton, Stucki amongst others. Today we are the European market leader in Returnable Plastic Packaging Solutions with operations worldwide.
Our added value lies in our capacity to develop high-end products from A to Z, fully customizable and on-demand. We always run a supply chain analysis for each new client, allowing us to perfectly determine their needs in terms of quality, price, but also specific industrial requirements.
We are the company that offers the largest range of standard and tailor made RTP packaging solutions across ten key product segments being Foldable Large Containers, Foldable Small Containers, Rigid Pallet Containers, Beverage crates and trays, Stackable and Stack / Nest handheld boxes, UN pails, Foldable IBCs, Pallets and Dollies, with a portfolio of more than 1,000 products. They are lighter, stronger and more environmental friendly.
As a leader, how innovation drives Schoeller Allibert’s product development?
Innovation is a big thing for us. Schoeller Allibert has always been at the top of the industry by being responsible for over 80% of innovations in RTP. We have the largest R&D program located in 3 places around the world and 5% of our turnover are dedicated to R&D with concept designers, product designers, and engineers that are able to offer a complete development program with the right logistics help. The main Technology centre is fully integrated in one of our production plants in Hardenberg, and will allow us to launch over 41 new products in 2017.
Today, we keep innovating in product forms to enhance the moulding technics and achieve better performances, but also in material composition to build products fully adapted to the specificities and constraints of each of our markets. To enhance our skill set, we have now added a dedicated material engineer and director for digitalization of our RTP’s.
About products then, what are the innovation showcased at All4Pack?
Among the many 2015-2016 innovations – 29 new product development this year –, the most prominent are:
- The MaxiLog®, a light, strong and hygienic Rigid Bulk container especially developed for the Food market and other markets with high hygienic requirements,
- The EuroClick®, a versatile European crate for the Automotive market, inter-stackable with most euro-containers and featuring an innovative holding label feature. This innovation just won the “Packaging of the Year” price at Obal Roku 2016 competition,
- The Magnum Optimum®, the only 750kg certified FLC in the market, with the lowest folded height (25% space saving in trucks) for automotive and industrial logistics,
- The exclusive FSC in woodgrain that is only available via one of our most important customers, IFCO,
- The Krombacher WOODGRAIN beer crate
How do you see the future of innovation in the packaging industry?
The future of our industry will mainly be about adapting ourselves to the trends of the different markets we work in. Material innovation is important because it allows us to improve the core capacity of products but a lot of innovations come from smarter design and better understanding of the markets’ needs. I see 3 top trends for the following years:
In Retail, the consumer attractiveness has become a major issue, even for standard packaging for Fruits and Vegetables for instance. Today, we are also focusing on how the packaging should look in order to draw attention on our clients’ products.
In Automotive, we have to develop products than can better protect the technical and electric parts of cars, with functions such as anti-electrostatic discharge, fibre free, waterproof, anti-contamination, tamper proof.
Finally, the most important trend of the decade is Internet E-Business, with products that can be integrated within automated warehouse, with speed and accuracy. We are proud to be a certified Autostore® Hatteland supplier. For the food market, we recently acquired the European Food Safety Accreditation (EFSA) so we can guarantee direct food contact in cradle to cradle recycling processes. This is a rather important value proposition for our customers.