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R-Flute – ringing the changes in retail ready

Although times are changing rapidly in the retail end of the corrugated packaging market, it’s very rare to be able to talk about a major breakthrough, but DS Smith Packaging’s new R-Flute deserves that description

DS Smith Packaging's R-Flute is a new type of corrugated fluting designed to help customers sell more, reduce supply chain costs and operate sustainably.

A meticulous development process has resulted in a profile in which the flutes are smaller and closer together than B-Flute, whilst optimising board strength. It is suited to many sectors and ideal for fast moving consumer goods. Compared with the widely used B-Flute, R-Flute delivers better printing, better appearance, machine line efficiencies and dramatic savings in logistics, whilst continuing to offer the necessary protection.

Following an intensive period of design, development and trials in numerous applications, R-Flute usage has accelerated very quickly. It is already the second most popular type of fluting bought by DS Smith Packaging’s customers.

The 20% advantage
R-Flute’s calliper is 20% less than B-Flute’s, so that 20% more corrugated can be loaded onto a pallet for delivery. This means up to 20% fewer deliveries to handle, up to 20% less storage space and correspondingly fewer pallet movements in the factory. All these percentage points add up to big savings for customers, in cash, space, operating time and carbon.

The point of sale advantage
Compared with B-Flute, R-Flute offers a flatter, better surface for printing and presentation, a crucial advantage for more and more customers as they seek brand appeal and sales success with shoppers in store. In addition, the closeness of the flute tips helps perforated retail ready packaging to form squarely, open reliably and look good on shelf after opening, another big factor in competing for sales.

Performance Excellence
As if great print isn’t enough, the excellent crush resistance of the R-Flute surface makes it exceptionally effective for shipments of products in bottles, cans or similar containers. 

On automated packing lines, some customers who have moved from B-Flute report productivity increases of up to 15%. This is achieved via crisp, problem free folding and less downtime to feed new pallets of corrugated into the line, since each pallet of R-Flute holds many more empty packs.

Proving itself in the wine sector
A new range of wine packs developed for Constellation Europe by DS Smith take full advantage of R-Flute, which delivers supply chain optimisation characteristics and supports Constellation Europe’s commitment to reducing its impact on the environment.

For example with R-Flute 35% more product can be put onto a pallet inbound. This coupled with improved print quality and presentation, is creating a vast point of difference for Constellation's brands that can now really turn up the volume in store.

Constellation Europe’s high-speed, state-of-the-art bottling plant at Avonmouth, near Bristol, is the largest in Europe. The site, which can fill an estimated 800 bottles of wine/minute and store a massive 57m bottles, is highly streamlined to capture efficiencies in both cost and environmental impacts.

Using the DS Smith ‘PackRight tool kit’, the DS Smith packaging team were able to take a systematic approach to understanding Constellation’s supply chain and have developed packs for the brand owner that deliver optimum performance in both strength and print.

Target markets
As the level of interest accelerates still further from many different industries, DS Smith Packaging is taking care to deploy R-Flute in the right applications where it will deliver the right results. 

Tony Foster, director of DS Smith Packaging, says: “We are carefully targeting applications where R-Flute is clearly better for the customer. We know where R-Flute works best and the range of applications is wide – especially in retail ready packaging and FMCG.

"We’re confident that, by using R-Flute together with our unique PackRight business tools, we can give customers a step change in packaging efficiency, sustainability and effectiveness. This is a radical development offering real supply chain cost savings and brand image improvement – our customers have been quick to recognise the benefits.” 



1 November 2010 - Felicity Murray