Smurfit Kappa acquires Papcart, expanding its presence across Europe
Smurfit Kappa Group has significantly expanded its product range in France with the acquisition of Papcart, a specialist in offset printing and conversion of cardboard and corrugated board consumer packaging.
The acquisition enables Smurfit Kappa to extend its portfolio with a complete range for the luxury goods, wines & spirits, FMCG and bag-in-box markets. Smurfit Kappa already has a strong presence in the consumer packaging segments and corrugated board solutions for perfume and food so there is a natural synergy between the two companies.
With over 70 years’ experience, Papcart is equipped with the latest generation of offset printers, die-cutters, folder-gluers and finishing equipment and offers the widest spectrum of finishes required for gift and premium packaging by combining acrylic or UV inks, specific varnishes, hot and cold foil gilding, embossing and lamination to meet even the most complex customer needs.
With the Papcart acquisition and Smurfit Kappa's current sites of Tours sur Marne, Siemco and Colorys, Smurfit Kappa now has approximately 700 employees including a 40 person-strong design department to develop customised and sustainable consumer packaging for its customers in the luxury and consumer goods segments.
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Speaking about the new acquisition, CEO of Smurfit Kappa Europe, Saverio Mayer, said: “This latest acquisition is of significant strategic importance for our French operations and significantly adds to the range of capabilities that we can offer our customers.”
Jean-Christophe Bugeon, CEO of Smurfit Kappa France added: “We are delighted to welcome the Papcart employees into the company. More and more companies are seeking more sustainable packaging alternatives and we can add an even wider choice of premium solutions to our offering.”
The Papcart sites located in Gétigné (44) and Jarnac (16) total 50,000m² of production, storage and office space.
The company has also recently strengthened its presence in Western France with the acquisition of two Europac sites in Brittany by acquiring Caradec Box Plant, reinforcing its capabilities in the fruit and vegetable sector. The move will enable the business to build a stronger link within Brittany food markets.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.