The Independent Carton Group (ICG), an association of 19 independently owned and operated folding carton manufacturers who collectively represent over $800 million in annual sales and 1,500 years of packaging history, is pleased to highlight its members’ recent news and the ways in which they continue to make their mark in the industry.

In 2016, the ICG’s general membership meetings brought members together in three picturesque locations. Indiana Carton of Bremen, Ind., hosted the March meeting on the nearby campus of the University of Notre Dame; 3C Packaging was pleased to host the August meeting in its hometown of Clayton, N.C.; and in November, the three Southern California members, Finn Industries, Royal Paper Box and Thoro Packaging, co-hosted a meeting in Huntington Beach.

“There are amazing camaraderie-building moments and forward-thinking discussions that occur every time we get together, but one of the most interesting and impressive parts of every meeting is when members are invited to talk about what they’ve been up to since the last meeting,” said Jay Willie, executive director of the Independent Carton Group. “These companies never cease to amaze me, or each other, with their accomplishments, and it’s clear to see that – individually, and collectively as a group of 19 independents – we have much to be proud of.”

Expanding and Updating Facilities

Altogether, the 19 companies occupy roughly 3.5 million square feet of real estate in the United States and Canada, and as they continue to grow and diversify their operations, that number increases. Several ICG members have recently completed major moves and facility expansions.

  • Accurate Box wrapped up phase one of a 200,000 sq. ft. expansion, which will allow for an increase in production capacity and employment in the Paterson, N.J., facility.
  • Colbert Packaging has taken possession of a new 173,000 sq. ft. building in Kenosha, Wis. The facility now houses its flexographic-printed carton, label and insert operations.
  • Indiana Carton picked up an additional warehouse to fulfill a need for more space.
  • Thoro Packaging overcame unique elevation challenges to connect its facility in Corona, Calif., to a newly built 38,000 sq. ft. expansion, now housing its finishing department.
  • Wausau Container completed a 30,000 sq. ft. expansion of its manufacturing plant in Wausau, Wis., to accommodate its busy shipping, receiving and warehousing operation.

And while some are creating new spaces, others are updating and reinventing existing ones.

  • Curtis Packaging of Sandy Hook, Conn., installed energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems and a solar array capable of producing 950,000 kWh of electricity annually.
  • Royal Paper Box painted and sealed the walls and floors of its Montebello, Calif., plant.
  • Sonderen Packaging of Spokane, Wash., moved gluers around to better utilize space and replaced 2,000 florescent lights with LEDs, reducing energy usage by 311,243 kWh.

Investing in Equipment and Technologies

ICG members invest millions of dollars in new equipment and technologies every year. Over the past 12 months alone, members have purchased and installed nearly a dozen new presses as well as die cutters, folder-gluers and a wide range of specialized equipment. These investments have resulted in increased production capacity and efficiencies and, in some cases, new capabilities.

  • Accord Carton of Alsip, Ill., recently installed new manroland and Signature printing presses as well as a Bobst Expertfold folder-gluer.
  • All Packaging is growing with the addition of a KBA printing press in its Salt Lake City, Utah, plant and a Highcon Beam laser die cutter in its Aurora, Colo., plant. The Highcon Beam is only the second to be installed in the United States.
  • Colbert Packaging has four new pieces of equipment in its Lake Forest, Ill., offset plant: an RMGT press, a Bobst die cutter, a Bobst AccuCheck system and a Signature gluer.
  • 3C Packaging’s facility features a new flexographic printing press and slitter winder.
  • Dee Packaging Solutions installed a new KBA press in its Chester, Pa., facility. The new press allows the company to incorporate special effects on package surfaces.
  • Diamond Packaging added a Heidelberg press with cold foil attachment and a Bobst Masterfold folder-gluer to the equipment repertoire in its Rochester, N.Y., plant.
  • El Paso Paper Box, El Paso, Texas, installed a new KBA printing press as well as a new Woodward jogger-aerator that supports the new press.
  • Frankston Packaging, Frankston, Texas, now has the ability to produce shrink sleeves, thanks to a recent investment in new seaming equipment. The company also purchased new flexo plate making and laminating equipment.
  • Jones Packaging installed a new flexographic printing press with inline lamination and a new windower in its London, Ontario, manufacturing facility.
  • Royal Paper Box has invested in several new pieces of equipment, including a new KBA press, a Bobst die cutter and a Bobst Masterfoil hot foil stamper.
  • Sonderen Packaging brought in a new Kongsberg CAD table and completed its rollout of Workpack Solutions’ CartonERP system.
  • Wausau Container has expanded its flexographic capabilities with a new full servo and sleeved web flexo line with inline platen die cutting.
  • Zumbiel Packaging’s latest equipment investments include a Zerand die cutter added to one of its flexo lines in its Hebron, Ky., manufacturing facility.

Celebrating Longevity and Innovation

The ICG’s 19 members represent an astounding 1,501 years of packaging history and innovation. Several celebrated noteworthy anniversaries in 2016: All Packaging (Aurora, Colo.) celebrated 70 years in business; Diamond Packaging, 105 years; and Finn Industries (Ontario, Calif.), 80 years. This year marks Jones Packaging’s 135th anniversary and Frankston Packaging’s 60th.

While longevity alone is proof of their ability to evolve alongside the industry, further evidence of members’ innovation can be seen in the awards, patents and certifications they have earned.

  • Accurate Box president Lisa Hirsh was honored with The Manufacturing Institute’s STEP Ahead Award in 2016 for her continued successes in the manufacturing industry.
  • Colbert Packaging was recently awarded its tenth patent, this time for its MedLock EZ package. It also achieved FSC and renewed its SFI chain of custody certifications.
  • Dee Packaging Solutions is undergoing a rebranding effort that demonstrates its ongoing commitment to developing new capabilities across the carton manufacturing spectrum.
  • Disc Graphics, Hauppauge, N.Y., was granted additional patent rights on its NEO product, achieved two G7 certifications, and was the first to receive two new PANTONE certifications, including the breakthrough extended gamut 7-color process certification.
  • El Paso Paper Box and Indiana Carton both recently achieved SQF certification.
  • Frankston Packaging renewed its AIB certification.
  • Sonderen Packaging achieved a 970 out of 1,000 AIB Direct Food Audit Score.
  • Thoro Packaging won the Corona Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Manufacturing Award for its outstanding achievements and contributions to Corona’s economic health.

Investing in People and Culture

At ICG member companies, leaders are actively engaged in the packaging industry, employee tenure is typically high (oftentimes, 20+ years) and promotion from within is common. It’s clear to see that ICG members understand the importance of investing in the strength of their teams.

  • Colbert Packaging hired two new plant managers. Randy Guiboa now manages the plant in Lake Forest, Ill. Nick Stober now manages the plant in Elkhart, Ind.
  • Disc Graphics is investing over $100,000 in training, including approximately $63,000 in New York State Grants. Since March 2016, the company has committed nearly 1,500 man-hours to employee development and training.
  • El Paso Paper Box’s Carlos Espinosa has been promoted to vice president and general manager. Ever Jurado was promoted to sales manager.
  • Sonderen Packaging’s Allen Krant, having worked his way up the ranks over the years and gained overall plant experience, has been promoted to finishing department manager.
  • And year after year, it’s natural to see the names of ICG members on “best workplaces” lists.

  • Disc Graphics has made the Printing Industries of America’s coveted “Best Workplace in the Americas” list – for the eighth time in the past nine years.
  • Sonderen Packaging was named to the “Best Places to Work Inland Northwest” in 2016.

And year after year, it’s natural to see the names of ICG members on “best workplaces” lists.

  • Disc Graphics has made the Printing Industries of America’s coveted “Best Workplace in the Americas” list – for the eighth time in the past nine years.
  • Sonderen Packaging was named to the “Best Places to Work Inland Northwest” in 2016.