The Independent Carton Group (ICG) reports that, despite continued consolidation in the folding carton industry, business growth among its membership remains strong. This is evidenced by the significant investments that ICG members continue to make in their own operations and the strength of their collective buying power.

ICG members are independently owned folding carton converters who do not own, nor are controlled by, a paperboard mill. All members participate in the group purchasing program, which allows them to capture volume discounts on paperboard and other raw materials, as well as supplies and equipment, from over 40 of the industry’s most reputable suppliers.

“Our members are all successful in their own right. Membership in the ICG doesn’t take away their advantages as an independent, but rather further improves their value proposition for customers,” said ICG executive director Jay Willie. ICG programs are aimed at helping members reduce costs, educate employees, apply best practices and implement disaster recovery plans.

ICG members maintain their competitive edge with continued infrastructure and equipment investments. Curtis Packaging (Sandy Hook, Conn.), Wausau Container (Wausau, Wis.) and Accurate Box (Paterson, N.J.) have new Koenig & Bauer Rapida presses. Accurate Box also installed robotic systems in its finishing department. ICG members had the opportunity to see the new equipment in action in November, when Accurate Box served as ICG meeting host.

All Packaging (Aurora, Colo.) added 30,000 square feet to its Salt Lake City facility, filling it with new employees and equipment, including a sheeter, die cutter and multiple folder-gluers. In the Midwest, all three Colbert Packaging (Lake Forest, Ill.) facilities are running new equipment, including a second Brausse die cutter, two Zünd cutting systems, a Signature folder-gluer and a Vijuk insert folder.

Other equipment investments among ICG members include a litho-laminator at El Paso Paper Box (El Paso, Texas), Bobst die cutter at Dee Packaging (Chester, Penn.), windowing machine at Vista Color (Miami, Fla.) and the addition of flexo print stations to the sheeter at Frankston Packaging (Frankston, Texas). Sonderen Packaging (Spokane, Wash.) will soon take delivery of a new eCon sheeter.

Dee Packaging is currently implementing CartonERP as its enterprise resource planning system. Diamond Packaging (Rochester, N.Y.), Accord Carton (Alsip, Ill.), Royal Paper Box (Montebello, Calif.) and Curtis Packaging also made notable IT investments in recent months, ranging from cloud backup and security platforms to next-generation production scheduling technologies.

ICG members collectively represent over 1,400 years of packaging history. This year is a big one for anniversaries, as Dee Packaging turns 100; Accurate Box, 75; Colbert Packaging, 60; and 3C Packaging (Clayton, N.C.), 40. Last year, Zumbiel Packaging (Hebron, Ky.) turned 175; Indiana Carton (Bremen, Ind.), 85; Sonderen Packaging, 55; Vista Color, 50; and Wausau Container, 25.

While longevity alone is proof of members’ ability to meet evolving industry needs, evidence of innovation is also seen in the work they’re doing and in the patents and certifications they hold.

Jones Packaging (London, Ontario) and Diamond Packaging are performing groundbreaking work in the integration of near field communication technologies and folding cartons. All ICG members are also addressing increased demand for anti-counterfeiting and security solutions.

ICG members work hard to earn industry certifications. Many hold certifications for food safety, color consistency and sustainability. Indiana Carton recently exceeded quality standards while earning SQF 8.0 Food Packaging Certification. Dee Packaging and Frankston Packaging are now GMI-certified printers.

The ICG works tirelessly to make sure that its members have access to competitive pricing on raw materials, equipment and consumables as well as learning and networking opportunities and other programs that help them continue to be successful.