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HI-TECH PACKAGING WITH FREEBOX: FROM SYSTEM OF MODENA

HI-TECH PACKAGING WITH FREEBOX: FROM SYSTEM OF MODENA

A flat sheet of cardboard can be transformed in real time into a perfectly-sized package for any type of product, and without wasting raw materials. The whole operation only requires 28 square metres of space. This innovative system of packaging is known as Freebox, and has been developed by an Italian company, System, based in Fiorano Modenese (Modena). The firm was established in 1970 and has invested heavily in research and innovation to achieve its success. With the development of Freebox, it has taken a decisive step forward in the world of packaging.

Cartons created by the Freebox system can be perfectly adapted to the product, and personalised with printed designs, information and bar codes. It allows you to skip many of the stages involved in traditional packaging, and also guarantees 30% greater strength than that of standard commercial cartons: equal to the use of corrugated cardboard. In addition, Freebox is in line with policies promoting low environmental impact, as the quantity of raw material used in the packaging is significantly reduced, together with the volume in shipment. In practice, the Freebox system initially involves entering the various measurements of the product to be packaged on a touch screen. A flat sheet of cardboard, measuring 1,200 x 1,200 mm and either light brown or white in colour, is then taken from the stock inside the machine and transformed in just a few minutes into a carton, personalised in terms of size and graphic content (there are 4,800 possible models). The various dimensions of the product can be entered into the machine either by the use of automatic visual recognition systems or by using figures from the company’s database. After this, all that remains is to insert the product into the tailor-made package. In this way, a company can manage in-house all the various stages involved in packaging, from the production of the goods to the packing for shipment, eliminating processes which are costly in production terms and impact on the environment. Indeed, the reduction in costs is close to 70%, while the reduction in use of raw materials comes to 40%. The stages that are eliminated from the whole process are: the need to order various pack sizes from the carton manufacturers, dispatch of the cartons to the printers, and transportation and storage of the boxes in special areas – space which can then be used for other purposes. This project developed by System of Modena, under the guidance of engineer Franco Stefani, is particular in that it relates to the areas of both logistics and packaging. It is suitable for use in all sectors requiring customised packaging for their products, and provides an ideal solution for companies involved in the world of e-commerce.

In addition to packaging, System is involved in ceramics, logistics and electronics. The company’s investment in research and development accounts for more than 5% of its annual turnover: an input which over the years has led to the registration of more than 300 patents for various inventions, often in collaboration with some of the world’s leading centres of scientific research. The headquarters of System in Fiorano Modanese incorporates ten buildings covering an area of 120,000 square metres, and there is also a site at Salvaterra in Reggio Emilia, dedicated to the Modula business unit. Eighty per cent of the company’s turnover is related to business abroad. The Group has a presence in 24 countries with 34 companies under its control and 37 operational sites. Of the company’s 1,300 employees, 66% work in Italy and the other 34% in foreign branches.
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