“When we look ahead, we see a future full of opportunities”
Tell us the story of Grupo Consist so far as it relates to packaging.
We started as a family business more than 60 years ago. Back then, we made paper bags with a machine, and sent them to other people in the town, who finished them by hand. Since then, four generations have continued to manufacture flexible packaging: among our team we still have the children, grandchildren and nephews of those early artisans.
Today, we number more than 250, based at our plant in Agramunt, a small rural town between Barcelona and Lleida. We have embedded a far greater degree of technology and automation into all stages of production, but the end product – paper and plastic flexible packaging – is the same.
We have a long-term vision, based on a solid foundation of trust and commitment with clients, employees and suppliers. To provide the most appropriate packaging for each client in the shortest possible time with the best quality, we need to optimize our industrial processes every way we can.
When we look ahead, we see a future full of opportunities. Finding more sustainable solutions for the packaging and flexographic printing sector is the greatest challenge we will take on in the next few years, together with all stakeholders in the industry. Facing this issue will make us all stronger.
Are there any differences in performance between water and solvent-based inks?
Since we started to use them, we and our partners have been working together to close the ‘knowledge gap’ when it comes to water-based inks. We have learnt that dealing with water needs a different perspective. Over time, we adapted our way of working to the specificities of water-based ink.
We know that the drying of water-based ink is slower than that of solvent-based inks, and we do run at a lower speed. However, in recent years, the run lengths of individual print jobs have come down, and changeover time between jobs is more important than pure printing speed. All in all, we do not see a large difference in output from the printer using water-based inks compared to solvent-based inks.
Why did you decide to join the PRETHINK INK network?
We did this because it fits with our vision of a united future. It is so important to be present in areas that promote cooperation, following common values. All the involved parties will gain by sharing their knowledge.
Through the PRETHINK INK network we will strive to develop water-based technology, and to promote it as a sustainable, environmentally respectful alternative.
Why is ink base an issue more stakeholders in the packaging industry should be interested in?
The use of water-based inks is more than just a technical and operational choice. It is an overall approach towards corporate responsibility.
Ahead of legislative changes, which will come into force as part of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, we can all take measures and change our processes to start reducing the environmental impact of the packaging industry.
Today, technology is the most important tool for making this transformation. Doing so is an opportunity, but not doing so is also a risk.
Do you have any advice for companies considering switching to water-based inks?
We don’t have answers to everything, but as a general reflection, we know that more and more, our customers demand products that respect the environment. The sustainability of your manufacturing processes has an increasing influence on buying decisions. Isn’t it worth being prepared for this trend? Only the best positioned companies in the field of sustainability will be able to survive in an increasingly demanding, competitive and uncertain market.
What do you think the future holds for inks and packaging as a whole?
In recent years there has been more talk about packaging than ever before. It is good to be aware of this, and all the varying demands placed on our products. On the one hand, packaging needs to meet more requirements in terms of safety, gloss, air tightness, transparency, strength, durability and sustainability; on the other hand the customer wants all these at the best price.
How do we deal with this? We must inspire our customers so that they know the advantages, disadvantages and best options for the packaging of their products. We have to consider the different packaging materials on merit, rather than as conflicting or mutually exclusive options. Finally, raw materials have evolved faster than our mentality in terms of their recycling or reuse. This will be our next challenge!
A few facts about our interview partner:
Name: Jordi Solé
Company: Grupo Consist
Founded in: 1957
Specialisms: Manufacture of both paper and plastic flexible packaging
Describe your company in 10 words: Offering solutions to pack and protect products with quality, reliability and agility