Dutch converter retakes his company

Daan Bolding has history on his side as the head of Bolding Verpakkingen, a converting operation started by his grandfather almost 100 years ago.

Just 15 minutes from Amsterdam's busy Centraal Station in the beautiful suburb of Zaandam, the Netherlands, is the headquarters and plant of Bolding Verpakkingen, a $35 million flexible packaging converter. Highly regarded among Dutch packaging producers, the firm produces printed flexible substrates for a wide variety of food and other uses.

During a visit by Paper, Film & Foil CONVERTER, both Daan Bolding, the third-generation head of the company, and Ruud Groote, the account manager for the Netherlands, spoke proudly about their company.

History Repeats Itself

In 1898 Daniel Bolding started his company in the traditional, highly industrialized Zaanstreek region north of Amsterdam, supplying printed paper sheets to the bakery industry. As the years progressed and successive generations of Boldings led the organization, Bolding Verpakkingen grew into a general converter supplying the dairy, biscuit, and confectionery markets. Activity nearly ceased during World War II when a major portion of the plant was used as land to grow vegetables for hungry workers.

In 1969 Daan Bolding sold his company to VAW Aluminum AG, the huge German company that is involved in all areas of packaging, from flexibles to closures. As an integral part of its holding company, VAW-Europack, Bolding was assigned the sole responsibility for distribution of its products in the Netherlands and in Belgium.

In 1994 Daan Bolding led a successful management buyout from VAW-Europack and, in an unusual move, once again headed the firm started by his grandfather at the turn of the century.

Zaandam is situated close to major roads and is well-linked to the pan-European highway network. A leading supplier of both rollstock and die-cut lidding stock in the Netherlands, the company has one eight-color gravure press from Kroenert, one nine-color gravure press from North American Cerutti, and has scheduled a ten-color Cerutti gravure press to become operative in 1996. One seven-color flexo press from BHS is in operation.

Laminating equipment includes a wax laminator from Kroenert capable of hot melt lamination and a specially designed - with Cerutti assistance - dry bond laminator capable of running oriented polypropylene for the packaging of snack food, biscuits, confectionery, and many other products.

Bolding runs foil, paper, and plastic film from suppliers in Germany, France, Scandinavia, England, and Belgium. The finishing department includes slitters from Goebel and Kampf, embossers, and die-cutters (designed and built in-house) producing 400 million die-cut lids annually. At present, Bolding purchases most of its inks (solvent-based) from German sources, but plans are underway to begin in-house manufacture of inks by 1997.

An estimated 70% of Bolding's production is used domestically by such customers as United Biscuits, Albert Heijn, Unilever, and the largest dairy producers. Bolding reports that 30% of its products are exported to other European nations, the Middle East, Poland, and even Mexico. A major effort is in the biscuit area, where barrier OPP is being evaluated. Plans are for the company to further expand exports by means of a scheduled 30% expansion by 1997.

Cleanliness, Quality

The Bolding facility, with 75 employees, is a clean, well-planned, and well-organized plant with an ergonomically designed color scheme that is characteristic of Dutch production facilities. The quality control laboratory - ISO-qualified - is equipped with tensile testers, gas chromatographs, and other measuring instruments.

Most of Bolding's research and development activities are directed toward lightweighting and attempting to effect barrier reduction by using single-ply constructions as replacements for multi-ply laminates. There are two reasons for the move toward lighter weight materials, reports Bolding: environmental regulations and cost reduction. (The company expects to install pollution control equipment in 1998.)

Daan Bolding sums up: "Our company's growth has been directly linked to our very strong client interaction and our willingness to satisfy all our clients' requirements." As a major supplier to Royal Ahold (also headquartered in Zaandam) and its Albert Heijn chain of Dutch supermarkets, Bolding's quality image is readily apparent in the marketplace. When the firm's expansion plans are fully completed, Bolding Verpakkingen will truly become a major force in the European flex-pack industry.

Supplier Information:

Maschinenfabrik Max Kroenert GmbH, Hamburg, Germany; ph: 49(0)40-85393-01; fax: 49(0)40-85393-171.

North American Cerutti Corp., Pittsburgh, PA; ph: 412/788-1000; fax: 412/928-0515.

BHS Machinery Corp., Baltimore, MD; ph: 410/298-4300; fax: 410/298-4316.

Goebel Maschinenfabrik GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany; ph: 49(0)6151-888-1; fax: 49(0)6151-888-520.

Kampf GmbH & Co. Maschinenfabrik, Wiehl Muhlen, Germany; ph: 49(0)226-281-0; fax: 49(0)226-281-208.

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