Advertising Feature: Cutting costs and carbon with R-Flute® | PN Environment Report 2011

Big names can testify that DS Smith’s R-Flute® has helped to reduce costs and boost environmental impact

When R-Flute® made its first dramatic appearance on the packaging stage just under a year ago, it was an instant success. The phones didn’t stop ringing as customers became aware that here, at last, there was a way to cut cost in their supply chains and reduce their environmental impact at one and the same time.

The development of R-Flute®, involving meticulous and intensive planning, resulted in a profile in which the flutes are smaller and closer together than B-flute, while optimising board strength.

This provided customers with the opportunity to take a fresh look at their current packaging and achieve a step change in performance by switching from B-flute to R-Flute®.

A particularly good example of this is packaging designed for Lincolnshire Herbs. The previous supplier’s box was a standard B-flute case with an opening tape. Using R-Flute® DS Smith Packaging converted the pack into a single material retail ready format. As R-Flute®’s calliper is 20% smaller, and the flute tips are closer together than B-flute’s, more packaging could be delivered on a pallet, meaning fewer pallet movements, fewer vehicles and less need for storage space. Most impressively, using R-Flute® has enabled 10,200 more packs to be stacked in each lorry with the result that deliveries have been reduced from once a week to once every 10 days.

Print characteristics

Kelloggs was also able to take lorries off the road, this time by switching from C-flute to R-Flute®. What’s more, the packaging for Nutri-Grain demonstrated another of R-Flute®’s benefits, its excellent print characteristics. The previous competitor pack was reported to have looked “washed out”, but now the packaging has great colour coverage with solid block colours and stands out on the shelf far more, as well as being easy to find back of store. Kellogg’s pallet movements have reduced by 911 equating to a massive 24 full loads less every year.

That’s a saving of 22 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The switch from B-flute to R-Flute® can produce major benefits right at the beginning of the supply chain, as well as on the packaging line itself. Long-time customer Ardagh Glass found that B-flute hampered the packaging process as the weight of the bottle made an indentation on the board. New packs using R-Flute® provided excellent resistance to crushing and helped with the ‘sweeping’ nature of the packing process, reducing line downtime. The crush resistance of R-Flute® brought the annual packaging weight down by 160 tonnes. This translates into a reduction of 142 tonnes of CO2 emissions, while 1,700 pallets have been taken out of the supply chain and 68 fewer trucks are needed for deliveries.

Green impact For companies that have made a public commitment to reducing their impact on the environment, DS Smith Packaging’s unique combination of analytical tools and R-Flute® has provided a real, practical method of achieving significant progress.


Accolade Wines is one such company.

The largest premium drinks company in Europe, Accolade Wines boasts a highspeed, state-of-the-art bottling plant at Avonmouth that can fill an estimated 800 bottles of wine per minute. This factory is highly streamlined to capture efficiencies in both cost and environmental impacts. So DS Smith Packaging was a natural partner for Accolade Wines for a new range of wine packs. The PackRight tools were deployed to analyse Accolade Wines’ supply chain and then R-Flute® was used to construct packs that enabled 35% more product to be put on pallets inbound.

R-Flute® provides a flatter, better surface for printing and this attribute came into its own when Calypso Soft Drinks needed to develop eye-catching packaging for a new range of children’s soft drinks for Sainsbury’s. Post printed in five colours, the new Calypso pack has a colourful and vibrant impact in store. It was a worthy winner of a bronze award in this year’s EFIA print competition.

Any visitor to the Impact and Innovation Centre at Ely will immediately see that DS Smith Packaging is a company bursting with new ideas.

Visitors are given the opportunity to look in detail at ‘the corrugated loop’ that represents a holistic approach to reducing environmental impact. Three DS Smith companies, DS Smith Packaging, DS Smith Paper and DS Smith Recycling combine forces to ‘lock’ carbon within the corrugated loop. On average, 76% of every corrugated box consists of recycled fibre. A box on the shelf, once used, can be recycled and its fibres back on the shelf again as another box in under two weeks.

For companies who are thinking ahead, working with DS Smith opens up a range of opportunities for more efficient, more sustainable packaging.


Contact details

DS Smith Packaging
0845 260 7080