What should a Danish business do when it’s been acquired by an international group and must meet more rigorous quality standards?
René Bjerreskov Leed has the answer. He is Technical Manager of Swedish Match Denmark and was actually in this situation when the now former V2 Tobacco company was acquired by Swedish Match in 2017.
“Our performance and quality were lagging behind when it came to label application, and Swedish Match makes stringent demands on machinery to meet its very own – and very rigorous – standards,” René Bjerreskov Leed explains.
He was in the process of looking for prospective suppliers who could meet these quality requirements for top, bottom and side labelling of the company’s characteristic round chewing-tobacco tins when a Swedish colleague suggested Elmoprint. Elmoprint’s labelling equipment turned out to be the perfect solution for the round cans, and the company began cooperating with Elmoprint in 2019. In December of that year, Swedish Match Denmark received the first of eight machines from Elmoprint, and since then they have bought and installed an additional eight bar-labelling machines.
René explains how Swedish Match already had implementable solutions but chose Elmoprint’s because theirs was more compact and because the quality and price were more closely aligned. “Elmoprint’s solution was every bit as precise as its major competitors. It wasn’t a standard solution either, so they involved us in determining the finished solution. We could have bought something that cost twice as much, but not of the same quality. So it was undoubtedly the best solution for us.”
After replacing two of its labelling lines, there have been far fewer disruptions of the production process – around 200 fewer in one week, which frees up time for more important tasks. At the same time, the new equipment seems more precise.
“We’ve become more aware of how tolerances for and positioning of labels is actually more important than we initially thought. Our old equipment didn’t consider these factors, but Elmoprint’s does, and our labels are simply much better,” René adds.
“The new lines are identical and have the same components so we don’t spend as much time on settings and troubleshooting as we used to.” According to René, they only spend half the time as they used to on adjustments.
“We don't have as many stoppages, and our operators like handling the equipment because it works so well. When something goes wrong, it’s rarely the machine’s fault, but something external. Our operators’ workday is easier, and we can rely on the fact that the quality we want is the quality we actually get.”
Competitors need to get their act together
“In the past, it could easily take one-and-a-half days to adjust the settings, so we save substantial amounts of time,” explains René. Besides saving operator hours, the company has also improved technician hours by 40–50%. “Our bottlenecks are no longer caused by the labelling equipment, which lets us make far better use of our machinery capacity.”
“We could have bought something that cost twice as much, but not of the same quality delivered by Elmoprint.”
René Bjerreskov Leed
Swedish Match Denmark operates round the clock, currently handling more than 80 tins a minute, compared to 55 using the old equipment. “Elmoprint’s solution has helped many other competitors realise that they need to get their act together,” René says. “Elmoprint has become a seriously major player for Swedish Match Denmark. This could easily catch on and make Elmoprint a potential supplier for Swedish Match in other countries, too. We have extensive transnational cooperation so obviously we listen to one another’s experiences. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Elmoprint,” René concludes.
About Swedish Match
Swedish Match develops, manufactures and sells smokeless products such as snuff, chewing tobacco, nicotine pouches, matches and lighters. Swedish Match has production facilities in Europa, the US, South America and Asia. The Danish factory in Silkeborg mainly produces chewing tobacco and nicotine pouches for the European market.
“Elmoprint has become a major player in earnest for Swedish Match Denmark. This could easily catch on.”
René Bjerreskov Leed
Click here to watch a presentation of the snuff-tin labelling machine.