Dassault Systèmes helps enhance WestRock’s packaging processes

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 19 April 2016
Dassault Systèmes helps enhance WestRock’s packaging processes

Headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, WestRock is a leading global packaging provider, working with a number of the leading beverage brands around the world.

“We do consumer testing, we design the packages, and we design and manufacture the machines to make those packages,” said Gérard Louret, the head of WestRock’s machinery development operation. “Where we differ from our competitors is that we integrate absolutely all of the aspects from brand engagement to the supermarket.”

WestRock launched a new integrated approach – Insight to In-Market – in 2011. Rooted in consumer and market insights, this approach was designed to provide solutions that differentiate on shelf, while providing customers with speed to market, flexibility and agility.

“For our customers, the package is becoming an integral part of their equity,” said Bill Cecil, vice president of machinery and automation for WestRock’s beverage business. “They’re increasingly interested in how the entire package can help them increase the consumption of their product. Consider the beverages in your neighbourhood market. The retailer spends millions in developing its product, and the can or bottle design (the primary packaging) for that product. But it devotes virtually no resources to the secondary packaging – typically the cardboard case – that consumers see on a store shelf. Designing and producing that case is left to the packager.”

WestRock recognises that this secondary packaging presents a significant marketing opportunity.

“What retailers lose sight of is that packaging is a very efficient advertising vehicle,” said Cecil. “100% of purchasers interact with the package. That’s not true of their television ads, print ads or billboards. So packaging is an amazingly important and efficient advertising vehicle.”

To help enable brand-centric strategies that meet the needs of the consumer, retailer and brand, Westrock is harnessing the power of the Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

The platform is helping to enable collaborative design that is linked directly to the manufacturing process.

“What’s different about the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is that the design and production tools are all integrated,” said Cecil. “That’s particularly important to WestRock because we design and manufacture packages all over the world – from China to Japan, Australia, Europe and the Americas. The collaborative nature of Dassault Systèmes’ solutions was critical for us.”

WestRock is now able to meet with clients and utilise tools such as Concept Development, part of the Perfect Package Industry Solution Experience on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. This helps the WestRock team evaluate a broader range of design alternatives and explore options with clients in 3D.

Louret said: “With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, we have an accurate 3D representation of the package that enables clients to virtually visualise and analyse it, and eventually compare it with other available solutions before they even have the package in their hands.”

Working in 3D not only allows designers to better visualise the package they’re creating, but it also enables a smooth and rapid transition to manufacturing that package. Once the design itself is finalised, WestRock develops machines to convert raw materials and create the package.

Cecil said: “As a customer’s needs change and we design new packages to address those needs, we can simply use the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to modify the software, enabling an existing machine to produce the new package. It saves our customers time, it saves them money, and it simplifies the process of moving to a new generation of packaging.”

With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, WestRock has also compressed the packaging timeline from 18 to six months by developing more efficient business processes and streamlining 3D data from product design to manufacturing.

Cecil points out that WestRock’s integrated, end-to-end approach to packaging – from consumer research through product design to manufacturing – makes it a perfect fit with Dassault Systèmes.

“The collaborative nature of the Dassault Systèmes solutions, as well as the connectedness of every tool, was absolutely critical to allowing us to pursue our strategy,” said Cecil. “We found our cornerstone in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Since the 3DEXPERIENCE platform digitally integrates all the generated data, the final 3D design goes onto automation, and now our machinery engineers have a real digital facsimile to engage the machine. The link across the business processes is enabling tremendous time savings. We’re cutting 50% to 60% of the time out of that process.”

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