Global giant Sonoco enjoys annual sales of USD 5 billion and employs over 21,000 people worldwide. Well-known and respected for its global consumer packaging, industrial products, protective packaging and supply chain services, Sonoco has more than 330 operations in 34 countries.

Part of the Sonoco family, Sonoco Alcore is the primarily-European tube and core solutions division, with its products including film cores, tape and label cores, textile cores, mill cores and plugs. The tissue cores from Sonoco Alcore offer consistent quality, unique features and technological advances that combine to meet its customers’ specific needs in the core applications of the towel, tissue and hygiene paper industries.

TissueMAG spoke to Emilio Caracciolo, area sales director for Sonoco Alcore in Italy, where three state-of-the-art facilities are located, to learn more about how the company is developing and manufacturing evermore advanced cores for the tissue sector. Mr Caracciolo said: “Sonoco Alcore is the leading provider of total converting solutions for customers around across Europe, with experts available all over the world, ready to work with our customers to design the best product for their specific requirements. Here in Italy, we have three incredible production plants for cores, one in the north, one in the north east and one in the south, that gives us complete coverage of this exciting and demanding sector.”


Right from the mill

As a proudly integrated converter, Sonoco Alcore in Italy also has its own paper mill. Mr Caracciolo continued: “We produce our own raw materials in accordance with our precise needs at our own mill near our plant in the north of Italy. This gives us a great advantage as we develop our products in partnership with the mill. We do not have to buy in raw materials, rather we make exactly what we need. As we have vast experience in producing reusable tissue cores, by working with our own mill to manufacture the raw materials, we can ensure that we have the specific board for the multi-way reusable cores we offer to the tissue industry.” The multi-way reusable cores are certainly an important feature in the Sonoco Alcore portfolio. Customer-specific features include the ability to use special outside ply and deliver a perforated core to ensure individual customer needs are met.


Sonoco has more than 330 operations in 34 countries


The cores can be reused more than 25 times from paper mill to converting department, having been loaded and used as required, thus cutting the overall costs involved in the process. Mr Caracciolo noted: “Being completely integrated affords us this; our cores are so reliable. An additional benefit is a reduction in scrap during the handling process to ensure high productivity and decrease waste to our customers.”


Tissue paper rolled on Core.
Tissue paper rolled on Core.


Integrated intelligence

The advantages of the Sonoco Alcore cores for the tissue sector go beyond the performance of the core itself. With ever-increasing options to integrate technology into the cores, the company is able to offer various tracking, identification and location options.

Mr Caracciolo said: “Our Intellicore roll tracking system uses the world’s first radio frequency identification (RFID) enabled cores. This allows customers to track both the core and also the finished roll, following the information and the product. It’s very much an evolution of our experience in RFID technology as it lets customers see where the product is, which type of product is being used and how many times the core is used. This valuable information supports our long product life cycle promise.”

Sonoco Alcore’s RFID-based Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) allows Sonoco to offer paper core VMI as an automated service to end customers. As part of the manufacturing process, the cores are equipped with RFID tags and registered in the VMI system, so real-time information is configured, such as warehouse levels, delivery times and alarm levels.


The tissue cores from Sonoco Alcore offer consistent quality, unique features and technological advances


Mr Caracciolo added, “Our interesting VMI can work together with Intellicore; it’s essentially one step beyond Intellicore as it further optimises our customers’ supply chain processes through highly efficient, effective inventory. Customers can track and see all the relevant information for their tissue cores, so the core is truly an integral part of their production.”


Tissue paper rolled on core in storage room.
Tissue paper rolled on core in storage room.


Optimising investment

With the non-stop, completely integrated converting from Sonoco Alcore already highly proven in the growing field of tissue cores, Mr Caracciolo is understandably excited about its plans for the future. He concluded: “Cores are very important to our customers. Without them, they cannot work. At Sonoco Alcore we propose reliable cores that improve runability thanks to a decrease in vibration allowing the core to handle the fastest winding speed. For example, our SR-350 reusable core for jumbo rolls has been created after specific research that understood the requirements of the most important tissue paper manufacturers. Our goal is to optimise our customers’ investment in their machinery by ensuring that their cores are as advanced as their equipment. All too often in the tissue sector manufacturers will have the latest machinery but not the most effective cores; the best way to maximise investment in equipment is to use Sonoco Alcore’s portfolio of smart cores, which have been developed and manufactured alongside the customer at our wonderful integrated facilities here in Italy.”