Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Corrugated Packaging Facility

With sustainability driving customer demand for eco-friendly paper-based packaging and an industry-wide push to modernize operations, expand portfolios, and explore new regions, corrugated companies are at a tipping point. As plants operate at maximum capacity and the need for additional space becomes undeniable, the decision to build or expand facilities is no longer a matter of choice but a necessity. If you’re stepping into this venture, this step-by-step guide will serve as a roadmap to help you navigate the complexities of designing and building a corrugated manufacturing facility.

Step 1: Site Selection & Due Diligence
Step 2: Assess Project Feasibility
Step 3: Design & Planning
Step 4: Regulatory Compliance
Step 5: Construction
Step 6: Equipment Installation
Step 7: Quality Assurance & Commissioning
Step 8: Interior Setup and Finishing
Step 9: Training and Handover
Step 10: Facility Launch

Research potential locations based on factors like accessibility, proximity to suppliers and customers, and local regulations. First, identify the appropriate location(s), then evaluate the suitability of each site in terms of infrastructure, utilities, and expansion potential.

  • Evaluate potential sites based on proximity to transportation routes, suppliers, and customers.
  • Consider soil conditions, drainage, and environmental factors that could impact construction.
  • Assess utility availability and connection costs for electricity, water, gas, and other infrastructure.
  • Analyze zoning regulations and local permitting requirements to ensure the site aligns with the intended use.
  • Look into future expansion potential and ensure the site can accommodate growth.
  • Investigate the feasibility of rail access and availability of space for roll storage, considering their significance in transportation logistics and storage capabilities.

Assess the viability of your project on the chosen site. You’ll need to conduct a thorough analysis that examines aspects such as optimal site layout, estimated costs, adherence to regulatory requirements, and the existing market demand. Ultimately, the study will help determine whether proceeding with the facility’s construction is viable, considering potential benefits and risks.

  • Analyze topography to determine grading and earthwork requirements.
  • Evaluate soil composition for foundation design and stability.
  • Consider traffic flow and access points to optimize material movement.
  • Identify potential challenges such as site limitations, environmental impact, or regulatory constraints.
  • Assess project budget and timeline based on site-specific factors.

Collaborate with a design-builder to expedite and streamline the planning process, creating a comprehensive blueprint for your facility in collaboration with equipment vendors. This blueprint should emphasize optimal layout, strategic equipment placement, streamlined material flow, and robust safety protocols, serving as a crucial reference during construction. Ensure your design aligns with your budget, operational needs, and desired timeline.

  • Develop a detailed layout that optimizes workflow and minimizes material handling. In a box plant, this layout is often built around the location of the corrugator.
  • Map out space allocation for both roll storage and finished product inventory, ensuring efficient handling and accessibility within the facility’s layout.
  • Determine the necessary utility requirements to operate the facility’s equipment and systems effectively. Ensure that there is a proper supply of natural gas for your boiler, enough power for all equipment, and adequate water pressure & volume for equipment (both the corrugator and converting lines).
  • Design an efficient electrical distribution system to minimize energy losses and ensure reliable power supply.
  • Plan for drainage systems to support various facility processes. Depending on the municipality and potentially hazardous chemicals found in equipment waste (such as chemicals that could be found in ink from a rotary die cutter), consider implementation of a treatment system before discharging into the city’s line.
  • Consider the installation of compressed air lines if pneumatic equipment is used.
  • Integrate machinery and equipment placement for efficient production processes.
  • Arrange the piping layout for easy maintenance access and efficient material flow throughout the facility.
  • Consider the safety regulations, fire codes, and emergency egress routes.
  • Explore options for sustainable and energy-efficient design elements, such as lighting and insulation.
  • Involve equipment vendors early in the design process to ensure proper coordination and integration between their respective systems and general utilities (e.g., corrugator and steam/starch piping, converting equipment and water/sanitary piping, converting lines and dust system connections).
  • Integrate ventilation systems for proper air quality and circulation.
  • Plan for the integration of technology infrastructure, such as Wi-Fi, network cabling, and power outlets, in both the production area and office spaces.

Ensure compliance with local authorities and industry regulations by navigating the necessary permits and approvals while ensuring your facility design aligns with all relevant codes and standards.

  • Ensure adherence to local building codes, zoning regulations, and environmental standards.
  • Obtain permits for construction, utilities, and any specialized equipment.
  • Work with regulatory agencies to address potential issues or concerns.
  • Engage experts to conduct necessary studies, such as environmental impact assessments.
  • Verify compliance with accessibility standards, including ramps, elevators, and other provisions as required.
  • Develop plans for waste management, hazardous material handling, and emergency response.
  • Comply with occupational health and safety regulations by implementing proper safety protocols.
  • Implement safety measures such as fire extinguishers, first aid stations, and safety signage.

Manage construction by coordinating contractors, suppliers, and professionals to ensure smooth collaboration. Set up the building, general infrastructure, and production equipment, ensuring proper installation and compliance with design. Track & manage progress, timelines, work quality, and budgets to ensure a successful and timely project completion.

  • Coordinate contractors and subcontractors to ensure seamless progress.
  • Establish a construction schedule that outlines key milestones and deadlines.
  • Manage the acquisition and delivery of construction materials efficiently to prevent delays, cost overruns, and potential shortages.
  • Establish a system to regularly report on construction progress, documenting milestones, changes, and any deviations from the original plan.
  • Monitor construction quality and adherence to design specifications.
  • Develop contingency plans to address potential disruptions, such as weather-related delays or unforeseen site conditions.
  • Design and Install efficient HVAC systems for temperature and humidity control.
  • Host re-occurring meetings with contractors and equipment vendors to ensure proper coordination.
  • Visit the site frequently to check progress and carry out quality control measures.
  • Implement comprehensive tracking measures to stay ahead of potential delays. This includes detailed equipment delivery lists for corrugator and converting equipment arriving from overseas, procurement lists for material, and detailed vendor schedules.
  • Enforce safety standards to protect workers and ensure compliance with occupational health and safety regulations.
  • Integrate fire suppression and detection systems, such as sprinklers and smoke detectors.
  • Coordinate installation of telecommunications infrastructure.
  • Implement backup power systems like generators or uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units.
  • Design and install waste disposal systems, including wastewater management and recycling facilities.
  • Set up security systems, including surveillance cameras and access control, to protect the facility and its assets.
  • Maintain an ongoing list of remaining final work items that must be completed before the construction project is considered complete.

Collaborate with equipment suppliers to ensure proper installation of machinery. Verify alignment, functionality, and integration within the facility.

  • Collaborate with suppliers to ensure proper installation of specialized equipment.
  • Integrate dust collection systems to capture debris and particles generated by the corrugated and converting equipment.
  • Confirm site-specific safety, logistics, and detailed layout parameters are met.
  • Verify that equipment is aligned, calibrated, and integrated into the facility’s infrastructure.
  • Conduct testing to ensure equipment functions as intended and meets operational standards.
  • Address electrical and mechanical requirements for each piece of equipment.
  • Plan for maintenance access and service areas to keep equipment in optimal condition.
  • Incorporate automation and control systems to optimize efficiency, accuracy, and consistency.

Conduct thorough testing of equipment, systems, and safety protocols. Address any issues or adjustments to ensure optimal functionality.

  • Conduct performance tests on production equipment and facility systems.
  • Verify that safety protocols, alarms, and emergency shutdown mechanisms function properly.
  • Address any issues identified during testing to ensure optimal functionality.
  • Collaborate with equipment manufacturers to fine-tune settings and configurations.
  • Coordinate with equipment vendors to implement quality checks on equipment infrastructure. This includes things like concrete foundations, locations of pits, roll tracks, etc.

Plan and implement interior elements, including workstations, storage, and safety features. Create a functional and ergonomic workspace for employees.

  • Select ergonomic workstations, flooring, finishes, and furnishings that align with industry standards.
  • Strategically place waste disposal bins and recycling stations throughout the facility
  • Develop a clear signage system to guide employees and visitors efficiently through different sections of the facility.
  • Install adequate lighting fixtures to optimize visibility and safety in all operational areas.
  • Establish designated areas for quality control checks and inspection stations within the production workflow.

Provide training for staff on equipment operation, safety procedures, and facility protocols. Ensure a smooth transition from construction to operation.

  • Develop training programs for employees to operate equipment safely and effectively.
  • Provide documentation and manuals for equipment operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting.
  • Conduct mock drills and safety training to prepare staff for emergencies.
  • Ensure that personnel are familiar with facility layout, safety protocols, and emergency exits.
  • Coordinate with equipment manufacturers to offer on-site training and support.

Monitor initial operations and address any challenges that arise. Ensure that the facility is fully operational and aligned with your goals.

  • Conduct final inspections to ensure that all systems are operational and meet regulatory standards.
  • Gradually transition from testing to full-scale production, monitoring performance closely.
  • Address any unforeseen issues that arise during initial operations.
  • Maintain open lines of communication with contractors, suppliers, and design professionals for ongoing support.
  • Continuously assess and improve processes to optimize facility performance and output.

Navigating the complex process of building a corrugated manufacturing facility demands expertise, precision, and a clear roadmap. Whether you embark on this journey independently or enlist the help of a design-builder, the complexities from site selection to facility launch are significant. A design-builder is a single entity that handles both the design and construction phases, streamlines coordination, and ensures a cohesive approach to the project. Each step in this guide, from due diligence in site selection to compliance with regulatory standards, construction management, and equipment installation, is vital to the facility’s success. Partnering with experienced professionals who understand the industry’s intricacies can significantly mitigate challenges and ensure that your facility meets operational requirements and that your project is completed on time and on budget.  

Considering an expansion, renovation, or a new corrugated manufacturing facility? Experience a better way to build with ARCO/Murray.

Custom ButtonView Corrugated Experience