Want a 100% recyclable large-format board that is FSC certified, as little as 1mm thick, and that doesn’t crack in any direction when bent? Could new Swedboard products be the answer?
So, you know Re-board. Well, entrepreneur Kurt Alden, a man synonymous with that product, is back with a new rigid board offering - Swedboard. And the focus is as much on its green credentials as on its printability and product capability, for as he says: “Greta Thunberg is telling us all to be more sustainable and we agree. It’s the very soul of what we’re doing”.
Alden, founded Swedboard in 2018. The board-making operation, based in Katrineholm in central Sweden, started running last summer. By this summer it is expected to be in full production, providing an expected six million m2/yr. That’s a lot of board - and the company intends to sell it direct in Europe, where the target is for 300 customers by the end of his year (It will go through distributors in Panama for Latin America, the Caribbean and South America, with talks underway with distributors for Asia, the Middle East, Australia and South Africa, and plans being worked through for how to best handle the US market.)
There are three ranges available - SB Fibre, SB Composite Premium and SB Solid - all of which come in 1220mm, 1600mm, 2030mm, 2400mm and 2500mm widths as standard. The maximum length of each sheet 4200mm.
The FSC certified, 100% recyclable SB Fibre is a rigid, dust free paperboard that does not crack (in any direction) on bending. The surface is waterproof and can take heat and cold. It comes as SB Fibre Premium 10mm and 16mm, SB Fibre Brown 10mm and 16mm, and as SB Fibre WhiteCore 16mm. SB Fibre FireRetardant (16mm) is launching this spring.
SB Solid Premium is a 100% recyclable paper material 1mm thick.
SB Composite Premium is PVC free - though not yet recyclable - and is also FSC certified, has a waterproof surface, and can take heat and cold. It comes as SB Composite Premium 3mm, 5mm, 10mm, 16mm, 20mm and 40mm.
Sales have begun in the UK, where key customer Data Image is hosting Swedboard storage at its site in Narborough, Leicestershire. “We are starting with small storage, but when volumes get much bigger we will find a logistic hub to take care of our storage and also to handle transportation to the UK market,” says Swedboard sales and marketing manager Tommy Andersson. “We will then also put a storage in Ireland.”
Swedboard will only take orders from PSPs of one pallet (105 10mm sheets on a pallet, 65 16mm sheets, 50 20mm sheets, 25 40mm sheets) or more to keep costs as well as environmental impact down to the minimum.
“We have chosen to not work with any distributors in the European market - we sell directly to the big volume customers in each country. We can therefore give a very good price on our materials to the market. There are always going to be materials that are cheaper, but our materials are very competitive for what they deliver,” says Andersson.
Rob Farfort, founder and CEO of Data Image, said at a recent event at his company that brought together Swedboard and a number of potential UK customers: “For years we’ve been trying to ‘sell’ sustainable materials to our print customers - now they’re starting to demand it. The message that paper-based products are not all bad is starting to get through. Everyone in this room can actively promote that message - especially when products like Swedboard are available.”
He went on to say: “We want to be at the leading edge of educating the market about sustainable print options. I’d like to think that in two years we won’t be printing on any PVC at all. We are suggesting ‘green’ alternatives wherever we can.”
He isn’t the only one excited by the Swedboard development. Imaginators MD Matt Tydeman, who was at the event, says: “I’m very enthusiastic about it. It’s genuinely versatile as well as green, and I think we’ll be taking some pallets and experimenting. I don’t think we can eliminate foamex just yet, but this is the first viable alternative we’ve seen. We do a lot of events-based print, where they’re becoming very environmentally conscious. We need to check what the print possibilities are [for Swedboard], but the price certainly allows us to offer it as an alternative.”
“The fire-retardency plus the green credentials certainly have us interested,” adds Onward Display directors Michael Brighty and Luke Roberts. “It seems a really good option and suited to our Arizona printers and Zund cutters.”
Alden points out that Swedboard is working with various kit manufacturers on certification. “And we work actively with our customers to understand their needs and to inspire them. Plus, we can also help our customers to talk with big brand about our innovative and environmentally friendly materials, to help them get more jobs,” concludes Andersson. What’s not to like?
A charity case
Quarmby Colour recently turned to a greener alternative to PVC Foamex for a job in support of the charity ‘Say No To Dogmeat’.
“As a family company with pet loving directors and employees we were shocked to hear about the cruelty and suffering taking place and now coming to light,” says he PSPs director, Damian Quarmby. “As specialists within the display exhibition graphics industry the least we could do to support the charity was to offer our services for its up and coming 2020 Crufts Exhibition.
“Originally the shopping list and spec for the stand was multi-use rigid 5mm PVC foamex panels. Having recently seen and tested a new greener alternative to foam PVC - Triaprint from Antalis - there unfolded an opportunity to switch the graphics panels from the original spec to 5.6mm Triaprint. Momentum gathered and Antalis after hearing about the charity and proposal kindly donated the Triaprint material for their stand free of charge!”
Quarmby adds: “Triaprint not only provided a greener solution but a better solution than traditional foam PVC for this application. It’s stronger, lighter and less prone to shattering externally. The panels will be used for a number of events after Crufts finishes and the charity can rest assure that at the end of graphic life they can be re-cycled.
“Directly printed on our new EFI Vutek H5 cool cure LED printer we feel that we are providing a more sustainable solution. Our sights and efforts are now firmly set on converting existing customers who repeatedly use PVC foamex to the Triaprint alternative. To echo others mentioned in Image Reports, it’s time PSP providers to start pushing harder!”