90 years of Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik

Founded in 1931 as the Wellpappen-, Post- und Bahnkistenfabrik, Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik is celebrating nine decades of being one of the most modern companies in the corrugated board industry. Since becoming affiliated with the Panther Group in 1967, Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG has made continuously successful developments. Since the turn of this millennium in particular, which has been characterised by major investments throughout the Group, the plant has taken delivery of machines, which make use of the latest technologies in die-cutting and printing for the production of a wide variety of packaging and displays.

Production, which was initially based in Berlin-Spandau, was moved to Wustermark in 2004. Europe's most advanced production facility at the time meant that all doors were open for expansive further development. The experts in corrugated board were also the pioneers of today’s Panther trio, which the site has been expanded to include over the past 17 years. The centre of excellence, which has since been formed, by Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik, Panther Display and Panther Print combines their respective specialities and is continuously expanding its range of services.

Two extension buildings used for the production of displays at Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik signify the growth in this market segment. In 2015, Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik obtained a finished goods warehouse with an area of 15,000 m², which ensures significantly improved logistics processes.

As part of the current investment programme, another high-end die-cutting line has been installed at Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik in the past year. The installation of the fully automated rotary die-cutter with a working width of 2400 mm was completed on time despite of pandemic-related restrictions. This state-of-the-art die-cutting line will cover customers’ needs for the production of the full range of crates, trays, shelf-ready and other die-cut packaging. The line is equipped for the highest precision and is automated to the fullest with a prefeeder as well as a robotic palletiser.

Besides that, since last year a further inline machine with a working width of 2100 mm for the production of folding crates has been added to the machinery equipment at Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik. It serves to meet the ever-increasing demand for high-quality folding boxes. The already proven configuration of the Flexo Folder Gluer line forms the basis for the new investment. The combination of the three work steps of printing, folding and gluing all rolled into one machine is designed for efficient and high-quality production. The fully automated, user-friendly machine is equipped with state-of-the-art technical features. These include a creasing module separate from the die-cutting unit, glue seam inspection and a reject unit. A prefeeder, packing robot and camera control complete the automation equipment of the entire line. Altogether, this makes it possible to produce precisely fitting, high-quality folding boxes in just one work step.

Success factor in training and professional development
Traditionally, Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik supplied a large customer base in Germany as well as in the neighbouring regions of Eastern Europe. Thanks to their own development capacities for packaging and displays as well as consulting services for processes and systems, the experts are in close contact with customers from a wide range of industries. A large part of the success of the Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik depends on the promotion of young talent and the safeguarding of know-how by taking on employees trained by us. The quality and the high value of these training processes have received several awards. As such, in 2018, Brandenburg's Minister-President was the patron of Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik and honoured us as a "role model for good training processes". Awarded by the Brandenburg Training Consensus (Brandenburgischen Ausbildungskonsens), this prize recognises companies that excel at, among other things, outstanding quality and continuity in training and those that use innovative training elements. Awarded as the "TOP Training Company 2018" by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Potsdam district, the plant has received an equally important recognition for its strategy of promoting young talent. Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik has demonstrated its sense of responsibility with these awards.

In-depth training designed for a successful professional life is of essential value for Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik, as it is for all other Panther plants. People are the central focus of the entire Group. As such, numerous young people at the Panther Group have laid the foundation for future-oriented professional development. They work as packaging technologists, machine and plant operators, media technologists in printing, electronics technicians or mechatronics technicians, industrial mechanics, warehouse logistics specialists or in commercial professions.

In addition, Panther offers the opportunity of a dual study degree course and a threefold degree course - a ‘trialen Studium’ - which incorporates a craftsman's training qualification, a master craftsman's certificate and a bachelor's degree in business administration. Many former trainees studied part-time following their training and subsequently took the opportunity for further employment in the Panther Group. The companies Panther Display and Panther Print, which are also located in Wustermark, are further important apprentiships companies for the region.

Growing through the challenges
The extraordinary conditions that the Corona pandemic has presented to social, political and economic life since 2020 have so far been overcome by the Panther Group and consequently the Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik. Important markets of the Panther Group turned out to be real boom markets: In its 90th year of existence, the food and many non-food industries, as well as online retailing, provide Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik with very good prospects for the future. This is also helped by the fact that the recycled material corrugated board is increasingly valued and used for its recyclability. These factors are crucial requirements for the continued positive development of Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik and for the job prospects for the team.

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Advantage of the location: Wustermark in Brandenburg
Wustermark is located just a few kilometres from Brandenburg’s state capital of Potsdam and the German capital Berlin. Various industrial companies including the three Panther companies - Wepoba Wellpappenfabrik, Panther Display and Panther Print, have settled in recent years in the west of the two cities, situated in the Havelland district, thanks to the excellent infrastructure.  In September 2021, the Wustermark GVZ (Freight Village) will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Almost all of the 127 hectares of land have been sold, and 44 companies from a wide range of industries are currently located here. More than 4,000 new jobs have been created in Wustermark. Due to the successful development of the area, there are currently considerations for expansion. GVZ Wustermark achieved an excellent 12th place in the European GVZ Ranking 2020, carried out by GVZ-Gesellschaft mbH.

The trio of the Panther Group have the perfect links to the road, rail and waterway network here, which opens up connections in all directions. The distance to Berlin's international airport is barely 20 kilometres. Situated in the immediate vicinity of the Döberitzer Heide, one of the largest nature reserves in the area, and on the Havelland Canal, Wustermark benefits from an ideal location that combines proximity to the city with delightful natural surroundings and modern infrastructure. The Panther Group would like to contribute to Wustermark's continued growth with a high quality of life and closeness to nature.