In a single day, DS Smith’s new state-of-the art box manufacturing plant is able to produce more than 17 million square feet of lightweight recyclable packaging—enough to overlay the entire Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The opening of the corrugated plant heralds the company’s latest technology, keeping pace with increasing demands by consumers and retailers for fully recyclable boxes and “fit-to-product” packaging that reduces costs, waste and “packing air” of irregularly shaped items. The facility can produce about 30,000 boxes an hour and 2 billion square feet of recyclable packaging a year.

DS Smith, a global industry leader in embracing sustainable strategies, views this plant as a job-creating economic catalyst for central Indiana, making the town of Lebanon home to one of the world’s most sophisticated corrugated manufacturing facilities.

“Our new facility in Indiana is unique to the U.S. market,” said Miles Roberts, Group CEO of DS Smith. “With our innovative packaging design and focus on sustainable materials, we can support our customers’ needs in a changing world, no matter how sophisticated their requirements. We look forward to serving many of the global brands we work with in Europe, as well as a range of new customers, with their U.S.-based packaging.”

Miles is scheduled Jan. 24 to tour the plant the Lebanon Business Park, marking its formal opening as it steps up full operations.

Made with the lightest possible materials, a widespread practice by DS Smith in Europe, the Indiana-produced boxes will utilize 30 percent to 40 percent less fiber than what is traditionally used in the U.S. The lightweight material is a key differentiator of the products DS Smith will manufacture at the new facility. These next-generation boxes will enable brands to meet growing consumer calls for more sustainable packaging and a reduction of shipping costs across the U.S.

The 550,000-square-foot packaging facility was designed to model three cutting-edge DS Smith locations in Europe that are highly automated, customer-centric plants which can accept and process high-volume orders with short lead times – many with same-day turnaround.

"Our new box plant stands apart from the rest in the industry and is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and machinery that relies on fully automated operations,” said Mark Ushpol, managing director of packaging for DS Smith in North America. “Our talent and teams are free to focus on working directly with customers designing custom packaging that reduces system waste, drives sustainability and provides immediate value to the supply chain.”

What else to know about the plant:

  • It can produce more than 17 million square feet of lightweight recyclable packaging a day and 2 billion square feet of recyclable packaging a year.
  • Capabilities will be upwards of about 30,000 boxes an hour, or eight boxes a second.
  • An underground scrap conveyer system will drastically reduce dust and noise typically found at conventional box plants.
  • It is expected to result in 170 new jobs in Lebanon in engineering, machinery, production, sales and management positions.

The facility continues the DS Smith heritage of commitment to quality and will be BRC-certified. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is the leading trade association for the UK food industry and is a globally recognized “gold standard” for food safety. Adoption of the certification in the U.S. is growing and ensures that customer product integrity is maintained during storage and distribution to uphold customer confidence in quality control measures.

The location, a strategic decision based on existing and future customer growth, will serve customers and brands with distribution centers in markets such as, Chicago, Columbus, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Nashville. A video about the new facility can be viewed here.