Case Studies


Illuminate your daily life with your photos

Based in the city of Oldenburg in North Germany, CEWE is the leading photo service in Europe with over 2 billion photos prepared. They produce and ship CEWE photobooks with a unit volume of over 6 million per year. Other products include CEWE calendars, CEWE wall art, CEWE cards, all of which they ship to retail stores and end-customers. One man was at the origin of this great adventure: Heinz Neumüller, who founded the CEWE color photo lab in Oldenburg in 1961. It was an immediate success and the company anticipated the future by moving into digital photography in 1993 when silver photography was at its peak. In 2019, CEWE celebrated its 60 millionth photo book. CEWE is now present in 14 countries across Europe, has 4 facilities in Germany and more than 4.200 employees.

Customer needs

Coping with high demand

During peak periods, CEWE has to produce and send over 100,000 orders per day. With automation providing productivity gains, CEWE needed to automate its packaging process.

New box size to integrate to the process

The carrier (DHL), has recently imposed the use of minimum 1cm-high box for flat products, which are much easier to handle on their conveyors.

Cutting temporary worker numbers

Some peak periods require the hiring of more than 450 temporary workers, especially during the Christmas season. Hiring such large numbers and training them was not a trivial challenge.

Our solution

Automatizing the packing process was seen as an attractive solution to address issues for CEWE. Ranpak Automation installed 6 Flap’it!™ machines, each able to pack up to 540 orders per hour in three of CEWE’s sites, Oldenburg, Germering and Eschbach. These reliable semi-automated machines connected with label printers, speed-up the packing process of flat products in 1cm-boxes. Despite really tight planning, Ranpak Automation was able to install and train the CEWE teams efficiently before the start of the peak season, resulting in a close collaboration between Ranpak Automation and CEWE.

Business results

Less temporary workers

Ranpak Automation’s solution allowed CEWE to reduce the number of interim workers hired during peak periods, resulting in better handling of the high demand and better fluidity.

Increased throughput and quality

Before automation, each package had to be processed manually. 30% of the total packing operation is now automated thanks to Ranpak Automation’s solution. This helped to reduce delivery time to the end-customer and improve pack quality by providing a higher protection of goods shipped.

  • “We really appreciated the commitment and efficiency of the Ranpak Automation team to install the automated machines while the production was running.”

    Imke Vahlenkamp Technical project manager

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