Crown Van Gelders Velsen mill in The Netherlands runs two paper machines 24/7

Dutch paper manufacturer Crown Van Gelder is enjoying success in the UK market with its high speed inkjet papers. Digital Printer finds that it is not sitting on its laurels though.


The technical challenges of developing paper grades for high speed inkjet printing are very real, but they are only part of a paper manufacturer’s role these days. That, at least, is how Crown Van Gelder (CVG) sees things. The independent Dutch company has been growing its market share steadily in collaboration with its distribution partner PaperlinX and now claims to be the high speed inkjet market leader in the UK, with 60% of inkjet paper sales. But the important job of working alongside inkjet press manufacturers to create new papers can only be done in parallel with talking to the wider market to foster new awareness about the power of print.

‘Inkjet as a technology is relatively complex and it’s also a young technology,’ explained sales and business development manager for digital, Ad Sies. ‘We are in direct contact with printers, working with them to get the right papers that are fit for purpose; also building new markets for print is important, selling new concepts to end users; that’s as big a challenge as the technological part. We have lots of discussions with printers around Europe, finding new volume for the machines, helping with the sales side of these applications.’

It is a more consultative aspect of CVG’s business, making it an important link in the ‘value chain’, where end users such as publishers and corporate organisations are in dialogue with OEM manufacturers, paper companies and printers.

Ad Sies

Sales and business development manager for digital, Ad Sies

CVG now has a rationalised product portfolio of seven products within its Letsgo range, including a premium stock, silks and eco papers. These are used across transactional, promotional and publishing markets. Product development is a ‘never-ending story’ however, because the machines that run these stocks, and the inks they put down, are themselves constantly evolving. The market is always looking for lighter and heavier stocks, and CVG is therefore developing Crown Letsgo Silk 58 gsm and 235 gsm grades.

The constant dialogue required to address market needs has seen CVG launch a specific approach to product development, made up of three initiatives which it calls Letsgo Discover, Letsgo Develop and Letsgo Launch. It hopes to be able to synthesize the processes of product opportunity, formulation and testing, and going to market into a much shorter period than was previously the case.

‘Before it was maybe a three year process, but with this three-step approach we want to speed up go-to-market with new products. Six months is the goal,’ said Mr Sies. ‘The market needs products quickly and the paper industry should be quicker in introducing new papers. You need to talk to the value chain, find true believers, develop the product and test it, and it’s a cycle that’s crucial. If you don’t talk to the market it will take a lot of time, and the market is impatient.’

CVG’s success in the market has made it an attractive proposition, and this is very likely to culminate in a formal offer from Brussels-based company Andlinger to purchase CVG later this year. Andlinger is focused on industrial and technology-oriented companies with an industrial or B2B client base; companies that have the potential to be innovation champions or strong niche players. Already within the graphic arts sphere it has invested in Global Graphics and Eska Graphic Board. ‘We all see it as a very positive thing,’ said Mr Sies.

Technically speaking, the increasing integration of high speed inkjet printing and finishing puts great demands on the paper. Web breaks and machine breakdowns will be the reality if issues are not solved. 

For printer customers, the message is that companies like CVG can help to grow awareness of new print applications; they can help printers to enjoy greater dialogue with the value chain. As the CVG website strapline puts it: ‘Market leadership starts with an idea; your idea. Let’s talk.’