VPK Sykkylven 60 years - A history in packaging

We celebrate a fantastic milestone of 60 years of packaging production at Sykkylven! Site Manager Arve Torset takes us through the history of the plant, from its humble beginnings to the robust factory it is today. This is the story of a company that has always had an eye for the customer's needs and for the well-being of its own employees.

Sykkylven 1

Why was a packaging plant established in Sykkylven?

It all started in 1961. At that time, many entrepreneurs in Sykkylven started up different businesses, especially in furniture production. They started small, often in their own basements. Harald Eikenæs thought to himself: "They must need packaging for the furniture! Harald, together with Operations Manager Olav Andreassen, founded Emballasje AS.

What did the company look like then, and how has it developed?

The location then was the same as today. In its early days, the company had a surface of 310 m². At that time they produced solid board and kraft paper and worked closely with Ranheim Papirfabrikk who supplied them with raw materials. As the factory thrived, another 1.000 m² was added to the building in 1964. Later another 2.200 m² together with a machine that could produce corrugated cardboard packaging. In 1985 a press was installed to compress cardboard waste.

When did the Peterson Group get involved? 

In 1976 Harald Eikenæs sold the company to Olav Andreassen and his son-in-law Olav Steinsvik. The shares were resold to Ranheim Papirfabrikk in 1987. At that time Ranheim Papirfabrikk was already part of the Peterson Group. Emballasje AS kept its name until 1992, but then it became known as Peterson.

What did the 90s look like?

In 1994, Sykkylven got a lot of media attention when they bought their first brand new printer for large packaging, a Göpfert large packaging printer from Germany. This enabled them to produce large corrugated sheets and provide packaging for a wider geographical coverage. This in turn created more jobs. So 1994 was an important year.

What about the years 2000?

I started working as a Site Manager in Sykkylven in 2001. At that time, computer science had developed enormously. The computer made the world smaller and enabled us to look for customers further away. Product development also became an important focus area for us. The designers were almost as much with the customers as the salesmen. We developed packaging that received both Scannstar, which is a selection of good packaging solutions in Scandinavia, and World Star, an award for very good solutions worldwide - developed by our own designers here in Sykkylven.

What has changed in recent years?

VPK Group acquired Peterson in 2016 and from June 2020 we have experienced fantastic growth. The switch from plastic packaging to cardboard packaging and some changes in consumer behaviour during the covid period have contributed to this. In 2021, the new factory in Halden started supplying raw materials to the factory in Sykkylven. This contributed to better performance of the plant and several records were broken in 2021.  

What makes Sykkylven a successful plant?

Because we, like the rest of the sites in the VPK Group, are part of our customers' supply chain process, customer centricity is essential. Good communication and a high degree of customer contact therefore have a high priority. A pleasant working environment is also important. We want our employees to enjoy their work, which is confirmed when we look at the average seniority of our employees. Some have been working here for more than 30 or even 40 years!

What does the future hold for VPK in Sykkylven?

The world is changing rapidly. The transition from plastic packaging to fibre-based packaging and therefore to cardboard solutions has accelerated.  As a producer of cardboard solutions, we are part of a more "circular" economy and thus contribute to a more sustainable world.

Based on these trends, the Sykkylven factory still has growth potential to meet this increased and changed demand. Further internal optimisation and shift optimisation are just some of the elements to meet this challenge.  

Finally, Sykkylven - as VPK's most northern corrugated plant - is part of a network of plants in a strong and solid group that believes in a more sustainable world.  Supplying our local customers, growing together with them and offering them the best solutions, that is what we are going for!