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Smurfit Kappa’s ingenuity flies sky-high with cardboard plane

​7 January 2015 

Smurfit Kappa has once again demonstrated how its extensive expertise and knowledge can span beyond the realm of packaging – this time by sending a corrugated aeroplane in to the sky.

The company is proud to employ the best minds with unique backgrounds, from aeronautical engineers to video-gamers, meaning it was perfectly placed to rise to a challenge from Dutch TV channel BNN to create and fly an aeroplane made entirely of paper and cardboard.


Working from the Development Centre (DC), Smurfit Kappa’s hub for research and development, the company drew on its extensive knowledge and expertise to design, build and finally fly a plane which was not only made out of cardboard, but was also sturdy enough to carry a real person. The plane was initially designed by DC engineer Arnoud Dekker, who has a degree in aeronautical engineering. This was then translated in to a corrugated 3D model, and the physical plane was then built using the skills and experience of the wider team at the DC. The entire process was carried out from start to finish in-house, demonstrating how Smurfit Kappa can draw on a combination of design expertise and scientific understanding of corrugated board to create solutions to meet any challenge.

The finished product was approximately 9 metres long by 8 metres wide, at a height of over 2 metres and weight of around 160kg. The plane was made entirely from paper, cardboard and glue – comprising of 70 m2 of paper, 240m2 of cardboard, and 25kg of glue. Once constructed, it was put to the test and successfully sent in to the air with a dummy on board weighing the same as a real person, 60kg, and achieved a height of over 25 metres and a distance of over 300 metres.

“When we were initially approached to take on this challenge we were a bit sceptical, but this quickly turned in to excitement,” said Dekker. “It was a great way for us to show the strength, versatility and durability of corrugated board, as well as the expertise and insight that goes in to creating any product, whether it’s a plane or a challenging packaging solution for one of our customers.”

This is another example of how Smurfit Kappa is set to ‘Open the future’ for its customers.  The new strategy focuses on delivering customer growth through insight and innovation, reflecting the continued battle for brand owners to win that all-important First Moment of Truth, where shoppers choose one brand over another.  It is brought to life through a dynamic microsite, where a series of films demonstrate how customers across the world have worked in partnership with Smurfit Kappa to create innovative solutions which have driven commercial success.  The new microsite can be visited at openthefuture.info, the home for new, shareable content which is updated regularly. 

Click here to visit our 'Open the future' microsite and see how our customers have worked in partnership with us to drive commercial success. 

Smurfit Kappa’s ingenuity flies sky-high with cardboard plane