16 December 2018 Business

Bobst prepares for further shift to digital

Equipment coming from the Swiss packaging specialist is designed to meet the needs of a sector experiencing vast change.

Bobst is promising new products from its Mouvent digital print unit next year, following success with its first digital textile printing and label printing machines.

The Mouvent operation burst on the scene in the middle of 2017, showing two inkjet presses at Labelexpo that year. Its approach is based around a core cluster modular inkjet print unit that can be incorporated in a number of configurations for different applications.

The first to come to market was the textile printer and there are now six machines in operation. The first customer installs of the label press have also taken place. “We believe this is the start of a fundamental change in the industry in terms of how labels are produced in a fast changing world, where on demand and customisation are daily requirements,” the company says.

“Development on further products has advanced well and additional products are about to be launched next year, which will widen the product portfolio of packaging solutions.”

However, the Swiss packaging specialist is also pursuing development in its more traditional gravure, flexo and finishing markets. The same pressures for shorter runs, faster turnarounds and sustainability are having an impact on converters, the company says.

It summarises: “A noticeable trend throughout 2018 was the consistent feedback from our clients that the role of packaging is changing. While protecting the goods is still the number one priority, it needs to be done in a more sustainable way.

“There is also greater demand to process thinner materials and to propose digitalised machines. With the rapid expansion of e-commerce, our customers’ packaging production requires more productive and more flexible machines without compromising on quality. As brand owners use packaging to stand out on the shelf and to appeal to customers, the demand for better colour control, shorter production runs and repeat orders is growing, putting more pressure on converters to automate packaging production.”

This has resulted in strong demand for the Digital Inspection Table launch during the year. This overlays a digital representation of an approved sheet on the print to highlight any deviations from the agreed print or from a die cut forme.

The corrugated sheetfed print business expects zero-fault packaging to become a mandatory requirement thanks to the rise in commerce and the packaging to protects goods and the end customer. This is creating a demand for extended colour gamuts and high quality print, going hand in hand with a reduction in non recyclable packaging. Bobst’s THQ FlexoCloud has brought what it describes as “a quantum leap in the flexo print process” through a combined approach calling on other partners to deliver predictable results.

The rise of ecommerce has also created demand for the Masterfold 230 speciality carton gluer. While extended colour gamut printing was behind the launch of the 20Seven CI flexo press.

Gareth Ward

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The Bobst Digital Inspection table is one of a number of developments that is helping the Swiss suppliers customers cope with the changing nature of the printed packaging market.

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