21 June 2020 Digital Printing Technologies

Domino aims to repeat label success in corrugated

The Domino X630i is a 'good ordinary digital press" for corrugated converters, fitting alongside analogue print and finishing technology.

Domino Printing Sciences is hoping to repeat the success it has had in label printing with a move into digital corrugated printing.

The X630i was due for launch at Drupa, with the book open for early sales. A first customer will be box plant Independent II in Kentucky, whose president Finn MacDonald calls it “an every day digital solution that will be transformative for our business”.

The press is a four colour machine using Domino’s Gen 6 inkjet head technology, in turn based on Kyocera piezo heads. These deliver 600x600dpi and a throughput of up to 75m/min. Domino has applied the technology developed for the N630 narrow web inkjet press on this machine.

This includes iTech ActiFlow recirculating ink to minimise nozzle blocking, StitchLink’s system of micro motors to ensure precise alignment of printheads and CleanCap to automate printhead cleaning to reduce a manual process taking 30 minutes to 2 minutes.

It is printing with AQ95 an aqueous ink which meets the requirements of Swiss Ordinance, Nestlé and Eupia standards for food safe inks. The ink will print on kraft to coated surfaces without further priming or coating. This is because along with the colour pigments, the ink contains polymer particles which combine with the pigments to adhere to the surface of the substrate. On a coated paper these will give a semi glossy, litholam like finish.

The press has elements developed in combination with Sun Automation to result in a press printing on a sheet that can be 1.6 metres across and 3 metres deep. It will print 4,500 900mmx1500mm sheets an hour. The sheet is fed from underneath into the front transfer, passing a sheet cleaning unit, on to a vacuum belt, after registration on the front edge. The sheet is held by the vacuum beneath the printheads.

In the first model there are four printheads, though the product brochure shows a six colour array and the label press can have seven colours. The printed sheet is dried in a Near InfraRed unit and delivered to a stack. Both feeder and stacker can be loaded and cleared without stopping the press.

The machine has a footprint of 11.5 metres x 6.4 metres x 3.05 metres high. It comes with its own enclosure to maintain steady conditions and to keep the dust and other particles that are found in a corrugated packaging plant, out.

Domino has not named a price nor cost of ownership. It is intended to address a market for short run fast turn round corrugated packaging which is on the increase because of shelf ready packaging, e-commence, and the growing subscription model for retail.

It is a market with vast potential. Domino quotes figures where 73% of 255 billion square metres of corrugated is used in packaging, only 0.76% being printed digitally; 135.5 million tonnes of corrugated, 70% in corrugated and 0.75% printed digitally. 93% of the $133 billion spent on corrugated is on packaging with 7.9% within that printed by inkjet. In short, inkjet may only be printing a very small quantity, but achieves a far bigger share of the value. “Which is why companies are interested in inkjet, why Domino is launching this machine,” says Dr Sean Smyth, hosting the online launch event.

He points to trends which post-Covid will only accelerate: changing consumer behaviour toward e-commerce; brands looking for shorter supply chains for security; faster response to minimise inventory with cost remaining important. “It requires workflow, colour management and the ability to handle many, many jobs through post print processes,” he adds.

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Domino is launching a 'new business model' for corrugated printing with an inkjet press, the X630i, and it will be hoping to repeat the success with its move into inkjet label printing where Domino is among the leading providers.

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