Memjet also had other partners at the show including RENA systems which had three systems on display including a table top roll feed label printer called the Mach X that is capable of printing on 10” diameter label rolls with widths up to 9” using water based dye inks. Also on display was RENA’s Mach 5 envelope printer as well as their latest introduction the Mach 8 sheet fed printer. The Mach 8 system is a sheet fed system aimed at augmenting manufacturing lines with the ability to add simplex color documents with print resolution from 1600×800 to 1600×1600 dpi or just about over 60 images per minute (ipm) or 30 ipm respectively. This sub $25K system is becoming commercially available now with a running cost of approximately 2.3 cents per page for ink and serviceable inkjet components for a typical business communication document with approximately 40%-50% ink coverage.
Continuing the path of adding color we saw additional systems by Atlantic Zeiser, HSA USA as well as a range of coding systems from Kirk Rudy.
The Atlantic Zeiser team was on hand highlighting their ability to use a 360 dpi print head ranging from the Omega 36 to the soon to be released Omega 330 covering a print swath from 36 to 300 millimeters. These enable marking and coding for systems that can be configured in line with manufacturing lines for products in the pharmaceutical industry for blister pack applications. But as with many other vendors in this market space, Atlantic Zeiser has their first offering in the color printing arena with the Gamma 70P a CMYK printer with UV curable ink. This 70 mm wide printer prints at 360 dpi and 8 levels of gray at 80 feet per minute. Atlantic Zeiser systems can be integrated into tracking systems that ensure process integrity, a critical element in delivering end to end solutions in their served markets such as the pharmaceutical industry.
At HSA USA we saw a range of systems integrated with print heads from the entry level HPO systems to a robust color unit comprised of Xaar 1001 print heads delivering 1000 active nozzles, 70.5 mm print swathe, 360 dpi, 8 grayscale, and 720+ apparent dpi. This system can be configured with various inks including solvent, oil, UV cured, or specialty fluids.
As we were leaving HSA USA we met with the Kirk-Rudy team where we witnessed the integration of card printing technology with RFID in a product tagging application intended for retail environments. In these sites, tracking of products and improved customer experience are enhanced via a card stock tag that is embedded with an RFID antenna and then personalized with printed information to create an informative tag. The systems verify the tag’s integrity, link the RFID tag with the product database, verify the code, and then add the printed data to match.
In our quest to find compelling new technologies on display on this first day of the show we looked at Packsize On Demand Packaging which takes sheets of corrugated board and cuts them into boxes of varying sizes automatically. This could provide a potential link to digital printing since the concept of on-demand corrugated packaging manufacturing goes hand in hand with on-demand digital printing. When combined, a potential converter or product manufacturer can harness digital manufacturing processes to eliminate warehousing and reduce the cost of multiple package SKUs. With a complete system introduced at the show Freebox technology by System Packaging was on display demonstrating the creation of corrugated boxes in various sizes on-demand. An interesting element of the demo, beyond the box manufacturing process, was that the boxes were preprinted with inkjet in green and white to reproduce the company’s logo on a green background. Additionally the system had an inline inkjet coding print head. Systems such as this combined with digital print technologies will have an ever growing impact on the packaging market as end user demand for increasing levels of customization increase.
Many of the products we observed on the first day of the show used the eco-friendly branding: gearedforGREEN. These products included garments produced from resinGEAR which is B2B line of sustainable products, all made in North America including a full line of eco-business clothing, and all made from rPET (recycled polyester from soda & water bottles). The recycled material is turned into fabric, sewn into garments, embroidered or printed using silk screen or direct garment printers. Forming a 100% recycled product, or as the group calls it, rPET (pronounced “repeat”) garments.
After an eventful first day at PackExpo it is clear that digital printing technologies and on demand production are ushering an era of innovation that is enabling brand owners to deliver value to clients while improving operations, reduce impact on the environment, while maintaining safety, shelf appeal and graphics richness.