BOBST has been part of the folder-gluer landscape almost as long as it has been making machinery.
Having the right equipment for the job is vital in any industry, but is particularly important in the high-pressure environment that is packaging manufacture. "Companies like ours which supply equipment to this very demanding industry need to have a keen sense of what problems packaging manufacturers face right now and what problems they will face in the future," explains Jacques Reymond, Head of Product Marketing for BOBST sheet-fed products, which include its folder-gluer lines. "We have to understand what the issues are so that we can carry out the research and development needed to keep our customers ahead of the game."
Having launched its first folder-gluer in 1942, BOBST has a long history of innovation and spends a higher percentage of its turnover on research and development than any other company in its sector. "We often say about BOBST, with plenty of justification that innovation is in our DNA. We are always looking beyond our industry to find solutions to the problems that our customers face. For example, our recently launched ACCUCHECK unit, which checks every single carton for print and surface defects, is built on high speed video scanning technology that, on the face of it, is a far cry from folding and gluing a piece of cardboard. However, it is the product of our 20 years of experience in print inspection gained from the Registron® quality inspection systems we developed for our Champlain gravure and printing presses.”
ACCUCHECK is designed to add 100% quality checking to folder-gluer lines such as BOBST's EXPERTFOLD models, the latest version of which has been designed specifically with the needs of pharmaceutical packaging manufacturers in mind, explains Jacques Reymond. "They need high outputs and unimpeachable quality to satisfy their drug company clients. The new EXPERTFOLD 50 incorporates many of the innovations we have developed over recent years in a package designed to excel with smaller cartons. For example, its C.U.B.E.3 control system manages features such as box-stream regulation which contributes to the faster running and higher speeds that today's carton makers need, while it’s Accufeed unit ensures that blanks enter the folding section in perfect alignment – something which is vital for ensuring high accuracy folding"
Jacques Reymond says that the BOBST approach to innovation leads to totally new machines such as the EXPERTFOLD 50, but also means that improvements to existing, successful, products are also developed. "You can see this in the ACCUBRAILLE GT module which we recently launched. It is the latest generation of our ACCUBRAILLE rotary Braille embossing unit which broke new ground on its launch in 2007. It's been a highly successful unit and we expect the GT to do the same because it brings extra functionality."
Still in service
This desire to innovate stems right from the inception of the company almost 130 years ago when a young Joseph Bobst moved to Lausanne, Switzerland, where he planned to find work as a typographer. Realizing that the graphic arts industry in the area had no local suppliers, Bobst opened a shop where printers could purchase both materials and machinery, going on to secure the agency for Schmidt Frères, a leading name in printing inks, and Koenig & Bauer, today’s KBA. The success of a workshop that Bobst opened to maintain and repair equipment led him and his son Henri to develop and manufacture their own machines for the growing print industry. This led directly to the development in 1918 of the AV (Auto-Variable) to print and then in-line die-cut simple straight-line boxes, which was followed in 1940 by the BOBST AP 900, the world’s first automatic die-cutter and ancestor of all modern Autoplaten ® die-cutters. Two years later BOBST launched the PCR 382, its first folder-gluer.