Bobst North America Inc.

Swiss company chooses Bobst for successful launch into hot foil stamping

The secret of success for Läser AG from Gontenschwil, Switzerland, is flexibility in premium product manufacture. The packaging printer uses the latest BOBST technology for hot foil stamping, folding & gluing and die-cutting, further boosting flexibility, while productivity and production reliability are also improved.

“We send many of the printed products to Germany. This didn’t happen by accident,” says Jürg Läser, who has every reason to be pleased about the sustained cross-border success of his company. Jürg has headed Läser AG since 1991, the second generation to run the family firm since it was first established in 1952.

“When looking to invest, we always look for that little something extra,” says board member and plant manager Alfred Kälin, indicating how at the Gontenschwil plant they are trying to stand out from the competition. He explains that they can create packaging solutions for unique requirements that other printers may not be able to handle. He adds that there is plenty of scope in the finishing stage for creating premium printed material.

When it was time to modernise the company’s folding box production unit, Läser decided to branch out into hot foil stamping. In mid-2012 three BOBST machines were installed – a VISIONFOIL 104 hot foil stamping machine, along with a MASTERFOLD folder-gluer and an EXPERTCUT 106 PER flat-bed die-cutter.

“The BOBST VISIONFOIL 104 was an elegant solution for our launch into hot foil stamping, because we can also use it for die-cutting and stripping,” is how Jürg Läser describes the machine, which converts into a die-cutter in a matter of minutes. With a stamping format of up to 1,010 x 702 mm, The VISIONFOIL 104 integrates seamlessly with the production process, which is in 70/100 format throughout. As Alfred Kälin explains, “We were surprised by the incredibly high stamping quality we were able to achieve using the machine after just a short time. Our customers are particularly pleased with the mirror, gloss and metallic effects and the relief printing.” Stamping is used just about everywhere, from chocolate, Champagne, cosmetics and food & drink packs, to sales brochures for cars, etc. Throughputs of up to about 5,000 sheets per hour can quickly be achieved – in full format and with eight foil webs.

Greater flexibility with the die-cutter and folder-gluer

“The MASTERFOLD and EXPERTCUT 106 PER are universal machines, so they met our needs perfectly,” says Jürg Läser, explaining why he chose these machines. For him, the SPEEDWAVE GT device – an optional extra for the MASTERFOLD – is one of the best features of BOBST’s most flexible and productive folder-gluer. Complex lock-bottom boxes can be folded and glued perfectly at maximum speed, even if they have openings and windows or unusual shapes. In principle, the machine can fold and glue more than 3,000 different box types made of solid board, corrugated board and plastics. As Alfred Kälin explains, “The folder-gluer has a modular structure providing a wealth of options for the future – for example ACCUBRAILLE GT braille embossing.”

Läser also made considerable gains in terms of precision - even print register differences being counteracted. “Features like the Power Register II system in the EXPERTCUT 106 PER mean that we can now guarantee unmatched accuracy for our customers,” confirms Alfred Kälin. The EXPERTCUT 106 PER and the VISIONFOIL 104 are based on the patented Autoplaten concept from BOBST. Their platens with camshaft drive ensure that quality remains high even at maximum production speeds, while accurate and stable power transmission saves wear and tear on the tools. As for the MASTERFOLD, apart from its reliability, it offers all the options of in-line quality control even at maximum speed. “The entire folding box production department has become more reliable. We have cut our error rate to the absolute minimum,” says Alfred Kälin.

The machines also have the benefit of short setting-up times. “BOBST have developed a range of intelligent options to minimise setting-up times for material changes, retooling and C.U.B.E. reconfiguration. This is a crucial factor these days, as print runs get smaller and jobs change more frequently.” Examples include the foil control system, straightforward job preparation in foil handling, and the MSS console of the VISIONFOIL 104 with a large colour touchscreen making it easy to program, store and retrieve jobs. According to Jürg Läser, his company clearly has to be in full control of the many different processes it offers to its customers. This is why it is so important for the technology to be user friendly.

“The costings for our machinery were extremely tight. That’s why we had to be sure there would be no extended downtimes,” says Jürg Läser, explaining another important factor. He goes on to say that the BOBST technology is renowned for its robustness and reliability, while the service team is never far away if the worst should happen. Anyway, Alfred Kälin and his team can always use the new remote app to access the EXPERTCUT 106 PER’s control system!