Bobst North America Inc.

A great success at K 2013: the innovative solutions and services offered by BOBST for the production of flexible packagings

K 2013 was a resounding success for BOBST. In addition to its presentations in Düsseldorf, the company had invited existing and prospective customers from all over the world to concurrent Open House events at the BOBST Technology Centres in Bielefeld (Germany), Manchester (UK) and San Giorgio Monferrato (Italy). The focus at all these locations was entirely on innovative solutions from BOBST for printing, coating and converting flexible materials. These innovations give packaging manufacturers new capabilities for improving the productivity, quality and reliability of their production processes, while at the same time reducing both the costs and the environmental impact. All in all, several hundred companies from more than 50 countries visited BOBST, including a substantial number from emerging countries such as India and from the Middle East. A good 60% of the visitors were new customers. Contracts for numerous projects were finalised. In this respect, the key fields involved included the BOBST solutions for coating and metallizing materials for flexible packagings, as well as entry-level solutions for gravure printing.

While activities on the BOBST exhibition stand at K 2013 revolved around technology demonstrations, the BOBST Technology Centres focused on offering hands-on sessions addressing the subjects of flexo printing and laminating, vacuum metallizing, and gravure printing and laminating. Live demonstrations of the company's latest machines were given to this end. The newest offerings from the BOBST Services Business Unit likewise attracted lively interest – especially the innovative services offered, such as the 'Boost my BOBST' programme. On the one hand, this programme offers customers attractive options for improving the performance of their installed machines and maintaining it at the highest possible level in the long term. On the other hand, it also includes possibilities for using technical innovations to enhance the flexibility of installed machines and thus cover new customer demands.

"Despite the difficult situation of the global economy, the market for flexible packagings is proving to be highly dynamic. Manufacturers of branded goods are constantly in search of innovative solutions that enable them to further improve the attractiveness and functionality of flexible packagings. Both aspects are key to consumers' purchasing decisions. At K 2013 and the Open House events at the Technology Centres, BOBST presented a host of innovative possibilities for packaging manufacturers to proactively meet the permanently growing demands of the market. This applies to clear coatings with excellent barriers properties, for instance, where BOBST is the world market leader. Another example is the latest generation of the ROTOSIL high-speed silicone coating line, which is used to manufacture release liners which are used for products for the automotive and aerospace industries, as well as other sectors," said Eric Pavone, Business Director of Business Unit Web-Fed at BOBST. K 2013, too, underlined the fact that: "K is the ideal exhibition for our industry and thus for our innovative solutions." BOBST once again had the opportunity to spotlight the very high quality of its products and services. The same goes for the company's commitment to decisively advancing technical progress by massively investing in research and development – particularly in the market for flexible packaging – thereby giving its customers the competitive lead they need.

In Bielefeld, BOBST presented a number of unique technical innovations for flexo printing. Almost 100 visitors saw live demonstrations in which an F&K 20SIX was used for CMYK and white printing of two 'trendy', very high-quality petfood packagings made of 12 µm PET, including on-the-fly job changing at full production speed. Both jobs were prepared using the smartGPSTM offline registration and impression setting system, meaning that the high productivity of the F&K 20SIX could be exploited to the full and waste significantly reduced. The sophisticated design of the F&K 20SIX makes it a highly efficient flexo press, even for producing very short runs of flexible packaging. As part of a further live demonstration for the first time in Bielefeld, a CL 850D multi-technology laminator was used for duplex lamination of the flexo printed 12 µm PET reel with 6.35 µm aluminium foil at a speed of 430 m/min. Beyond this, the BOBST presentations in both Bielefeld and Düsseldorf also included the CI Cleaning Unit retrofit kit, a completely automated cleaning system for the chromium-plated central impression cylinders of CI presses. Likewise on show was the Print Unit Calibration Cylinder, a tool for high-precision calibration of flexo print units, ensuring perfect parallelism of the cylinders with micrometre accuracy and synchronising the length and side registers.

The Open House at Bobst Manchester on 15 October was attended by a good 60 visitors from around the globe, including many from North and South America, Africa and India. The latest generation of the General K5000 vacuum metallizer celebrated its world première at the event. One highlight of the live demonstrations was the BOBST General Hawkeye - Pinhole Detector, which sets new standards in the field of inline quality control in vacuum barrier coating. Operating at full metallizer speed, Hawkeye offers reliable, real-time detection, counting and categorisation of pinholes and other defects from 0.1 mm upwards. The system thus decisively improves the barrier properties of the substrates for packaging films and decorative applications. The second demonstration focused on the AIOx process. BOBST uses standard aluminium metallizing machines as the basis for clear barrier coatings, thus permitting flexible processing of a host of different films, such as PET, BOPP, CPP or PLA. Examples of typical applications for the coated films include baked goods and microwaveable products.

The BOBST Technology Centre for gravure printing and the coating and laminating of flexible materials in San Giorgio Monferrato likewise welcomed visitors from all over the world. Its presentation included the Rotomec 4003MP with shaftless cylinders, a cost-effective and highly productive rotogravure press. This new configuration rounds off the various options of the Rotomec 4003 platform, which is the commercially most successful range of gravure presses from BOBST. Designed for the production of medium runs of a wide range of printed flexible packaging materials, the Rotomec 4003MP is also suitable for other applications such as decorative printing and security printing. By adding complementary operations, such as solvent-based or solventless lamination or in-register cold seal coating, it can moreover be flexibly configured to create a multifunctional production line.