Every supplier was riding on the bandwagon of connectivity, cloud computing and automation through the smart use of data, and trying to make a statement in line with the ‘fourth industrial revolution - Industry 4.0’.
Functional and 3D printing too had their fair share of the limelight at the show.
Undoubtedly, digital printing, especially inkjet, caused bigger ripples this time than it did in 2012, with more of working models and less of prototypes being demonstrated.
Plus there was a focus on labels and packaging.
With all these themes and trends overlapping one another, evidently enough, the less-talked-about corrugated packaging sector surfaced as a key focus of leading suppliers with a slew of digital printing solutions being launched to tap the potential of this sector.
Interestingly, digital printing is the fastest growing segment in packaging with a projected annual growth rate of 17 percent in a market expected to be worth USD 19 billion by 2019, according to a Smithers Pira report.
Let’s look at what Drupa 2016 had on offer for the makers of the humble brown box.
EFI Nozomi C18000
Deriving its name from the fastest train service running on the Tokaido/Sanyo Shinkansen lines in Japan, Nozomi C18000 is EFI’s first dedicated single-pass corrugated press.
The Nozomi C18000, an LED-based single-pass corrugated press, is an entirely new machine and was a collaborative project between a number of EFI businesses, including Jetrion, Cretaprint, Vutek, and Fiery, as well as its ink development and cloud computing (India) divisions.
The 1800mm wide inkjet press is said to run at speeds up to 75 linear metres per minute, that is 8,100sqm/hr and, uses EFI’s cool-cure LED technology. The highly automated line can run the 14pt board (0.4mm) up to the full range of corrugated flutes, including the triple wall. It uses an inline primer unit and is available up to seven colours, including white, has a 1.8x3m bed and a maximum resolution of 360x720dpi.
EFI is pitching its Drupa-premiered Nozomi C18000 as a “complete replacement for analogue”. This 37m- long, 8m-wide machine uses Seiko four-level greyscale printhead technology with full recirculation, running specially developed EFI inks.
Beta machines are set to go in later this year and commercial shipping will begin in early 2017. Pricing is yet to be finalised, but according to EFI, it is expected to come in under USD 3m.
Durst Rho 130 SPC
Durst, the industrial inkjet specialist, is launched its single-pass and multi-pass printing systems for corrugated cardboard manufacturers and converters. The highlight is the new Rho 130 SPC which offers the industrial productivity needed in the packaging sector.
The Rho 130 SPC can be configured with up to six colors and has a maximum printing width of 1300 mm. Up to 12 mm thick corrugated cardboard and paper media can be printed with a maximum resolution of up to 800 dpi at a print speed of up to 9,350 m²/h
Alongside the cost-efficient production of shelving and sales packaging in small and medium-sized job runs, the Rho 130 SPC also supports sampling, customisations, and versioning– without set-up costs. With the development of a non-hazardous ink system based on Durst Water Technology, Durst is also already addressing the future directives for sustainable packaging products in the food retail sector.
The Rho 130 SPC is based on the latest generation of single-pass printing systems which Durst is already using in the label printing segment, for instance, with the Tau 330
HP PageWide C500 Press
HP targeted the corrugated market with the launch of the PageWide C500 press at Drupa.
The highly automated sheetfed, single-pass C500 was not on display at the show, however, the manufacturer was making serious discussions with potential buyers. The press, which is understood to designed to handle standard corrugated board sizes of around 1.8x3m, will go into beta next year, and begin commercial shipping in 2018.
According to HP, the C500’s main strengths will be image quality, versatility, and direct-to-board simplicity.
At the show, HP announced that Smurfit Kappa, a leading paper-based packaging solution provider, has entered into a strategic collaboration agreement with HP to further develop the HP PageWide C500 Press.
The company will work closely with HP to develop the new press, providing unique production insights into the specific requirements for corrugated post-printing, and plans to roll out the new solution in its European plants.
BHS and Screen collaborate
The corrugation machinery specialist BHS and digital equipment manufacturer Screen Graphic and Precision Solutions announced an exclusive partnership to develop the BHS Corrugated Inline Digital Printing Solution for corrugated box plants.
According to a press statement, a new company, Screen GP IJC, has been established to develop the print engine technology that will be integrated into the new digital print solution.
The single-pass, aqueous inkjet system will print onto widths up to approximately 9-feet wide at speeds of up to 984 feet per minute. It will be available as an option for new BHS Corrugators or as an upgrade to existing installations. Integrating digital printing in line on the corrugator will bring two main value propositions: quick turnaround to enable fast and flexible order processing and saving on the total cost of ownership.
The alpha installation of the BHS Corrugated Inline Digital Printing Solution is planned at a customer site in 2018.
According to the manufacturer, unlike other digital print solutions on the market, the BHS Corrugated Inline Digital Printing Solution will be real time reel-to-printed sheet process, which is an integral part of the corrugated board manufacturing process.