Bobst gets cracking at the Drupa pre-media conference

Bobst sets the ball rolling in the right direction with new strategy and technical innovations to show at Drupa 2012. Noel D’cunha reports from Bobst plant at Mex in Lausanne, Switzerland

10 Apr 2012 | By Noel D'Cunha

Zero-faults, low waste and high productivity are some of the key target areas for Bobst, which specialises in supply of machinery and services to packaging manufacturers in the folding carton, corrugated board and flexible materials industries.

Since taking over as the CEO of Bobst Group Jean Pascal Bobst in 2009, the Group has embarked on a new Group Strategy, which can be summarised as a focus on growth (in service and products for the medium-segment), on product platforms with new innovations, and the application of lean processes throughout the Group.

Bobst’s operation today employs around 5,000+ personnel in manufacturer and service of its products produced across 11 facilities in eight countries housing manufacturing and assembling machines for production that has produced 30,000 units. And the new Mex Competence Centre, presently under construction, demonstrates Bobst’s commitment to working closely alongside its customers. At the Competence Centre, customer visits are completely tailored to their requirements and individualised for both the processes and solutions. The facilities provide the ideal environment for customers to carry out R&D trial runs and laboratory analysis, without disrupting their planned production schedules in their factories.

And perhaps what best defines the company’s “can do” attitude is its vision for digital solutions in packaging: from digital printing to converting to tackling global competitive pressures, according to Bobst. “We have been working on the providing digital solutions for the past eight to ten years,” says Bobst. “Innovation is key to success. You may say this is a buzzer word. But I assure and will show you that in action. Innovation is in our hearts and one of our core quality and core business success.
Indeed, over the last year, the company has upped its sales in local currency terms despite volatile currenty; clocked higher sales in all packaging sectors: folding carton, corrugated board and flexible materials.

All under one roof
Bobst now will have a new brand identity, one, which according to Bobst will reflect the company’s corporate focus and mission and will be be united under one brand: Bobst.

“When Asitrade, Fischer & Krecke, Martin, Kochsiek, Rotomec, General came in to the Bobst Group fold, we effectively brought these leading brands under one roof, but we did not share a common identity,” says Bobst. “Today with the new logo, we are increasing clarity for our customers, drastically improving communication channels and strengthen the organisation,” says Bobst. “We believe our new logo and group strategy shows the transformation that has been underway since 2010 to make us a more market-driven, customer-focussed company that is focussed on helping our customers succeed in their markets.”

Drupa novelties
At Drupa, Bobst will showcase innovations that apply major technology advances to a range of application. These include: Quality Control devices, colour matching devices and service solutions.

In the sheetfed segment, Bobst will address the markets from food packaging to pharma with its zero-fault experience and increased efficiency.
On display will be the Expertcut 106 PER die-cutter fitted with Smart Feeder II and a one-touch setting feature for non-stop grid, two of the seven new features on the machine. Deliveries for Expertcut 106 PER will start beginning 2013.

In the hot foil stamping segment, Bobst will unveil the Expertfoil 142, which Bobst claims to be the only dedicated foil stamping press available in the size VI format. Interestingly, visitors will be able to view Bobst’s flagship hot foil stamping press, Masterfoil 106 PR running live at Koch & Glasder in a location very near Dusseldorf Messe. The Masterfoil 106 PR is equipped with Power Register II, which enables foil to print registration and a Foil Touch System, which ensures foiling with lower heat and less pressure.
In folding and gluing, Bobst has developed a new approach to processing cartons after the application of glue. At the plant, the Masterfold 110-A3 ran the new developments, showing extended capabilities of in-line Braille application.

Philippe Milliet, head of the business unit for sheetfed at Bobst, says: “To ensure operational efficiencies are maximised, our customers are looking for solutions which will enable them to drive productivity, quality and sustainability, in one word reliability, in their packaging deliveries. At Drupa 2012, we will unveil our latest innovations to support them in this process – from increasing net production and efficiencies to reducing costs and waste.”
In the webfed, Bobst will showcase printing machines, laminating equipment and process control systems that will enable productivity gains in equipment operation.

While equipment and systems might differ in their approach to specific technology challenges, the guiding concept being efficiency of solutions devised should be user-friendly design that allows saving time. Bobst will premiere one such machine, the new Fischer & Krecke 20SIX flexo press which will be equipped with SmartGPS version. A 10-colour version will be demonstrated during the show at its technology centre in Bielefeld, Germany along with SmartCOL, a colour matching system.

Another highlight from Bobst is a brand new configuration of the Rotomec 4003HS press equipped with Twin Trolley system for improved logistic of ink, reduced makeready time and waste. The machine will be demonstrated at Rotomec Technology centre in S Giorgio Monferrato in Italy. The twice-a-day SL 1000 duplex laminator equipped with Hawkeye demonstration will provide the visitors an opportunity to see the density and pinhole detector system for metallised film.

Erik Bothorel, head of business unit for webfed, says: “These products will showcase our commitment and ability to improve the efficiency and added value of our equipment. Our innovations are rooted in a deep understanding of our clients’ markets.”

And in services, Bobst will introduce ten new upgrades and maintenance solutions and remote services. Stephan März, head of business unit services for Bobst, says: “Our objective is to become the benchmark service provider in our industry by 2015. We will commit to this objective with highly competent people in the field and with strong back office support, which together will allow us to respond to our customers’ daily needs.”

To ensure this commitment, Bobst has announced that it will recruit an additional 80 field technicians and will deliver 8,000 days of training every year to all technical staff.

A further development in services innovation to be announced at Drupa is a range of Smartphone apps, which will allow Bobst customers to track downtime, remotely monitor machine performance and display the production status of their Bobst equipment.

To measure the effectiveness of all initiatives, Bobst plans to institute a programme called Net Promoter Score, which will allow Bobst users to mark the performance of the business unit services. “We are not taking this commitment lightly, which is why we want our customers to be the judges as to whether we have succeeded,” says Raphaël Indermühle, head of marketing and sales for business unit services at Bobst.

Trends and forecast 2012-2016
According to Bobst, packaging is an important to brand strength because it is “the closest the brand can get to the target consumer”. “It is a powerful marketing tool because it can create a brand identifies, embody brand equity and influence consumer decisions.”

Graham Moore, strategic consultant manager for paper and board, who was present to discuss the future of paper packaging, says, “The use of paper is on the decline, but not in every application. In contrast paper is, and will remain, a dominant packaging material with 38% of world’s packaging production by materials constitutes paper.”

In the overall packaging market by region, Asia with 29% remains the largest consumption region. “This market is expected to continue to grow in the next five years,” says Moore. Paper-based accounted for 9.9% of global flexible packaging consumption (2011).  Moore further states that the largest end- use sector (by sales 2010) is food and drink applications while healthcare related packaging expected to have highest growth rate over next five years.

And the trend in board and paper packaging, according to Bobst, is the brightest in India with 9% in consumption of carton board, followed by China at over 8%. “For the BRIC countries the combined growth the forecast is 7.9% over period 2010-2016. The total market value in 2016 should be nearly $100 billion, up by nearly $20 billion over 2010,” he says.

The rebranding and revamped business strategy for Bobst means increased flexibility and reduced cost, according to Bobst. Now it is ready to ramp up its presence in high-growth markets like India and China.



Updates on Drupa 2012

This article was published on 9 April 2012 and received 131  views