Bobst shares glimpses of its new technologies

Swiss packaging printing and converting equipment manufacturing giant, Bobst has unveiled a slew of packaging solutions aimed at taking forward its vision to shape the future of the packaging world, the company had envisaged a year ago.

12 Jun 2021 | By Noel D'Cunha

Bobst: We cannot wait to demonstrate how our vision becomes a reality

Announce a pack of ten packaging solutions on 9 June 2021, through a webcast, Jean-Pascal Bobst, CEO at Bobst Group, said, all the solutions are built on the four cornerstones of connectivity, digitalisation, automation, and sustainability. It will help our customers to deal with the packaging production transformation.”

He added, “We developed an ambitious vision and one year on, we are rolling out new solutions to help brand owners and converters to deliver better quality, efficiency, control, in a sustainable manner at a time when these qualities have never been more important.”

Announcing first up, Bobst said, the Bobst Connect is a new brand-new cloud-based platform that will help its customers to monitor the equipment as well as manage the performance of the equipment. “It will offer new digital capabilities to our customer – to prepare, produce, react, maintain, and optimise production,” said Léonard Badet, head of Group technology at Bobst Group.  

Bobst Connect enacts as a link between the production equipment and the digital ecosystem

The new Bobst Connect versions will be released from time to time to become a link between the production equipment and the digital ecosystem. As part of the first release, the customers will be offered two digital services.  The customers will be offered a dashboard, permitting the customers to monitor the equipment, and second, it will offer detailed insights and analysis regarding the equipment’s performance and productivity. “With this platform, our customers will be able to remotely access all the key metrics, the most accurate machine data regarding the health of the machine and the production status on the shop floor. They will also be able to, for instance, track the overall equipment efficiency per job, that time period, and even the shift. They will also be able to understand the root causes behind common productivity losses, and this is how we intend to share our process knowledge, with our customer,” said Badet.

Next enhancements to the Bobst Connect platform will include – workflow integration for jobs and recipes management, tooling management solutions and maintenance management.

In the folding carton segment, there was the Expertfold 110 A3 version and the Novafoil 106 hot foil stamper.

Bobst said, if you see from the outside, you see that there is no change in the machine, but over the last four decades, the net output has increased dramatically. “The new version features newly integrated modules for the dedicated production of crash-locks and four- and six-corners, which simplifies and shortens settings when changing box types. This reduces setup time during changeovers by as much as 80%. It allows companies to produce an impressive number of box styles in a wide range of materials, producing cartons at speeds of up to 450 meters per minute, with very short makereadies and changeover times for maximum uptime.”

Expertfold 110 A3 version boasts a production speed of up to 450 meters per minute

Hot foil stamping has been a major activity for Bobst in the folding carton arena. And though hot foil stamping has suffered as a result of high output gold stamping on offset presses, Bobst still see a good opportunity. “It’s still a strong segment and that is why we have launched the Novafoil 106,” said Bobst.

So what makes Novafoil 106 different compared to the previous generations of Bobst and its competitor’s machine? This machine can be fully connected, step by step, to the Bobst Connect, and the data, how you want to improve and put your stamping on the paperboard,” said Bobst.

The Novafoil 106 is also the first inline foil stamping machine from Bobst feature a cross-foiling section allowing the machine to be used for embossing, debossing, hologram application and even die-cutting.

Novafoil 106 is Bobst's first inline foil stamping machine 

Also introduced were the Accuregister, an optical cut-to-print register which will be available on the Novacut 106 range; a set-up time reduction Pack, a 15-inch screen on anyone purchase a Bobst 106 size die-cutter, which will help faster setup procedure of Bobst optical register system automatic pallet lifting within the feeder for each job setup and improved HMI ergonomics such as an easier process for automatic non-stop grid; a digital inspection table for folding carton 106 formats; Mastercut 1.65, a machine designed for litho-laminated converting – and handles carton and corrugated board as well as litho-laminate, making it one machine for all jobs; and Speedpack, an automatic packer available on Expertfold 145/165, 170-350 and Masterfold 170-350m automatically counted, stacked and banded, and form bundles of the folded and glued boxes ready for palletisation.

In the flexible packaging segment, Bobst launched the OneBarrier family of sustainable substrates it has developed with its partner. “One key project within OneBarrier is focused on developing EVOH-free solutions for high barrier full mono-material polyethylene (PE), whereby maximizing the amount of PE, we provide a packaging structure that is recyclable and economical while ensuring exceptional barrier performances,” Bobst explained.

Accuregister is an optical cut-to-print register system

The Vision RS 5003 gravure press addresses specific customer needs, said Bobst. In India and other regions, for example, converters are looking to improve their sustainability credentials while also looking for high-speed presses with automation features that make life easier for the operator. The Vision RS 5003 fulfils these needs and more. Automation solutions and smart trolleys make job preparation fast and easy, while the total automatic pre-register setting (TAPS) enables fast machine set-up and minimum waste independent of the press operator skills,” said Bobst.

Further, in association with Siegwerk, Bobst has also developed water-based applications for its gravure presses, utilising Siegwerk’s new formulation water-based inks. “The partnership with the ink manufacturer aims to provide ink formulas that have already set unprecedented performance and quality levels in gravure printing, and which have much lower VOC content than many current alternative water-based offerings on the market. These solutions will ensure that Bobst customers can improve their sustainability, comply with the latest regulations and remain one step ahead addressing new regulation effectively.”

The Vision RS 5003 gravure press addresses specific customer needs such as sustainability

While some of the machines will run at a speed that 20% faster than the previous generation machine, the cost increase may not be as much. Bobst said, when we say 20% more throughput, we are not pretending. “It’s something we want to measure and we will do it with the Bobst Connect.” However, Stephan März, head of BU printing and converting, said, the good news is that we will not have an overall increase of 20%, but since we are investing a lot in helping our customers to get more output, there is a value of this, and there we will want to have a fair share of the kit.”

While most of the equipment manufacturers suffered as a result of the pandemic, Bobst Group too was severely impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown. The sales reached CHF 1.372-billion in 2020, a decrease of CHF 264million. While the operation results were down CHF 44-million as against CHF 81-million, the net result was CHF 17-million, as compared to CHF 53-million in 2019. However, an outstanding cash inflow from operating activities of CHF 160-million (CHF 55 million in 2019) allowed the Group to turn a net debt position of CHF 59 million in 2019 into a net cash position of CHF 4 million in 2020.