drupa Day 4: Short Run Folding Cartons
Our last day at drupa ended up being full of promising packaging solutions, much more than we expected and we wished we could have extended our stay another few days. On the “here and now” front we had fascinating conversations with Flexo press maker Gallus in Hall 2. They give a first class presentation/demonstration of their ICS 670 press featuring inline foil, gravure, embossing, inspection and die cutting. In a 20 minute presentation they printed 3 jobs with different inks and images. Mike Pfaff of Gallus shared with us the increased interest he is seeing by carton printers who are looking to take process and makeready steps out of their carton manufacturing process. The carton samples from the demo run used High Quality Flexo. Click here to watch the machine in action here.
On the offset side we stopped by the Presstek booth in Hall 4 and saw the 75 DI, an offset press which straddles the digital/analog fence. The 75 DI images offset plates on-press, and can change over in just a few minutes. It is designed to be efficient for jobs of 500 to 20,000 impressions. Mark Sullivan, Group Product Director for Presstek told me they are seeing an increase in interest in this press by Folding Carton printers looking for short run carton relief.
Optimizing Folding Carton printing and finishing operations is also the goal of development efforts by the analog press and finishing systems manufacturers as well. Heidelberg, Komori, Mitsubishi, KBA, manroland Sheetfed, and Bobst all showed fast change over presses and finishing solutions that address the needs of the industry as they understand them for short run and plant efficiency.
Also showing short run digital solutions in the carton space, Xeikon in Hall 8a, continues to forge ahead with Folding Carton innovations with its 3000 series digital dry toner press. Increasing its product offering in packaging, Xeikon is also showing its ThermoFlexX line of flexo plate imagers.
While Xeikon plays the ‘here and now’ card very well, they also have a ‘futures’ trump card along with some of the other technology powerhouses. In their pre-show announcements we heard about a liquid ink toner called ‘Quantum’ which is being introduced now as High Viscosity Toner (HVT) technology now branded ‘Trillium’. Trillium is a new liquid image development system that is extremely fast. Shown as a technology demo in one color, Trillium will first be applied to commercial print applications. We did ask Mike Ring, President of Xeikon North America if they had packaging in their sights for Trillium, and he smiled and gave us a firm maybe…
While development efforts are strong around core technologies, the analog press manufactures have indicated (some more strongly than others) their intentions in embracing digital printing technologies as part of their product portfolio. Heidelberg, Komori and manroland made announcements before drupa of agreements with Landa to integrate the Nanographic technology into new press initiatives but Landa’s is not the only digital technology being integrated. Inkjet, the darling of last drupa, is still keen for integration as is liquid toner technology.
Digital printing for labels and packaging was the focus of last drupa and those solutions are now in use and have been proven in the marketplace. We look forward to the next 4 years where we will see these concepts become reality.
Get the details of our analysis by ordering our ‘Trends Assessment of Folding Carton Solutions Report’ which will be available on our website shortly after our return from drupa.
The report is a high level assessment of what we think the key developments are in digital printing and finishing for the Folding Carton Sector coming out of drupa. If you would like more information or be notified when the report is available, send us an email at email@example.com.