Competence 18, this year’s Open House event at Bobst, attracted over 600 visitors, including many of the leading packaging and label manufacturers and converters in the industry. The event, which took place 5-8 June 2018 at the Competence Center of Bobst Mex, Switzerland, promised to show the “Solutions for the challenge of tomorrow,” addressing key trends facing packaging converters, such as the need for shorter runs, greater versatility, e-commerce and constant innovation.
“We develop our solutions with our customers in mind and all the direct feedback we receive at events like this helps us to improve even further,” said Philippe Milliet, head of business unit sheetfed. “Many attendees were surprised by the pure breadth of what Bobst offers. Bobst is an expert in substrate processing, converting and printing, and it was very rewarding being able to demonstrate several of the company’s most innovative solutions first-hand, and to talk with visitors about the very tangible difference we can make to their businesses, now and in the future.”
Attendees were able to see live demonstrations of selected key Bobst machines, and to hear from Bobst Services on some exciting developments.
Highlights included the live demonstration of folder-gluer EXPERTFOLD 165 with the automated packer SPEEDPACK, the natural extension of a corrugated folder-gluer. SPEEDPACK bundles a large range of box formats and types, from solid board up to double wall corrugated board boxes, delivering perfect and smooth high-speed packing.
There were live demonstrations of MASTERCUT 106 PER and MASTERCUT 145 PER: the most automated and productive die-cutters on the market. These high-speed machines deliver fast, uninterrupted production – indeed, unbeatable productivity in size IIIb and size VI respectively – with a superb quality of the finished product. The MATIC system on the MASTERCUT 106 PER drew a lot of attention – it allows the highest degree of automatic operation available on any diecutter.
In addition, attendees had the chance to see EXPERTFOIL 142 in action, the only genuine size VI hot-foil-stamper in the world,and the only one with 600 tons of embossing pressure. It allows users to put more blanks on every sheet – up to six in format VI instead of only two in format IIIb – meaning margins can be increased on a whole range of jobs.
MASTERFOLD 230 with its modular design, single box set-up and superb reliability, was another popular machine demonstration. With GYROBOX XL, it can rapidly produce complex designs in a single pass, particularly e-commerce boxes.
On the printing side of things, a static module of M8 LEMANIC inline flexo printing press was available at the event. Folding carton converters who attended were pleasantly surprised with its heavy-duty manufacturing and advanced technologies, and recognized the extreme convenience of in line printing and converting, from a web substrate. The high level of digital automation was commented upon, and converters saw the technology as ideal for both web to sheets and web to diecutting, for short, medium and long runs.
With printing samples available at the event, there were many questions from converters about the simplicity of the flexo process vs offset, and how it is possible to achieve the print quality on display. Visitors were impressed by the sheer ease of using flexo technology compared with offset, and the greater consistency in the end result.Visitors heard more about recent evolutions in prepress, plate and anilox technologies and the improvement in the performances of printing presses, which today are able to deliver these consistent results with limited intervention of operators. Visitors learnt more about THQ FlexoCloud, a fixed color palette solution for corrugated board post print applications, considered a quantum quality shift in post-print flexo. For postprint flexo on corrugated board, THQ brings unmatched quality at lower cost in one pass.
The Extended Color Gamut (ECG) processwas a hot topic, in particular the digitization of color matching. Converters were surprised that flexo could achieve what offset in the past years had tried for years with limited success. They recognized the immediate advantages in flexibility and time-to-market when using the ECG technology in combination with Digital Automation in flexo presses.
Several of Bobst’s unique service offerings drew a lot of attention as well, in particular the new Digital Inspection Table, a novel technology designed to drive quality assurance, productivity and virtually remove print production errors. The Tooling solutions on show were also a constant attraction for die-makers and converters alike, with continuous demonstrations of the various pieces of equipment that optimize productivity on any diecutter.
“These Open House events really do feel like inviting guests into our home,” said Philippe Milliet. “It is such a privilege for us to be able to demonstrate our passion and innovation to people who can really benefit from it, and we are thrilled with the positive comments we have heard from all the attendees.”