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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Packaging and Labelling lead times slashed for brands with Esko Content Management Solution

Content Management in WebCenter from Esko is making significant time and cost savings for brands, with one multinational customer reducing its end-to-end labelling lead time from 14 weeks to just 14 days with structured content.

As a result of the global pandemic, consumers now place significantly more value on food safety and hygiene, according to McKinsey1. As brands adapt their packaging and labelling to meet changing regulations and legislation, it’s essential that speed to market must not come at the cost of accuracy to maintain consumer trust and confidence.

Matthew Haws, vice president global marketing at Esko Brand Solutions, said: “In reality, many businesses are still working with disconnected processes, which is a real minefield when it comes to approvals. In the case of heavily legislated industries, such as pharmaceuticals for example, it slows lead times down if multiple stakeholders are struggling to track various versions of both content and artwork for approval.”

The content management function of Esko workflow management software, WebCenter, which includes both packaging and structured elements, makes it simple for teams to specify, manage and reuse content to be used in artwork designs by connecting content and workflow directly in the artwork creation process.

Miraclon continues to expand the boundaries of flexo with PureFlexo printing launch

Miraclon, home of Kodak Flexcel Solutions, today hosted its first Miraclon Innovates virtual event to introduce PureFlexo Printing, which enables Kodak Flexcel NX System users to produce high-quality flexo print within a wider operating window on press by controlling unwanted ink spread in ways never seen before. Designed specifically for wide web solvent ink on film applications, PureFlexo Printing maximizes press efficiency, repeatability and overall performance while enabling printers and prepress providers to experience cleaner print, stable color and a better bottom line for their business.

Emma Schlotthauer, Chief Marketing Officer at Miraclon, comments: “For brands who rely more than ever on the power of packaging to connect with customers, brand consistency and eye-catching flexible packaging is increasingly important. Printers need solutions that help them meet the ever-expanding demands of graphic reproduction, without needing to operate at less than optimum production speeds or risking press downtime from continual adjustments and unscheduled stoppages. A wide print latitude is the key to profitable production. PureFlexo Printing addresses a core technical issue – unwanted ink spread – which helps to widen print latitude and reset the quality-efficiency balance.”

Print latitude, unwanted ink spread and why printers should address it
Printers get the best out of their press machinery when they have the flexibility to run uninterrupted. They need wide latitude (also referred to as the operating window) and a robust process to manage production efficiently as a narrow latitude means small changes can push a print run out of acceptable quality or tolerances. By resisting unwanted ink spread, PureFlexo Printing gives printers the power to keep the press running with a low risk of getting to unacceptable print.

Monday, August 2, 2021

Kodak Flexcel NX System Sets NS Digital Flexo on the Path to Flexo Pre-Press Success

“I think flexo is both the most challenging industry, and the most rewarding. The more you put in, the greater the benefits.”

For Shyam Sundar, partner at Hyderabad-based flexo prepress specialist NS Digital Flexo, meeting the challenges — and helping customers reap the benefits — started in March 2020, when the company opened for business with a new Kodak Flexcel NX System, supplied and supported by Miraclon.

Sundar describes NS Digital’s service offering as “all things flexo — wide web, labels, folding cartons, corrugated.” A notable feature of the company’s philosophy is the effort and time it puts into building relationships with customers and showing them the potential of the Flexcel NX System. Explains Sundar: “We really engage with each customer, so that we can see things from their perspective, and truly understand their current capabilities and practices. Then we show them how simple adjustments to their production practices — fingerprinting the press, for example — can improve efficiency without additional investments or press set-ups, because if we can work with the available resources, we save customers time and money.

“Next, we explain the further improvements and enhanced benefits achievable with Flexcel NX plates — how we can change anilox rollers and inks, reduce impression and generally introduce better control into the press environment.”

Efficiency made easy
With the Flexcel NX System it’s relatively easy for NS Digital to help customers become more efficient, Sundar continues. “The biggest benefit for us is the simplicity of making Flexcel NX plates. The flexo process can have many variables, but the Flexcel NX System either eliminates them or makes managing them really simple, which yields substantial savings throughout the whole packaging printing process. So as a service provider we can be totally confident we can provide customers with consistent, repeatable results. It also makes it easier to solve any print issues that arise, because we can eliminate the plates as a cause straightaway. With other solutions, the investigation is more complex — is it the file, or the software, or processing, or exposure, or the press?”

Sandy Alexander Installs “Flagship” Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 106 at Clifton Location

Sandy Alexander, a nationwide provider of integrated multi-channel graphic communication solutions, has installed a new Speedmaster XL 106-8P with Push-to-Stop technology from Heidelberg at its Clifton, NJ headquarters. The press, which is Heidelberg’s newest generation of Speedmaster machines, demonstrates Sandy Alexander’s continual commitment to providing the most technologically advanced solutions for its customers.

Despite the challenges that COVID-19 brought upon much of the printing industry, Sandy Alexander set a firm focus on its future when it began investigating new offset press options in 2020. “In good times and bad, we are committed to investing heavily in the company and in our customers,” said Mike Graff, CEO & President of Sandy Alexander. This commitment is in part why the fifty-five-year-old company was recently ranked #37 on Printing Impressions Top 350 list and why it has retained some clients for as many as thirty-five years.

Providing the best for its clients is also why Sandy Alexander selected the latest generation Speedmaster XL 106-8P for its newest investment. The new XL 106, which replaces an aging machine in the company’s Clifton facility, will be the “flagship” press for Sandy Alexander, who hopes to shift much of the offset work it produces for its high-end cosmetics, fashion, automotive, travel and entertainment, and restaurant clientele onto the machine. According to Graff, “Sandy Alexander has always ensured that it has the best equipment available. We look to Heidelberg as the leader in technology and high-quality print. We truly believe that this is the best machine out there.”

Having excellent rub resistance to water, oil, and solvents, the film has a high image density and optimum image quality

Cosmo Films Ltd., a global leader in specialty films for flexible packaging, labeling, and lamination applications as well as synthetic paper, re-launches BOPP based Direct Thermal Printable (DTP) Top Coated Film, with a proprietary coating which enables the formation of an image or impression on the film upon contact with the heated print head of a thermal printer.

A film specially designed for niche applications like information labelling (airport baggage tags etc.), inventory tracking, frozen food labeling, and parking ticket applications with a potential to grow in many new applications as well. This is part of the many specialty films offered by the company. A non-tearable, cost-effective, and extremely easy-to-use film offers a marvellous paper like matte finish producing a fine and sharp dark image on printing.

With no involvement of additional high equipment costs, the film is available in thickness varieties of 70, 75 and 95 microns. The film is designed in a way that it protects the privacy and primacy of sensitive information as the sensitive data is always imaged directly onto the BOPP DTP films.

On the product launch, Mr. Pankaj Poddar, CEO, Cosmo Films Ltd. said, “Being a global leader, we aim to keep growing exponentially and thrive to bring innovative products to our customers. The direct thermal printable film is extremely easy to use, and there are no additional high equipment costs. According to several reports, the global Direct Thermal market was valued at 491.2 Million USD in 2021 and will grow with a CAGR of 5.7% from 2021 to 2027. We look forward to being a big part with our innovation in the direct thermal printing market.”

Monday, July 19, 2021

The New Bobst Expertfold 110 A3 version is a real time-saver for converters

Bobst has unveiled a new, multi-purpose version of its Expertfold 110 folder-gluer offering greater versatility and unrivalled time-saving benefits to packaging converters. The Expertfold 110 A3 incorporates new integrated dedicated modules to produce crash-lock and 4- and 6-corner boxes. With these modules, job changeovers, from one box type to the next, are simplified and made faster.

Pierre Binggeli, Product Line Director Folder-gluers at Bobst said: “Bobst is pushing production versatility and efficiency to an even higher level with this new version of the Expertfold 110. Set up times are reduced by a huge 80%, drastically shortening changeover times and optimizing uptime, which is a great advantage when dealing with short run requests.

“The Expertfold delivers a carton production speed of up to 450 meters per minute and when running 4-corner boxes, it can produce up to half a million boxes per day! This is a superb machine in terms of performance and precision for the folding and gluing of all types of folding carton boxes, enhanced even further with the integration of dedicated modules.”

Bobst has continually innovated the machine over the years to ensure it meets the needs of packaging converters as the market evolves. The A3 version is the newest configuration to the Expertfold 110. Until now, the range includes versions for the production of straight-line boxes, crash-lock bottom and 4- and 6-corner boxes. However, the same module is used for each box type and, as a result, changeovers may take longer because most of the tooling and conveyors need to be swapped out. With the Expertfold A3 version, the new dedicated modules simplify changeovers and, thus, reduce them significantly.

The Expertfold 110 enables an impressive number of box styles to be manufactured in a variety of materials. Over the years, Bobst has introduced innovative devices which enable operatives to simultaneously carry out inline processes. For example, the recently introduced AccuCheck quality control system that supports the manufacture of zero-fault packaging or the GyroBox rotation device that enhances efficiency, flexibility and performance of the folder-gluer even further.

The Expertfold 110 can also be fitted with a range of peripherals to boost productivity further and create an automated, high-performance folding-gluing line. These include the EasyFeeder/ Batch Inverter 4 motorized pre-feeder and the CartonPack 4 high-performance packer. Thanks to these peripherals, the reduction in manual workload also improves the working conditions for the operator and will help avoid issues with repetitive strain injury and other work-related health problems.

“With dynamic and sometimes volatile market conditions, the Expertfold 110 brings both flexibility and quality to production lines,” added Mr. Binggeli. “The new A3 has been designed to make the operator’s job easier and quicker without compromising any of the performance and capability benefits. It’s a win-win for our customers and their customers too.”

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Heidelberg underlines leading position in largest growth market at China Print Trade Show

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) underlined its leading position in the most important growth market at this year's largest industry event, China Print, which took place in Beijing from June 23 to 27. Over the five days of the trade show, several tens of thousands of interested parties visited the trade show and the company's booth. The presentations of Heidelberg's latest solutions were literally overflowing with a total of 8,000 registered participants.

The world premiere of the new Speedmaster CX 104 sheetfed offset press was the highlight of the trade show and confirmed Heidelberg's innovative strength and technological leadership in a challenging market environment. With the new press, the company aims to further expand its strong position in the growing packaging segment and meet the growing demand for flexible printing systems with different automation solutions and variants in the commercial sector. Heidelberg also showcased a wide range of solutions along the entire value chain in the customer life cycle with intelligent solutions and products.

"The reaction of customers in China to our innovations has been nothing short of euphoric," said Rainer Hundsdörfer, CEO of the company. "Even before the start of series production of the CX 104, we had orders for more than 500 printing units of this series worldwide, a large proportion of them from China. This proof of confidence and the high demand from China give us tailwind for the current fiscal year."

The Chinese production site in Shanghai has been running at full capacity for months, and capacities will be further increased in the current fiscal year due to the high order intake. Around 900 employees currently work in sales, service, and production in the country. In the medium term, Heidelberg's sales in China in the printing industry's largest single market are expected to rise from around € 300 million to over € 360 million by 2026.

Successful customer approach on site and digitally
In addition to the on-site trade show booth, the digital presentation of innovations and solutions is increasingly in demand in China. To complement Heidelberg's live presence, there was a digital exhibition of the booth with a VR 3D exhibition hall, on social media, numerous live streamings, B2B e-commerce offers, and the shows on the web. Thus, the comprehensive content was broadcast in various formats, bringing seamless online and offline experiences to all visitors. In the process, more than 25,000 trade visitors interacted with the digital "Heidelberg Show," 40 percent of them completely online. With a total of 700 minutes of live streaming over five consecutive days, a total of 400,000 viewers were reached. The "Digital Show" concept enabled all customers to receive comprehensive information on site and online despite travel restrictions caused by the pandemic.

“We are far ahead in the market. No one can deny that Heidelberg booth was the most attractive place of the exhibition. The number of visitors to the Heidelberg booth and the feedback from our customers confirm that we are market leaders in China with our solutions. The vision, strategy, offerings, and digitalization competence demonstrated in the show proved that Heidelberg is the partner for the Chinese printing industry in the future. We are running with full speed running into a digital era,” added Benny Huang, Head of Heidelberg China Ltd.

Lecta presents its new release liner papers, Linerset CCK and Linerset CCK Duo

Give your challenging pressure-sensitive applications a strong base with Linerset, Lecta’s new release liner. The Linerset paper range guarantees high performance for all your self-adhesive materials in labelling, graphic films, tapes and industrial applications.

Linerset CCK and Linerset CCK Duo are the first products from this new release liner range. Linerset CCK is a one-side clay-coated release paper for siliconization with good dimensional stability and lay-flatness. Available from 55 to 135 g/m2 , lower substances are generally used for labelling and the higher substances for graphic film applications. Linerset CCK Duo is a two-side clay-coated release paper for siliconization with a special reverse side treatment. With good dimensional stability as well and extra layflatness, the 120 to 135 g/m 2 substances from have been specially developed for graphic film applications.

Additional Linerset glassine and Linerset SCK release liners will also be available soon in order to expand the new Linerset range.

The Linerset launch is the culmination of a strategic transformation project begun by Lecta several years ago to diversify production at its Condat mill, one of the leading employers in the Périgord – France region. This plan entails the transformation of a large paper machine (Line 8) from coated woodfree paper to release liner manufacturing and the acquisition of a new supercalender. The project, with an investment of more than 80 million euros, makes Condat one of the most modern, efficient and environment-friendly factories in Europe today.

With Linerset, Lecta is developing a complete, high-quality portfolio of specialty paperbased solutions for pressure-sensitive products with the aim of becoming the supplier of choice for siliconizers, PSL producers and converters.

Further details on Linerset CCK and Linerset CCK Duo are available at 

Blue Circle Packaging – A new label for biodegradable products

Alpla is bundling its biodegradable packaging solutions under a new brand. Home-compostable coffee capsules are the first product available on the market. Hard – The Alpla Group, a global packaging producer and specialist in recycling, is consolidating its developments in relation to biodegradable packaging solutions under its new Blue Circle Packaging label. Home-compostable coffee capsules are the first product available on the market.

Under the Blue Circle Packaging label (, Alpla will offer its customers packaging solutions that are all biodegradable and thereby contribute to sustainability. This is based on plastics made of renewable raw materials. ‘We see the establishment of our own label which includes all of our products made from biodegradable materials as a clear commitment to our activities in this future market. They are a recyclable addition to our existing packaging solutions,’ says Nicolas Lehner, CCO of the Alpla Group and responsible for global sales.

In line with the circular economy             
The establishment of Blue Circle Packaging goes hand in hand with the holistic approach taken by ALPLA, whereby all product areas and packaging solutions should be developed with a view to a functioning circular economy. One important field of research (Replace) involves the use of alternative materials made of renewable raw materials.

Home-compostable coffee capsules      
With the first product from the Blue Circle range, Alpla is offering its customers home-compostable coffee capsules. The coffee capsules produced using injection moulding are characterised by their technical and aroma-preserving properties – and on top of that, they are also compostable at home. With the TÜV certificates OK Compost Home and OK Compost Industrial, they are suitable for disposal in home compost as well as in the organic waste bin.*

Joint venture for coffee               
In conjunction with the coffee roaster Amann Kaffee and the agency Silberball, ALPLA founded the start-up Blue Circle Coffee ( It offers roasting houses and smaller coffee suppliers extensive expertise in roasting, filling, packaging and marketing coffee in home-compostable coffee capsules. Consumers can also order three varieties of the company’s own Blue Circle coffee line via an integrated web shop.

*To dispose of them in the organic waste bin (industrial composting), please contact your local waste management company and enquire about waste disposal in accordance with the EN 13432 standard.