BOBST Digital Printing – Scaling up the Enterprise

Mex, Switzerland – Start a new chapter in label production. This is a true story that will shape the future of the label world.

It all started with a clear vision and strong beliefs. In printing and converting machines, the best products are those with the fewest number of moving parts – the best industrial design has the simplest architecture and enables technological development. Based on these principles and after four years, the Bobst Group is ready to start a new chapter in the label industry that offers quality, productivity and the best economy without compromise.

BOBST did not participate in the first digital wave. But in 2017 the competence center for digital printing was founded by BOBST. The aim was to research and deliver the next innovations to transform packaging production. A new revolutionary MouventTM cluster has been developed over the past three years and is now being used in three commercially available digital label printing machines – the Mouvent LB701-UV, the Mouvent LB702-UV and the BOBST MASTER DM5. It took us three years from idea to end product and it was well worth the time and investment.

The new solutions will help label converters to fix important weak points.

Quality – MouventTM Cluster Technology

The BOBST quality is based on:
– 4 Fuji Samba printheads that can print native 1200 x 1200 dpi at a speed of up to 100 m / min
– State-of-the-art electronic layer for the millions of drops per second
– Ink conditioning layer with every single printhead ink supply located near the printhead
– Fully automatic flow control for each printhead for even printing at high speeds
– Mechanical layer and individual control of each printhead to ensure optimal alignment

In addition, with its oneINSPECTION technology, BOBST offers a unique digital visual control system to ensure that all labels are delivered in the highest and consistent quality from the first to the last quality for all orders and with each operator.

Combine quality and productivity
If you use 4 or 6 colors, or if you use white or special inks, MouventTM Cluster technology combines high quality with high speed at a level never before reached. To further substantiate our claim, we ran a real world test. In a single 8-hour shift with just one operator, we were able to easily execute a total of 21 separate jobs with 4 to 6 colors (some with white ink) on 4 different substrates (PP, PPE, transparent and metallized). You can find detailed information about the jobs in this article. A total of 13 x 2,000 meter rolls were used, comprising a total of 26 kilometers of substrates and delivering almost 1.3 million labels.

Color consistency
Color consistency during the job duration, job repeats and between different machines and locations is one of the greatest challenges in both conventional and digital printing. The BOBST oneECG technology uses advanced colorimetry techniques to analyze and digitize color information. Digital color information is stored for reference and accessed during the production request. Sophisticated color algorithms assign the color information for up to 6 primary colors and deliver up to 85% of the color gamut with a uniform color of up to 100 meters per minute. Thanks to digital color information, repeat jobs can be easily managed and color consistency across the entire job production is ensured by manual color scanning or even by a fully automatic visual inspection system for extended production lines. BOBST oneECG offers a unique color language that can control both digital and conventional colors. This closes the gap between simply moving jobs between the two printing technologies and enables a seamless brand experience on all BOBST printing platforms.

Inks and white ink
Inks belong to digital printing. While we all understand that ink interacts with the substrate, it has a significant impact on the printheads, associated electronics, and software required to ensure color consistency.
For decades, white printing was almost taboo for digital printing. It is believed that white is the flexo premise. That was partly true – the opacity and cost in the digital arena were indeed below expectations for a while. It took some time to deliver a solution. Now we deliver white ink with an opacity of 70% and a speed of up to 45 meters per minute. This is a world record in digital printing.

All Bobst Group inks are a unique formula to get the best results, but most importantly, to ensure the best total cost of ownership. The economics of digital printing is a sensitive issue for all converters and we decided to proactively manage it.

The rise of the digital was achieved in three steps: First, the digital had to deliver quality. Then digital had to achieve the expected productivity to compete with traditional technologies. After all, Digital had to deliver the right TCO in order to meet customer expectations again. We have worked on these 3 elements and are now leading the 3 categories. You can load all your short and even long runs and you will be amazed at the cost savings you can get on jobs that you would normally get on a flexographic press. The new inks from the Bobst Group are designed for inkjet as a standard technology and not for niche applications.

The most complete portfolio
In contrast to many other providers, the Bobst Group can rely on all technologies: Flexo, All-In-One and Digital. We don’t drive one technology against another – we simply offer solutions to optimize the entire production. The recently announced BOBST MASTER DM5, combining flexo units and the Digital MouventTM technology printing machine, is probably the best label printing machine on the market, delivering all types of labels from PDF to final roll. Priming, printing, embellishing, cutting – all-in-one, all-in-line. It shows that technology will coexist and that customer needs will be met with the most appropriate technology.

Sales and service organization
In order to effectively promote our innovative label solutions, we focus on a few countries with a dedicated sales team and the right service organization.

The focus will help customers tackle the digitization of mainstream label production.

The Bobst Group has 6 dedicated salespeople in Western Europe and the US. We are also expanding our presence as the demand for digital label printing grows in RSA, the Baltic States, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia.

Demonstration centers
To help customers see and touch the reality of the new label market where digital technology is becoming mainstream, we have four demonstration centers: Mex (our headquarters in Switzerland), Barcelona (Spain), Florence (Italy) and Atlanta ( UNITED STATES). On request, we can deliver personalized virtual demonstrations based on customer needs, time zones and languages.

Customer success and satisfaction
We closed 2020 with more than 20 printing machines sold. Some customers have multiple presses and they all find that they can now do things that were not possible before to meet their customers’ needs faster and more profitably.

Summary and Outlook
In 2021, we will continue to grow the business and believe that we are at the turning point for a new chapter in the label industry. The Bobst Group sets new standards in terms of speed, quality and cost. We offer the broadest product portfolio for flexo, all-in-one and digital platforms. We did what we said and we are ready to shape the future of label production.