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A real eye-opener for converters at Koenig & Bauer Durst SPC Open House

Paper prices and shortages, varnishing topics and how brands are driving digital production forward in corrugated markets were all among headline topics in Koenig & Bauer Durst’s third SPC Open House.

Introducing paper weight reductions to reduce costs and consumption are powerful arguments for converters to continue to shift production towards digital packaging, particularly double-digit price rises hitting companies in the past few months.

Converters from across mainland Europe were welcomed to the Durst Innovation Center East in Lienz, Austria, for an event described as a ‘real eye-opener’ by Robert Posch, Operations Manager at Rondo Ganahl in St. Ruprecht, which is experiencing annual growth in digital volumes of between 25-30% a year. Rondo has never looked back since becoming one of the early adopters of the Delta SPC 130 single pass press from Koenig & Bauer Durst.

“Run lengths are getting smaller and smaller. The world is changing to digital production – there is no doubt about that,” said Mr Posch. “Right from the beginning, we started moving shorter existing runs from offset and flexo to digital printing, which has had many benefits. First, it is easy to print on uncoated paper, and it is also possible to run 80 to 120 linear metres a minute – with no scratches. There are no quality challenges or defects at all with production jobs run on our Delta SPC 130. We find that uncoated media works better for us in digital than flexo, and we need no primer.”

Mr Posch added: “The decision to print digitally is based on speed, more precisely the cycle time through the plant, because brands increasingly need to get products to the markets quicker, as opposed to waiting 7 to 14 days with conventional production. Our target is always to be with the customer within one week, often it is even within only a few days. An example of customers benefiting from digital corrugated board production is our long-running, exclusive partnership with Lindt Sprüngli for its seasonally varying displays in Austria.”

Robert Stabler, Managing Director of Koenig & Bauer Durst, said: “It was a privilege to be able to discuss with converters first hand the challenges they are facing with paper shortages, price increases and potential mitigation strategies. The level of paper price increases would have been unimaginable two years ago, with one converter experiencing a 15 to 20% price increase since December last year.”

“The other major insight for me from our SPC Open House is that with a totally non-crush process, top feeding of boards, ink jetted primer, inkjet printing and no overprint varnish (OPV) required, converters believe they can reduce topliner paper weight with the digital process on our Delta SPC 130 single pass press for corrugated markets.”

Mr Stabler added: “Digital printing, in essence only printing what you want, when you need it, has always been a technology with strong sustainability credentials and an opportunity to reduce paper consumption. Now adding paper weight reductions to further lower cost and consumption is very powerful.”

Koenig & Bauer Durst’s next SPC Open House in Lienz on 12 May 2022 will also feature customer experiences and a forum debate.