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BOBST Digital Printing - Scaling up the Business

It all started with a clear vision and firm convictions. In printing and converting machinery, the best products are the ones with the least number of moving parts – the best industrial design has the simplest architecture and enables an evolution of technology. Based on these principles and after four years, the Bobst Group is ready to open a new chapter in the label industry delivering quality, productivity and the best economics with no trade-off.

BOBST did not participate in the first digital wave. But then, back in 2017, the digital printing Competence Center of BOBST was created. The intent was to explore and deliver the next innovations to transform packaging production. A new revolutionary MouventTM Cluster has been designed over the last three years and is now deployed in three commercially available digital label presses – the Mouvent LB701-UV, the Mouvent LB702-UV and the BOBST MASTER DM5. It took us three years from the idea to the final product and this was worth the time and investment.

The new solutions will help label converters to address major pain points.

  • Quality – MouventTM Cluster Technology
    BOBST quality is based on:
    - 4 Fuji Samba Printheads capable of printing native 1200x1200 dpi up to 100m/min
    - State-of-the-art electronic layer driving the million drops per second
    - Ink conditioning layer where each individual printhead ink supply is close to the printhead
    - Fully automated flow regulation control for each printhead ensuring consistent print at high speeds
    - Mechanical layer and individual control of each printhead to ensure best alignment

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

  • Combining quality and productivity
    If you are using 4 or 6 colors or if you are using white or special inks, MouventTM Cluster Technology combines high quality with high speed at levels never achieved before. To further support our claim, we conducted a real-life test. In a single 8-hour shift with just 1 operator, we easily achieved a total of 21 separated jobs using 4 to 6 colors (some with white ink) on 4 different substrates (PP, PPE, transparent and metallized). You can see full details of the jobs in this article. In total, 13 x 2,000-meter rolls were used, totaling 26 kilometers of substrates and delivering nearly 1.3 million labels.

  • Color Consistency
    Color consistency during job length, job repeats and between different machines and sites, is one of the major challenges in both conventional and digital printing. BOBST oneECG technology utilizes advanced colorimetry technics to analyze and digitize color information. Digital color information is stored as reference and recalled during production request. Sophisticated color algorithms will assign the color information for up to 6 primary colors delivering up to 85% of the color gamut with color uniformity, up to 100 meters a minute. Digital color information makes repeat jobs easy to manage and color consistency across the entire job production is guaranteed by manual color sampling or even with a fully automated visual inspection system for advance production lines. BOBST oneECG is offering a unique color language that can drive both digital and conventional color, thus bridging the gap of moving jobs easily between the two printing technologies and enabling seamless brand experience across all BOBST printing platforms.

  • Inks and white ink
    Inks are inherent to digital printing. While we all understand that ink has interactions with the substrate, it has major implications with the print heads, the related electronics and the software required to guarantee color consistency.
    For decades white printing was almost taboo for digital. There is a perception that white is the flexo premise. This was partially true – the opacity and the cost in digital were indeed not matching expectations for a while. It took some time to deliver a solution and now we deliver white ink at 70% opacity at up to 45 meters a minute and this is a world record in digital printing.
    All the Bobst Group inks are a unique formula to deliver the best results but more importantly to ensure the best TCO. The economics of digital printing are a sensitive topic for all converters, and we took the decision to manage it proactively.

  • TCO
    The rise of digital has been accomplished in 3 steps: first, digital had to deliver quality. Then, digital had to meet the expected productivity to compete with conventional technologies. Finally, digital had to deliver the proper TCO to again deliver against customer expectations. We have worked on these 3 elements and we are now leading on the 3 categories. You can load all your short runs and even long ones and you will be amazed by the cost savings you can generate on jobs that normally you would put on a flexo press. The new Bobst Group inks are designed for inkjet being a mainstream technology and not for niche applications.

  • The most complete portfolio
    Unlike many suppliers, the Bobst Group can rely on all technologies: Flexo, All-In-One and Digital. We do not push one technology versus another – we simply offer solutions to optimize the entire production floor. The recently announced BOBST MASTER DM5, combining flexo units and the Digital MouventTM Technology print engine, is probably the best label press on the market, delivering all type of labels from the PDF to final rolls. Prime, print, embellish, cut – All-in-One, All-in-Line. It shows that technology will co-exist and that the customer needs will be met using the most appropriate technology.

  • Sales & Service Organization
    To promote our innovative label solutions in an effective manner, we focus on few countries with a dedicated sales force and the proper service organization.
    The focus will help clients to embark on the digitalization of mainstream label production.
    The Bobst Group has 6 dedicated salespeople in Western Europe and USA. We are also expanding our presence as the demand for label digital printing is growing in RSA, Baltics, Brazil, NZ & Australia.

  • Demonstration Centers
    To help customers to see and touch the new label market reality where digital is becoming mainstream, we have four Demonstration Centers: Mex (our headquarters in Switzerland), Barcelona (Spain), Firenze (Italy) and Atlanta (USA). And we deliver personalized virtual demonstrations on request accommodating customer needs, time zones and languages.

  • Customer success and satisfaction
    We closed 2020 with more than 20 presses sold. Some customers have multiple presses and all of them are discovering that they can now do things that were previously not possible, to meet their clients’ needs faster in a profitable manner.

Summary and outlook
In 2021 we will scale up the business further and we believe we are at the tipping point for a new chapter in the label industry to be written. The Bobst Group sets new standards in speed, quality and costs. We offer the widest product portfolio across Flexo, All-in-One and Digital platforms. We did what we said, and we are ready to shape the future of label production.