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Bobst opens Flexo Center of Excellence

Bobst hosted an open house at its new Flexo Center of Excellence at Bobst Bielefeld in Germany, giving attendees the opportunity to experience the entire flexo process from start to finish.

This Center has been extended to include a pre-press room, specifically for extended color gamut (ECG) for wide-web CI flexo presses. All of Bobst’s industry partners are present here, ensuring the integration of all the elements that combine to make a flawless end-to-end process.

Mark McInulty, managing director, Bobst Bielefeld, said: ‘Bobst Bielefeld is now the ultimate Center of Excellence. It provides an invaluable central facility for testing and continuous development of the ECG process for Bobst and industry suppliers in our open-partnership system. The Center helps our CI flexo printing customers to maximize the advantages derived from the implementation of the ECG process to the fullest.’

According to the company, the use of ECG is growing steadily. The process uses three additional ink colors – orange, green and violet (OGV) – on top of the conventional colors of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK), enabling a match with more than 90 percent of the Pantone book, compared with approximately 60 percent previously. For a converter, its adoption means no more changes of inks and resulting washing of print decks, no need for a huge ink inventory for storing spot inks, no time wasted in ink mixing and a guarantee of color consistency for jobs that are run a long time apart or in different parts of the world.

Bobst equipment shown at the open house included Vision CI press, Expert CI press, the Digital Inspection Table, and connected services.

  • Vision CI: The press was launched in October 2019. It is fast and easy to setup and change over, it features technical innovations, automation and exclusive smart technologies that ensure repeatable process consistency with water or solvent-based ink printing, minimum waste and easy manufacturing for all run lengths, on a wide range of substrates.
  • Expert CI: This CI flexo press maximizes process consistency, making it a great fit for the requirements of the 7-color ECG printing process. The press delivers stable and controlled printing results and high productivity with both solvent and water-based inks. Attendees were able to see the Expert CI print sustainable flexible pouches made from new high barrier mono-material laminates, which were first revealed at K 2019.
  • The Digital Inspection Table: A novel quality control technology that incorporates digital projection for proofing purposes, whilst providing real-time visual representations to match product with digital proofs.
  • Connected services: Attendees saw some of the solutions from the Bobst Services team, which help printers to optimize productivity and quality, while reducing downtime and environmental impact.

Open House visitors experienced the entire flexo process from file to the printed reel by talking to various Bobst partners at different stations about different topics, starting from the pre-press facility that houses latest generation equipment shown live at the event:

  • U. Günther Prepress illustrated its capabilities in packaging design-to-print process with its connected services and cost reducing systems, delivering optimized performance for an efficient design-to-ECG print process.
  • Miraclon: The pre-press room houses a Kodak Flexcel NX Wide 4260 system for production of Kodak Flexcel NXH plates. Miraclon helps to meet the challenges of ECG printing with patented plate technologies that enable ink transfer to be controlled and optimized for a defined process print condition.
  • Glunz & Jensen: The pre-press room houses a Flex-i-Pro 470 plate-making machine, along with the hot air dryer Concept 401D and the exposure unit 401 ECLF for large flexographic plates 1200 x 1530 mm.
  • Esko: The pre-press room houses an Esko XPS Crystal 4835 exposure unit, a Kongsberg X20 cutting table and the complete pre-press software required to produce ECG print ready files. Together with Bobst, Esko puts the spotlight on the value created by their partnership, showing attendees on how they can drive their own business forward on the journey of digital transformation, be it in customer communication, prepress editing, workflow automation, color management or business integration.

Other partners illustrated their technologies and knowledge within the framework of the harmonization of all the elements that concur to achieving the best and most efficient results with ECG printing.

  • Rossini’s contribution to the ECG project are Starcoat Light sleeves, and Fastbridge adapters.
  • Lohmann presented the DuploFLEX5 range of plate mounting tape.
  • Zecher explained that optimizing and influencing the consistent and reproducible print quality through the help of an anilox is a major differentiator.
  • Daetwyler presented MDC-Gamutstar, the blade specifically designed for the ECG process.
  • Flint Group discussed the powerful possibilities of ECG printing in flexible packaging for delivering greater adaptability, shorter lead times, higher quality and higher definition. Flint Group supports the ECG project with its FlexiPrint solvent-based inks which were used in the print demonstration on the Expert CI flexo press.
  • Follmann spoke about the cost-efficiency of water-based ink printing and their positive contribution to CO2-reduction. Follmann inks were used in the print demonstration on the Vision CI flexo press.
  • X-Rite Pantone’s presentation focused on color consistency control in ECG printing and how its industry-leading technology, designed to streamline the digital color workflow process, support packaging converters in profiling their press to get accurate fingerprint data.

Presentations were followed by print demonstrations on the Vision CI and on the Expert CI flexo presses equipped with all the latest technologies presented by the partners in the ECG open partnership project. Quality control of the print samples was made on the Digital Inspection table, while connected services were demonstrated live in the Bobst Bielefeld Training Center facility.

‘Every single partner we work with brings so much to the table in terms of innovation and optimizing the flexo process,’ said Mark McInulty. ‘The Open House is the perfect example of seamless collaboration in action – many companies coming together to combine their expertise and resources to create an optimized experience for our customers. We are delighted to work with all of our partners and to welcome them to the Center of Excellence.’