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Mondi customer workshop: Digital printing will have a role to play in the future packaging paper sector

At FachPack 2016 Mondi, the international packaging and paper Group, briefed the customers and press on a variety of technical printing options and services provided by the company through its Print Competence Centre – including a live lab show of some of the tests performed there.

During the presentation Mondi’s technical experts, Serhiy Luzan for Containerboard and Petr Jindra for the Speciality Kraft Paper segment, outlined the most crucial factors when selecting a paper grade that offers both excellent strength properties and high-quality printing results. “Well-printed packaging that is appealing to the eye and perfectly reflects the brand’s personality always starts with the right choice of paper. Besides the print process itself, good-quality printability is largely defined by a combination of the paper’s physical and chemical properties,” explains Serhiy Luzan, Technical Sales Service Manager Mondi Containerboard. “At our R&D Print Competence Centre we focus on finding ways to develop and optimise our paper grades’ printability. Strategic partnerships with research institutes, universities, raw material suppliers and original equipment manufacturers help us anticipate market trends and new technologies while achieving our goal of creating solutions for our customers’ success.”

By way of a live lab demonstration, customers and journalists were able to see how the various key properties are measured and learn about some of the quality parameters that customers need to consider when choosing a paper grade that prints well and affords good protection:

1. When it comes to paper-based packaging, strength is a must in almost all applications in which protecting customer goods is crucial. Burst strength is a key strength indicator that is measured as the force required to overcome the paper’s resistance to rupturing when placed against a pressurised rubber membrane.

2. Every paper consists of fibres. Formation is a measure of fibre density across a paper web and serves as a guide to print outcomes. Paper with better formation has a more homogeneous structure with less fibre density variation, which gives rise to more consistent printing results. 

3. Surface roughness is another key factor in determining whether a paper is compatible with high-class branding or more likely to deliver only commonplace printing results. The smoother the paper, the more consistent the ink laydown and the smaller the unprinted areas. These attributes contribute to better print quality.

Paper-based packaging: migration from analogue to digital?
Paper-based packaging is predominantly printed by analogue printing techniques, such as flexo and offset, but in recent years digital printing has emerged as a new option in the packaging market. The final test demonstrated by Mondi’s technical experts in the workshop examined how print quality can be affected by different printing techniques. In particular, they examined how printability can be evaluated in the context of analogue and digital printing.

Looking at market studies[1] that preview the development and role of digital printing for paper-based packaging in the future, Florian Stockert, Sales Director Containerboard, summarised the development by saying, “We see that digital printing will have a role to play in the packaging paper sector in the future. That’s why we are monitoring the development of this topic and pursuing opportunities for both containerboard and speciality kraft paper very closely. From several perspectives Mondi occupies a very good starting position in view of the paper grades in our portfolio that already fit the bill for high-quality flexo and offset printing. In addition, our Print Competence Centre provides us and our customers with the best R&D facilities for printing issues, and we possess a wealth of digital printing knowledge that is shared throughout the company.” His remarks were echoed by Gerhard Pachler, Sales Director Speciality Kraft Paper Mondi Europe & International.

Excellent paper grades for high-quality printing results
Within its Containerboard segment, Mondi has a special Appearance portfolio dedicated to high-class printing, including the grades ProVantage Komiwhite, ProVantage Baywhite and ProVantage Prestigewhite. Depending on the end-use – mainly corrugated packaging – and customer needs, these grades combine strength and high-class printability to deliver a premium appearance.

Mondi Speciality Kraft Paper offers paper grades for special applications, such as bags and shoppers, that perfectly reflect brand personality and project an attractive image to consumers. These include Advantage Smooth White Gloss and Strong, and MG kraft paper grades in both brown and white. They benefit not only Mondi’s own customers, but also its customers’ customers – the retail brands.