Screen makes major move into packaging
Technology innovator Screen GP is launching new print solutions for the packaging sector for folding carton, corrugated, and wide web flexo, setting itself up to be a major player in the field.
The company is launching the PacJet FL830 water-based inkjet printer for flexible packaging, it is continuing its project with BHS to develop a 300m/min inkjet corrugated press, and it is working with Inca Digital in the UK to develop a single pass inkjet carton press.
The imaging powerhouse already has a digital label press, the TruePress Jet L350UV – sold here through Jet Technologies – which can also produce printed carton and some flexibles, but the new presses take Screen into the centre of the digital packaging field.
Peter Scott, managing director of Screen GP Australia, said, “In identifying packaging print as a major growth area of the graphic arts, Screen has conducted extensive research and development to bring sustainable, digital, variable, and versatile on-demand production targeting folding cartons, corrugated and flexible packaging in addition to labels.
“This is not an intermediate step-up; it is a whole new approach to flexible packaging based, not only on short-run dynamics but also addressing real FMCG market demands of rapid time-to-market with high quality vibrant packaging, clean, sustainable production by-passing the platemaking stage and the ability to vary the printed content to suit variations in the product packaging such as flavours, versions and marketing needs.
“The first new product is a new high-speed, water-based inkjet system specifically designed for the flexible packaging market, the PacJet FL830, which is currently scheduled for release around autumn 2021, just in time for drupa.”
All three systems - flexo, corrugated and carton - will represent a significant investment from users, however Scott says that the relatively small size of the Australian market will be no major barrier, he said, "There is opportunity here for sure."
The new high-speed, water-based inkjet printing system is designed for flexible packaging, and can handle media up to 830mm wide, at speeds of up to 75 meters per minute. It is capable of printing at a resolution of 1,200dpi, using CMYK and White water-based inks that conform to relevant food safety regulations. Screen said these features allow it to deliver both the safety and rich colour expression that is essential for the food products industry.
The company said thanks to its quality and productivity, the PacJet FL830 is able to meet a wide variety of print needs, ranging from promotional to production applications. It also demonstrates responsiveness for small lot jobs of less than 4000 linear meters, an area Screen said can be problematic for conventional production.
At present, the system handles both PET and OPP media, with Screen working to further expand compatibility based on industry requirements. Putting water-based inks onto flexible films presents drying challenges, which Screen addresses with hot air and a long tunnel. The PacJet FL830 is 20m long overall.
In corrugated, Screen has been working with German company BHS Corrugated since 2016, to develop a water-based inkjet printing solution capable of delivering high-speed throughput of 300 meters per minute, at widths of up to 2.8 meters.
The two partners are creating the system in response to growing demand in the shelf-ready packaging and full colour corrugated board markets. The speed of 300 metres per minute is common in high-volume corrugated production and converting, the two companies say the addition of variable water-based inkjet, in full colour, will open up new markets that currently depend on pre-printed liner and lamination onto corrugated.
In the folding carton segment, Screen is currently co-operating with UK company Inca Digital Printers – a member of its own corporate group – on the development of a single pass, water-based inkjet press. This system is being designed to support the transition to digital printing currently occurring in folding cartons.
Screen said with Inca Digital’s existing ability to print digitally at high speeds on large cartonboard sheets used in POS and signage applications, this move into folding cartons is both a logical and eminently achievable advancement.
Digital folding carton is the key focus of a number of developers, although Heidelberg has just pulled its Primefire 106 from production. Insiders reckon Screen's folding carton press will have similar quality to Benny Landa's nanograophic S10 press, but operate at higher speeds. EFI already has its Nozomi folding carton press in the field, with one at Opal (formerly Orora) in Melbourne. HP has just launched its HP Indigo 35K and HP Indigo 90K folding carton print systems. Visitors to drupa next April will see a range of new digital packaging printing solutions.
Peter Scott said, “Since its founding, Screen has consistently worked to develop proprietary products that combine its core image processing technologies with the latest technologies. During this time, it has maintained a focus on building systems that offer superior stability and reliability, which is so necessary in production facilities for professional applications. We are taking a long-term view, in particular where environmental aspects are considered, which is why the new systems use mostly water-based inks and produce low-waste.”