Bobst drives digital transformation in folding carton

Connected packaging technology

Mastercut 106 PER is a next-generation die-cutter with an even higher degree of automation and production capability than its market-leading predecessor. Photo - Bobst

A combination of new Bobst technologies will bring unparalleled levels of automation and digital transformation to folding carton converters seeking agility and efficiency in die-cutting operations. The company said flatbed die-cutter, Mastercut 106 PER, together with the novel digital recipe management tool, TooLink, epitomize the new Bobst vision, unveiled in June, for an entirely connected packaging production system.

Founded in 1890, Switzerland based Bobst is a supplier of substrate processing, printing, and converting equipment and services for the label, flexible packaging, folding carton, and corrugated industries. The company has a presence in more than 50 countries, including India.

Bodo Junge, product marketing director – Folding Carton at Bobst, said, “We have identified connectivity, digitalization, automation and sustainability as the cornerstones of packaging production now and in the future. Our vision for the industry is ultimately about enabling converters to adapt and respond quickly to brand owners’ continually changing requirements.

“With these four cornerstones front of mind, Bobst is aiming to create a seamless packaging supply chain where machines and tooling communicate with each other to deliver optimum quality and performance, while reducing errors, waste and costs at every point. The introduction of new smart systems, such as our cloud-based workflow platform, Bobst Connect, and TooLink, complement and enhance plant and machine automation to levels not seen before.”

Next-generation die-cutter

According to Bobst, Mastercut 106 PER is a next-generation die-cutter with an even higher degree of automation and production capability than its market-leading predecessor. Its new design makes it highly automated and ergonomic die-cutter, encompassing a range of innovative features, to support the Bobst vision.

Bobst said the die-cutter could be set from just a single point of control. In addition, the automation of functions and settings, from ‘feeder to delivery’, requires minimal operator intervention during operation. Stripping and blanking tools settings are now completely automated with the new Matic Plus system which uses cameras to measure the position of tools and then aligns them automatically in register to the printed sheet. Jam detection and setting have also been automated on this new machine, as has the nonstop rack system in the delivery section.

Junge added, “Mastercut 106 PER demonstrates a new and unique level of automation. The new features enable a considerable setup time reduction of 15 minutes, allowing for faster make-readies – so critical to production lines today. Its exceptional level of automation makes this machine the most productive die-cutting equipment for short as well as long runs, enabling packaging manufacturers to be able to accept all types of jobs irrespective of run length.”

Mastercut 106 PER incorporates TooLink, a platform that connects the die-cutter with tooling to bring together the entire converting process. Production flexibility, job turnaround times, and productivity are all positively impacted by this piece of technology, said Bobst.

PR BOBST image TooLink 94013

The die-cutter is data-chipped with TooLink technology, creating a unique digital ID that enables instant recognition through the machine’s HMI. The machine automatically detects Chip-equipped tools. A production-ready job recipe is provided, leading to both waste and time savings of up to 15 minutes during job changeovers. It also allows automatic job recall without any operator intervention.

“TooLink connects, digitalizes and automates converting,” said Alex Volery, head of Tooling Division at Bobst. “It creates a true converting ecosystem that addresses the key production concerns of efficiency, control, speed, quality, and sustainability. With TooLink and its suite of IoT applications, packaging manufacturers have complete oversight of their dies, recipes, job histories, and access to a higher production data and insight level.

“This combination of technologies is the Bobst vision in practice. For packaging manufacturers, it presents a real opportunity to future-proof their operations against the ever-changing market demands.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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