Bobst CEO Jean Pascal Bobst at the company's press conference at drupa24 on the morning of 29 May 2024 Photo PSA

Jean Pascal Bobst in a press conference on 29 May 2024 at drupa, announced the company’s latest solutions and strategic partnerships aligned to its vision to help shape the future of the packaging industry. He noted, “This is a bold statement, and it will take time,” to usher in a new era in packaging where the entire production line is connected, enabling seamless end-to-end workflows.

“We are fulfilling our industry vision ‘to shape the future of the packaging world’ based on the pillars of connectivity, digitalization, automation, and sustainability,” said the CEO of the Bobst Group. “Our solutions empower printers and converters to embrace digitalization while advancing towards a more sustainable future. We are proud to engage with industry leaders, forge new partnerships, and chart a course towards continued innovation and progress.”

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Bobst shows solutions for folding cartons, corrugated cartons and flexible packaging and labels at drupa 2024

Aside from reiterating that the company is in the four packaging areas or segments of folding cartons, corrugated cartons, labels and flexible packaging, he revealed that Bobst is now a software company. Apart from its continued collaboration with Microsoft, it has recently entered into a strategic partnership with French company Packitoo. Packitoo HIPE is a web-based sales tool, which automates the generation of quotations, manages packaging projects, and supports web-to-pack eShops for printers and converters. The partnership aligns with the strategy to digitalize and connect the entire packaging value chain, from brand owners to converters and equipment suppliers.

Bobst is also planning to enter the industry consulting arena through another investment that will encompass all technologies and entire installations that include technologies from other manufacturers as well.

The Bobst CEO updated us on innovations such as the new version Mastercut 165 PER, that now works for die-cutting corrugated board as well, a step up from the earlier Mastercut 165 PER that die-cut folding cartons and litho-laminated cartons. He mentioned new Bobst Thalia UV inks for labels and folding cartons – the inks have good foldable characteristics, adding that the company’s OneECG solution is now Pantone certified.

In flexible packaging, Bobst’s extended color gamut (oneECG) technology used for gravure printing has been fully validated by Pantone. Bobst is also launching a cloud-based certified substrate library in Bobst Connect, which allows converters to access up to date Bobst certified material lists to fast-track substrate calibration.

While clarifying that the Bobst stand at drupa is aimed at creating understanding and discussion of the new data and connectivity concepts, Jean Pascal Bobst affirmed that all the clouds of various segments and suppliers in the chain will have to be able to interact seamlessly. There are no machines at the stand he added, except the All-in-one concept press for folding cartons, emphasizing the creation of an exhibition platform for face-to-face explanations, and mutual learning.

Bobst folding carton and flexpack press at drupa24
Bobst stand at drupa24 – the concept press for short run folding cartons and flexible packaging
Photo PSA

Digital Master 55: all-in-one digital printing and converting platform for folding carton

At the Bobst stand one saw the Digital Master 55 concept machine, which is the new all-in-one digital printing and converting platform tailored for the folding carton industry, opening up possibilities for short-to-mid-size runs, with short lead times and high product quality.

Combining printing, embellishment, quality control, and die-cutting inline at 100 meters per minute (mpm), the Digital Master 55 is meant to offer the shortest time to market (such as same-day delivery). Bobst claims it has the best Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) among comparable printing and converting solutions.

This platform, which features full inline and automated printing adjustment capabilities and quality inspection, is said to be ideal for runs up to 6,000 B1 equivalent sheets where it can significantly reduce production time by up to 80% and reduce costs on short runs.

Bobst Connect: Digitalization and automation redefined

Also at its stand in Hall 10, Bobst demonstrated it next level connectivity and digitalization enabling a closed-loop workflow ecosystem from pdf to twin pdf for improving productivity, ease of use and contributing to sustainability. New features include a major update to equipment monitoring, providing more detailed data insights, while performance management provides insights on equipment, shift and job performance and energy consumption, optimizing sustainability and cost.

For labels, the new cloud based Bobst’s Digital Front End (DFE) 3.0, was shown for the first time to the public and it will be commercially available later in the year. It enables access to real-time data, resources and workflow templates anywhere, at any time. Color management can be managed centrally and shared in the cloud, and its web-based interface supports multiple users across multiple sites.

Packaging South Asia — resilient, growing and impactful — daily, monthly — always responsive

The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are growing similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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