The new state-of-the-art greenfield facility of Bobst (Changzhou) Co., Ltd. located in the Wujin District of Changzhou city, in the Jiangsu province of China, played host to three days of celebrations and machine demonstrations on 16, 17 and 18 May 2018. The event marked the official opening of Bobst’s new production facility and Competence Center dedicated to web-fed printing and converting technologies for flexible materials.
The event’s title ‘Bobst China 4.0 – Beyond your packaging future’ was meant to reflect Bobst’s commitment to support local industry by delivering solutions that are efficiently manufactured to the company’s high standards. This is the same approach that has led to the success of the RS 3.0 and RS 5002 gravure presses and the CL and SL 750D range of compact laminators in China and Asia.
“The opening of the Bobst Changzhou facility has not only been demanded by a strong increase in production capacity requirements for web-wed gravure and lamination equipment in the region,” explains Erik Bothorel head of the Business Unit Web-fed and member of Bobst Group Executive Committee. He further explains, “The Competence Center adjoining the plant will also make Bobst experience and expertise available in process excellence to fully support and advise customers. Not as know-how merely carried across the continents but to take advantage, and make best use, of synergies aimed at process improvements with leading Asian packaging manufacturers and suppliers of consumables and process solution components.”
Jean-Pascal Bobst, CEO of Bobst Group and Camillo Carrà, general manager of Bobst Changzhou gave opening speeches. Alexander Hoffet, consul general of Switzerland in Shanghai and Shi Zhijun, vice mayor of Changzhou municipal city also addressed the audience. The programme that followed the formal speeches paid tribute to both cultures’ traditional ways of wishing well and officially inaugurating the new premises, featuring a lion-eye painting and a ribbon cutting.
Following the ceremony, the guests went on a tour of the plant and the Competence Center which is also impressive in terms of its sustainable design incorporating both environmental-friendly construction and energy management.
Begun in January 2017 as a greenfield project, the 9,630 square meter built premises of Bobst (Changzhou), comprise an administrative building, a main production hall, a Competence Center complex and a separate warehouse for storage of hazardous products; all set in a 20,000 square meter area. A vast green area of the same size has also been reserved for future expansion. “We foresee an annual production of over 100 machines a year, across gravure printing presses, compact laminators and mid-web inline flexo presses,” points out Camillo Carrà, adding that, “We are looking ahead to increase capacity and add production of other Bobst web-fed technologies in due course.”
The gravure demonstrations highlighted the fast and easy job make-ready and changeover functionalities, the performance of the register control system at start-up and at speed variation, as well as the capabilities of the web handling system when printing the 18 micron BOPP and 12 micron PET substrates of the mock pet-food and snack jobs.
The CL 750D laminator impressed the audience with its ability to process critical substrate combinations, such as the one chosen for the demonstration: a pre-printed 12 micron PET substrate to a 7 micron thin aluminium-foil laminated at high production speed.
The response to the complexity and quality of the demonstrations and to the equipment and technologies on show was excellent. “We recorded a total of 360 industry visitors over the two days of the Open House. A strong presence of customers from China and from countries in Southeast Asia and India, the high level of interest and the number of machines sold at the event, speak loudly about the reputation achieved by Bobst in the flexible packaging market in China,” says Camillo Carrà.
Five contracts for the sale of RS 3.0 gravure printing presses were signed during the open house on 17 and 18 May. “We are already dismantling the RS 3.0 on demonstration at the Open House, which will shortly be shipped to its new owner, Dongguan Ever-Glory Plastics Package Limited,” said Lubin Lu, Bobst’s Zone business director for web-fed machines for Greater China. The Open House machine is one of two RS 3.0s, with 8- and 10-colors respectively, bought by the company to increase the printing capacity of its flexible packaging production plant located in in QingXi, in the Guangdong province of South China.
The agreement for the sale of a 9-color RS 3.0 press to Guangzhou Hongsheng Packaging Materials Co., Ltd. was formally signed on stage in front of the Open House convened audience on 17 May.
“The sale of a 10-color RS 3.0 to Anhui Zijin New Material Science & Technology Co., Ltd. and of an 11-color RS 3.0 to Shanghai Yinyi Package Printing Co., Ltd. give us great satisfaction because they are both repeat orders from satisfied customers who are very happy with the technical performance of their installed machines. Most of all owing to quality of the register control which keeps waste to a minimum and ensures the superior quality of the printed packaging,” comments Lubin Lu.
“We are also drawing to a close negotiations for the sales of CL 750D laminators and are pretty confident on their outcome. Demonstrating a compact machine coating solvent-based adhesive directly on to an aluminum-foil substrate as thin as 7 microns at high speed and producing a laminate that, at close inspection after the demo, was a flawless, homogeneous and smooth composite structure without defects, cannot fail to impress!” he concluded.