New Ink-on-Demand, DigiColor and safety for labels and packaging

Major breakthroughs at the Bobst Open House in Florence

Jean-Pascal Bobst, CEO of the Bobst Group

Bobst, along with Mouvent and 12 REVO partners, unveiled major innovations at its Open House in Florence from 1 to 4 April 2019. Converters and brand owners attending the Bobst Labels & Packaging Innovation event saw the new solutions in action. The innovations addressed three key industry needs – improving time-to-market, guaranteeing color consistency and monitoring food packaging safety.

Two innovations are likely to change the established flexo process. Firstly, the new Ink-on-Demand (IoD) system eliminates ink trays and chambered doctor blades. It only requires 30 grams of ink in the print unit to operate. Full wash-out and ink change are performed in minutes with only a few grams of ink and washing liquid. This will reduce costs and the environmental burden of label and packaging production.

Openhouse Label and Packaging Innovation 2019 81577 1
Vistors look on at the demonstrations of the new Ink-on-Demand and Digi-Color systems shown by Bobst on its narrow web flexo label press at the Open House in Florence


Secondly, the new DigiColor system performs ‘on-the-fly’ job changes where each of the seven extended color gamut (ECG) inks is split into a darker and a lighter ink. These are automatically mixed in-line to match the targeted Delta E. Closed-Loop color control achieves ‘digital’ color-matching, color consistency at any speed, on any substrate, with any operator worldwide. Converters and brand-owners will now be able to rely on a new ‘digital’ technology to protect their brand identities. Converters can benefit from major time savings and quality improvement benefits.

Bobst also presented a world premiere for a solution that enables the full traceability of every piece of packaging. In collaboration with Esko, AVT, Pantone and X-Rite, the new solution allows ‘digital’ traceability from the original file to the press. This extends to the job validation and final storage of digital data generated from the final printed job. Built on the Bobst Digital Flexo technology it combines WebCenter, ColorCert, SpectraLab and PantoneLive assets. This enables a fully digitalized and connected workflow, transforming the way labels and flexible packaging can be produced. Timely, with the right quality control and the appropriate costs.

The traceability project is based in the REVO Academy in Bobst Firenze. The REVO Academy is open to converters worldwide. Testing and training on turnkey ECG solutions, is provided by the 12 REVO members and partners.


Meanwhile, Mouvent, the digital printing competence center of the Bobst Group, showcased the recently announced LB702-UV digital press. Multiple jobs of 6 colors were printed at 1200 dpi on several substrates at 100 metres a minute.

During the event, Bobst Flexo and Mouvent Digital presses demonstrated that different print technologies on a variety of substrates can achieve the same Delta E. This meets the various requirements of brand owners for maintaining accurate color consistency that can’t always be met by only one technology.

Finally, Bobst provided brand owners and converters with new opportunities to increase the safety of food packaging. In collaboration with Flint, GEW and the UVFoodSafe Alliance, Bobst announced the digital control of UV energy. This allows for unique safety traceability of each printed meter of substrate, opening new opportunities for UV printed food packaging production with new food safety certifications. Compared to solvent and water-based inks, UV inks achieve higher print quality and color consistency. Combined with the absence of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), the UV process can improve ink stability and sustainability.

“The label and packaging industry is clearly going digital, in terms of processes, value creation, and new business models,” said Jean-Pascal Bobst, CEO of Bobst, “The collaboration between partners is essential to the success of our industry and the packaging industry as a whole. Bobst is helping to drive the industry transformation with meaningful innovation and real collaboration, which will result in solutions that fulfil the requirements of converters and brand owners alike.”

This article has been slightly edited for clarity on 11 April 2019.

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  1. Both the acquisition of the label press and the joint venture company Mouvent for digital technology are new to Bobst, but the company seems to have integrated and grown these well. The Ink-on-Demand and DigiColor are quite interesting developments on narrow web flexo press side. I look foward to seeing these at LabelExpo Europe.


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