Bobst claims no.1 spot for vacuum metallizing and coating

Largest share in worldwide flexible packaging market in segment

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One Barrier a packaging based on vacuum metallizing and coating. Photo Bobst

Bobst, a supplier of substrate processing, printing and converting equipment and services for the label, flexible packaging, folding carton and corrugated board industries, has claimed another global top spot. Recent sales figures indicate that the company now has the largest share in the worldwide flexible packaging market for vacuum metallizing and coating technologies.

“Sales in these technologies have been particularly buoyant over the last two years or so and we are delighted to claim the leading position,” said Davide Garavaglia, head of Product Lines – vacuum metallizing, coating, laminating, gravure printing – at Bobst. “The recent developments that Bobst introduced to the market combine our vision, based on connectivity, digitalization, automation, and sustainability, with our capability of producing machinery characterized by minimal downtime and superb quality at high speeds. Converters and brand owners are now seeing the benefits of this for their flexible packaging.”

It is a milestone that has been several years in the making. Bobst has many years of expertise in the vacuum coating process and in handling flexible substrates. This has led to the development of high technology vacuum metallizing and coating lines that can be used to produce a wide variety of products. The introduction of Bobst’s Centers of Excellence has also been key, with the centers in Bobst Manchester and Bobst Italia containing specialist equipment and expertise in vacuum metallizing and coating respectively.

“This achievement is actually the culmination of a long-term vision and process, which we have progressed step by step, with quality always at the center,” explained Davide Garavaglia. “We have made significant investments along the way in terms of R&D, technical aspects, staffing and training, and the result has been high-quality technology that answers the needs of our customers.”

Sustainable flexible packaging

Bobst’s in-depth knowledge of both coating and vacuum metallizing equipment technology and processes has also been a major benefit in its drive towards truly sustainable flexible packaging. 

Overcoming the technical complexities of developing and manufacturing sustainable high barrier flexible packaging that is recycle-ready is a major challenge. But with the family of oneBarrier sustainable solutions, Bobst and its partners have developed industrially viable recycle-ready mono-material ultra-high and high barrier duplex and triplex substrates for packaging designers as alternatives to non-recyclable metallized polyester film. The oneBarrier sustainable solutions developed to date include PrimeCycle, comprising EVOH and topcoat-free transparent AlOx-based or opaque AluBond-based full PE mono-substrates, and FibreCycle, a mono-material high-barrier paper-based structure coated with functional layers that can be recycled in the existing paper stream. 

“oneBarrier is a family of viable tested solutions that meet the industry’s requirements for packaging simplification, layer reduction and replacement of non-recyclable mixed polymer substrates with recycle-ready mono-material structures as a way to support circularity and recyclability,” said Garavaglia. “It’s a defining moment. We believe oneBarrier will become the benchmark for recycle-ready mono-material packaging.”

Another layer of value

Bobst’s expertise in coating extends beyond the common uses. In the field of flexible packaging high performance functional substrates, Bobst is also leading the market in the field of aluminum applications such as lacquered aluminum foil, for example. Other applications where major international converting companies have chosen Bobst coating technologies in the past few years to increase their production capacity or enter new markets, include self-adhesive special tapes, medical applications, labelstock and release liners. 

One of the reasons Bobst can continue to add value for its customers is that, uniquely in the industry, it can be a single source supplier, offering end-to-end solutions that can address all requirements, for flexible packaging and other flexible material applications. 

The two competence centers in Manchester, UK and San Giorgio Monferrato, Italy are dedicated to converting technologies. Bobst Manchester offers vacuum coating processes for barrier, while the Leonardo pilot coating line in Italy offers a multitude of coating and drying systems and can perform production scale applications.

“Given the very strong increase of demand for functional barrier coating for filmic and paper applications, as well as production of recycle-ready new high barrier substrates, the service we can offer brand owners and converters is truly unique,” said Garavaglia. “With our competence centers, converters can test new packaging substrates and functionalities, checking which type of coating method, drying system, and consumables works best for each new packaging design and structure. They can also calculate productivity and profitability on wide-web pilot equipment to enable them to check the viability of their new developments.”

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