By Cassandra Balentine
Part one of two
Folding carton production requires intensive finishing, including lamination, cutting, folding, and gluing. As digital printing methods penetrate this market segment, compatible finishing solutions are necessary.
The May issue of DPS magazine features a comprehensive discussion on digitally printed folding cartons, including a look at the benefits, challenges, and tips for success. We also address this topic online with a look at finishing this week and printing solutions next.
A variety of finishing functions are required for folding carton production. Here we highlight the equipment and key features of finishing solutions targeting digital environments.
KAMA has adapted its solutions for die cutting and embellishment to the needs of digital print converting and the digital workflow. Marcus Tralau, CEO, KAMA GmbH, says set-up times and fast changeover, an AutoRegister, and inline stripping and blanking without tools characterize the KAMA DC 76 die cutter. He adds that the DC 76 Foil ASAB die cutter processes grammages up to 800 g/m2 and also carton and microwave up to 1,500 g/m2 and runs up to 5,500 sheets per hour.
The company also launched its automatic folder gluer for short runs, the KAMA FF 52i, which allows job changeovers in approximately five minutes and completes the workflow for versioned folding cartons and multiple SKUs. The KAMA FF 52i runs straight-line boxes, lock bottom boxes, and pillow boxes up to a grammage of 600 g/m2.
The MBO Group’s Stamina Folding Carton Solution produces blanks or completed cartons inline with any digital press or as a near line solution. The Stamina solution commonly features two models, the 12,000 sheet per hour BSR 550 Servo Rotary Die Cutter and the customizable 091.1 Transport System.
“The current die cutting market is dominated by flatbed die cutting performed by machines whose makeready requirements are incompatible with the growing volume of shorter production runs,” says Lance Martin, director of sales, North America, MBO America. He explains that while these flatbed cutters are well suited for the longer run production market, MBO’s BSR 550 Servo rotary die cutter meets a variety of short-run digital printing needs.
Available in line or offline configurations and with a variety of feeder options, the BSR 550 Servo’s 21.5-inch working width is ideal for digitally printed products. It offers a variety of functions, including cutting, perforating, scoring, micro-perforating, embossing, debossing, and kiss cutting. “Unlike flatbed die cutters, which utilize nicks to hold the product in place during transport, the rotary die cutting process yields a nickless product, eliminating the need for further product refinement downstream. Integrated inline waste removal immediately separates the waste material from the good product after the sheet is cut,” says Martin.
Further, the adaptable 091.1 Transport System from Herzog+Heymann, a wholly owned subsidiary of MBO, offers several features for folding carton applications. Heat-resistant vacuum belts enable users to mount hot glue or dryer systems directly inline with other functions such as variable data inkjet printing, tipping, plow folding, and window patching or camera inspection when versioning or personalization are job requirements. The system also features automatic workload awareness, enabling maximum speed and control to be maintained at all stages. The combination of the 091.1 Transport System with a folder gluer kit and the BSR 500 Servo Rotary Die Cutter enables printers to produce folding cartons at high speeds with the greatest possible accuracy.
MBO’s BSR Servo Rotary Die Cutter has the ability to solve many of the issues inherent in flatbed die cutting. Its 21×29-inch format is compatible with half-size sheets, common in the digital print packaging and short-run market.
MBO offers finishing solutions that can be integrated at the end of the BSR 550 Servo for a complete inline operation. A folding carton producer can add a folder gluer or plow folder and deliver inline for a complete solution. Users can also put roll-fed material in front of the machine and use MBO’s sheeter line for a complete inline setup for digital roll production. In fact, MBO is able to integrate any common commercial process equipment inline with the die cutter, making it available for custom solutions such as label booklets, pharmaceutical, or shaped folding. The BSR 550 has a 21-inch working width for digitally printed products. It can cut from 24 lb. text to 9 pt. board.
In addition to its printing capabilities, Xeikon offers short-run folding carton die cutting with the Xeikon fabled diecut cut. Sebastien Stabel, sales and business development, Flint Group, says it is a highly productive unit that can cut, crease, and emboss in one pass. “Designed to complement the Xeikon press portfolio, it also handles material from conventional or other digital presses. Its multi-step die cut process minimizes tooling costs while maintaining a healthy productivity. We also develop a range of food safe, high light-fastness, low migration inks and coatings.”
Zünd is a long standing partner in sample creation for the folding carton market with modular, high-precision tooling for creating professional samples. “From the outset, Zünd cutting systems have been completely open and compatible with a multitude of third party files, which makes software and workflow integration a non issue in any sample-making environment as no retraining of print of prepress staff is necessary,” says Heather Roden, strategic account manager, graphics and packaging, Zünd.
Beyond sampling, advancements in semi- and fully automated material handling, such as the Sheet Feeder and Board Handling System (BHS), help turn Zünd digital cutting systems into highly efficient and versatile production equipment. “The user can choose from multiple devices and workflow options, all designed to make the entire production workflow as efficient as possible—from in-feeding to advancing, and registration, to robotic picking and sorting. Since Zünd cutting systems are upgradable and modular by design, any future advancements will not just come with new equipment but benefit current Zünd owners as well,” says Roden.
Roden explains that Zünd users outfitting a new system that can handle folding carton packaging should consider tools like the Universal Cutting Tool, Scoring Cutting Tool, V-Cut Tool, Perforating Tool Typle 1, Crease Tool Type 2, Passepartout Tool, Electric Oscillating Tool, and the EOT-250, which offers a longer stroke. Because the Zünd system is completely modular, these tools and the specific capabilities they offer can continue to be added over time as product offerings evolve and expand. The same is true for material-handling automation.
One of the latest features by Zünd is the Over Cutter Camera (OCC) system, which is available for new G3 cutters or as an upgrade to existing ones. The OCC captures all register marks visible in the cutting area in one shot, reducing register mark capture to a matter of seconds.
Automated finishing functions are an essential component of a digital print workflow. Folding carton applications require a variety of finishing steps and finishing equipment providers are tuned into the market, offering solutions for fast, simple, and seamless folding carton finishing. dps
Apr2018, DPS Magazine