Bobst Group – A transformative 2018 and key focuses for the year ahead
SWITZERLAND • A noticeable trend throughout 2018 was the consistent feedback from Bobst clients that the role of packaging is changing. While protecting the goods is still the number one priority, it needs to be done in a more sustainable way. There is also greater demand to process thinner materials and to propose digitalized machines. With the rapid expansion of e-commerce, our customers’ packaging production requires more productive and more flexible machines without compromising on quality. As brand owners use packaging to stand out on the shelf and to appeal to customers, the demand for better colour control, shorter production runs and repeat orders is growing, putting more pressure on converters to automate packaging production.
Web-fed business unit
According to Bobst, in 2018, the web-fed business unit continued with success in gravure printing, especially the RS 6003 and the RS 5002. CI flexo printing made a major step forward in 2018 launching the new 20Seven press featuring new technologies for further enhanced process consistency and the ECG printing.
Demand has continued to grow for substrate processing. The K5 Expert vacuum metallizer offers a 700 mm (28”) diameter coating drum, whereas the the K5 Vision has been selling well for the converter market due to its flexibility in handling a variety of substrates. It is also important to mention that brand owners are increasingly moving to recyclable film, creating growing demand for AluBond and AIOx. The popularity of AluBond is due to its adhesion properties and its enhanced barrier properties on BOPP and CPP films. In terms of lamination, the CL 850 is a very successful machine, particularly when combining it with the flexo trolley.
Looking ahead to 2019, the Web-fed business unit will focus on strong growth in gravure in Europe and Asia. Labels production will continue to evolve driven by the digitalization of the entire production process, including in-line color control. In Asia, Bobst expects significant transition from gravure into flexo, especially in fast-growing markets like India and South East Asia. To support this, Bobst opened new facilities in China in 2018.
Services business units
The opening of the new distribution centre for spare parts in Indianapolis/USA, and the hiring of 100 new field service technicians across the globe, will further increase the service level for customers. In 2019, services will play a growing role for converters and printers. They will witness an increase of connected services to support improved productivity, higher machine availability and higher production quality.
Within services, tooling is a new way to improve machine performance with the certification of diemakers. The program will gain importance and make packaging production more efficient. Finally, the development of the portfolio of expert services and consultancy will be built towards a Process Optimization program, which is required in a changing world where automation and process optimizations are key priorities.
Mouvent – Bobst digital printing
In 2018, Mouvent stabilized and industrialized its core cluster technology. The beta installations for textile and label printing took place and the number of installed textile machines reached six units. The first customer installations of Mouvent label machines also took place. We believe this is the start of a fundamental change in the industry in terms of how labels are produces in a fast changing world, where on-demand and customization are daily requirements
Digitalize, automate, connect.
Bobst will continue with its “leading Innovation” focus. In 2019, the demand for more flexibility in the supply chain and shorter turnaround times will continue to put pressure on printers and converters. The need for consistently high quality printing, not only within a batch, but across multiple reprints, will be higher on the agenda. Stronger regulations in areas of consumer safety, waste disposal, nutrition facts and many others will have a significant impact on the packaging industries. Ink formulation will accelerate its move towards water-based inks, especially for packaging production.