First presented at the drupa 2008 exhibition, the EXPERTFOLD 50/80/110 is the flagship of BOBST’s folding-gluing product line. Backed by more than 80 years of experience, this versatile and productive folder-gluer is designed to be so modular that almost every machine sold is tailored to the specific production needs of its customer.
Featuring inline quality control and Braille application capacities, the EXPERTFOLD 50/80/110 is the ideal machine for converting boxes for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical markets. At the beginning of this year, BOBST launched a new generation of this popular machine, designed to help printers and converters accomplish more in today’s rapid and resource-intensive market. The new EXPERTFOLD 50/80/110 incorporates new features and a compact footprint for enhanced productivity and ergonomics.
We talk to Pierre Binggeli, Head of Product Line Folder-gluers at BOBST, to learn more.
Why is EXPERTFOLD 50/80/110 possibly the most versatile folder-gluer on the folding carton market?
BOBST’s folder-gluers have been specifically designed in response to customer needs. Modularity is baked into the core of the EXPERTFOLD range, meaning users can easily customize any products they invest in to meet their current requirements, while ensuring the product can be retrofitted for any emerging needs as their business evolves.
EXPERTFOLD 50/80/110 can be used to fold and glue almost any type of box in a wide range of materials, from paper to carton board up to 0.49 in, N-F-E corrugated board and even rigid plastics. Different machine modules and devices can be added depending on customers’ specific production requirements, including 4&6-corner modules, ACCUBRAILLE, ACCUCHECK, SPEEDWAVE, and GYROBOX.
Combining the EXPERTFOLD with the matching peripherals provides a high-performance, all-inclusive folding-gluing line – from the blank pile to the packed and shipping-ready boxes.
Have you had any specific customer requests for cosmetics and pharma packaging?
Working with cosmetics and pharma suppliers has required BOBST to find solutions for folding and gluing boxes with complex designs. This has included cosmetic boxes with inner holders for stabilizing content, and pharma packaging with inner partitions or ampoule holders. We have also worked on tamper-evident boxes designed for medical products. Fortunately, when working on these requests, we can count on our expert team who study the feasibility of any production challenge.
Customers can also visit our Competence Centres to test their particular boxes directly on the machine. Drawing on our experience, we can advise them to help find the required machine configuration.
In order to attract the customer’s eye, packaging for cosmetics is embellished and refined. This development now also tends to extend to other product areas. What solutions do you propose for processing delicate boxes?
We pride ourselves on the high finished-box quality that our folder-gluers provide, with blank aligning, smooth box transport, and precise folding and gluing our hallmarks of success.
However, because folding-gluing takes place at the very end of the converting process, mistakes can sometimes occur. As a result, BOBST recognises the importance of making sure that our customers can guarantee first-rate quality and consistency of their product to their own customers.
For example, inline quality control devices can be combined with ACCUEJECT, which automatically ejects any non-standard boxes before they arrive at the delivery. And to further guarantee the zero-fault quality and the traceability that some customers need, we have also developed the ACCUCHECK.
And what makes ACCUCHECK so special – compared to other quality control systems?
ACCUCHECK provides an all-encompassing quality control which is completely integrated into the folding-gluing process: right after the alignment, every single blank is checked for multiple errors, such as misprints, colour variation, registration errors, and any imperfection or damage that might have occurred during the previous production processes. We have also recently added the capacity to check for missing foil, varnish or embossing errors, and can adapt the areas to check or level of control according to the customer’s quality criteria.
The ability to focus on important highly visible areas, without eliminating boxes for minor defects, helps to minimize waste and save money. To ensure traceability of quality standard compliance, some brand owners also ask for quality control reports, which can be created with ACCUCHECK.
Surely, compliance is also an important topic for pharma packaging.
Even small print errors can have a massive impact on compliance for pharma packaging. And to ensure EU regulations are met for pharma products sold within the European market, where boxes containing medication need to be labelled with Braille, we have the ACCUBRAILLE module.
What is particular about ACCUBRAILLE?
With ACCUBRAILLE, Braille can also be applied completely inline at speeds of up to 115 meters per minute. Embossing possibilities include between four and eight lines with up to 20 characters and traverse embossing, and it can be installed on the left or the right side of the machine. ACCUBRAILLE can also be used to emboss images, letters, and numbers if needed.
The system is extremely stable and precise, with long-lasting dot definition, and the embossing plates can be changed within minutes.
In summary, ACCUBRAILLE is an extremely efficient way to apply Braille onto packaging, to make sure that visually impaired customers can find out what product a box contains.
What innovations or developments can we expect to see on the EXPERTFOLD 50/80/110 in the future?
We are working on the realization of the BOBST vision, meaning we will integrate digitalization and connectivity into the converting workflow and drive automation and sustainability on our machines. Today, with BOBST Connect Essentials, converters can already access production data in real-time, such as remote monitoring and downtime tracking, as well as 24-hour remote assistance.
We recently integrated the brand-new Recipe Management system into ACCUCHECK, which means that converters can now create their quality control recipe from their office and send it to the system on the production floor through BOBST Connect. In the future, production data will be sent back to the system to create a digital twin, allowing us to compare the original to the new version, view the production history, and continually improve the process.
This is the direction we are taking: improving workflow management. Our aim is to facilitate communication between systems and people, to speed up processes and retrieve data to improve production efficiency, quality and drive productivity. We strive to cut setup times and improve ergonomics to increase machine uptime and develop workplace sustainability.
Making margin on short production runs, adapting to individual customer needs, and guaranteeing short time to market while delivering immaculate packaging quality, are the main challenges that converters are facing. At BOBST, we want to give our customers the solutions to meet the challenges of today, while preparing the machines of the folding carton industry of tomorrow.
Are there further innovations or developments in the pipeline for the wider BOBST folder-gluer portfolio?
Our focus is to always be able to offer the very best solutions to converters in the folding carton industry and therefore we are continuously seeking to develop and implement new innovations to our folder-gluing line.
In addition to launching the new generation of EXPERTFOLD, we recently introduced the evolutions of its sister machines - the VISIONFOLD and the NOVAFOLD.
In-line with the BOBST vision to advance connectivity and digitalisation, we are enhancing these mid-range folder-gluers by implementing the SPHERE machine interface and improving ergonomics. Thanks to these enhancements, both machines support converters take a decisive step into the future of folding-gluing.