Manufacturers of branded goods in the food and non-food sectors are placing growing demands on their folding carton suppliers. They expect high productivity combined with very short delivery times, the quality needs to be right, and surface finishing requirements are becoming more and more unusual as they look to draw attention to products at the point of sale using displays and packaging. And it is precisely with such customers that folding carton print shop Imballi - which was founded in the Italian town of Castelfranco, near Verona, in 1993 - has made a name for itself. Continuously modernizing the print shop and investing in the latest technologies are vital aspects of this success. Following comprehensive tests with a number of press manufacturers, Imballi decided on the Speedmaster XL 162 from Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg). This press's inline surface finishing with primer UV applications gave it a clear edge in meeting all the print shop's requirements. Imballi already operates three large-format presses supplied by other manufacturers.
"We gave a great deal of consideration to this decision and are delighted to have been the first print shop in Italy to install a Speedmaster XL 162 for packaging printing. I'm very impressed with our investment," stresses Imballi's owner Livio Ballan. "We need excellent print quality, high-gloss finishes, very short makeready times, and excellent flexibility - and the Speedmaster XL 162 meets all these requirements. What's more, Heidelberg performed a detailed analysis of our production requirements and impressed us with its technical consulting expertise," he adds.
Enhanced surface finishing thanks to spot colors and dual coating applications
Imballi's Speedmaster XL 162 is a six-color press with dual coating unit. This satisfies the growing coating demands of print shops that are endeavoring to attract attention at the point of sale or on the shelves with matt-gloss effects (primer UV) and by combining different surface textures. Imballi has a workforce of over 120 and operates three shifts. It mainly produces point-of-sale displays in relatively short runs and liner material laminated onto open corrugated board. In some cases, this involves combining various materials with surface finishing and additional applications. The print shop also produces longer runs for packaging products. Run lengths range from 800 to 20,000, with standardized grammages of between 170 and 250 gsm. To ensure the required reliability of supplies for customers, the full-service print shop also produces its own corrugated board on two large lines. Print sheets are then laminated onto this inline. This is where the motorized, multiple paper stretch compensation (fan-out control) at the rear edge of printing plates on the Speedmaster XL 162 comes into its own. It results in register-accurate print quality and enables register corrections to be made on the fly, which is beneficial with liner materials in particular.
"We see the Speedmaster XL 162 as the future of production operations. Its high level of automation and quality monitoring minimize our start-up waste and enable us to stand out from the competition. This means we can offer our customers an even better level of service and achieve further growth," stresses the owner's son Marco Ballan, who is responsible for production and marketing.
Heidelberg has already installed a total of two large-format presses in Italy this year. A Speedmaster XL 145 with seven printing units and dual coating technology was installed at the same time as Imballi's press at Ival, a packaging company based in Mantua. Ival's product portfolio includes food packaging for the well-known pasta maker Barilla.