Ultimate Packaging, the UK’s largest independent flexible packaging manufacturer, has achieved major productivity gains and future-proofed its printing operations after investing in a BOBST EXPERT CI – the company’s fifth flexo press asset from BOBST.
Since the latest press was added to the production floor, Ultimate Packaging is now able to print up to 8.5 million meters of material per month thanks to the EXPERT CI’s average run speed of 300 meters per minute. In addition, further time saving efficiencies have been gained thanks to much quicker set up times and increased machine reliability leading to very low downtime, averaging at 10%.
Andrew Chappell, Operations Consultant at Ultimate Packaging, said: “We decided to invest in the new press last summer, when we were operating at near to capacity. We saw a 30% lift in demand for flexible packaging during the peak of the Covid pandemic, so it became almost essential to take action in order to maintain efficiency and meet customer delivery requirements.
“With four other BOBST flexo presses operating already, it made sense to invest with them again. We needed a press that would integrate seamlessly, which was familiar to the operatives and would deliver the high performance we were looking for during a critical, high-pressured period for the business.”
Andrew added: “The EXPERT CI press incorporates a number of features which were attractive to us and have since proved valuable in terms of driving efficiency and reducing waste in production. Additionally, the machine design gives us the flexibility and capability to move to water-based or Electron-Beam (EB) ink technology in the future as we seek to enhance plant and operational sustainability even further.”
The EXPERT CI flexo press delivers stable and controlled print results and exceptional productivity with both solvent and water-based inks. Its exclusive technical features make it a perfect fit for the requirements of the company’s 7 colour Extended Colour Gamut printing process.
Capable of a maximum print width of 1250mm, at a maximum speed of 600 meters per minute, the press supports consistent and accurate process automation to reduce waste, errors and increase efficiency along the entire production line.
A key feature for Ultimate Packaging, the EXPERT CI incorporates smartGPS, an off-line fully automatic system for registration and impression setting, that speeds up job set-ups and changeovers, while at the same time, reduces substrate and consumables waste. The press also incorporates smartFLO inking and a doctor blade chamber system for predictable and controlled printing results.
The press also features BOBST’s triLOCK bearing technology on the print decks to enable faster operation and eliminate manual locking to avoid process inconsistency. Meanwhile, the high-efficiency Full Surface Matrix (FSM) inter-colour dryer creates energy savings and prevents issues related to substrate stretching.
Connectivity features that enable access to production data remotely, combined with IoT predictive maintenance, ensure Ultimate Packaging can optimise machine performance and achieve strong return on investment.
Andrew concluded: “The level of operational efficiency and agility at Ultimate is very high. The EXPERT CI flexo press has enabled us to continue to offer our customers the superb, high-quality service that they have come to expect from us during challenging times, while at the same time enabling us to look to the future and what we want to achieve going forward.”