Label Production on its Way to Complete Digitalization

Many processes in the printing industry are becoming increasingly digitalized – it is no coincidence that these developments will be the main topics at drupa 2024. But how far has digitalization come in label production in this respect?

Header Picture Label Digitalization

The future is digital, not least in the printing industry. That’s why digitalization is one of our megatrends at drupa 2024. To keep a constant eye on the extent of digital progress in the printing industry, we regularly obtain an overview of this from our exhibitors. 

Matt Bennett, label zone business director of packaging machinery and equipment manufacturer at Bobst, spoke about digital progress in the company and label production and expectations for 2023 in an interview with L&NW.

Combining Digital Printing Technology and Automation in All-in-One Machines

Bobst’s overall aim is to provide converters of label production with industrial-powered solutions that optimize the production flow without increasing costs and – at the same time – are more sustainable and profitable. They see digital printing technology and greater automation as the future of label production.

Hybrid systems are particularly suitable for this, as they are flexible and fast and thus offer sustainable technology with low costs and a shorter time-to-market. At Bobst, these are primarily all-in-one machines that seamlessly combine digital and flexo, which enables simultaneous printing, converting, and embellishments. These machines integrate highly automated flexo presses and digital presses.

Bobst Digital Master Series 340 and 510

The Digital Maser series 340 and 510 are this kind of all-in-one machine. They combine the strengths of Bobst flexo and inkjet technology to ensure that processes such as prime, print, embellish, inspect and cut can be performed in a single workflow. The 510 series enables new opportunities for printers. Digital automation on each module of the presses enables on-the-fly changeovers. This automation also reinforces a higher press uptime and repeatability, guaranteeing a faster time-to-market. Even though this machine series can produce higher volumes, it requires only one operator.

With the machines being wholly owned, developed, manufactured, installed, and maintained by Bobst, the introduction or upgrade to the new models is as easy as it is seamless, and – in case of any questions – the customer does not have to contact different companies, but simply can contact Bobst. The machines are also particularly customer-friendly because their highly modular nature makes it possible for customers to adapt them to their needs and new market trends from time to time.

More and More Steps Towards Complete Digitalization in Label Production

Given that the full integration of digital printing and flexo technology brings some clear benefits, this was also the most impactful trend from label production for Bobst in 2022. The all-in-one solutions not only provide more variety in label products but are also very beneficial in terms of sustainability, as waste can be reduced by incorporating quality control.

For 2023, the company hopes for further developments and wishes for the expansion of digital inkjet printing systems. Digitalization cannot be stopped. That’s why Bobst sees a development toward a 100% digital future in label production.

We are already very excited to see how digital progress in label production and in the printing industry in general will be presented at drupa 2024. Nevertheless, the question remains as to how advisable complete digitalization is in the printing industry. Do you take an open or rather critical view of digitalization?

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