By Melissa Donovan
Part 2 of 2
To achieve production printing at industrial levels, digital corrugated board printers are designed with efficient technological components from their media handling apparatus and the inks run within the printer to the software that drives the device. The first part in this series on digital corrugated printers looks at advancements in the hardware driving its usage, the necessity of sophisticated software, and what to expect if unfamiliar with digital printing.
Here, we learn about about specific printers available to packaging converters and printers, as well as manufacturers looking to add digital printing capabilities in house.
Whether sporting ink channels beyond CMYK, wide widths, or supped-up media handling capacities, available digital printing technologies for corrugated work are equipped for short and even moderately long runs.
Barberan offers the Jetmaster series of printers, three of which can be configured to print to corrugated cardboard—models that are 1,260, 1,750, or 1,890 millimeters (mm) in width. CMYK is standard but there is the option to include light cyan, light magenta, and light black or orange and violet. The printer runs at a resolution of 360 dpi using UV-curable inks. Depending on the operation, the user can divide the width of the machine into as many as four sub-printers, which allows for simultaneous printing of four sheets.
Domino Printing Sciences developed the Domino X630i digital corrugated press to address the needs of converters and brand owners. Printing at speeds of up to 246 feet per minute (fpm), the press features a servo-driven, lead-edge feeder that pulls corrugated from the bottom of the stack. A controlled vacuum belt keeps substrates in perfect position for printing and transport. Sheet size is a maximum 63×118 inches with a maximum print width of 53 inches for everyday corrugated box production. The printer is equipped with a AQ95 polymer-based aqueous ink set, which is specially formulated to print on a range of traditional coated and uncoated corrugated stocks with no precutting required.
Durst Image Technology US LLC adapted its single-pass technology for the corrugated industry with the Delta SPC 130. The system combines a well-engineered mechanical design with easily accessible sub-assemblies and selected components to guarantee durable quality, high performance, and reliability. The Delta SPC 130 is equipped with Durst’s SPC drop-on-demand printhead technology and features a non-hazardous ink system and an IR/UV drying process designed for high productivity. Configured with up to six colors, the printer outputs any length of corrugated cardboard or paper media of up to 12 mm in thickness.
The 71-inch wide, direct-to-board LED UV inkjet EFI Nozomi C18000 Plus includes an advanced transport feed and patented vacuum table systems that eliminate warping while maximizing printer productivity and uptime. The Nozomi C18000 Plus also features an improved post-print quality inspection system to help users monitor quality and quickly identify inkjet nozzle issues or other defects. It operates at speeds of up to 246 linear feet per minute—producing up to 10,000 35×35-inch boards per hour, two-up. The printer also features new coater options, including a quick-change anilox coater for improved performance. In addition to its standard CMYK ink set, the printer is available with optional orange, violet, or white inks.
The Engico Aqua 250 is an industrial water-based inkjet press for direct printing on solid and corrugated boards and many other paper-based materials. It enables box makers, commercial printers, and point of sale (POS) professionals to print and deliver just-in-time and 1:1 cardboard boxes. The new Engico Aqua Series uses the latest generation of inkjet printheads in combination with odorless, volatile organic compound-free highly resistant water-based inks suitable for packaging, POS materials, and indoor and outdoor applications. It is equipped with a reliable vacuum belt system to flatten cardboard and keep it flat under the printheads. Board feeding and smoothing plates are optimized for corrugated to avoid damages on substrate and allows the easy insertion of highly warped boards.
The MTEX NS Multi+ is a fast and easy entry-level production printer ideal for creating boxes for food, beverages, healthcare, logistics, and ecommerce. It prints with CMYK ink in two liter ink tanks at either 800 to 1,600 dpi resolution at print speeds of either 150 and 300 mm per second. The maximum media width of the device is 1,200 mm.
In June 2020, Xeikon and Flint Group launched IDERA, a brand-new digital solutions platform for corrugated packaging converters. A cornerstones of this platform is a post-print, single-pass printing press. This press uses certified food safe water-based inks on coated and uncoated corrugated sheets up to 1.6×2.8 meters at up to 492 fpm. To develop IDERA, Xeikon relied on its long established in-house digital expertise and on the experience and manufacturing footprint of its parent company, Flint Group.
In the End
High-speed, production-level corrugated board printers are now popular complementary technologies to analog printers for a number of reasons thanks to recent advancements. These include the ability to print in a single pass, the introduction of water-based inks, and significant updates to media handling.
Read part one, Handling Corrugated at High Speeds.
Jun2021, Industrial Print Magazine