HP and KBA unveil ground breaking digital corrugated press

Development partners HP and Koenig & Bauer (KBA) have given a first glimpse of a new high-speed, wide-format inkjet printer specifically targeted at the corrugated packaging industry.

The 2.8m-wide T1100S is the outcome of a collaboration between the two press builders that began in September 2013. It was shown to a select trade audience on 2-3 December at KBA’s headquarters in W├╝rzburg.

It is intended to deliver much greater flexibility for printers producing digital pre-print liners for corrugated containers, at a reasonable cost and without reducing throughput speed.

Eric Wiesner, the general manager of HP’s PageWide Web Press division, explains: ‘Converters and brands need to create more targeted, effective packaging while reducing costs. HP and KBA have combined forces to bring the world’s most productive press to market, offering more value to high-end converters with the efficiencies of pre-print and digital in one press.’

The partners cite data from the Smithers report The Future of Package Printing to 2019 to support the business case for developing the new platform, noting that digital print is scheduled to see a 17% annual average increase for 2014-19 across all packaging segments.

The incorporation of multi-lane print architecture (MLPA) on the T1100S allows different designs to be printed simultaneously in same run. This gives brands new options to produce customised and short-run designs on a printer with a top speed of 183m per minute – equivalent to 30,600m2 per minute.

Consumables for the new press will be supplied by HP. This includes an aqueous CMYK ink set, bonding and priming agents that the T1100S can lay down in thicknesses of 80-400gsm. HP notes these comply with ‘standards for indirect-contact paper-based food packaging.’

The T1100S is large – 29m long, over 10m wide and 5.5m high. The first buyer has already been confirmed as DS Smith, which will install it at its facility in Featherstone, West Yorkshire in spring 2016. DS Smith has already road-tested a smaller version of the HP corrugated press – the HP T400 Simplex – at its R&D centre in Derbyshire.

The CEO of DS Smith’s packaging business – Stefano Rossi – reveals how the development aligns with his firm’s existing development strategy. He says: ‘We selected the new HP PageWide Web Press T1100S as the next step in our ground breaking digital PrePrint programme. Our co-development with HP has resulted in the first digital machine able to print at the speed and width we need for high-volume corrugated production. It will provide our customers with unprecedented short-run flexibility and quality consistency.’

This article comes from Food Contact World, which provides exclusive news and analysis on developments in digital print trends, markets, and technologies.