HP Flexes Its Packaging Muscles: Part 1

Ron Gilboa
Nov 24, 2014

HP’s Graphic Arts division demonstrated its ongoing commitment to the future of digital printing for packaging applications by announcing a partnership with Kama, a major manufacturer of finishing automation.. The announcement came a part of a recent open house that Kama held at its Dresden, Germany headquarters; also at that event, Kama, a 120-year-old manufacturer of automatic die cutters, hot foil stamping systems, and folder-gluers, revealed its collaboration with HP Indigo to launch a prototype of the FlexFold 52, a folder-gluer that will become commercially available in Q2 2015. During his introduction, Kama CEO Marcus Tralau proclaimed that “packaging is coming home” to Germany with this new technology introduction.

The FlexFold 52 offers automatic setup for rapid changeovers from one job to the next, making it ideal for producing short runs of folding cartons. Setup is handled via JDF and JMF commands, and the device can automatically adjust the length and width of the folding elements before gluing them together at a speed of 200 meters per minute with nearly whisper-quiet operation. Developed in collaboration with HP Indigo’s team, the system complements the capabilities of the HP Indigo 30000 printing system when producing folding carton applications.

 

Kama FlexFold52

Kama FlexFold52

The FlexFold 52 joins other innovations from Kama that are targeted at supporting digital printing for folding carton applications. For example, Kama’s Automatic Die Cutter DC 76 was demonstrated with HP Indigo products during drupa 2012, and the two organizations are collaborating once again with the FlexFold 52.

Kama Automatic Die Cutter DC76

Kama Automatic Die Cutter DC76

 

Alon Bar-Shany, HP Indigo General Manager and HP Vice President, also spoke during the Kama event. He noted that brand owners are seeking differentiation and short time-to-market as they link their shelf products with social media campaigns. These trends reflect the migration from mass production to mass customization, which is a key driver of HP Indigo’s success in the packaging market.

The demand for a fully integrated packaging solution prompted the HP Indigo team to seek out the best partners to help automate its print engine to increase productivity and profitability for folding carton converts. Kama’s DC 76 and FlexFold 52 feature a central workflow integration that manages setup, registration, and tracking while also enabling visual positioning of the foil stamping cliché (for the DC76). The Kama Cockpit will be able to accept packaging outline files from the job’s PDF files and use these for setting up the DieCutter 76 and the FlexFold 52. Alignment information will be carried through all stages of the job, including setup, change-over, and final tracking once this system becomes commercially available.

Several other presenters also shared their visions and observations about the industry. HP Indigo’s Simon Lewis spoke of his company’s commitment to deliver end-to-end solutions to converters who are seeking creative and integrated production solutions. Meanwhile, Michael Ferrari, formally of Proctor& Gamble, described how the transition from mass production to mass customization is having a generational impact on packaging design, while consumption is also driving the demand for digital output. The event concluded with a customer round table, where HP Indigo clients discussed industry trends and shared their success stories.

The KAMA Finishing Days 2014 event underscores how integrated solutions have become critical for final product delivery. Kama and HP Indigo showcased solutions that enable manufacturers of folding carton applications to succeed in a market where the number of products is growing rapidly even as time-to-market shortens. These trends are only fueling the demand for digital printing and finishing solutions.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog, where we’ll discuss how HP is incorporating high-speed inkjet technology into the lamination of corrugated printing.

 

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