MEX, Switzerland, July 21, 2020 (Press Release) -Schäfer Print & Packaging aims to lead the market through a generational technology upgrade –comprised in the acquisition of two new VISIONCUT 106 LER flatbed die-cutters, combined with that of a VISIONFOIL 104 hot-foil stamping machine and an EXPERTFOLD 110 A2 folder-gluer, all from BOBST.
“The food industry in particular relies on long-term partnerships and continuity. By judicious future planning and extensive investments in the latest BOBST technology, we have signaled our ongoing commitment to our clientele”, says Timo Schäfer, Managing Director of Schäfer Print & Packaging GmbH & Co. KG.
According to Senior Manager Udo Schäfer, the packaging manufacturer – founded in 1987 – can, if required, process customer orders within 24 hours – when, for instance, food manufacturers want to launch discount trade campaigns at short notice or where customers need packaging, shelf cartons or sales displays made of solid board for test markets. These are just some examples of how the company’s three-shift, full-service provision sets about fulfilling its mission to ensure its customers get everything they need. Production runs of folding-carton packaging - some of which will be in direct contact with food - range from 1,000 to around 1 million boxes.
“Our technology must enhance our flexibility and speed," says Timo Schäfer, when explaining why the company relies so much on BOBST technology. The decision in favor of the VISIONCUT 106 LER was preceded by discussions at partner companies who already use this particular die-cutter, as well as by a test at the Bobst Meerbusch Competence Centre. All of which simply confirmed that the machines did meet the required standards of stability and flexibility.
Timo Schäfer adds, “The sheets run very steadily and smoothly through the machines. With the VISIONCUT 106 LER we can produce with reliably constant high quality. Their double-cam gripper-bar advance system both accelerates and slows down the sheets extremely evenly. The platen is also equipped with cam drives, and the Bernoulli sheet braking devices also enable smooth and even sheet travel.” This allows the packaging manufacturer to exploit the highest running speeds of its two die-cutters (up to 8,000 sheets an hour) on the majority of its jobs. In addition to which is the perfect print-to-cut register – for which the die-cutters rely, among other things, on their dynamic optical lateral register systems. These align individual sheets according to their edges, print images or special register marks. As well as solid board, Schäfer Print & Packaging also processes thinner materials with basis weights of up to 170 g/m2 on the VISIONCUT 106 LER. And these run just as smoothly through the die-cutters.
Flexibility, reliability and stamping quality were the principal advantages offered by the VISIONFOIL 104 commissioned at the beginning of 2019. Among other things, it is used by the company to emboss packaging with gold lettering and filigree ornaments for a globally renowned chocolate brand. In addition to gold foils, other foils are also used. The machine is also constantly used for relief embossing and maintains top quality even with the most demanding embossing tasks.
The VISIONFOIL 104 has various features which, combined, guarantee its high embossing quality. For example, a double-cam gripper-bar advance ensures extremely even sheet transport. The heated upper platen ensures the highest quality of foil application, while the honeycomb chase ensures the precise positioning of the embossing tools. Added to this, economical foil consumption is a real plus: the OACS system (Optimal Advance Computing System) always calculates the optimum foil advance, making the best possible use of foil. The patented external foil unwinding system, in turn, offers practically unlimited possibilities in hot foil stamping to meet new customer requirements.
Schäfer Print & Packaging also needs flexibility in box folding-gluing, making the particularly versatile universal folder-gluer EXPERTFOLD 110 A2 the ideal choice. The company used to have its packaging glued and folded externally. Today it can produce more flexibly and exploit all the capabilities of the EXPERTFOLD 110 A2 to its customers’ advantage. At speeds of up to 450 meters a minute, the machine produces a number of different types of boxes, from a wide range of materials. For example, it can produce up to 28,000 4 & 6-corner boxes per hour. Its sophisticated, field-proven technology, from feeder to delivery, guarantees extremely reliable operation.
Another improvement has been in the working conditions of machine operators, for the die-cutters in particular. They too now work with VISIONFOIL 104: "In both processes, we have succeeded in getting started practically from scratch. We had not expected this", says Udo Schäfer, praising the commitment of his operators and the back up from BOBST. The user-friendliness of the technology also made it easier to get started. During die-cutting, machine operators can conveniently adjust the platen pressure via the CUBE controls and, thanks to the Quick Change concept, the cutting die and the cutting plate are automatically locked and unlocked at the touch of a button. Furthermore, the die-cutters can be quickly changed over from blank separation to full-sheet delivery and back again without special tools. Their full-sheet delivery positions the sheets with the highest possible precision, even during embossing and creasing operations.
On the VISIONFOIL 104, the special ergonomics of the external foil unwinding system allows operators comfortable access and thus the shortest possible set-up times. All the machine’s functions can be conveniently adjusted via the CUBE control system. No further adjustments are required during production. With the EXPERTFOLD 110 A2, too, all areas are easily accessible for rapid job changes. Up to 5,000 jobs can be stored in its CUBE control system and recalled at the touch of a button.
Focus on new services
With BOBST's remote maintenance Helpline Plus, Schäfer has reduced downtime caused by technical problems to a minimum. In addition, the company has permanent access to all the performance data of the two die-cutters and the folder-gluer via BOBST's mobile portal app. With the exception of VISIONFOIL 104, the new machines are therefore already connected to BOBST's Connected Services. This opens up the possibility of evaluating machine data for process optimization in the future.
“With our new BOBST machines, we produce the quality our customers expect faster and more reliably. At the same time, we have simplified processes for our employees," says Udo Schäfer, summarizing the advantages of the technology.