Bobst shows new flexo inking system

Bobst used an open house event at the beginning of this month to show off some new technologies for its flexo presses, which play into its Revo initiative for extended colour gamut printing.  

The Ink-on-demand system was demonstrated on a Bobst M5 narrow web press.

Thus there’s a new Ink-on-Demand (IoD) system that Bobst believes will cut both costs and environmental footprint. This system replaces ink trays and chambered doctor blades with a single rubber pipe that dispenses 30 grams of ink direct to the print unit. Full wash-out and ink change are performed in minutes and only uses a few grams of ink and washing liquid. 

Bobst also announced a new DigiColor system that can make changes to the colour Delta E for each job on-the-fly. It’s part of an Extended Color Gamut (ECG) inkset when each of the seven inks is split into a darker and a lighter ink, which are mixed in-line through an ink-on-demand system to match the targeted Delta E value during printing. This gives closed-loop colour control leading to improved colour-matching with Bobst claiming colour consistency at any speed, on any substrate and with any operator worldwide. 

Don’t be fooled by the ‘Digi’ prefix – Bobst has an irritating habit of using this on flexo technology to convince people that it can compete against digital. There may be some truth in this but nonetheless, it’s a purely flexo approach with no digital printing technology involved. 

That said, Federico D’Annunzio, Labels and Packaging Digital Hybrid program manager for Bobst and Mouvent, reached out to me to explain the thinking behind this, saying: “We use the prefix “Digi” to name our new technologies as part of a wider vision of “Digitized” analogue technologies. We believe in full digital control of printing and converting technologies for the benefit of the new generation of Labels and Packaging converters. At Drupa 2016 we launched the concept of Digital World of Printing including both digital and analogue technologies. Today Bobst propose (excellent) digital inkjet and fully digitized flexo solutions. In flexo, the pressure, register and colour adjustments are performed by digital closed-loop solutions. Making the integration between analogue and digital technologies a fact: same level of control, similar set-up times and waste. Converters can choose based on practical and economic convenience. And host digital and analogue technologies under the same roof, sharing a common digital work flow and operating process.”

He sums up: “DigiColor is a true revolution to digitize colour matching in flexo printing. It is not digital printing as flexo needs plates. But it is fully digitized printing.”

Meanwhile, Mouvent, Bobst’s inkjet subsidiary, also used the event to show off its LB702-UV digital press running with six colours and 1200 dpi resolution on multiple jobs and various substrates. Mouvent says that this press can run at 100mpm though it’s using a form of Fujifilm Samba printheads, meaning that it can produce 1200 dpi resolution or 100mpm but it’s not clear to me that it can do both at the same time, despite the claims made in the PR that Bobst puts out. A beta of this press was also shown at the 2017 Label Expo. 

You can find more information on Bobst’s narrow web flexo presses, as well as the Revo initiative, Ink-on-damand and DigiColor at the Bobst website here.

*This story has been amended to include Federico D’Annunzio’s reply to my original version.

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