Heidelberg has worked with a Chinese packaging manufacturer, Xianjunlong Colour Printing Co. Ltd, to develop a new folding carton web-to-pack solution called Boxuni, which was demonstrated this system at last week’s Print China show in Guangdong, southern China.
Xianjunlong, based in Shenzhen, has set up a fully integrated web-to-pack production line – from cloud-based online platform to printing on a Heidelberg Primefire 106 inkjet press. The postpress includes a digital coating/foil stamping system and a die-cutting machine from Heidelberg’s Chinese Masterwork partner. The system includes an online element for customers to design and order their boxes. There are around 12,000 folding carton designs available online, with more being added all the time.
Mr. Zhuang, from Xianjunlong’s management team, explains: “We’re expecting the boxuni web-to-pack platform to revolutionize China’s packaging market. In the future, designers, print buyers, and printers will all benefit from a highly automated, standardized process that will ultimately eliminate the need for correction cycles and coordination processes. We’ll use this digital business model to ensure the Primefire is used to its full capacity on a cost-effective basis.”
Xianjunlong mainly prints packaging for wine as well as products for the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and electrical industries. Roughly three-quarters of the jobs are standard folding cartons. The company uses digital, flexo and offset printing, with a staggering 23 Heidelberg 102-series Speedmaster presses, all housed in a 50,000 sqm factory. General Manager Zebin Lin says: “We process around 1,400 print jobs (13,000 plates produced) a month in the packaging area. 60 percent of these are repeat orders. These jobs go through prepress in just 20 minutes, and then are ready to print.”
Not surprisingly, the company uses Heidelberg’s Prinect workflow software, including the Prinect Package Designer. This allows customers to select which type of folding carton they want and to enter the height, width, and depth and then automatically produces the corresponding CAD file with an interactive 3D soft proof. Lin explains: “We can examine the folding carton design in various states – for example flat or assembled – and from all sides and check every detail such as the positioning of texts, images, and graphical elements.”
Stephan Plenz, the Heidelberg board member responsible for Digital Technology, commented: “China is the world’s largest market for folding carton production. It is worth over €30 billion and is growing at an annual rate of around 5 percent.” He added: “China in particular is seeing a growing demand for short runs and even more customized packaging of very high quality, the perfect fit for the Heidelberg Primefire 106. We consider this the next step in a trend that will create further impetus for growth in the highly promising digital packaging printing segment.”
That said, Heidelberg clearly is pushing the web to pack concept as the next logical extension of web to print, as well as an obvious application for its Primefire inkjet press. Bernhard Schaaf, Heidelberg’s senior manager for digital Printing, says that the principle advantage of web to pack is to offer converters the ability to standardise their production giving brand owners faster delivery of their orders. It’s a logical argument, and it seems highly likely that we’ll see other converters Xianjunlong’s lead and set up their own branded solutions.
You can find more information on Heidelberg’s thoughts about web to pack here.