HP partners with Fosber Corrugators

HP has signed a strategic relationship with the corrugator machine manufacture Fosber Group to tighten the integration between Foster’s corrugators and HP’s inkjet web presses. Fosber will now join HP’s PWI SmartStream Solutions Partner Program.

Fosber, which is headquartered in Italy, has grown through acquisition and includes a number of subsidiaries such as Fosber America, which seems to have taken the lead on the arrangement with HP. In 2020 Fosber acquired another corrugator manufacturer, Agnati, which had developed the Quantum corrugator, and now operates as the Quantum subsidiary within the Fosber Group. 

The arrangement with HP is centred around the Quantum corrugator, which has been designed to produce both fine flutes of type N and F with very light papers up to 40 gsm, as well as standard flutes including B, C, E, R and T types, largely thanks to the use of a cartridge-type single facer that’s able to handle such as wide range of flutes. It’s available in widths of 1.8m or 2.5m and has a very compact design from 55m to 96m long, depending on the configuration. The Quantum has an unusual design as the formation of the single face web and the application of the external liner are achieved virtually at the same time in only one thermal cycle.

The idea is to combine the Fosber Quantum corrugator with HP’s PageWide inkjet presses, in order to maximise the synergies between the two and make the most efficient use of the relatively short run production on the digital press with the longer run approach typical of corrugators. This system can be used with either HP’s 1.7m-wide T700i or the 2.8m-wide T1195i, which have both been developed specifically for preprint corrugated production. 

The arrangement includes a third company, Erhardt+Leimer that is also known as E+L, and was already working separately with both HP as part of its partner program and with Fosber. E+L, which is headquartered in Augsburg, Germany, makes automation equipment for manufacturing lines for a number of different industries, including corrugated converting. E+L offers several systems for controlling webs of material for corrugations, including the SmartLine, which it developed in response to a requirement to handle digital rolls on a Fosber corrugator.

The SmartLine is based around a camera system that is fitted on the corrugator. Conventional flexo preprint uses a ‘follower line’ – a black line close to the edge of the web which marks the position of the print (rather then the paper edge which may be different). Smartline uses the same concept, but builds a sort of ‘morse code’ into the line. This code holds the order number and a count-down to the next order change in a roll. When the Smartline controller reaches the order change in the printed web, it instructs the corrugator to make an order change, such as selecting the next set of slit and chop positions for a dry-end change, or to splice in a different type or width of liner for a wet-end change.

Optionally, a roll-results file is created by HP’s One Package which gives the Smartline controller additional information about the printed roll, such as the exact quantities printed, and also allows feedback concerning the results of corrugation.

Jeff Pallini, CEO of Fosber America, commented: “We are very excited about collaborating with HP to run digital preprint on the Quantum Corrugator. This will provide the customers a flexible, high-quality solution of producing digitally printed sheets on the corrugator.”

You can find further details on the inkjet web presses from hp.com, and on Fosber and its products from Fosber America, Fosber Group and Quantum, and on the Smartline from erhardt-leimer.com



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