Windmöller & Hölscher (W&H), a specialist in machinery and systems for the manufacturing and converting of flexible packaging, has developed an inkjet press concept that will allow the technology to be effectively used in this market.
W&H CEO Dr Jürgen Vutz explained: ‘We see a need in the flexible packaging market to use digital printing in addition to the established processes. This is driven by the need for faster time-to-market and very short order lengths.
‘However, the application of flexible packaging has very special requirements, for example regarding the adhesion of the ink to the film. As specialists in this market, we bring expert knowledge to offer answers to these challenges. First, by continuously advancing the established processes such as flexo and gravure printing. Second, by opening up the possibilities of digital printing for flexible packaging.’
W&H noted that while digital printing is already firmly established in the label and commercial printing sector, flexible packaging continues to be a challenge. An economical and stable digital printing process has yet to be developed, it noted.
To this end, W&H has now begun onboarding partners for its single-pass option, with Xaar providing the piezo inkjet technology upon which the W&H inkjet press is built This will see Xaar 5601 printheads used after successful performance tests. Xaar 5601 printheads use Xaar's new thin film piezo silicon MEMS technology, and offer very high resolution with over 5600 nozzles capable of jetting up to eight litres of fluid per hour. New innovations such as AcuDrp Technology allow complete control over greyscale drop ejection for perfect image quality. In addition, the Xaar 5601 incorporates TF Technology to maximise production up time, print quality and lifetime.
Hermann Veismann, general manager of the printing and finishing business unit at at W&H, commented: ‘We are delighted to be developing our latest system using the Xaar 5601. We saw an opportunity for digital printing in flexible packaging, driven by the need for faster time-to-market and very short order lengths, and aim to overcome the traditional difficulties in this area using our expert knowledge and outstanding new technology.’
Doug Edwards, Xaar CEO, stated: ‘This announcement is a significant milestone for Xaar. Windmöller & Hölscher is a major player in the flexible packaging machinery market and is renowned for placing innovation at the heart of its new product developments. I’m delighted that the Xaar 5601 has been selected for this new development on the basis of the printhead’s high performance.’
W&H has been conducting research in the field of digital printing for several years.
Sven Michael, head of the digital team at W&H, added: ‘We first collected practical requirements, evaluated technologies and tested new approaches. This has resulted in a machine concept that stands out from all existing approaches and provides our customers with added value. We are now implementing this with suitable partners. The new digital machine concept from W&H is characterized by higher quality and higher speeds.’
Vutz concluded: ‘High availability and usability in daily use are our top priorities. Our goal is to go to market with a functioning and mature digital printing machine that delivers on the promises of digital printing for flexible packaging as well.’