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  • 30 Jun 2017

Kartongbolaget breaks into personalized cartons

Installation of HP Indigo 30000 with Tresu iCoat 30000 coater allows Swedish converter to offer Fast Track service.

Kartongbolaget, the Helsingborg, Sweden-based folding carton converter, has introduced a fast, short-run and personalized packaging service, with the installation of a 7-color HP Indigo 30000 digital press with integrated Tresu iCoat 30000 coater. The digital line, the first of its type in Scandinavia, serves its customers in the industrial, food, confectionery and personal care sectors across northern Europe. It complements an existing offset workflow that includes a 6-color Heidelberg Speedmaster XL75, near-line die-cutters and other finishing equipment.

The installation enables Kartongbolaget to introduce a new flexible digital folding carton service, ‘Fast Track’, with runs of up to 5,000 sheets delivered within five days.

Joakim Johansson, managing director of Kartongbolaget, says: ‘We were determined to invest in HP Indigo’s liquid toner technology because of its proven performance and versatility. It would give us the option to print board up to B2 size, and also assure us of low ink migration to meet new food legislation. When we saw at first hand the quality and performance of the HP Indigo 30000, along with the Tresu iCoat coater at the HP Graphics Experience Center in Barcelona, we knew there was no alternative.’

With its priming feature and ability to achieve 97 percent of the Pantone color gamut, the HP Indigo and the Tresu iCoat 30000 coater deliver results comparable to offset, on numerous substrates.

Tresu iCoat 30000 is configured in-line with the HP Indigo press, enabling single-pass printing and coating. The integrated digital printing and flexo coating line has a maximum speed of up to 4,600 sheets per hour (3450sph in four colors), handling substrates of maximum format 750mm x 550mm in paperboard and metallized boards between 250μm and 600μm thickness. The press can also print on plastic substrates, accommodating PVC and polypropylene up to 630μm, and PET up to 400μm. Where no substrate or varnish change is needed, set-up times for each job are about one minute.

Seamless quality

Tresu iCoat 30000 is a flexo coating unit that applies water-based or UV varnishes in a single pass directly after the digital printing stage, protecting the underlying graphics and providing value-added aesthetic appeal. The iCoat unit’s automatic chamber cleaning and fast sleeve change facilities enable varnish change-overs within ten minutes. After coating, the automatically stacked sheets are wheeled to one of four separate die-cutters that also take offset jobs, before gluing.

Through Fast Track, Kartongbolaget is offering a number of additional services made uniquely possible by digital printing. Joakim Johansson explains: ‘The flexibility of our HP Indigo – Tresu digital line gives our customers a huge advantage in targeting consumers with more relevant products. So one production run can be split into multiple runs with different language versions, regional variations, brand varieties and limited editions, without any extra setup times, manual input or start-up waste.’

One niche brand to have benefited is Sköna Ting, a Swedish wholesaler that launched scented 25g luxury soaps in 40 varieties. The complete production run, comprising 60,000 cartons, was supplied within days. Another, the Ramlösa-based confectioner Lakritsfabriken, was able to relaunch its liquorice sweets in cartons and gain retail listings, moving from hand-wrapped bags that limited sales to specialist stores. Lakritsfabriken marked its fifth anniversary with a limited-edition assortment pack featuring a unique serial number on each box. For variable data packaging, Kartongbolaget uses HP SmartStream designer, personalizing text, images and colors. Part of this is HP SmartStream Mosaic variable design software to create unique graphics for individual packages.

Other beneficiaries have been marketing departments that have been able to speed up and simplify product development with a fast supply of digitally printed samples, printed in runs of one sheet, for relatively low cost. The company is now supplying over 30 print runs for market trials per week.

Joakim Johansson comments: ‘We have a customer in Russia that would order 500,000 boxes, and would suffer high scrap losses because of frequent changes in packaging legislation, rendering much of the order unusable. With the HP Indigo – Tresu line, we make last-minute changes to the files and supply in shorter volumes, to ensure the packaging is always up-to-date.

‘Digital printing provides the complete solution for making the brand more relevant, and the structure for aligning production processes throughout a complex logistics chain, controlling how to deliver the material, how to read it, how to order it, where to send it, which versions to print and to which customer locations.’


James Quirk is group managing editor of Labels & Labeling.

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