First Two Nozomi Corrugated Press Users Worldwide Headline EFI Connect 2018 Opening Session
One of the highlights of EFI Connect is the "fireside chats" hosted by EFI CEO Guy Gecht. Leading off the 19th annual EFI Connect 2018 user conference last week was Gecht's interview with the CEOs from the first two worldwide installations of EFI's Nozomi C1800 single-pass LED inkjet corrugated board printing press, which first debuted at drupa 2016 as the first model in what will eventually become a platform. The panelists included Eric Bacourt, CEO of Xátiva, Spain-based Hinojosa Packaging Solutions; and Malcolm McGowan, founder and CEO of Dublin, Ireland-based McGowans Print.
As the very first Nozomi installation, Bacourt - who for the past nine years has led the progressive company that installed one of Europe’s first single-pass corrugated board packaging production systems in 2013 - was interviewed initially by Gecht. They were later joined on-stage by McGowan, who heads Ireland's largest and one of Europe's leading digital printing facilities. While Hinojosa is largely using its Nozomi for high-quality digital corrugated packaging production, McGowans is outputting both short-run corrugated packaging and display work.
Although Hinojosa started out catering to the shoe and toy sectors 70 years ago, its customer base evolved as manufacturing of those products moved to China. Today, according to Bacourt, the company focuses more on middle-market and smaller-size customers, including the agriculture, food and beverage segments, among others. Bacourt discussed how the Nozomi installation has created even greater digital opportunities and enabled a 24-hours-a-day, five-days-a-week, high-volume manufacturing operation.
“For nearly 70 years, Hinojosa has stayed on the forefront of packaging innovation, helping our customers develop better, more creative solutions, including advanced pre- and post-print digital inkjet technologies, to help customers create more value for their brands,” said Bacourt, following the installation. “EFI’s single-pass corrugated board technology continues that tradition by establishing a new level of high-quality, higher-volume inkjet productivity that gives our customers a distinct competitive edge with reduced waste, just-in-time supply chain efficiency and greater opportunities to grow sales with multi-SKU marketing.”
Bacourt explained to Gecht that the corrugated manufacturing and printing industry, given Spain's geography and population densities, needs to be in relative close geographic proximity to their clientele base. He pointed out that, with the advent of digital printing devices, including the new Nozomi, some former customers that had been lost to China have relocated their businesses back to Spain. "[They're] printing on the box the same thing they are putting on their products," he said.
Bacourt added that the problem with printing digitally on corrugated board can be moisture issues, since the board is not flat. "The wrap is the enemy of digital printing," Bacourt said.
Digital Corrugated, Display Printing Applications
The second featured panelist was Malcolm McGowan, a mathematician by training who started McGowans Print more than 25 years ago with a color copier in a small shop in Dublin. He and his 100-employee team operate numerous digital presses, including Xeikon, HP Indigo and Scodix models, along with its Nozomi, and is a market leader in Ireland for both cut-sheet and superwide-format digital production printing.
With much of its business centered on point-of-sale display graphics applications, McGowans Print is using its Nozomi press to meet existing demand for corrugated display work. Clients also use the company for corrugated packaging as a way to migrate away from litho lamination processes that are not economical for short- to medium-run work.
McGowans Print’s long-standing success has been tied to its ability to adapt and diversify to changing market needs. “We researched all the single-pass technology available for large-format printing, and the EFI Nozomi press was the best-in-class by far for our applications,” according to McGowan. “The press checks all the boxes for point-of-sale applications and is allowing us to quickly enter the packaging market as well.”
"You can tell a Nozomi print a mile away," McGowan gushed to Gecht in reference to the output quality coming off of his Nozomi press, adding that the device is also enabling new exporting opportunities for his company. "It's been a complete game-changer."
According to EFI specifications, the 1.8 meter-wide, LED drop-on-demand, piezo industrial inkjet press can print up to 246 linear ft./min., producing up to 77,758 sq. ft./hr. It can print on materials from 14-pt. card stock to triple-wall board, including traditional Kemi, model, bleach and kraft materials, at full press-rated speeds.
EFI Nozomi Corrugated Press Advantages
Additional features include:
- A 100% in-line image quality inspection system that actively manages and optimizes inkjet nozzle alignment and uniformity errors for the highest possible imaging quality.
- Production in up to seven colors, including white (standard CMYK with optional orange, violet and white ink stations) for high-quality, accurate output in resolutions up to 360x720 dots per inch with four-level grayscale imaging.
- High productivity with a permanent head architecture that eliminates the downtime associated with replacing consumable printheads.
- A fully integrated, programmable top- and bottom-feed system that also handles media separation, lift, transport and alignment at full press speeds.
EFI says that the Nozomi is also the only ultra-high-speed, singe-pass corrugated inkjet press that has certification for OCC recyclability and repulpability from the Western Michigan University Recycling, Paper and Coating Pilot Plant - a leading certification organization for corrugated recycling.