KOLB accelerates digital post-printing after CorruJET 170 success

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HANS KOLB Wellpappe has confirmed an accelerated growth path towards digital production after Koenig & Bauer Durst’s CorruJET 170 achieved high expectations. Fast time-to-market scenarios, increased versioning and reduced run lengths are major reasons for the strategic shift as customers continue to drive change.

The CorruJET 170 used for digital post-press printing on corrugated board is the crucial part of the extensive investments made by KOLB over recent years and is a centerpiece of its digital strategy. It is based in dedicated premises close to the group’s headquarters at Memmingen, Bavaria, Germany. The machine delivers high-resolution digital print at production speeds of up to 5,000 boards per hour, handles formats up to 1,700 x 1,300mm (66.9 x 51.2in) and a print resolution of 1200×600 dpi.

“There is no media in the KOLB Group that the CorruJET 170 doesn’t print. It doesn’t matter whether the substrate is coated, uncoated or even brown liner. Incredible flexibility and print quality, no need for post coating on uncoated boards. This is a very innovative, highly automated solution also for high-volume production with non-stop feeding and non-stop stacking. The CorruJET 170 is the benchmark for quality printing for uncoated markets, especially with the brown and white recycled substrates, which was not possible before, even with conventional technologies. The variety of products we can print is incredible. Take our regular business as one example. Ten years ago, there would be one product, now you have the same product in four different varieties, each requiring special packaging that can only be produced digitally viably. Run lengths may be going down, but the varieties will continue to expand. This leads to stronger product diversification and, for us, the opportunities seem to be endless. Some on-demand jobs involve printing as little as 500 sheets, which takes just six minutes to complete, but the press is also used for orders of more than 20,000 sheets.  There are almost no set-up costs, whatever the run length, and each sheet costs the same to print”, said Sebastian Fromm, Production Manager at KOLB Digital Solutions.

The CorruJET 170 also benefits from having food safe inks, which is extremely important for the packaging market. The Koenig & Bauer water-based inks for the CorruJET 170 are formulations accepted in the Swiss Ordinance, EuPIA, Nestle Ink list and are fully GMP produced. The CorruJET 170 press for the corrugated board industry was developed by Koenig & Bauer, which was able to call on its extensive experience already gained with the RotaJET. The combination of high quality and maximum throughput is a key distinguishing feature of the CorruJET 170. The incorporation of a coating unit provides for gloss or matt coating of the four-color images printed using water-based inks.

The KOLB Group develops and produces a broad spectrum of packaging, packaging materials and special corrugated board products. “The CorruJET 170 is a crucial part of the extensive investments we have made over recent years as part of our great efforts to optimize the technological process chain. Market changes mean that our customers demand fast turnarounds and increased versioning – all produced at the highest quality. Against this background, the focus is increasingly turning to the option of digital post-printing, especially with uncoated markets and brown paper substrate opportunities”, comments Group Managing Director Dr Bernhard Ruffing.

The CorruJET 170 machine is now within the portfolio of the joint venture company Koenig & Bauer Durst set up in 2019. Robert Stabler, Managing Director of Koenig & Bauer Durst, said: “With the CorruJET 170, KOLB is extremely well equipped to respond to future customer demands as it continues to open up new market opportunities. The need for fast, automated, reliable and agile printing systems has never been greater in a fast-paced world where the only constant thing is change. Fast shifts in demand require an all-in-one digital solution to meet brands requirements, which we deliver in a partnership approach.”