New carton equipment as well as solutions catering to the need for small volume production and greater diversification in product ranges are now commonplace in South Africa. These technologies are helping packaging manufacturers and brand owners to distinguish their offerings at a reasonable cost.
Enhancing the haptic experience
Cosmo Films will reveal its new range of luxury packaging substrates at drupa 2016 in Germany. The company’s lamination films for carton and board are primarily focused on high-end packaging of cosmetics and personal care products.
The collection, named Luxotique, allows convertors to recreate surfaces that impart the lavish feel of velvet or matte sophistication on packaging. Luxotique Velvet is the flagship product in the range. Engineered on a special matte base film, this material delivers a premium finish.
Unlike a traditional matte film, Luxotique Scuff-Free Matte provides excellent resistance to scuff marks, which often occur during production, transportation and handling. The matte surface of the film is ideal for post-laminating procedures such as UV spot coating, hot foil stamping and embossing.
Luxotique digital film offers impressive bonding to digitally printed surfaces and is available in gloss and matte varieties. Cosmo Films improved its visibility in the South African market when it exhibited at the recent Propak Africa 2016. The company has confirmed that the Luxotique range will be available locally in June, after its launch at drupa 2016.
The short-run phenomenon
Xeikon understands the needs of South African convertors. This is thanks to its partnership with DecoFlex. Its technologies are helping packaging producers deal with demands for short runs, fast turnaround times, product trials, customisation, regionalisation and brand protection.
The company extended its agreement with DecoFlex in September 2015 when it announced the local agent will distribute its digital print portfolio. This is in addition to Xeikon’s ThermoFlexX flexo computer-to-plate solutions.
As part of its digital print portfolio, Xeikon’s folding carton suite fulfils the evolving needs of carton convertors. The system includes the Xeikon 3500 wide web press and sports a press configuration equipped with orange toner, in combination with CMYK. This allows digital production of cartons in a wider range of brand colours.
‘Producing folding cartons digitally is perfect for specific seasonal packaging, intensive test marketing, just-in-time delivery contracts and customisation of shorter runs,’ says Filip Weymans, director of segment marketing for Xeikon labels and packaging. ‘The technology is appealing to smaller geographic and demographic market segments.’
The equipment manufacturer’s suite offers a ready-to-use package, making it easy for customers to configure efficient and cost-effective digital production of carton and board packaging. The end-to-end, five-colour solution delivers products with a unique look and feel, with the high productivity and format flexibility of a Xeikon digital press.
The company’s Fusion Technology, launched in September 2015, can be added onto the suite. This system combines full colour printing with digital embellishment in a single pass, fully digital production process. It is made up of a series of embellishment modules, which is set to be introduced in the market over time. Potential modules include hot and cold foiling; screen prints; matte, gloss and structured flood and spot varnish; and digital Braille.
To crown these advancements, XeikonColorControl can be integrated into the suite. ‘This cloud-based service generates high-quality ICC profiles with special, prefixed settings optimised for applications such as packaging,’ he explains. ‘Calculations for colour management are performed on the web server and communicated to prepress or production.’
These solutions demonstrate that Xeikon’s digital printing technology is capable of meeting market requirements. The folding carton suite and its add-ons allow unlimited variability, enable cost-effective print runs and create new business opportunities for printers and converters.
Simplicity in cartooning
The Cama group, headquartered in Italy, recently launched the Break-Through Generation Machinery range. Units in the range are designed to minimise factory footprint, making the machines ideal for compact manufacturing facilities in South Africa.
Available from USS Pactech, the IF316 monoblock loading unit forms part of the new range. It offers integrated box forming, loading and closing. A great fi t for cosmetics and personal care product packers, the machine delivers highly accurate carton handling, appealing ergonomics and improved accessibility.
Its flat blank magazine is at waist level, making carton loading easier. At the machine exit, an innovative box closing manipulator ensures quick and accurate closing with simplified handling.
Its differentiating features include soft touch buttons, off-the-shelf electronics and the use of a Cama Triaflex delta-style robot. The loading robot broadens the standard configurations of monoblock units equipped with two-axis robots.
Cama’s IF series of integrated packaging machines and robotic loading units can be combined to create turnkey carton packing stations. The company recently produced a complete line for a leading multinational customer to pack up to 200 jars of hair gel per minute. The line features a forming and closing unit, and a top loading robot. It also offers proven flexibility, thanks to its innovative compacting head.
Creating a sense of exclusivity
First Impression Labels recently extended its offering into carton and board packaging with the addition of a flatbed die-cutter and gluing machine to its arsenal of equipment. ‘We have diversified into cartons thanks to a gap in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and personal care industries, for which we already print many labels and sleeves,’ comments project estimator Bianca Inggs.
‘We can use all of our current print technologies, including digital and flexographic printing, foiling, embossing, high build and spot varnishing on our cartons. This makes us competitive for small to medium-size runs for companies in need of many variations of their packaging.’
The Pinetown-based company has employed Ernie Kok to lead the department. He has 39 years’ experience in carton manufacturing. Like many other South African packaging businesses, Kok and his team will be up against significant challenges posed by current economic conditions. Importing board and other substrates is the company’s biggest challenge at the moment, as the exchange rate affects the cost of these materials.
First Impression Labels’ digital technology allows it to offer customers printed mock-up packaging, which can be presented to retailers and used in launch campaigns. It has also been audited and approved by multiple large pharmaceutical companies. This approval, along with its decoration and finishing capabilities, makes it a welcome addition to the local carton converting industry.
To stay relevant and competitive in this market, convertors have to constantly expand and re-invent their product offering. The same goes for brand owners, which have to impress consumers with differentiated packaging. A well-designed and expertly produced carton has the ability to do exactly that, as Inggs explains: ‘The FMCG market is increasingly competitive with most applications, and packaging is what sells the product. Cartons with beautiful foils, embossing and hi-builds are becoming increasingly important. It’s all about an elite product at a competitive price.’