Pilot lines

Pilot line in production scale

Bobst has recently opened the first facility in the industry that enables converters and brand owners to carry out production tests and coating technology comparisons, certifying the results on-site and calculating the costs related to each test from real production data. More than 120 participants from different segments of the worldwide coating industry attended the event that marked the inauguration of the Bobst coating excellence line and technology centre. The facility, which includes a fully equipped laboratory, is a newly-built extension of Bobst Italia’s Competence Centre that also houses gravure printing and laminating machines, in San Giorgio Monferrato, Italy. «The name we have chosen for the coating line – Leonardo – tells it all,» explained Detlef Merklinger, head of the Coating Product Line at Bobst and Managing Director of Bobst Italia, «Just like Da Vinci is the ultimate polymath, our Leonardo delivers expertise and process excellence in all the different segments and countless end–use sectors and niche applications of the coating market.» The line’s prowess was put to a test during two demonstrations that addressed some of the latest trends in the label and consumer goods markets: the clear-on-clear label technology demonstration showed coating of the liner of a siliconized 23 μm PET substrate with a water-based permanent pressure-sensitive adhesive using a trolley with a pressurized chamber doctor blade. The coating speed was 300 m/min and drying by floatation technology was used. The trolley is a unique development that offers a wider coating weight range and minimizes the shear stress that can affect performance with this type of application. The 20 μm BOPP substrate had been pre-printed in reverse with NC-PU inks at a speed of 500 m/min on a Bobst Master RS 6003 gravure printing press. The second demonstration featured a cigarette pack inner liner wet lamination. An 8 μm aluminium foil substrate was laminated to a 40-gsm paper with a water and starch-based adhesive at 500 m/min using a semi-flexo trolley and floating dryer. The demo ended with an automatic splice carried out at top speed. The samples showed a flawless surface and the on-the-spot lab test certified minimum residual humidity on paper < 4-5%. All the data related to the operation were recorded and shown. The advanced connectivity features of the coating line have been another focal point of interest for the visitors, in particular seeing in operation the PowerNet system. This provides in real-time an uninterrupted stream of data relating to electricity, gas, energy, compressed air consumption, and more, as they occur in the different parts of the machine and in total, in a way that shows exactly where costs lay. This helps users to find out, for instance, which is the best speed to run a job and save energy while meeting the required delivery time or provide very useful information for the equipment motor maintenance. Bobst Italia SpA, I-15020 S. Giorgio Monferrato www.bobst.com