This innovation appears in one of the first digital inkjet presses designed from the ground up to establish new standards of productivity and innovation in corrugated packaging. The 1.8m-wide EFI Nozomi C18000 inkjet press will help corrugated manufacturers and brands access a wide color gamut and broader design options in corrugated board work with fast turnaround times, all while maintaining low production costs.
The sheetfed digital packaging press has run speeds up to 8,100 m2 / hour and can print on boards up to 1.8mx3m in size. Users will gain superior versatility thanks to a double-lane printing feature that enables full utilization of the press's speed and width and increases throughput up to 9,000 80cmx60cm boards per hour. The press's LED imaging capabilities provide brilliant, accurate color imaging on just about any board substrate, including traditional Kemi, model, bleach and kraft materials.
The press is designed to offer value, reframing the industry discussion of digital corrugated packaging by enabling cost-effective, high-quality, direct-to-board digital printing, and by eliminating expenses and a number of steps associated with plating, printing and lamination in traditional analog production.
"EFI's next generation of innovation brings to market the strongest combination of versatility, imaging quality and production speeds at a total cost of ownership that is far below similar single-pass platforms," said Guy Gecht, EFI's CEO. "When commercially available next year, the Nozomi C18000 press will finally give the corrugated packaging market a unique solution to establish a profitable business around on-demand, customized digital printing."
While other inkjet technologies are often developed to address signage or document printing and then adapted to corrugated packaging uses, this new EFI LED inkjet press has been designed from the ground up specifically for a $130 billion corrugated packaging industry that has more than 200 billion square meters of printed output per year — a figure that is more than 25 times greater than the estimated amount of annual signage and graphics output produced.
The new inkjet technology's media handling, inks and software platforms were designed by the top engineering, software and ink teams from across EFI. The cross-functional teams focused on understanding the unique needs of the corrugated industry, leveraging the latest technology to design a revolutionary solution.
To create the press, EFI combined some of the best features from many of its development operations, including precision, single-pass inkjet imaging systems from U.S.-based EFI Jetrion digital press facilities and the company's Cretaprint ceramic decoration printer operations in Spain; advanced LED inkjet innovations from EFI's global ink development centers; superwide-format press technology from the company's U.S.-based VUTEk operations; scalable Fiery digital front end (DFE) processing and management technology from EFI's Silicon Valley development center; and cloud-based remote diagnostics and support advancements from the company's Bengaluru, India, technical hub.
Users will be able to increase their productivity with digital in nearly any board application, running everything from 14-point cardstock to a full range of corrugated flutes — A, B, C, D, E, F, G, N, O, AB, AC, BC, EB, EF, and triple wall — without slowing down the press. The corrugated board press prints in up to seven colors, including white, and provides high-quality output with resolutions up to 360x720 dots per inch with four-level grayscale imaging. An in-line primer will give customers control over dot gain and ink absorption on different types of corrugated top sheets. A 100% in-line image quality inspection system on the press is tied to robust print optimization technologies, including inkjet nozzle, alignment and uniformity correction for the highest possible imaging quality. The Nozomi press's permanent head architecture eliminates the downtime associated with replacing consumable printheads.
In addition to the new corrugated packaging press, EFI will incorporate its core Nozomi inkjet technology platform into new, high-volume printers for the signage market and other industries.
With its "cool cure" LED imaging capabilities, the Nozomi C18000 press will help redefine sustainability in corrugated board production, as it will allow customers to eliminate wasteful warehousing routines for analog-printed packaging with leaner, just-in-time inventory. Plus, packaging produced with the press is fully recyclable, with printed output meeting a leading recyclability and repulpability certification standard.
"We are proud to announce that printed output for the EFI Nozomi C18000 press received certification for OCC recyclability and repulpability from the Western Michigan University Recycling, Paper and Coating Pilot Plant," said EFI's Gecht. Customers and brands can include the certification's recyclability logo on corrugated board packaging, displays and other products printed using the press.
Faster, integrated workflow for maximum productivity
EFI is the only major industry manufacturer in the packaging and printing industries that has the full scope of industrial inkjet hardware and ink development along with DFE and end-to-end manufacturing execution system (MES) and MIS/ERP workflow technologies. Integrated DFE and workflow products for the press will elevate the overall productivity and profitability of users' digital corrugated board manufacturing operations in ways standalone digital print systems cannot accomplish.
The new, scalable EFI Fiery XB bladed-architecture, high-performance DFE for the press will provide fast, efficient job processing to eliminate downtime spent waiting for jobs. Plus, the new DFE will include Fiery job management, imposition and automation tools for peak efficiency.
EFI is planning to start installations of Nozomi C18000 presses within the next 12 months.