WorldStar Packaging Awards 2010 for the Czechs and Slovaks
The Czech and Slovak packagings experienced outstanding success in this year’s edition of the world’s best packaging competition: nine of 11 entries were awarded with the WorldStar Packaging Award: laminated tube with Braille, TUBAPACK, a. s.; Radmilla cherry and plum in chocolate – 10 pcs, Grafobal, akciová spoločnosť; Feel eco detergent, Fosfa akciová společnost; strawberry basket, THIMM Obaly, k. s.; a set of confectionery gift boxes, 3H creative studio, s. r. o.; luxury pack of ILLUI pralines, Grafobal, akciová spoločnosť; Hochland cheese packaging, THIMM Obaly, k. s.; Warenlift („product lifter“), THIMM Obaly, k. s.; versatile secondary packaging of wheel hubcaps, UNIPAP, a. s.
Main topic – The marking
It is necessary to begin in the phase of production
Product identification gains importance when employed across all company processes. The information stored in a product code can be exploited along the entire process chain, which the merchandise passes through before it reaches the customer: from production, warehousing and distribution to the sale. There is a number of technologies supporting identification: barcodes, 2D codes, DPM, RFID among others. Product identification makes particzlar sense where it is used throughout the chain: from production to the end-user. The manufacturer plays an important role above all. With the goods marked already in production, further handling of shipments is far easier and the information is more accurate. Compliance with the standards constitutes an immensely important step.
The marking informs, protects, and decorates as well
There are various reasons for marking, mainly logistic, statutory but also aesthetic (promotional purposes). The producer often adds customer information. Marking is currently applied to protect products against counterfeiting, too. Technologically simpler marking pens, roll or impact marking machines with stamps are used. Marking can be performed on a thermal, electrochemical, microdot or electroerosion basis. Industrial marking deploys the printers very frequently. We can find inkjet, laser, thermal transfer (the ink is transferred onto the substrate by the means of a ribbon) as well as direct thermal printing (the thermoactive substrate is selectively heated) devices.
Markem-Imaje: one year after
More than a year ago, the ONDRÁŠEK INK-JET SYSTÉM company announced a new player entering the Czech market. The company has marketed industrial marking equipment for 17 years already but until 2009 only represented the Imaje brand. Last year the U.S. Markem brand was added to the portfolio. We talked with managing director Pavel Ondrášek on how the global market situation has changed, with these two big players operating together for three years now.
Data synchronization is knocking on the door
It is important to completely secure accurate data related to the marketed products. The Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN) could be the right solution. GDSN standards, electronic catalogues, the global registry, global product classification and the data quality framework constitute its basic pillars. The implementation of data synchronization results into benefits for partners: e.g. classification process consolidation and data structure unification, lower costs of data management, improved speed of updating, data consistency throughout the entire hierarchy of packaging, one entry-point for one-off database publication, checking each item for its uniqueness, lower frequency of EDI error messages, shorter lead time, reduced inventory volumes, improved product availability, and increased personnel productivity.
The marking at FachPack
The LogIntern fair took place together with FachPack at the Nuremberg Exhibition Centre from September 28 to 30. Trendy topics included ideas for cost savings in packaging logistics. A rising tendency towards implementation of advanced automation and robotization could be perceived; in particular, new alternatives for marking and traceability of the products. The show in hall 4 on an area of some 200 sqm presented the latest developments in selected fields of logistics and labelling and identification techniques. The scene in the LogIntern halls 4 and 4A was dominated by conveying, loading, storage and order-picking systems, software for material flow, and control, identification and coding systems. LogIntern also showed trends and new developments in optical and electronic identification processes, the auto-ID technologies, incl. smart data carriers capable of long-distance reading/writing. The label manufacturers and labelling equipment suppliers presented their products in an unprecedented extent.
Packaging Live line for the second time and in a different way
A model packaging line of the Packaging Live project appeared for the first time already at the Embax fair in Brno in March. The fall repetition was held at MSV 2010 in hall G2. The line operated four times a day not only with new components of previous partners but also with the newcomers’ products and services. It demonstrated primary and secondary packaging, processes of marking, automation, and barcode identification straight down to palletization and simulated distribution.
The marking at MSV 2010 in Brno
We could find several firms from the field of marking at this year’s MSV fair. We visited the stands of some of those – manufacturers of products for the packaging industry (among others).
Leonardo technology, Ostrava, showcased the Leibinger JET Visio camera system for the JET3 printer. The Bottling Printing company exemplified a range of Linx 7300 printers constructed for minimized maintenance and ink consumption. The Liftec company demonstrated a couple of KBA-Metronic machines, incl. the small compact iCON 1010 fibre laser. SIC-VENIM, Ostrava, presented the Elried New Star cutting plotter for stencils used for larger signs sprayed on transport cases for example.
Vivid design of beverage cans
Although we cannot compete with traditional „tin countries“ (i.e. the U.S.) in the consumption of canned beverages, the popularity of cans rises, especially among the young generation. Unfortunately, suppliers and producers at the Czech market have so far been sticking to somewhat tedious forms of graphic, to their own detriment. But this by far does not apply to the world surrounding us. For highlighting, cans are mostly multicolor printed (often in five, six or more colors) today. Printing techniques include indirect relief printing (the plate constists of a photopolymer-coated aluminium sheet), screenprinting, tampon or digital printing. Photorealistic gravure printing can be found, the embossing is popular as well.
Tin can – the greatest 20th-century innovation
The tin can was named the top 20th-century innovation by the British Grocer magazine (focused on food retailing). At the beginning of the 1980s, Amcor Flexible launched a new type of can ends, so-called peel-off membrane. Alufix-branded, it has been produced up to this date and keeps pace with increasingly challenging requirements on food packaging thanks to its continuous innovations. To be opened, it requires approx. half the strength of a classic ring-pull end while maintaining sealing properties. The new development also expands opportunities of design and brand promotion. Amcor released a new patented end for retorting last year. Thanks to the specific geometry of the ring, the can „absorbs“ overpressure during retort processing.
Technology – The postpress
Varnishing adds value
Varnishing ranges among the most common converting methods. Although improving product barrier properties together with its mechanical (scrub and scratch) resistance, it is mostly perceived as the matter of visual perception. Matt or gloss, flood or spot varnishing can be applied. The effect varnishes are frequently asked for at present. In such case, it is possible to create not only a metallic or iridescent finish but also drip-off or orange peel effects.
Colorlak after 85 years
Four fifths of Colorlak`s paints production is filled into metal containers, one fifth into plastics. For making metal containers, aluminium used to be the first choice in the past, while steel sheets are emerging today, featuring a better look and better properties eg. in pressure testing. Wall or façade paints used to be the predominant products packed into plastics but Colorlak is gradually implementing plastics for all water-based paints, i.e. varnishes and priming and finishing paints for both wood and metal as well. Responding to customer demand, the company released a new type of plastic containers. These are lightweight and enable direct checking of the color shade by means of a see-through window in the lower part of the label, together with a simplified opening. Colorlak is the only Czech producer filling paints into aerosol cans.
In the sign of speed
Large series of packagings, especially the unified corrugated board ones, are no exception. In production of this particular type of packaging rotary machines are used, their advantage being a higher speed in comparison with flatbed die cutting. Some of these are versatile, the other are combination presses. At larger manufacturing sites, we can often find complete automated production lines with a rotary die cutting unit. Board packagings are cut either on the shear cut principle (two tools against each other) or the razor cut principle (one tool against a counter plate). Basic constructions differ according to the tool-to-tool or tool-to-counter plate systems.
Sheet and web offset rotary presses
Although flexography beats offset in terms of packaging printing volumes, there are some areas where the quality of offset is irreplaceable. Folding cartons made of solid boards, preprinted corrugated board for multipacks, POS displays or some types of transport cases e.g. for electronics and electrotechnics, and even some types of labels – this is only a part of packaging production dominated by offset. Offset printing presses are constructed entirely as rotary (cylinder) presses. They are called web or sheet presses depending upon the shape of materials printed. One of the latest alternatives today is digital offset (DI offset), controlled electronically directly by the printing press (Direct Imaging, Computer-to-Press).
Probas makes investments
Probas s. r. o., the producer of corrugated packaging, held an open house at the beginning of October. A new production hall was presented, together with a newly installed Martin production line. We walked through the entire plant with commercial director Milan Lepeška and a photographer, offering you a photo report of our visit now. Talking to Radek Olšanský, managing director of a family business, we discussed the company’s history, its current development, and the latest plans.