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Model AG enters a new era of packaging production with cutting-edge technology from Fujifilm

The leading Swiss packaging manufacturer has embraced digital production through the installation of an Inca Onset S40 printer, and is the beta site for Fujifilm’s new Uvijet OC inks for corrugated applications.

21.02.2013

Model AG Airview

Model AG Head Quater

Edoardo Finotti, Head of Model ICC HR

Model Holding AG is the holding company of Model Group, a well established family owned business. Founded in 1882 as a small mill board factory, the company soon found its niche in the production of corrugated board and industrial packaging. Today Model Group is led by the fourth generation of the founder’s family and has his head office in Weinfelden, Switzerland, and over 16 subsidiaries and production sites spread across eight other countries in Europe.

Model Group is prominent in the packaging business and boasts more than 3000 employees, 550 of which are based in Weinfelden. In 2011, the group produced 619 million m2 of corrugated board, as well as 26,300 tonnes of cardboard packaging and 284,200 tonnes of container board.

The corporate HQ in Weinfelden is the flagship corrugated board plant. Here lies one of the company’s outstanding Innovation and Competence Centers (ICC), where all the technical expertise is directed into new packaging developments to keep Model at the forefront in its field.

Over the years Model has built a strong reputation in a variety of markets such as food & beverage, cosmetics and automotive. Blue-chip multinationals like Unilever, L’Oreal, Nestle’ and Kraft trust Model as a competent supplier able to satisfy the most demanding requests through a holistic and consultative approach.

Cardboard and corrugated board are treated as the raw materials for creative output at Model. The company offers a comprehensive range of services from design to manufacture, through the filling and set up of displays and boxes, and including the disposal and recycling of waste cardboard and corrugated board. Thanks to the perfect combination of substrates, print and finishing techniques, Model’s specialists can devise unique products to meet specific customer needs.

In the pursuit of flexibility

Model Group had historically based its production on offset and flexo equipment. Offline and in-line flexo machines are currently operating within the HQ but 10 years ago the ICC at Weinfelden started to investigate digital print, recognising that it was an up-and-coming production method. After initially outsourcing to a digital partner, in 2008 Model installed its first entry level inkjet flatbed device to cut its teeth with this technology.

Edoardo Finotti, head of Model ICC, explains: “In the last few years the importance of digital print has grown steadily. There is an increasing demand for short run and personalised products, as well as strong pressure to reduce costs; digital print perfectly suits those requirements. Model prides itself on being innovative and in tune with the market’s demands, and as a leading packaging manufacturer we didn’t want to lag behind in terms of digital innovation.”

Since 2008 Model has been monitoring the latest developments in digital printing in order to find the most productive, high quality and reliable technology to fulfil the high standards required by the packaging industry. It found the answer to these stringent demands in a wide-format flat-bed Inca Onset S40 inkjet printer supplied by Fujifilm.

“Quality is an undisputed priority for Model and we were extremely impressed by the photographic-like images delivered by the Onset S40. What’s more, this print engine is a workhorse which guarantees extraordinary productivity and fits perfectly into our workflow,” says Edoardo.

He adds: “The Onset S40 takes the flexibility typical of digital print to the highest level. This machine allows us to create limited and bespoke packs and displays with increased efficiency, as it doesn’t require set up times or prepress. It has helped us to diversify our production and has given us the opportunity to choose to go digital, whenever appropriate, depending on the job.”

The Inca Onset S40 prints at up to 470 m2/hr and provides ‘best-in-class’ quality and flexibility at a low cost per print. The Onset S40 can print directly onto substrates up to 50mm thick to create exquisite displays and packaging solutions. This digital inkjet flatbed platform meets high-volume and fast-turnaround production needs thanks to 168 user-replaceable printheads (28 per colour) on a full width print bar delivering a 27 picolitre drop size. These features, combined with Inca's precision ink drop placement, produce superb 600 dpi print quality with the option of four or six colours.

A brand new digital department

Following the purchase of the Onset S40 in May 2012, Model has built a dedicated digital department within its extensive plant in Weinfelden. Out of 20 operators working in print production, four have been allocated to the management of the S40 on a three shift basis. In addition, Model has recently invested in a Zund G3 digital cutting plotter which has been placed alongside the Onset S40.

Edoardo Finotti comments: “We are committed to achieving a fully automated and end-to-end digital workflow. We are focused on the fine tuning between print and finishing devices and currently we are using both the Zund digital cutting plotter and a traditional die cutting machine to keep up with different production requirements.”

What’s more, Model is working closely with Fujifilm as a beta site to test and help in the development of the company’s brand-new Uvijet OC inks for corrugated applications. Edoardo explains: “Fujifilm’s reputation in the R&D of advanced imaging and colour solutions is beyond compare. Its ongoing investment in the research of high performance inks and technologies was pivotal to our decision making process. We are pleased to be on the front line with Fujifilm to help in the formulation of the most appropriate inks for the extremely demanding packaging & display market.”

He adds: “Not only do Fujifilm’s Uvijet OC inks deliver excellent performance in the POP and display market, but also they represent a breakthrough in the packaging sector. We are working closely with Fujifilm to achieve the best possible quality and push the boundaries of these innovative inks to provide our customers with outstanding packaging solutions.”

A reputable brand and a digital future

Edoardo emphasises how Fujifilm’s service perfectly complements the unquestionable quality and productivity of the Onset S40. “Fujifilm is not only a leading supplier whose investments in technology improvements are endless and significant, but it’s also a flexible partner to work with. We have absolute confidence in the brand and the people behind it. Both the sales and technical managers have never let us down. Once, we experienced a problem on a Friday, with an urgent delivery on a Monday - Fujifilm’s service was prompt and we met our deadline.”

Thanks to its dynamic approach and the support of valuable suppliers such as Fujifilm, Model has a positive outlook on the future. Building on the introduction of the digital production department, the company has also launched a web to print platform called ‘Model Pack Shop’. This web-shop allows buyers to submit repeat orders quickly and efficiently through the simple scanning of QR codes placed on boxes and displays previously supplied by Model. Whether for short runs of standard packaging or more complex orders, Model Pack Shop is another digital route Model has embarked on.

Edoardo Finotti concludes: “For us, digital is the future. Today, digital print is nothing more than a small percentage of our business, while Model Pack Shop is just a tool within a traditional working environment. Nevertheless, we are confident both digital technologies will thrive as they are excellent solutions that allow us to compete in a fast evolving market.”   For further information contact:                     Joanna Muggeridge
AD Communications 
jmuggeridge(at)adcomms.co(dot)uk 
Tel: +44 (0)1372 464470 

Iris Brugger
Model Management AG
iris.brugger(at)modelgroup(dot)com
Tel. +41 71 626 72 49
Topics:
  • Graphic Systems