Print on continuous web materials

"In-house printing capabilities are a game-changer"

At Pack Expo International, Atlantic Zeiser presented the new DIGILINE Vario, a system for full-color inline printing of flexible narrow web materials.

In this interview, Senior Commercial Director Gael Murat talks about the many drivers for switching to digital printing and the exciting feedback he has received from potential customers.

What kind of applications is the new system suitable for?

Gael Murat: The new DIGILINE Vario has been designed to print on continuous web materials with a wide range of material properties, specifically for pouches made of flexible laminates and flow wrapping applications.

How have companies been printing these materials?

Traditionally, companies source these materials pre-printed from various suppliers, which they massively rely on. In-house printing capabilities are a game changer: brands and companies now have full control over material designs and packaging.

Under what conditions can the DIGILINE Vario be used to switch to inline printing or added as a supplement?

There are many drivers for switching to inline, nearline or offline printing: large numbers of stock keeping units (SKU), small batch sizes, minimum order quantities (MOQ) from suppliers, changeover time and number, lead time to receive materials, and lead time for new artwork. Digital printing is the answer to all these hassles that drive costs and prevent efficiency. It also provides much more agility and flexibility to marketing creation for promotional or seasonal campaigns.

How have companies dealt with small batch sizes in the past for the materials you mentioned?

Small batch sizes have always been complicated. Material suppliers would either offer a high cost per package or impose a MOQ that increases cost of production for the brand. Some companies may even decide to give up on some markets because they cannot be competitive. Digital printing solves the complexity of small batch sizes.

Printing on films and flexible laminates so that the brand-typical appearance is retained is a major challenge. How does the DIGILINE Vario solve this? What expertise does Atlantic Zeiser have in this area?

Giving clients the assurance that their brand appearance will be protected is key. That’s why Atlantic Zeiser has developed a state-of-the-art solution. Leveraging more than 30 years of experience and innovation in digital printing and the power of our parent company, the Coesia Group, Atlantic Zeiser is a pioneer in bringing inline digital printing solutions to the consumer goods packaging space. The new DIGILINE Vario offers high-speed printing to match production line throughputs, high resolution with crisp color images, and smart management of material tension to ensure consistent print quality. Another major advantage is our own ink development from our sister company, Tritron.

Which industries have your prospects come from so far?

They mostly come from the food and beverage industries. They commonly face problems with supply chain delays for pre-printed material, especially recently, but also have to deal with MOQ and large inventory stocks that will significantly impact their costs and working capital. Two global key accounts, one from the food industry and the other from the cosmetics industry, have already expressed real interest. Print tests and feasibility studies are in progress.

Companies have so far probably primarily used pre-printed materials. Now they can do the printing themselves. Do you think that this will be a challenge for companies because they have to build up new kinds of expertise?

The new DIGILINE Vario is not just a piece of hardware that we are bringing to our clients. It’s a complete platform that includes an inspection system to reduce validation effort and a dedicated workflow to reduce artwork mix-ups and the hidden costs of the graphics chain setup. We have designed our solution to be operated efficiently by those who are not experts in the graphics chain.

What experience do your prospects already have with digital printing technology?

Quite surprisingly, the decision-makers I have talked to so far didn’t know such technology was available on the market, certainly not at such high speed and quality.
The major concerns have to do with print speed, which the new DIGILINE Vario addresses in most cases, thanks to its speed of up to 60 meters/minute. Unsurprisingly, people also ask about the ability to support different types of materials. But here, too, we can make a convincing argument: Atlantic Zeiser offers the capability of printing tests with customer material and quickly creating value-added samples.

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