A new highly automated BOBST MASTER M6 machine with quicker setup and lower waste will allow the Seattle, WA-based company to take further advantage of the growing demand for sustainable packaging solutions.
Family-owned and managed, Revere Group manufactures direct-contact food packaging, including film, bags and pouches, and labels, with most customers found in the confectionery, nutrition and gourmet food industries. Founded in 1938, the fourth-generation company is headed up by co-owners and co-presidents Mark and Sally Revere. Consistent delivery of high-quality, food-safe packaging, and the ability to meet very short timelines for new or repeat products are two of the most important factors to the company success.
Over the past few years, Revere has established in-house pouch production by combining the capabilities of a BOBST MASTER M5 flexo press with an inline solventless laminator, and a Karlville pouch-making line. As the company scales up the flexible packaging side, the new top-of-the-range MASTER M6 will offer improved efficiencies, allowing Revere to meet customers’ demands for faster delivery, reduced waste, and packaging produced with new eco-materials.
Mark Revere explained, “We recently began making pouches internally and we are seeing shorter run lengths, more versioning, faster turnaround, as well as compostable solutions being requested. Our solution allows our customers to purchase both short, medium and longer running jobs with brand consistency thanks to industry leading setup times and print speeds of up to 200m/min.”
Reducing Complexities With Automation
The current trio of BOBST MASTER inline flexo presses at Revere are all running UV LED low migration inks for printing food contact packaging. One MASTER M5 is a 630mm wide machine for flexible packaging, while the other is a 370mm dedicated to label production, both purchased in 2015. The recent addition, the MASTER M6, is a multi-process, multi-substrate machine which is dedicated to film printing.
“We’ve been fortunate to have an incredible amount of demand for the print that we produce on the MASTER M5,” said Mr Revere. “So, when it became time for us to buy another press, we were happy to choose the M6, which takes the M5 technology and expands it even further with job change on the fly, reduced waste and incredibly quick setups.”
Revere’s ten-color MASTER M6 features turret unwinders and rewinders and runs with inline solventless lamination. Digital automation on the press ensures productivity and process repeatability, making it very easy to run for less experienced operators as it requires only minimum and tool-free intervention. “As we ramp up production on the M6, we anticipate the main benefits to be reduced changeover times and the ability to have lesser skilled operators producing effectively, more quickly,” he said.
The Seattle company is leveraging BOBST’s oneECG technology for seven-color expanded gamut printing with highly reliable color consistency to hit over 93% of the Pantone colors, and DigiFlexo automation technology for pressure setting, registration control and adjustments while the press is running – on all three machines.
“DigiFlexo allows the press to monitor pressure setting as well as registration control and automatically make adjustments when needed. That’s critical with oneECG, because it allows the color consistency to be monitored, measured and adjusted on-the-fly by the press itself,” stated Mr Revere. “We have been printing using oneECG for highly dependable color consistency for over four years now, and it’s our goal to use the technology 100% of the time. Our customers don’t typically request it, but once we explain the major benefits to them and they see the excellent results, they are very excited.”
Moving Into Greener Applications
Stand-up pouches, including gusseted pouches, currently account for 6.7% of the flexible packaging market, with a predicted compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.1% to 2025. Many brand owners are moving products from rigid formats to pouches due to the lower costs, greater sustainability and bigger shelf appeal. With less plastics used for each, pouches costs three to six times less to produce than a rigid package equivalent.
They also take up less space in transport, in storage and on shelf, and the format offers a much bigger area for branding because the entire surface can be printed.
The sustainability aspect of pouch-making is important for Revere, whose customers are keen to pursue a greener agenda in response to concerns from consumers about the impact on the environment of plastic packaging. The company offers pouches that are printed on more eco-friendly films with higher recyclability either due to the composition of the material itself or the mono-material laminated structure.
With the powerful combination of oneECG printing and DigiFlexo automation, Revere is also supporting sustainability goals by wasting less materials in production through ultra-fast setups and changeovers. Furthermore, the process uses only CMYK+OGV inks, which stay in the press between jobs, saving huge amounts of time and speeding up time to market for customers, because more jobs can be run in a shorter amount of time.
“In the USA, especially with compostable solutions, pouches offer a reduced footprint and a non-plastic alternative for packaging food products. With in-house solvent-free platemaking, inline solventless lamination and on-the-fly job changeovers, we can slit film and begin pouch-making within 24 hours after printing, reacting faster to our customers’ needs, in a sustainable way,” explained Revere.
“The world is evolving fast, and everyone knows there is a problem with the amount of plastic that we’re producing, so it’s incredibly important for us to be able to provide sustainable packaging solutions, such as compostable films or recycle-ready films. BOBST’s technology is allowing us to produce those types of products on the MASTER inline flexo presses.”
New Opportunities with Support from BOBST
The high level of automation, digitalization, and innovation in BOBST’s inline flexo printing technology is changing the game for converters in the narrow- to mid-web space. High quality with reduced waste and downtime, and increased throughput leads to better profitability and sustainability. This brings additional opportunities for growth in a market that was previously the domain of litho printing and wide web flexo, as run lengths and lead times continue to shrink.
“The BOBST presses are definitely allowing us to bring onboard clients that otherwise might not have joined us, primarily because we can produce such high quality so repeatedly and efficiently,” stated Revere. “One customer even told us that the film we had printed was the best they have ever seen and felt that it was equivalent to the offset lithography quality they were getting on their cartons. That speaks volumes about this technology.”
In addition to making quality gains from the many innovations built into the printing equipment, Revere is also supported by BOBST’s experts in packaging technology in a true knowledge-sharing partnership that enables it to operate at the highest level of productivity when printing on new eco materials.
Revere concluded, “BOBST is a great partner for us because the team has an incredible depth of knowledge and expertise in all aspects of converting, obviously the printing process itself but also metallization and barrier coating. They also have direct connections with the material suppliers. All together this makes BOBST the perfect resource for us to tap into and speed up our own R&D, so we can grow together on this sustainable packaging journey.”