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Event Spotlight

Hunkeler Innovationdays

After travelling to Switzerland to attend Hunkeler Innovationdays, Genevieve Lewis reviews the energising industry event that demonstrates just why print is still a force to be reckoned with

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Hunkeler Innovationdays was held in Lucerne, Switzerland

A positive force

The first port of call was a tour of the Hunkeler equipment that was on show and it did not disappoint. There was a significant focus on automation and cutting times of certain jobs, which was represented by the launch of the Generation-8-series of production lines, a world first in terms of book production. This was cemented by the CS8 cutter. The Gen8 line is able to work on books of different sizes – one up, two up or three up, and changes these sizes fully automatically. All Gen8 modules switch fully automatically. This job used to take 15 minutes and has now been slashed to an impressive 15 seconds.

O Factoid: he next Hunkeler Innovationdays will take place February 22nd – 25th 2021, as the event is held every two years. O

Also on display was the HL8 laser module, which has been designed to take production in the security print sector to another level. Witnessing how fast this machine goes is difficult to describe – it takes a while to even notice the laser as it finishes the job so quickly. Applying laser-made marks provides a higher level of security – something that is important with tickets and vouchers so that they cannot be easily replicated and forged.

Hunkeler is an invite-only event with a focus on digital

A clear focus on book production, the SD7 stacker showed what is really meant by ‘book of one’. Robin Brown of Friedheim International, which is Hunkeler’s agent in the UK, says: “It makes a different book every time. A simple movement that splits the books – a real book of one.”

The event is in its 26th year and runs every two years

This is obviously just a small snapshot of what Hunkeler itself had to offer at Innovationdays, but there was also a focus on the packaging side of things.

An encore

Open a box of tablets, or anything that requires information, and you will find a neatly folded information sheet. Fun fact for those not in the packaging or pharmaceutical industry – in pharmaceutical instances, this is only allowed to be one page long.

With a focus on pharmaceutical packaging, Paul Davidson, sales manager for Encore Machinery, explained that the range of equipment that was part of the production line resulted in only one person needed to operate it. On display was the Matthias Bauerle (MB)/ Pitstop high-speed high capacity creasing and folding system, which can produce creased and folded products up to 14k/h. Davidson explains: “This system can run with additional out feed modules, allowing for production of many folded and creased products in one pass.”

Also on the stand was the MB Autoset B4 23k/h high capacity, fully automatic inserting system running with continuous feeding from a roll, fully automatic folding unit with selective insertion and full data integrity. Encore also highlighted the MB/GUK group high capacity miniature folding system with the Hunkeler CS8, GUK FA 53/10-4-AT, MV11/1 knife unit, Turn and Tab module and CTM pick and pack unit. Davidson adds: “This unit was producing three side labelled booklets from a personalised roll with full camera inspection system and automatically packed into trays.”

This line was able to glue or to use tape to form the finished information leaflet to go in the medicine boxes. These were put into boxes, removing the need for the manual process of collecting the final product. Innovationdays really did highlight this move towards automation.

Scodix showcased the capability of the Ultra 202 at Hunkeler

Another personal highlight included an introduction to the Scodix Ultra 202 and the Scodix Ultra 101. Friedheim has recently expanded its portfolio with the addition of Scodix, bringing the technology to the UK.

The 101 has been designed to be fully compatible with offset and HP Indigo presses, and boasts six enhancements: Scodix Sense, Scodix Foil, Scodix Metallic, Scodix VDE, Scodix Glitter and Scodix Cast&Cure. The 202 offers print-service-providers even more, which Scodix claims has the largest array of enhancements available in the industry.

Lynn Kolevsohn, marketing director for Scodix, says that Hunkeler was the right place to showcase this new technology to a range of customers, after signing up for the event two years previously. She comments: “For us it is a new kind of customer. [Hunkeler] is a new place we haven’t been before.”

Adina Shorr, Scodix chief executive officer adds: “Hunkeler Innovationdays is the ideal platform to demonstrate the plethora of business-enhancing capabilities achievable with our solutions. With an ever-increasing demand for personalised prints and extraordinary applications, our family of Scodix presses make digital enhancement more accessible than ever before and truly make print an experience for the end-users.

With pressure growing on brands and their creative agencies to innovate, more and more printers and converters are seeing the benefits they can bring to their businesses with digital enhancement

“Digital enhancement, a young and pioneering technology, provides an opportunity to set yourself apart in the highly competitive world of print. With pressure growing on brands and their creative agencies to innovate, more and more printers and converters are seeing the benefits they can bring to their businesses with digital enhancement.”

End-to-end solutions

Tim Taylor, head of Ricoh’s high-speed inkjet business for Europe says that the VC70000 is a breakthrough for inkjet

It would not be Innovationdays without the further launch of new products, and Ricoh handed its new flagship machine, the Pro VC70000 its debut at the event. Tim Taylor, head of Ricoh’s high-speed inkjet business for Europe, explains: “It’s a real breakthrough for inkjet. And it really sees the ability to print onto offset coated paper at a quality level that is a match for litho. This is the very first time that we have been able to do that, or anybody has been able to do this at the kind of speeds that we are producing at, which is up to 150m a minute.”

The Ricoh VC70000 was displayed for the first time

Sticking with inkjet, Xerox, which held a stand at the front of the show, highlighted its range of solutions in this sector. The publication that accompanied the show, Hunkeler Innovationdays Show Daily, was printed using the Xerox Trivor 2400 High Fusion Inkjet Press on the Xerox stand.

Xerox hoped to demonstrate a truly end-to-end solution with its inkjet offerings

Kevin O’Donnell, head of graphic communications and production systems, says: “Hunkeler is a fantastic show. It showcases from a digital perspective, the industrial end of the digital marketplace. We brought along our inkjet portfolio, the range of inkjet presses we have. That is showcased with the Trivor2400, which is a reel-fed 20-inch-wide inkjet press.

“We’ve also got the Brenva which is a cut-sheet inkjet press and we have the Rialto which sort of sits in between and is a reel to sheet press. Each one faces off against a different application and a different sort of work profile in the marketplace. We are hoping from the hardware point of view that we can show a breadth of capability and not just a one size fits all solution.”

These days print businesses that want to run efficiently and effectively, need to have integrated, connected and automated workflows

O’Donnell continues: “I really hoped visitors saw loud and clear on the Xerox stand our end-to-end solutions, so while the press is very important, it sits in the middle of the workflow capability. These days print businesses that want to run efficiently and effectively, need to have integrated, connected and automated workflows so that they can feed the engines with relevant print.”

Creativity and positivity

There was a positive vibe at the event – not something you see written down very often when reviewing an event. Everyone seemed to be happy with where the industry was heading and fully believed that print is able to thrive. Stefan Hunkeler, president of the company, says that the energy is down to a number of things, including the manufacturer’s ethos and family feel. There is one thing that Hunkeler Innovationdays highlighted for sure and that is that print is truly alive.

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