Bobst Italia
Production-scale coating excellence line

28.11.2019 Bobst once again wanted to redefine technology and process support for customers by opening the first facility in the industry that enables converters and brand owners to carry out production tests and coating technology comparisons, certifying the results on site and calculating the costs related to each test from real production data.

Impressions from the open house at Bobst Italia.
© Photo: Bobst
Impressions from the open house at Bobst Italia.

More than 120 participants from different segments of the worldwide coating industry attended the event that marked the inauguration of Bobst’s coating excellence line and technology centre. The facility that includes a fully equipped laboratory is a newly-built extension of Bobst Italia’s Competence Center that also houses gravure printing and laminating machines in San Giorgio Monferrato.

Capabilities and commitment

Aptly titled “The ultimate coating experience” the event spotlighted BOBST capabilities and commitment in this specialised sector of the converting industry, while also offering visitors an overview of the current market trends and future developments. 

“The name we have chosen for the coating line – LEONARDO - tells it all,” explained Detlef Merklinger, head of the coating product line at Bobst and managing director of Bobst Italia “Just like Da Vinci is the ultimate polymath, our LEONARDO delivers expertise and process excellence in all the different segments and countless end–use sectors and niche applications of the coating market.”  

“When entering the technology centre, it is the sheer size of the line – it is 40 m long – that stands out for the visitors. However, it is the technical and process capabilities that that are truly impressive: more than 30 different application methods and a modular drying concept with four different web-handling and drying technology systems.”

Some of those were put to the test during the two demonstrations that addressed some of the latest trends in the label and consumer goods markets, which they “passed it with flying colours,” as one visitor put it.

Demo for the visitors

The clear-on-clear label technology demonstration showed the coating of a liner of a siliconized 23μm PET substrate with a water-based permanent pressure sensitive adhesive using a trolley with pressurised chamber doctor blade. The coating speed was 300m/min and drying was performed by floatation technology. The trolley is a unique development that offers a wider coating weight range and minimises the sheer stress that can affect performance with this type of application. The 20μm BOPP substrate had been pre-printed in reverse with NC-PU inks at a speed of 500m/min on a BOBST MASTER RS 6003 gravure printing press.

The cigarette pack inner liner wet lamination demonstration showed an 8μm aluminium foil substrate being laminated to a 40gsm paper with water-, starch-based adhesive at 500m/min using a semi-flexo trolley and floating dryer. The demo ended with an automatic splice carried out at top speed. The samples showed a flawless surface and the on-the-spot lab test certified minimum residual humidity on paper < 4-5%.

All the while the data related to the operation were recorded and shown. The advanced connectivity features of the coating line have been another focal point of interest for the visitors, in particular seeing in operation the PowerNet system. This provides in real time an uninterrupted stream of data relating to electricity, gas, energy, compressed air consumption, and more, as they occur in the different parts of the machine and in total, in a way that shows exactly where costs lay. This helps users to find out for instance which is the best speed to run a job and save energy while meeting the required delivery time, or provide very useful information for the equipment motor maintenance.

Further to the performance and capabilities of the line, the event spotlighted the invaluable advantages that BOBST can deliver to brand owners and converters from the technological and process synergies that can be derived from different product lines: from the production of metallized and barrier substrates through to printing and converting, featuring in-house technology for all these processes.

Rising to the challenges


“We have been successful in rising to the challenges of diverse sectors of the flexible packaging, consumer goods and industrial products coating industry,” said Merklinger. “As the market evolves, we continue to add dedicated technical developments and extend our reach in the different end-use segments of the industry. The coating excellence line and the dedicated technology centre embody our commitment to the development of innovative coating technologies for future demands.”

To round up the overview on market trends, Alexandre Pinsolle, R&D manager of Gascogne Packaging Division and the event’s keynote speaker, gave an interesting outlook on the market trends and the future of packaging and industry recycling targets and circular economy, with special focus on specialty/barrier paper solutions for food packaging.

“This event has illustrated the direction in which Bobst foresees the market move in the medium term, and how Bobst investments are moving as a consequence; a very interesting experience,” commented Rossano Lambertini, business development manager of the SIT Group SpA.

“Sixty years of constant developments, attention to market needs and partnership with customers have established Bobst as a leading supplier of coating solutions. The potential ahead is compelling but so are the challenges in a specialised market that addresses the requirements of industries as diverse as packaging, medicine, security, electronic, energy and more,” said Detlef Merklinger. “But we are in unique position to continue building on the momentum behind our growth in recent years. The availability of the coating excellence line, dedicated infrastructure and resources places us a step ahead to extend our hold in the global market, and with us, our brand owner and converting clients,” he concluded.