Eislingen/Germany based Hinterkopf GmbH signed up for resource and energy efficiency a long time ago. The well-known machine manufacturer is known as an innovator when it comes to production lines for high performing lines of aerosol cans, tubes, bottles and other cylindrical containers. Hinterkopf applys the latest production technology that allows its customers to realize energy and raw material savings, while providing optimum solutions to satisfy market demands. Those demands have shifted significantly in recent years.
One of the areas where the market has changed drastically is run length of production lots. While the overall number of packaging containers produced has remained fairly stable or has even grown, the number of containers is segmented into smaller and smaller lots. The content of the packaging may remain the same, however the decoration of the container changes frequently. “In the conventional, analog printing processes, frequent job changes always have a financial impact. At the same time, the overall production and resource efficiency is reduced”, says Alexander Hinterkopf, Managing Director and second generation owner of the family business with the same name. Even before the actual production starts, conventional printing creates cost for printing plates. In addition, change-over time is unproductive downtime. The more job changes are required, the bigger the impact of wasted time, cost and energy at all stages of production.
Low energy consumption, zero waste and optimum print results
Start-up waste associated with frequent job change-overs not only increases cost – it also results in wasted natural resources. “Depending on printing process and technology involved, the first 200 to 500 containers are usually start-up waste, and cannot be sold. With lot sizes getting smaller and smaller, the amount of start-up waste is a significant cost driver, much more so compared to multi-million piece production runs”, explains Hinterkopf.
With its digital printing machine type D240, a world’s first, Hinterkopf presented a solution for this challenge already 10 years ago. Recently, the second generation digital printer D240.2 was introduced to the market. Compared to its predecessor, the new machine comes with advanced 7 color printing (CMYK +OGV). “Seven color printing achieves a much larger Pantone color gamut“ emphasizes Hinterkopf. The inks are dried with LED technology, which uses barely a tenth of the energy of conventional drying systems.
Digital printing does not require a printing plate, and connects the computers of the artwork and graphics departments directly to the digital printer. Change-over times and energy intense heating up of equipment are a thing of the past, resulting in savings of time and cost. In addition, repeatability of printing is excellent with the digital machine. Production of seasonal or other special editions come at virtually the same cost as regular productions with long runs. And most importantly, print quality is consistently perfect throughout the production run. Neither production ramp-up nor plate wear could cause waste. With the family of D240 digital printers production of minimum lot sizes becomes economical, and the desired number of containers for the production run is accurate. Costly over- or under-runs are eliminated, resulting in optimum use of natural resources.
Digital printing as well as resource saving necking technology a proof that sustainability and economics can work hand in hand. Actually, modern production technology enables the combination of both. „Sustainability will be successful only when we are able to satisfy customer demands with less raw material, and avoid waste. In other words, when we combine ecology with economic efficiency” summarizes Alexander Hinterkopf.