Sugar producer installs its own digital press

Pat Reynolds
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Most observers of the digital print for packaging scene would agree that the later the printing is done in the supply chain, the easier it is for brand owners to deliver on whatever customization or personalization initiative they are trying to execute.

So why not put the digital press in the end user’s facility rather than at a converter’s facility one rung up the supply chain? That’s exactly what the Italian company Novarese Zuccheri--a 50-year-old supplier of sugar that specializes in the single-serve packets ubiquitous in cafes, bars, restaurants, and coffee shops--has done in its plant in the Lombardy region of Italy. The press selected is an MVZ1000 from Italy’s Rigoli, shown for the first time at Ipack-Ima 2018 in Milan. A roll-to-roll wide-format inkjet printer, the press is powered by Memjet print heads. Rigoli, which has been involved in making printers and folders for 70 years, has integrated Memjet print heads numerous times over the years. In developing the MVZ1000, Rigoli got an assist from MATEK of Nizza Monferrato, Italy, a well-known provider of automation solutions.

Zsolt Tarjanyi of Rigoli, who described the Novarese Zuccheri installation at the Smithers Pira Digital Print for Packaging US 2019 conference June 2-4 in Orlando, says the whole MVZ concept was initiated by a brand owner (who prefers not to be identified) wanting to see digital print integrated into a packaging line that had been tailor-made by MATEK. At Novarese Zuccheri, the MVZ1000 is now digitally printing a variety of substrates for customers who see customized packaging as an important part of their future.

“The market for sugar packets in Italy is a good one because the consumption of espresso is so high,” says Novarese Zuccheri’s Andrea Costa. “Most of these packets are printed in large volumes on high-speed and highly efficient analog equipment. But some of the coffee houses or bars want their name on the packet, not just the name of the coffee roaster who supplies the packets. Or there might be an event, like the recent Jazz Festival in Turin, where the organizers wanted just 10,000 sugar packets custom printed for the event. We could only do it economically by using a digital press. We load artwork for as many customers as we like into one file and start the press. Then we take that material to one of our vertical form/fill/seal machines and produce packets for all those customers from the same jumbo roll of material.”Rigoli’s MVZ1000 offers single-pass printing with a 1600 x 1600 dpi print resolution at 9 m/min or 1600 x 800 at 18 m/min. Maximum web width is 42 in., and printing is done with five fixed Memjet VersaPass printheads using water-based inks. The substrate in the Novarese Zuccheri application is a 39 gsm paper with a lamination of polyethylene for heat-seal purposes.

“This is a perfect example of how digital printing can support promotional activity,” says Memjet’s Don Alred. “What also makes it interesting is that it resides in the end user’s facility and not in a converter’s facility. It’s really an extension of the packaging operation.”

Novarese Zuccheri of Italy uses this digital press to customize single-serve sugar packets.

Novarese Zuccheri of Italy uses this digital press to customize single-serve sugar packets.