Spanish converter further enhances its digital packaging offering with high-volume, high-quality, multi-shift production on a worldwide first.
Hinojosa Group is a leading Spanish corrugated manufacturer, with multiple sites throughout the country. Now with the third generation of the family holding senior positions throughout the organisation, the company operates 12 manufacturing sites in Spain and thanks to being a founding member of the Blue Box Partnership, has representation across Europe. Today, the company employs over 1,250 people, produces in excess of 600 million sqm of corrugated board per year, generates Ä323 million in sales of corrugated packaging and works with over 6,500 customers. The group also has two paper mills for the production of corrugated base papers.
Being one of the leading privately owned packaging producers in Spain, the company focusses on higher value packaging solutions, rather than simply chasing high volume, low value accounts. Investment in high quality flexo printing (pre- and post print), as well as litho print for both cartons and litho-laminated products, puts Hinojosa at the leading edge. The addition of digital print a few years ago helps set them apart.
Hinojosa is considered one of Europe’s leading producers of digitally printed packaging. Having been one of the first plants in the world to install a Barberan single pass digital printing machine over five years ago, Hinojosa has now confirmed that it is in successful production using the world’s first EFI™ Nozomi C18000 LED-inkjet single-pass high-speed corrugated packaging press from Electronics For Imaging, Inc.
The journey into digital is one that can be traced back many years for the company’s CEO. “I came from the glass industry in France,” he recounts. “The glass manufacturer I first started working with back in the early 1980s set up his own packaging facility to get the best quality boxes for his glass products and we started to experiment with digital photography and rapily developed our design department and repro set-up to include CTF and later, CTP solutions. This is when my journey into digital began, but it was not really until seeing how the tile and ceramics industry adopted single pass digital print technology in the early 2000s that I believed that it might work for corrugated.”
The CEO joined Hinojosa in 2009 and with the support of the company’s owners, started discussions with Barberan to see if they could adapt the system they used for printing on wood to see if it would work as a single pass digital print solution for corrugated. The collaboration yielded a fruitful result – so began Hinojosa’s entry to the high value, digital corrugated production arena.
“There is much discussion around the use of UV inks and acqueous UV inks versus waterbased inks in digital printing on corrugated,” said the CEO. “We are running secondary packaging and displays for a wide range of industries, so the added gloss appearance is very appealing to many of our customers. For us, UV is not a problem, especially as the inks we use are certified and have appropriate photo initiators. The high gloss and excellent print quality on our new digital printing machine is great for short run, marketing driven campaigns – especially useful for the drinks industry, for example.”
The press, installed at Hinojosa’s Xátiva headquarters in April this year, offers powerful production features that have improved Hinojosa’s short-run production capabilities. Hinojosa’s Production Manager at Xativa confirmed that the press is running well, producing no less than 700,000 sqm of digital print last month alone. By the time we go to press with this article, the Production Manager believes the press should be running three shifts per day, five days per week – very impressive.
Hinojosa started producing work with the press shortly after installing it in April. The company has digitally printed and sold almost two million sqm of corrugated packaging since then to fulfil customer orders for short-run, multi-SKU and versioned jobs. Much of the work has been produced with six colours (CMYK plus Orange and Violet) for high quality imaging that rivals offset litho and HQ flexo processes.
EFI’s high-quality, highly productive print technology appeals to a broad base of Hinojosa customers, with more than 40 different Hinojosa customers receiving work produced on the printing machine so far. Packaging applications printed digitally with the Nozomi C18000 single-pass press include packaging for toys, fresh fruit and vegetables, food and beverages, household products, cleaning products and toiletries. These jobs are for retail-oriented customers requiring customised work for their products – and they are among the many Hinojosa customers that are finding the Nozomi to be a great fit for their packaging needs.
“The packages produced with our new EFI Nozomi press meet our customers’ high standards for image quality and brand colour reproduction,” said Hinojosa’s Production Manager at Xativa. “The start-up time for this press following installation was remarkably short. Because of the work EFI and our installation team did to ensure a smooth start-up, our customers had new packaging on their shelves within weeks of the press being installed. Now that we are running customer work with the press, our customers are impressed with the vivid colours, photorealistic images, smooth gradations and high-quality solid colours they receive on their packaging.”
Hinojosa operates the press daily, meeting continued demand for packaging for products sold in Spain and throughout Europe. The printing machine, according to company officials, has performed equally well on the different corrugated substrates it runs, printing on E, B, C, BC and EB board in different sizes up to 1500 x 3000mm.
In the coming months, Hinojosa also intends to begin using a new white LED ink for the press that will allow for printing full-colour images on kraftliner and other coloured boards. Company officials report that the white ink will help expand customers’ marketing capabilities, giving them the option of using an ever greater variety of board choices without requiring a compromise on colour impact and brand consistency.
“We are more than excited about the successful installation, positive production results and most of all the new business opportunities Hinojosa has created with the EFI Nozomi C18000 single-pass LED inkjet press,” said José Luis Ramón Moreno, Vice President and General Manager, EFI Industrial Printing. “The robust, high-quality, high-throughput LED inkjet operation at Hinojosa provides real-world validation that this technology – and the business model we offer to customers in production-class corrugated packaging - works and can drive new growth for packaging converters.”
Productivity and Recyclability
The Nozomi C18000 press -– which can print up to 75 linear metres per minute – is helping Hinojosa access a wide colour gamut and broader design options in corrugated work with fast turnaround times while maintaining low production costs. Key features of the press include:
- High-quality, accurate output in resolutions up to 360 x 720dpi with four-level greyscale imaging;
- A fully integrated, programmable top and bottom-feed system that also handles media separation, lift, transport and alignment at full press speeds;
- A 100% in-line image quality inspection system that actively manages and optimises inkjet nozzle, alignment and uniformity errors for the highest possible imaging quality;
- High productivity with a permanent head architecture that eliminates the downtime associated with replacing consumable printheads.
- Output from the press has certification for OCC recyclability and repulpability from the Western Michigan University Recycling, Paper and Coating Pilot Plant –
a leading certification organisation for corrugated recycling.
“The next-generation, scalable EFI Fiery digital front end (DFE) installed with the press – a new platform available for new ultra-high-speed digital presses from most leading manufacturers – gives us the processing power to develop a broader range of even longer-run, multi-SKU and versioned production applications,” explains Hinojosa’s Production Manager at Xativa. “It also gives us advanced colour management capabilities to deliver quality colour and brand accuracy.” He continues, “There is no doubt that part of the attraction of working with EFI on this next stage in our digital development was the entire workflow, scheduling and integration tools in Fiery and the associated suite of products. It is an end to end solution.”
“One of the hardest things we faced during our entry into digital printing was the change in mindset needed internally, both in production and sales,” concludes Hinojosa’s CEO. “The education process continues to evolve, but one thing is for sure – having two high volume digital printing machines at our disposal certainly sets us apart in an increasingly crowded market!”