Ultimate quality and productivity in hot foil stamping for Offsetdruckerei Schwarzach

Today’s offset printer Offsetdruckerei Schwarzach GmbH started out in 1913 as the Vorarlberger book printing company in Dornbirn, Austria. Now headquartered in Schwarzach, Austria, the company has more than 50,000 sqm dedicated to production and 400 employees. They export more than 75% of their production — impressive high-end packaging — largely to customers within a 500 km radius. The company focuses on the confectionery and dairy industries, along with a broad range of customers in the non-food sector, such as cosmetics, healthcare and paper labels.

Offsetdruckerei Schwarzach was therefore an ideal location to beta test the NOVAFOIL 106 hot foil from BOBST.

“We use the NOVAFOIL 106 for long runs with boxes which have large surfaces that need to be embellished,” says Johannes Knapp, CEO. “The machine gives us very high productivity with impressive finished product quality.”

He thinks the newly developed platen press is the highlight of the machine. With this, Bobst has increased the dwell time between the die with the foil and the sheets. The longer dwell time combined with an even temperature and a higher pressure perfectly enhance the high quality of the embellishment. This applies to delicate finishes as well as large-area embellishments.

Extremely stable sheet travel

“We’d been hoping that the innovative technology in the Novafoil 106 would help us increase hourly output in hot foil stamping. That’s exactly what happened. Depending on the complexity of the finish, the machine easily operates at speeds of up to 8,000 sheets per hour for large runs,” says Knapp.

At all speeds, the sheets travel through the machine with stability. To make that possible, Bobst adapted the gripper bar advance system to ensure outstandingly even sheet travel with optimal sheet delay. In addition, the latest-generation feeder ensures constant sheet feeding and the highest register precision. For embossing, debossing or hot foil stamping, stable sheet travel is also a key factor in flawless quality and productivity.

Significant foil economies with cross-foil

The Novafoil 106 is the first hot foil stamper from Bobst that can apply foil in both directions – inline and across the sheet running direction. The machine configuration allows hot foil stamping with up to eight reels for line and four reels for cross-foiling. This allows production of highly sophisticated packaging designs in a single machine run. The Novafoil 106 at the Schwarzach facility is equipped with all 12 foil reels.

Knapp says, “With the new hot foil stamping machine, we can run different colours inline and cross-foil. Moreover, the eight inline foil reels give us flexible options for optimising the foil advance. On certain jobs, the use of cross foiling helps us to further optimise the foil advance and reduce foil consumption even more. Depending on the job, we may have 30% to 40% lower foil consumption than before.

This is not only cost-efficient but supports the sustainability of the packaging and the process. Offsetdruckerei Schwarzach also achieves these savings by using the OACS system (Optimal Advance Computer System) which automatically calculates the ideal foil advance. Bobst has included this system as an option on the Novafoil 106. “The calculations are flawless. So far, there’s been no complaint that too much or too little foil was provided,” confirms Knapp.

The higher production speed also allows more sheets to be processed with the same energy consumption. “Calculated at 1,000 sheets, this machine uses 20% less electricity. This is another way in which it supports our sustainability strategy,” Knapp explains.

Ergonomics and user-friendliness

A specially developed lift system for heavy foil reels facilitates the work of machine operators, as they do not have to lift the reels into the machine. With this, and the high level of automation associated with the Novafoil 106 – for example with the semi-automatic foil reel change – setup and changeover times have been shortened.

The operators like working with the new machine. The SPHERE human-machine interface provides easy, intuitive navigation through the functionalities. Repeat orders are up automatically. Ergonomics and user-friendliness allow easy access to all functions and settings, including the platen section. For quality control, operators can safely and easily remove samples from the machine without stopping it.

Johannes Knapp, CEO, Offsetdruckerei Schwarzach.

Complete flexibility

In their meeting room, Offsetdruckerei Schwarzach displays a range of packaging they have produced for their customers. Most of them were enhanced with hot foil stamping, some pre-laminated, blind and structurally embossed, and laser cut. The company embellishes a great number of packaging with two films, and some even with three films.

Knapp says, “Of course, from an economic point of view, we also need mass production business — which requires technology that allows the highest quality and efficiency. Even in that regard, the Novafoil 106 fits seamlessly into our process.”

The same goes for the machine’s 1,060 x 760 mm sheet format, which the packaging manufacturer also prints and cuts. They generally use the Novafoil 106 to process cartonboard and solidboard in weights of 300 to 400 gsm. That includes recycled board.

“The latest technology allows us to run our customers’ orders at more competitive prices,” explains Knapp. The fact that the new hot foil stamper already runs in two to three shifts also shows that the investment was needed.

“We will link one of the Bobst machines to Bobst Connect to explore what additional possibilities this cloud-based platform offers for further optimising our processes,” concludes Knapp. With its vision for the industry built around digitization, automation, connectivity and sustainability, Bobst has once again shown its orientation toward the future.


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