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Converters in the MEA are Expanding Production with BOBST Laminators

New demands for more complex filmic structures and better sustainability in packaging production are driving innovation in lamination technology worldwide. In their search for highly productive, versatile and cost-effective solutions, converters in the growing flexible packaging market in the Middle East and Africa are turning to BOBST to improve their capabilities.  


With over six decades of experience in lamination technology, BOBST has built up a very comprehensive portfolio of laminators developed to meet the varied needs of converters throughout the packaging industry.

In the entry-level category, the BOBST NOVA SX 550 solventless and BOBST NOVA D 800 multi-technology laminators are proving popular due to their innovative features and unrivalled productivity. Many converters across the MEA region have chosen to partner with BOBST to leverage the power of these cost-effective machines to meet new demands for shorter job runs, just-in-time delivery and faster turnaround.

Plug and play lamination with fast changeovers
Digital Labels, which is one of the largest label printing companies in the Middle East, was the first to invest in the modular BOBST NOVA SX 550 solventless laminator, as the company looked to speed up production and offer a sustainable, profitable solution to its customers. “We needed to expand our solventless production with a simple machine to handle short runs with short changeover times, and the BOBST NOVA SX 550 meets those criteria perfectly,” said Mohammad Sabha, Plant Manager and Executive Engineer.

The unique design of the BOBST NOVA SX 550 solventless laminator features three columns, allowing the operator much greater access to all sections while running and cleaning the machine. This improves the overall safety and makes the job much easier for the operator.

Where the BOBST NOVA SX 550 really excels is at job changeover, which takes just 15 minutes without needing special tools. This is also where BOBST’s patented automatic washing system comes into play, as it performs a full wash cycle in only 5 minutes. Operated by a single button, it comes with a safety window and an exhaust fan, which keep the operator completely safe from inhaling fumes.

As standard, the BOBST NOVA SX 550 is delivered with a 3-roller laminating nip roll system to ensure superb optical quality and 2 heated rollers for optimal temperature control, with independent thermal regulation of the coating unit and metering rollers. The solvent-less mixer employs load cells rather than sensors to ensure effective adhesive quantity control that match production requirements, with the mix ratio continuously monitored on the HMI.

Mr Mohammad Sabha, Plant Manager and Executive Engineer of Digital Labels Jordan in front of the NOVA SX 550 laminator

Another BOBST exclusive is the automatic reel centering system, which performs this vital function at the push of a button, saving significant amounts of time and materials. Fully controlled by an electronic system, this innovation really sets the BOBST NOVA SX 550 apart from other laminators in this class by guaranteeing perfect reel alignment without the need for highly skilled operators.“Maximizing sustainability in the process is very important to us, and we are continually looking for ways to improve our green credentials,” said Mr Sabha in reference to the great savings that the company has experienced since implementing the new machine.

The BOBST NOVA SX 550 can be equipped with lightweight sleeves for quick and easy changeovers, or be configured with solid transfer rollers, if that is the preferred choice. The flexible configuration means converters can change this on request, and furthermore use their existing stock of transfer rollers to save on costs.

Commissioning is very straightforward due to the simple plug-and-play design. From start to finish, installation takes just five working days, with no requirements for special foundations or other changes to the factory. In fact, for Digital Labels, it took only two days before they were up and running. Mr Sabha concluded, “The BOBST NOVA SX 550 is very operator friendly and so easy to use. I believe that this machine has a place in every flexible packaging printing house, and I’m 100% confident of its productivity.”

Impressive multi-process capability

The BOBST NOVA D 800 multi-technology laminator delivers optimum performance with all run lengths and types of substrates and adhesives, whether conventional or those designed for recycling. It can be supplied in a tandem configuration to extend capabilities to triplex constructions.

The flat tunnel design with motorized rollers and removable nozzles comes as standard and ensures perfect web transportation, even on sensitive substrates like thin alu-foil and metallized films. A maximum of 50 metres of waste is produced at setup and reel splicing is performed at production speed. Like the BOBST NOVA SX 550, the laminator uses BOBST exclusive automatic reel centering system.

The multi-trolley design of the BOBST NOVA D 800 gives converters the freedom to use different process technologies – from solvent-based, solventless and water-based to in-register cold seal and one-color printing on pre-printed substrates with precise registration from the Registron® Mark-to-Mark technology. Trolleys are inserted and extracted from the side of the unit; a quick and easy operation requiring no tools. Furthermore, the coating unit is identical to those used in BOBST’s larger laminators, meaning the trolleys are interchangeable with other multi-technology machines. The Rotogravure trolley can also be used for reversed coating, eliminating the need for an additional trolley for that specific purpose, and it does not need offline preparation.

Improving on the sustainability of the laminating process is the availability of the unique Flexo trolley for high-speed coating of solvent-based adhesive with high solid content and low coating weight. This requires 65% less solvent for dilution and 20% less adhesive overall due to its much better coating distribution and is also ideal for adhesive coating on alu-foil at speed.

“The BOBST NOVA TD 800 impressed me by the quick-change trolley system, and by how easy it is for the operator to use, along with the high level of automation,” commented Vice President of Operations Mustafa Khokhawala at Bhojraj Industries, in Nigeria. The Lagos-based company specializes in filmic packaging materials and invested in a BOBST NOVA TD 800 tandem laminator to meet the demand for more complex laminated structures.

“We chose the BOBST NOVA TD 800 because of its operational efficiency, and the tandem configuration specifically because it offers us a unique ability for inline production of very complex laminates. This will give us faster time to market and cost savings without compromising on quality,” added Managing Director Nikos Gkanetos.

“The feedback from our customers has been fantastic and we are very excited to be supporting them in their growth,” said Eric Pavone Regional Business Director Africa, Middle East and Turkey. “The BOBST NOVA SX 550 and BOBST NOVA D 800 may be small and compact, but they are incredibly powerful tools for converters looking to get a step ahead of the competition. The level of innovation in these laminators truly set them apart from other machines in this category.”

Bobst Italia SpA, S. Giorgio Monferrato, Italy

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