Flexible packaging manufacturer SPC Interprint has been expanding production capacity over the past couple of years with the support of Bobst. The two companies started their partnership in 2018 when SPC installed Thailand’s first Bobst Nova RS 5002 gravure press. The great success of that machine meant that the company looked to Bobst again when it wanted to improve response times further, by putting in an order for the Nova RS 5003 machine.
Serving domestic and overseas customers throughout Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam, SPC Interprint has been printing flexible packaging using gravure and flexo presses since it was founded in 2007. With the purchase of the Nova RS 5003, the company is once again leading the way in the region, as the new gravure press was the first of its kind to be installed anywhere in South-East Asia.
A large packaging producer with over 180 staff, SPC Interprint is centrally located in Khlong Tamru, Chon Buri, about an hour’s drive south-east of Bangkok. Products manufactured at the 32,000 square meter site include rolls of printed flexible packaging, stand-up pouches and bags for customers in the food and beverage, snacks, household, and hygiene markets. Another big seller is printed and plain colored wrappers for ice cream cones. As the region has seen considerable growth in these sectors, the company decided to increase print capacity to meet demand and future-proof its business.
“When we searched for a new gravure press back in 2017, we conducted a thorough evaluation of the market and decided that the Bobst Nova RS 5002 would best fit our criteria, which include very high print quality, and fast setups and changeovers with low waste,” said managing director Chaiwoot Chotitputsilp. “And we were quickly proved right, the press delivered on all its promises and more, so we then pushed ahead with our growth plans and invested in another press from Bobst.”
Both Bobst gravure presses at SPC Interprint can print in 10 colors. Along with an 8-color flexo machine, the factory’s capabilities also include solvent and solventless lamination, slitting, wicket bag making, and a coextrusion line for producing packaging films.
Bobst Nova RS 5003
Like the previous 5002 model, the Bobst Nova RS 5003 has been developed for cost-effective, sustainable production of flexible packaging products. The modern gravure press has been exceptionally well received by printers and converters, such as SPC, looking to improve their environmental credentials and maintain or boost their market position.
With very accurate tension control and precise, effective web handling, converters are able to produce high-quality printing on a wide variety of substrates, including very sensitive materials and the new eco-friendly films that are increasingly becoming popular with brand owners. The machine also comes with many innovative safety features that improve life in the pressroom for the operators, such as reducing solvent smell down to 400 ppm (parts-per-million) and lowering the noise level to 80 dB(A). Furthermore, the Lower Explosion Limit (LEL) system is the perfect feature to connect the machine to the most popular VOC treatment facilities, reducing harmful VOC emissions into the atmosphere, while the exclusive Twin Flow dryer system guarantees low solvent retention on the final product, which further helps to meet new food safety targets and regulations.
One of the very strong automation features of the 5003 is the unique combination of Bobst’s proprietary TAPS (Total Automatic Pre-register Setting) and Registron register control system, which allows SPC to perform very fast job setups and changeovers with much lower waste, at just the touch of a button. The new intuitive Sphere HMI (Human Machine Interface) also automates downtime tracking, waste management, and maintenance programming. It also enables the creation of a “Digital Twin” of produced reels that contains all the job data for full quality control and repeatability.
“Both the 5002 and the 5003 have been incredibly successful in South-East Asia with 28 machines sold in the past four years,” commented Sebastien Geffrault, Region Business director – South East Asia Pacific. “This result is testament to the innovations that Bobst is bringing to the emerging markets, as we endeavor to offer converters worldwide the ability to produce high-quality print products in a more sustainable way and at a competitive price point.”
Future opportunities for growth
Despite Covid-19 restrictions severely impacting trade over the past year, Bobst has successfully supported all its customers throughout South-East Asia via its extended sales and service network. Indeed, the new press at SPC Interprint was put in place at the factory on the Tong Grow industrial estate, in the Muang district, using only local engineers without any issues.
“The new press was put into full production very fast, and this is not only because our operators are already familiar with Bobst machinery, but also because it is so easy to run,” said Chotitputsilp. “From what we have experienced during installation, we are happy to know that there is always full-service local backup just a phone call away, so we can minimize downtime if we have any problems.”
Explaining the roadmap for the next few years, he continued, “With the high print quality that we can produce on both our Bobst Nova presses, we can now compete in the discerning Japanese market. We are also looking for new export opportunities and to increase our existing multinational customer base, so having the right equipment is of course very important. This is why we are choosing Bobst as our partner for the future.”