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The story of Fujifilm, since its founding in 1930s Japan, has been one of continuous innovation – sometimes incremental, sometimes radical, but always ongoing. Print is one of many sectors that has benefited from that innovation, especially over the past couple of decades as digital technology has made real inroads across the industry. That trend towards digitisation is apparent across the whole print market, but the pace of change differs dramatically from sector to sector.
One sector still in the comparatively early stages of that journey is packaging.
At Fujifilm, we understand how print can add value to packaging and are combining expertise in the very latest digital print technologies with an analogue heritage to create a product portfolio that supports the production of both analogue and digitally printed packaging.
We work with packaging producers whatever the stage of their journey; whether it’s helping them to optimise analogue production lines to maximise efficiency or introduce a digital capability. We don’t do one-size-fits-all – we do the right solution, for the right producer, at the right time. And all our solutions, whether analogue, digital or somewhere in-between, are designed to reduce waste and the use of environmentally harmful chemicals, minimise energy consumption and to be as sustainable as possible.
With volumes typically far larger than other print sectors, digital is in its comparative infancy in the world of packaging. This means that not all producers are ready for significant digitisation of their printing operations and almost all that are will go hybrid, retaining significant analogue capability.
But continuing with analogue processes doesn’t mean the technology stands still – far from it. Technology and innovation have a huge role to play in the future of analogue package printing. Fujifilm is a key part of that future, with a constantly evolving analogue product portfolio designed to improve the performance and sustainability of analogue printed packaging.
First, there’s our Flenex FW water-washable flexo plates that eliminate environmentally harmful solvents often used in the plate-making process and are more durable than most alternatives, meaning fewer plate changes and less waste. And the sustainable benefits go hand-in-hand with greater press stability and therefore higher, more consistent quality. Then there’s our range of narrow web inks, which we have been supplying for many years, that have a deserved market reputation for both quality and versatility.
In addition, our retrofittable LED UV curing system, uniquely combining both LED UV curing hardware and a brand new range of LED UV inks, radically reduces energy consumption, eliminates harmful VOCs, requires lower maintenance and produces less waste. This results in lower costs, along with higher, more consistent quality, something that is a welcome bi-product of a lower energy system.
Fujifilm’s heritage and expertise in digital inkjet technology needs little introduction, but the detail of how this is being applied for packaging applications is less well known. Fujifilm has been a pioneer in inkjet technology since the late 1990s, with multiple solutions for wide format, commercial print and labels and packaging.
The Jet Press 750S High Speed Model has set a new standard for the quality that can be achieved with inkjet technologies. Well-known and highly respected in the commercial print sector, it is also designed to print short-run, folding-carton packaging at exceptionally high levels of quality, with many customers using it exclusively for this purpose.
Fujifilm also offers a wide range of scalable imprinting systems that bring the benefits of digital printing to analogue processes by combining Fujifilm’s proprietary technologies across printheads, ink and transport systems with the company’s in depth integration expertise. Based on Fujifilm’s world-leading Samba piezo-electric printbars, the company’s imprinting solutions allow digital inkjet printing to be integrated directly into existing analogue production lines for a broad range of industrial applications.
The Jet Press FP790 digital flexible packaging press features water-based inkjet technology, making it suitable for food packaging production. Built on decades of Fujifilm inkjet expertise, the Jet Press FP790 is designed to offer a digital alternative to flexo production for mainstream applications and print runs, and meets the strategic needs of businesses faced with the challenge of dealing with a widening variety of products – resulting in a proliferation of SKUs – and shorter delivery times.
As well as looking for a solution that’s the right fit for their business, modern packaging producers and the brands they serve are also looking for a solution that’s right for the planet. That’s why sustainability is one of the threads that links all of our packaging solutions, from analogue to digital and everything in-between.
Our Flenex plates reduce waste and eliminate the use of environmentally harmful solvents altogether, and when combined with our PRC1 filtration unit, water use is also minimised. Our LED UV curing system slashes energy use, and our narrow web Inks are solvent-free and manufactured in the UK at our award-winning Broadstairs factory, where extreme care is taken to ensure all manufacturing and operational processes are as environmentally responsible as possible.
Similarly, our imprinting solutions can breathe new life into an analogue production line, bringing additional functionality without the investment in a new line. Where a new investment is necessary to meet market needs, the Jet Press 750S and Jet Press FP790 digital presses eliminate many of the processes and consumables associated with traditional analogue production. Much has also been written about how the Jet Press 750S can contribute to a more circular economy.
Packaging producers, particularly multi-site global producers, are also looking for lasting partnerships with strong, innovative and highly capable suppliers with ambitions that match their own. Here Fujifilm’s legacy, technology portfolio, size and diversity gives the company a powerful platform to develop leading analogue and digital systems long into the future. With an ambition to support producers with their analogue production today, while leading the transition to digital over the long term, we are excited about our future in packaging and the partnerships we hope to develop.
We’re Fujifilm – we’re analogue, we’re digital and we’re always working to help packaging producers be more sustainable.