The machine was unveiled at a press conference at this week’s LabelExpo in Brussels on Monday (25 September), where the company also launched the first two label presses from its new digital subsidiary Mouvent. The press will cost between £2m and £3m, depending on specification, and can be configured inline with a range of finishing machines, with Bobst strategic products and marketing director Federico D’Annunzio saying pricing is comparable to a similar sheetfed line.
“The strategic move of the M8 is that Bobst is number one in the converting industry and die-cutting for corrugated and folded cartons but it does not have a real product for printing,” said D’Annunzio.
“So this is clearly an indication, along with Mouvent, that Bobst has entered the folding carton industry with an integrated print solution."
The first beta unit will be shipped out in December to a South African company and shipping of commercial units will begin next June.
The machine is intended as an upgrade on the M5 and Drupa-launched M6 flexo presses, with improvements in speed and wider web widths, along with the ability to take materials of higher grammage.
It can print at speeds of up to 400m/min, 150m/min faster than the M6, and has a web width of up to 1.1m. It prints on a variety of substrates, including paper, foil, lamitubes and film, handling substrates of up to 600gsm, double the highest grammage of the M6. It can be configured to run UV, water- or solvent-based inks.
As with the M6, the machine prints in seven colours (CMYK, orange, green and violet), employing the Revo extended gamut system, which was developed in 2015 as a collaboration between eight partners, including Bobst, Flint Group and Esko.
It has fully automated setup utilising Bobst’s Digital Flexo technology, which allows for complete digital control of the press and camera-monitored closed loop print operations that enable fully automated pre-register. Bobst says the M8 delivers automatic on-the-fly job changeover sequences with up to 95% press uptime.
D’Annunzio added: “The people are starting to understand why we have moved so much faster, expanding our product range, not only in the label sector but also in packaging, because we see a lot of interest in a machine like the M8, which normally would not be shown at LabelExpo.
“It’s a very clear statement from Bobst. We want to complete our offer to the folding carton industry, offering new technologies, on one side digital flexo and on the other side digital inkjet.”
Bobst is also using the show to launch a new Smart DigiMount flexo plate mounter, featuring improved speed and accuracy over the previous iteration.
Formed in late May as a joint venture between Bobst and inkjet technology developer Radex, Mouvent is showing at LabelExpo its two single-pass UV-inkjet label printers, the LB701-UV and LB702-UV. D’Annunzio said it was already having “a lot of success”.