The press, the first to be co-developed with KBA, will be installed at DS Smith’s Featherstone, West Yorkshire site in May 2016, with commissioning due to be completed by August.
The group said the investment is part of a wider multimillion-pound DS Smith Packaging programme and forms part of its ongoing development and growth at the Featherstone site. The company also operates a wide range of corrugating, flexo-printing, die-cutting and gluing machinery at the factory.
It follows on from the narrower width HP T400 Simplex Color Inkjet Web Press, which was installed at the company’s Belper site in March.
The T1100S, which is designed for pre-printing of corrugated top liner, will enable DS Smith to combine many individual jobs together on a roll or across rolls for short, mid-length or long runs.
The press, which can print at speeds of up to 183m/min and produce up to 30,600sqm/hr, will utilise the full corrugator width of up to 2.8m and print in four colours. It can print corrugated liner rolls that can then be placed directly onto existing 2.5m or 2.8m corrugators.
According to HP the machine benefits centralised corrugated box plants serving major retail brands and requiring just-in-time inventory, shorter runs and faster turnaround times.
DS Smith said the investment will enable it to deliver products to market faster and support promotional initiatives with customised batches and great run-length flexibility, without compromising on quality.
DS Smith Packaging Division chief executive Stefano Rossi said: “Our co-development with HP has resulted in the first digital machine able to print at the speed and width we need for high-volume corrugated production.
“It will provide our customers with unprecedented short-run flexibility and quality consistency.
“This is an exciting move towards deploying a high-volume digital pre-print solution to meet the corrugated packaging needs of the FMCG markets into the future.”
While the machine will be initially targeted at packaging applications, it is also likely to pique the interest of major POS players.
Though the press has no official launch date, general availability of the circa €3m-€4m (£2.2m-£2.9m) machine is understood to begin shortly after Drupa next year, although the machine itself will not be on display at the Düsseldorf show.
However, During the show HP will take customers to KBA’s facility in Wurzburg, Germany, where it hosted an openhouse event this week for potential customers.
DS Smith operates in over 34 countries, employs around 25,400 people and has a turnover of £4bn. The group said it’s pre-tax profits dropped by 26% to £91m in its interim results released yesterday (3 December).