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A Match Made at drupa: Right-sized Case Erecting & Digital Printing

In an e-comm-minded unveiling that makes so much sense, right-sized boxing tech was married to on-demand digital printing in a joint venture stakeholders say is the world's first full color on-demand right-sized case system.

Variable print decoration/data meet variable, on-demand case (box) size tech in this collaboration between EFI and Packsize, wtih Fiery at the DFA.
Variable print decoration/data meet variable, on-demand case (box) size tech in this collaboration between EFI and Packsize, wtih Fiery at the DFA.

Some collaborations just make so much sense you wonder why they haven't happened earlier. And maybe something like it already exists, but according to collaborators, this full-color on-demand box system, called the X5 Nozomi from Packsize EFI, really is an industry first. 

A brand owner who could not be named is currently beta testing the technology. 

We've covered the Packsize X5 on-demand case (box) right-sizing system before, as the company partnered with retailers like giant Walmart, and brand owners like car audio-stalwart  Crutchfield, both aiming to reduce corrugated inventory and scrap while precisely tailoring case sizes to the products being shipped, even the variable or multiple product dimension orders often seen in distribution and fulfillment centers. 

In this system, directly proceeding the X5 is an EFI Nozomi digital printer, allowing for not only variable, on-demand box sizes, but also variable, on-demand prints on those boxes. 

I spoke with Kiran Shibu, R&D quality engineer at Packsize, who said," This is the first joint-venture between Packsize and EFI. It's really an X5 with an EFI digital printer in between [corrugated infeed and corrugated cutting]. The first part of the machine does the length cut, the second part is a printer that does your on-demand printing, and the third part does your cutting, gluing, box folding, and erecting." 

On the demo at drupa, the machine was capable of box sizes as small as 8 in x 6 in x 4 in all the way up to 30 in x 20 in x 20 in, and most anything in between. Each individual box could potentially be followed by a differently sized and differently decorated (printed) case. Changes can be made on the fly. Five-color printing is done on-demand as the corrugated passes through the Nazomi module. The system can run as fast as 600 boxes an hour.Kiran Shibu, R&D quality engineer at Packsize, demonstrates the X5 Nozomi at drupa.Kiran Shibu, R&D quality engineer at Packsize, demonstrates the X5 Nozomi at drupa.

Corrugated fanfold or Z-fold material is fed into the system, it’s cut to the right length, digitally printed, variable die cut/cut, glued and erected all in line, in about 6 seconds. The box is exactly the right size for its contents as it can be driven seamlessly from a MIS/ ecommerce system using Packsize’s PackNet software. Each box can be different – different graphics, a different size, fully decorated for the e-commerce or big box store environment – and all automatically.

"It brings a lot of market for customer personalization and ad-space selling," Shibu said. "[For those of you looking for] e-comm solutions, this will be a big hit for you guys. It allows for personalized boxes with variable data printed digitally.... The idea is that a customer could request 'Happy Birthday Ashley,' or their mom or dad's name, it happens in a second. "We also could place a brand ad in there and sell ad space. These are some of the business cases we envision with this system. It'll definitely help e-commerce solutions get up to that next level or scale."  

Added Frank Pennisi, CEO of EFI, “We’re excited to use this opportunity to launch groundbreaking innovations, like the world’s first full-colour, on-demand rightsized box system, and true water-based single-pass inkjet technology for corrugated printing. The solutions on our stand present game-changing opportunities that visitors can implement today and plan for tomorrow to future-proof their businesses in a highly competitive and rapidly changing marketplace.” Four lanes of paper-coated fanfold or Z-fold material being fed into the system.Four lanes of paper-coated fanfold or Z-fold material being fed into the system.

Digital Front End
According to stakholders, Fiery Digital Front End (DFE) technology is driving X5 Nozomi customers with strong digital print performance, superior color management, and automated workflow tools. 

“Products around the world can benefit by adding personalization to them and the X5 Nozomi does just that,” said Toby Weiss, CEO of Fiery. “For over 30 years, Fiery has been the leader in driving the industry’s leading digital print solutions and we are thrilled to be the trusted DFE for this first-of-its-kind box system that transforms blank corrugated into printed, right-sized, on-demand boxes in seconds. Fiery technology, when combined with the innovations from Packsize and EFI, delivers on-demand images, consistent brand colors, and exceptional quality to the box-making process.” 

“EFI partnered with Packsize – to empower brands in elevating their packaging quickly, simply, and cost-effectively with the X5 Nozomi,” said Pennisi. ”As the leading DFE provider, Fiery DFEs already drive Nozomi presses and were the natural choice. Fiery has a powerful, turnkey industrial solution that we can quickly customize based on application requirements, allowing us to get X5 Nozomi to market quickly.” 

Taking the manufacturing process from seven complex steps down to one, the X5 Nozomi automates, right-sizes, and simplifies box production. The X5 Nozomi helps companies address increasing consumer and government demand for sustainability by right-sizing boxes to minimize the cost and environmental impact associated with extraneous and unneeded corrugated and packaging fillers like plastic air pillows.

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