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Zünd cutters raise productivity

More and more packaging is digitally printed and produced in shorter runs. These developments have also brought about changes in finishing requirements. In the following interview, Roman Hasler, Zünd Product Manager Packaging, describes how Zünd is helping packaging producers meet current market demands.

With the advent of new materials, shorter time-to-market, and print-on-demand, customer needs in the packaging market have become exceedingly diverse. What can Zünd do to help customers in this challenging production environment?

Our customers are looking to achieve the shortest possible turnaround times, anything that will help them boost their competitiveness. Having to produce just in time has become commonplace for them. In addition, there has been a reduction in the size of orders, while the number of orders has increased. Our high-performance cutters are ideal for these kinds of production environments. With a Zünd cutter, the customer can cost-effectively create samples, make prototypes, and produce short-run packaging. Nevertheless, even for mass-produced goods, the diversity in packaging is increasing. Major distributors have begun regionally diversifying their product offerings. This results in the need for producing packaging in several different variations. For this type of industrial production, Zünd offers cutting systems with a variety of automation solutions.

What kind of automation does Zünd offer and what are the advantages of different solutions?

Faced with reduced turnaround times and increasing order volumes, a producer cannot avoid automating the finishing process. This is why we offer automated solutions that are tailored to individual customer needs and, when integrated in the production workflow, even allow for unattended operation. Our cutters are the answer when it comes to meeting increased demands for customized packaging and short-run displays. An example of automation that makes perfect sense is touchfree file retrieval through automated QR-code capture. After the material is loaded onto the cutting surface, the ICC camera system captures the QR code printed on the substrate. Instantaneously, the Zünd Cut Center software retrieves the correct cut file and starts production. This is a very simple and effective feature that results in reliable, consistent process control.

Packaging producers are continually adding capacity. This makes topics such as the gathering of job-specific production data, workflow integration, and open interfacing highly relevant. What is Zünd's approach in this regard?

With Zünd Cut Center, we offer a simple, intuitive user-interface and production workflow and in addition provide the user with many powerful tools for efficient production planning. Cut Time Estimation, for example, displays the estimated production time for each prepared job in the Cut Queue. Besides the time required for processing the material, the system also calculates job-specific setup and material-loading times. During processing, Zünd Cut Center continuously displays the time remaining until completion of the job. Any changes, for example because of a longer setup time, are reflected immediately in the calculations. Once the job is completed, the total actual production time is saved and displayed in the Cut Queue. Through an XML interface, the user is also able to integrate ZCC with the company's production planning system or can export production data for post-production computing.

What future trends do you foresee in the packaging industry?

Digital printing will no doubt continue to gain market share in packaging. The trends towards customized packaging, smaller runs, and just-in-time production continue unabated. All of this lends more urgency to the need for packaging producers to utilize the type of flexible solutions Zünd offers for smaller production runs and custom production. What we can offer our customers is an increase in productivity throughout the entire production workflow. By focusing on how many individual components of the process can be made more efficient in themselves and combine into a better workflow overall, we can significantly increase productivity. In addition, Zünd cutters are extremely versatile. Because of the comprehensive selection and modularity of the tooling, Zünd cutters can process an incredible variety of materials with precision and efficiency. Because of this versatility, Zünd cutters are able to adapt and keep growing with our customers needs.

Caption: Roman Hasler, Zünd Product Manager Packaging