Kento developed the first hybrid printer specially designed for corrugated, combining the advantages of flexo with the benefits of inkjet technology into the same machine. This concept won the experts’ recognition and an Innovation Award during the FEFCO Technical Seminar in October 2021.
The context and the problem
In short, analog printers are inefficient for projects below 100 MSF (10.000 sqm) due to the high cost of plates and their long setup times. On the other hand, digital printers make it difficult to find customers willing to pay higher prices for ‘digital packaging’ because ink costs for a corrugated box are sometimes higher than the cost of paper itself.
The solution for short and midsized printing runs
The Kento Hybrid® system saves up to 80% in ink costs, using flexo for large areas of solid backgrounds, white or metallic colors, that would be extremely expensive or impossible with current digital printers.
Within the same process, this new hybrid machine minimizes setup times and saves costs because high-res images are printed using single-pass inkjet that does not require expensive four-color plates.
The experts’ reactions to Kento Hybrid®
These are actual stories of our interactions with prospects and potential customers.
A box plant owner has been vetting single-pass printers for several years and felt technology just wasn’t there yet when he bought a multi-pass machine in 2020.
When introduced to the Kento Hybrid he stated it was “borderline genius.”
With so many positives, he feels strongly that other competitors will be jumping on this sooner than later, calling to tell him about “this new concept” of adding a flexo to single-pass, and he will make sure to remind them Kento is already doing it since 2021.
Shocked at first sight
A box plant owner with extensive experience in digital for corrugated has looked at the single-pass concept for a while. He felt that adding flexo print to single-pass inkjet printing was the right thing to do.
Seeing a working Kento Hybrid firsthand, he was shocked by the implementation of this innovative concept and the robust build of the machine, and blown away by the actual combination of flexo + inkjet in a single printer, and its patented Artificial Vision method of registering the digital to the flexo.
He declared that he will only buy a machine with flexo capability and this will likely be the Kento Hybrid in the very near term.
Beyond digital, beyond flexo
A box plant owner who has a digital single pass started to see the potential benefits of the hybrid technology right away.
“It is very interesting and can definitely open some doors for us”, specifically mentioning the possibility of mixing the brand colors in their flexo ink kitchen to nail the specific color – or any other spot colors – since this is difficult or next to impossible to achieve a perfect match via digital only.
No more wasted ink
This is the story of a single-pass user who must buy ink supporting 6 colors in order to increase their color gamut and hoping to hit or get as close as possible to hitting, specific brand colors with his digital printer.
The problem is one of those six colors is rarely used, but digital ink must be bought in bulk. It takes them too long to use this ink, and it usually gets past its “use by” date. This operation loses about $10,000 per tote of this color plus the disposal charge.
Kento Hybrid can have one or several flexo modules to print specific colors with analog ink. Kento can even print white or metallic colors that are too expensive or impossible to get with the current inkjet technology.
Kento Hybrid®: Some technical data
Measuring less than 100’ (30 m) from feeder to stacker, Kento Hybrid® combines one or more flexo printing units with a single-pass inkjet printer and – new in 2023 – an inline rotary die cutter.
This machine uses a proprietary flexo-digital register control based on Artificial Vision technology and is built with Siemens parts to guarantee quality, dependability, and durability.
A primer application station ensures the best printing results for all liners, and an over-print varnish application station offers a wide range of finishings.
Adopting an open ink model, Kento certifies ink sets from leading manufacturers so corrugated companies may choose among different suppliers. Kento requires all inks to comply with the highest standards of food packaging regulations: Nestlé’s and Swiss Ordinance.
Kento Hybrid® is unbeatable in printing jobs up to 10,000 sqm (100 MSF), and achieves this outstanding efficiency by saving up to 80% in ink costs, significantly reducing printing plate costs, and offering change-overs under 10 minutes to reach 80% uptime rates, and delivering 8,000 sheets-per-hour output with 2,100 mm (82.7”) cross-printing direction x 1,300 mm (51.1”) printing direction maximum board sizes.
Come see for yourself
The first Kento Hybrid® was installed in a state-of-the-art corrugated plant located North of Valencia, Spain. Besides its production duties, this hybrid printer also serves as a demo unit.
The first hybrid printer in North America started working in Q1 2023 and became the first demo center in the USA. The Kento team will gladly process all requests for on-site or remote personalized demonstrations.