Encompassing five sites across Europe, AMB is a major player in the rigid and flexible packaging sector. The company has recently invested in a BOBST EXPERT CI press to expand its water-based flexo printing capabilities in a move that reaffirms AMB’s strong commitment to environmentally friendly production methods.
AMB is a family-owned company, established over 50 years ago in north-east Italy, and it was the first packaging manufacturer to set up a fully water-based converting facility in Europe. Based on their extensive knowledge and experience of this technology, CEO Bruno Marin and Technical Director Alessandro Marin have now chosen to partner with BOBST and install a best-in-class EXPERT CI flexo press. While this is the first BOBST printing press for AMB, the company is already familiar with the high quality of BOBST’s technology, having invested a MASTER D 1000 LAMINATOR for water-based adhesive lamination in 2016.
“As a pioneer in water-based printing and lamination, we have always invested in technology that will enable us to remain at the forefront of development and deliver our promise of truly sustainable production to our customers,” said Bruno Marin. “The BOBST EXPERT CI press is first class and it perfectly matches our requirements. Furthermore, we see BOBST as a company that is closely aligned with our sustainability strategy.”
The new press is poised to increase printed output by 150% and joins another eight-color flexo press at the company’s facility in San Daniele del Friuli, near Udine. At 600 m/min, not only is the EXPERT the fastest water-based film printing central impression (CI) flexo press in the world, it also comes with a host of innovative features that will help AMB maximize process consistency, deliver exceptional quality and respond to demands for shorter lead times.
Sustainable growth for European leader
Founded by Clotilde Manfrin-Polano and Renata Polano Marin in 1969 and still owned by the Marin family, AMB started out as a producer of LDPE bags. In the 1980s, the company moved into blown film extrusion, and it is today a renowned expert with the technical capability to produce customised coextruded or laminated films in up to nine layers. Flexo printing was introduced in 1997 when the first CI press was installed.
Over the past few years, AMB has expanded its reach in Europe considerably; first with the addition of a second Italian site in Amaro (UD), then in 2019 with the acquisition of TDX (Europe) Limited, a leader in the UK market for the design, prototyping, tooling and film supply for thermoformed packaging. This was followed quickly by another investment, this time in Germany where PTS Verpackungen joined the group, which also includes a network of international distribution warehouses. In total, AMB today has 435 employees and a combined businesses turnover in excess of €160 million.
Mr Marin said, “We offer local customers an all-in-one service, with packaging design and production, tooling and material supply, plus vital customer guidance, all covered by AMB as a pan-European supplier.” He added, “We are building this network on innovation and sustainable ethos, and we chose our partners carefully to ensure that we have a common goal in mind.”
Working in synergy with its customers, AMB can redesign packaging to reduce the environmental footprint by downgauging films and help solve any sustainability challenges within packaging production. When Italian food specialist Beretta Group needed to meet new legislative demands, the AMB team reduced its product packaging weight by 20%, which translated to an impressive cost saving of €360,000 per year.
The company’s many other sustainability efforts include the recycling of more 13 million PET bottles every day and developing innovative recyclable packaging alternatives to polystyrene and PVC for food packaging applications, as well as exploring biobased materials and thermoforming paper.
Maximising productivity with water-based printing
The BOBST EXPERT CI press platform marks a significant step up in production for AMB by increasing print capacity to 28 million meters annually. Printing in eight colors in a web width of 1300 mm, the press has been fully optimised to reduce energy use and minimise waste of substrate, consumables and time through increased automation of all processes.
The unique drying system includes the Full Surface Matrix (FSM) inter-color drying technology, which offers higher efficiency and enhanced register, to more than match the requirements of water-based inks. Hundreds of small jets blow air across the entire substrate using lower temperatures to save on energy and prevent the substrate from stretching. This is complemented by the high-efficiency, dual-technology bridge dryer that uses a combination of floating and impingement type air jets.
The water-based ink is distributed by the smartFLO inking system and chambered doctor blade. This ensures the consistent metering and temperature of the inks for a predictable, stable and controlled result. The print decks are fitted with BOBST’s triLOCK bearing technology for faster operation and precise positioning of the print and anilox rollers, while the offline smartGPS system offers automatic registration and impression setting for faster changeovers and minimum start up waste.
Alessandro Marin said, “There were so many aspects of the EXPERT CI platform that together presented the most convincing proposition for us when we were evaluating the market. Like AMB, BOBST is an innovator and we have strong faith in their technology. AMB is ‘designed to be different’ and there is no doubt that this investment will be central to our growth and future success.”
“The green manufacturing methods of AMB match BOBST’s vision for the future of packaging production, which is built of the four key pillars of connectivity, digitalization, automation and sustainability,” said Alberto Vaglio Laurin, Business Director Italia. “There are very few companies in the market with such a high level of expertise in water-based flexo printing and we are delighted to be supporting AMB with our know-how and technology.”