IMD spin-off focuses on digital printing

CAPrint Ltd. - Hi Speed Digital Printing

Interview by Dr. Otto Appel with Fridolin Maibach, CEO, CAPrint Ltd., Switzerland

COVID-19 dominates the news and affects economic life worldwide. What is driving you to start a new company in this environment?

Maibach: The current economic environment is challenging, no doubt. However, we at CAPrint are convinced that it is absolutely the right point in time to launch now as we are in a strategic and long-term process. In the first stage, the CAPrint printing system “CAPrint 1.0” was created, engineered and continuously improved since 2015. In a second stage, prototype units were introduced to selected key customers to test their stability and reliability in a 24/7 live environment. Now, we are at the beginning of a third stage, finally commercializing our fantastic product widely.


Why are you spinning-off the whole printing business into a separate unity?

Maibach: During the development phase of this entire project, it was essential to access all technological disciplines under one roof. The IMD and Hapa teams did an excellent job. Now, when it comes to marketing the product, we simply have to focus on and streamline the organisation. Digital printing of caps and closures at high speed is a fundamentally different core competence. The entire team, from customer support to sales, marketing and application, must share and reflect the same and common understanding. We can best achieve our goals in a separate and flat organization. We are convinced that with the introduction of CAPrint Ltd we have the perfect answer.


Why should customers choose the CAPrint 1.0 system to digitally print their closures?

Maibach: My message here is very simple: With our system, you can now print almost any artwork on nearly every closure colour and surface, inline and 24/7. The new technology is not only a new way to print directly on closures but also influences the decision to do so. Our customers now can personalize closures almost indefinitely for specific marketing campaigns using the highest quality prints.


How user-friendly is this cutting-edge technology? Do your customers need to hire rocket scientists to run CAPrint 1.0?

Maibach: No, not at all. There are no specific skills required to run our machine. Our CAPrint 1.0 system is robust and very easy to use. The user interface is one of the finest solutions in the industry and is even fun to work with.


''At Hapa we are excited to see our digital technology evolving into the caps and closures industries. Teaming up with the inspection and handling expertise of IMD Ltd., the CAPrint team has a solid and promising setup.'' - Barbara Schulz, CEO Hapa

Printing is still mainly mechanical. Do you see the future in digital printing?

Maibach: Well, digitization is finding its way into more and more areas of our lives. It will simply prevail. There is no reason to remain mechanical and analogue in the cap and closure printing market. The facts speak for themselves, above all the endless possibilities to use caps as an essential marketing tool. Other arguments are lower costs and cost control, which is crucial in our industry. Customers have less waste and less inventory. Customers don’t need any specific staff, no particular infrastructure. Customers have almost no start-up and replacement costs, and energy consumption is significantly below a mechanical printing solution. The flexibility of the digital machine is unmatched. Since no manned operation is required, it is also suitable for online applications. The system does not use mechanical holders for the closures, so there is no risk of parts being damaged. Finally, the print is 100% repeatable, i.e. the user cannot influence the print, so wherever you print, you get identical results with the same quality.


''CAPrint Ltd is a further milestone in our strategy to establish the digital printing technology in our industries. I am very happy to have two senior executives of IMD on the flightdeck of CAPrint. Focus is now the most important thing to answer the demand of the markets right now.'' - Matthias Hermle, CEO IMD Ltd.


Can you tell us more about applications already in the market?

Maibach: Our customers print closures for a variety of applications, e.g. for beverages and pharmaceutical products. With our technology, we also reach completely different products; One of our customers, for example, is using CAPrint 1.0 for tobacco containers. And there are also prints for agricultural packaging. Our printer can easily be changed over to other product types, which makes it suitable for smaller production lots. And customers appreciate the option of online usage. As mentioned, the digital printer can run without an operator.

You served as CTO of IMD for more than 16 years. What is your ambition to lead the CAPrint team?

Maibach: I have grown with IMD over the past 16 years. I have learned a lot in all these years and all phases of growth. I am now highly motivated to take the opportunity to start over. I can perfectly use what I have learned in the CAPrint sense. My IMD career was very diverse. I started as a product manager in a small team. As CTO, was later responsible for development and customer service. With the support of the sales team and our OEMs, I generated customer contacts every day. I am convinced that these disciplines will give me a good basis for the new challenge. Working in a small company appeals to me because it requires a lot of flexibility. Everyone has to help wherever they can. Recently, my service engineering skills were needed (laughs). I haven’t worked like this in ages - and I enjoyed it. Finally, I have always been enthusiastic about digital printing technology - the possibilities it offers are limitless.


Facts & Figures

The history of digital printing à la IMD

  • IMD Ltd. is a Swiss based global provider of inline inspection systems and services for the plastic caps and closures, preforms and bottles.

  • Hapa Ltd. provides late-stage customization and on-demand printing solutions for packaging processes in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Hapa, headquartered in Volketswil near Zurich, with sales and service offices worldwide, is part of Coesia, a global group of innovation-oriented industrial solutions companies based in Bologna, Italy.

  • In 2015, the two companies teamed up to combine their core competencies with a strategic goal: to revolutionize the printing of caps and closures by using the latest digital printing technology.

  • Five years of intensive innovation processing, engineering and marketing followed. The result: “CAPrint 1.0”. The digital printing system is supposed to print almost any artwork instantly on almost any closure colour and surface, inline and 24/7.

  • Following the introduction of the new technology and in response to the growing market success, CAPrint Ltd was founded in May 2020 as a spinoff from IMD Ltd.

  • Former IMD managers Fridolin Maibach (CTO) and Rainer Mattiello (CFO) are managers of CAPrint Ltd.

  • The new company is based in Switzerland.