The development of digital decoration solutions in closure manufacturing generates new opportunities for industry players and points the way towards new challenges for technology providers. We took stock of the situation with Iacopo Bianconcini, Marketing and Business Development Manager of the SACMI Closures, Containers & PET Division.
What innovation and technology does the SACMI Group offer in this field?
“As is the SACMI tradition, the overriding goal is to intercept the latest market trends and harness them to create value for customers. SACMI aims to respond to concealed demand within the industry to meet the needs of bottlers, brand owners and cap makers. Working alongside the world’s biggest cap manufacturers on a daily basis has highlighted a need to combine on-product technological innovation with a platform capable of maximising - in a way that is simple, versatile and economical - the cap’s potential in terms of bringing out the best in the brand and customisation for the final user.
The solution lies in digitalizing the industry; our initial response took the form of SACMI COLORA CAP, a machine capable of storing up to 10 million different logos, with an unlimited colour range and minimal product and size changeover times. Digital technology, in fact, lets manufacturers change the graphics and decoration on every single cap, making product personalisation child’s play. It also makes the manufacture of personalised, decorated caps economically viable for small-scale production runs or individual events/ customers”. This offers a clear insight into what the future holds: digitalization is taking us towards very close contact and interaction with the final consumer.
What are the main advantages of this machine?
“Alongside huge versatility, it offers very high productivity, up to 36,000 caps/ hour, can put a different image on each cap and ensures ultra-fast changeovers. These technical features allow, for example, manufacturers to switch from decorating still water caps to decorating carbonated drink or fruit juice caps in just a few minutes, without having to act on the print heads. In short, all decoration requirements downstream from cap-making lines can be covered by a single technological solution”. This was just an initial step: SACMI technology is ready to be implemented with new, even higher-productivity models.
Now, a few years after the launch of this new technology, what scenarios have opened up for the Group and what are the prospects for customers?
“SACMI is already broadly positioned to provide personalised solutions to, for example, the major hotel chains. Today, the challenge is to manufacture personalised caps with the customer’s specific logo. We also need to understand that solutions of this sort, which go hand-in-hand with SACMI’s latest label digital printing solutions, could result in new investment on the part of our main partners in the industry, the converters. Such technology will, in fact, enable them to offer markets high-level packages directly, packages that include, alongside the cap production lines, highadded-value services such as the digital printing just mentioned”. Today, the emphasis is no longer on productivity, as the additional cap costs have slowed the boom. However, we are confident that, once customers see the benefits - in terms of decoration, the bond established with the final user and increased production - the market will expand. Those who get in on the ground floor will, of course, reap the biggest rewards.
To complete this strategy, have after-sales services been expanded?
“After-sales services have always added value to SACMI products and played a pivotal role in our success on world markets. To make the most of them, 2018 saw the establishment of a dedicated Division, Customer Service. Its goal is to stand alongside the Global Network and provide personalised solutions so customers can count on close support throughout the working life of the machine or plant. Moreover, SACMI provides a complete range of inspection systems for every step of the production process, ensuring total quality control of output at all times”. And not just quality control, but also the assistance needed to introduce this technology on the market.