Prototypes & Comps

Product Focus on Package Prototyping Machines and Software

Posted: April 8, 2012 by
Linda Casey


Digital Label Printer
The iTech AXXIS SR Digital Label System can produce labels on a variety of substrates, including paper, polyester and PP. It uses an Epson B-500DN inkjet print engine to print on label stock from 4 to 8.5 in. The system then uses Allen Datagraph’s finishing technology to laminate and digitally die-cut the labels on demand and in a variety of shapes without the need for dies. The printed face stock is then scored to help ease removal of the waste matrix.

Digital Prototyping Software
Autodesk developed its Simulation Mechanical software to help designers and engineers make structural decisions earlier in the package-design process. The Autodesk Simulation Moldflow 2013 software features tools for simulating plastic injection molding and validating and optimizing plastic packages, their injection molds and the injection-molding process.

Wide-format Printer
The Epson Stylus Pro WT7900 Designer Edition combines the Epson Stylus Pro WT7900 with an EFI eXpress software RIP to produce high-resolution packaging mock-ups for graphic-design firms, creative agencies and brand owners. The system uses an Epson UltraChrome HDR White aqueous inkset with the Adobe Postscript interpreter and Pantone color-matching capabilities to print color and white ink directly on clear or metallic media, as well as color-accurate CMYK comps, proofs, mock-ups and prototypes. The software includes Pantone, DIC, HKS and TOYO libraries to help designers produce accurate spot colors on their prototypes.

Virtual Prototyping Software
Marketed as an alternative to conventional mock-ups, Esko Studio is a plug-in that brings interactive 3-D packaging design to Adobe Illustrator. Designers can use Studio to create PDF files with interactive 2- and 3-D representations of packages. Studio Visualizer adds the finishing touch, taking the graphic information of a label or package and showing a wide range of substrates, special inks and finishing effects in real time, placing the products on shelves or displays in realistic store environments.

Hybrid Printer
TheMutoh ValueJet 1608HS hybrid printer prints on both rigid and flexible media. Built-in process control with ColorVerify, an on-printer spectrophotometer, and remote printer monitoring through VSM and Intelligent Interweave print technique are engineered to eliminate banding and ensure consistent color.

Digital Press
The HP Indigo WS6600 digital press is designed to provide a wide digital color gamut with up to seven ink stations on press and match up to 97% of the Pantone color gamut using on-press simulations or an off-press ink-mixing system. When paired with the HP in-line primer (ILP) system launched last year, the HP Indigo WS6600 can print on a wider range of substrates than the company’s previous press setups. Designers who use this new system for printed packages, proofs or prototypes can specify standard, non-treated stocks, and their package printers use the ILP system to lay down a water-based primer on the substrate prior to printing.

Roll-fed Printing, Cutting System
Mimaki’s CJV30-60 is a 24-in.print/cut system for custom comps, prototypes and one-offs that prints up to 1,440 dpi using variable-dot technology. It also uses white ink for over- and underprinting on clear and metallic media. Silver ink can be used for creating metallic effects. The system is available in 40-, 54- and 64-in.-wide models.

Three-dimensional Printer
The Objet260 Connex is a compact version of the company’s multi-material 3-D printers. It can print objects from as many as 51 digital materials with varying textures and shades at a high-resolution layer accuracy of 16 microns.

Flatbed Printing, Cutting System
The company pairs an Océ Arizona Series flatbed UV inkjet printer and an Océ ProCut digital cutting system to create an Océ Streamlined Workflow system for making package prototypes and other custom and short-run applications. The system prints on paperboard, corrugated and plastic packaging materials. The cutting system can crease and digitally die-cut boxes using a router or kiss-cutting or oscillating knife.

Prototyping, Collaboration Software
RealVue 3D Packager software can create and animate virtual package prototypes and then help facilitate the creative collaboration and approval process. Designers can use artwork and die-line data imported from Adobe Ilustrator and simulate gloss, metallic, holographic, embossing and cut-out effects. Die-line data can also be imported from CAD programs using the DXF file format. Once the design is complete, virtual prototypes can be emailed to brand managers and other stakeholders. Recipients can view the prototype at any angle or view an animated folding scenario; stakeholders then use annotation and approval tools to help designers refine concepts.

Roland DGA submission
Developed for Roland VersaUV LED wide-format inkjet printers, ECO-UV S ink expands up to 220%, allowing graphics to wrap uneven shapes, indentations, corners and curved surfaces. ECO-UV S is formulated to allow printed graphics to mold perfectly to the contours of PET bottles and plastic cups and adhere flawlessly to vacuum-formed plastic items.

Eco-friendly 3-D Printer
The VX1000 is a 3-D printer engineered to create structural prototypes with complex geometries and undercuts. It has a printhead that creates objects with a resolution of up to 600 dpi. The printer is also compatible with a new inorganic binder developed by Voxeljet and Hüttenes-Albertus to avoid the emissions given off by some organic binders during the casting process and, therefore, be more conscious of environmental and user health concerns.

High-speed Flatbed Printer
Xanté bills its Excelagraphix 4200 as the first 42-in.-wide commercialized flatbed powered by the Memjet print engine. Memjet Waterfall printheads deliver more than 3 billion drops of ink per second, according to Xanté, yielding print speeds up to eight times faster than traditional inkjet technology. It can print a range of media, including corrugated board, in sheet sizes from 8.27 by 8.27 in. up to 42 by 100 in.

Digital Cutter
Zund America’s S3 digital cutter is a smaller version of the company’s G3 flatbed cutting table and is designed for prototype and sample manufacturing. The S3 has a direct-drive motor and is compatible with a wide selection of cutting and creasing tools. The S3 can be driven using the Zund Cut Center for ease of operation. The software integrates with a variety of third-party design-software suites commonly used in the packaging and graphics market today.


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