Corrugated: the digital revolution of ICO

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The integrated group from Abruzzo synonymous with corrugated cardboard faces onto digital printing with the installation of an HP Page Wide C 500 post print machine. To open to new products and markets, with unprecedented levels of quality, flexibility and effectiveness.

For a corrugated board converter, shifting the balance from flexo technology to digital means entails not only an important investment on the financial front but also a significant change in workflows and professionalism, this in the light of a coherent project. At ICO, the introduction of an HP Page Wide C500 post press digital machine responds to ambitious goals of effectiveness and positioning, which Stefano Di Mattia, General Manager of the Abruzzo-based group, translates into: “to manage with greater flexibility complex graphics, to produce shorter batches for products with ever faster life cycles more efficiently and economically, and to enter into segments with higher added value compared to the classic transport packaging”.

How to create value with digital

The HP Page Wide C500, installed at ICO in November 2019 directly prints cardboard sheets with different types of corrugates and represents a central piece of the company’s renewal, which has been started to operate in a market that demands new levels of flexibility and quality: “With the C500 we print graphics that reproduce works of art with an exceptional graphic result and in half an hour from the arrival of the file; we have done  internal-external prints; we have obtained complex graphics on minimum batches with an efficiency and lead time unthinkable with traditional technology. All this with “offset quality” even on uncoated media,” explains Project Manager, Michele Mastromatteo.

But things don’t stop there. Today the culture of sustainability and safety dominate the market, and for ICO they represent the cornerstones of their offer and operations, underlines Giorgia Lancia, Business Development Manager, who states: “We have chosen the HP C500 also because it uses water-based inks suitable for primary food packaging with print not in direct contact with food, thus allowing us to serve the reference food, personal care and pharmaceuticals markets without restriction”. Moreover, the marketer underlines, “With digital we can realize products with higher added value and reach new, geographically more distant markets. And with this technology we are able to recover efficiency, especially on cutting machines and in terms of reducing production waste”.

Pandemic as accelerator

A market already oriented to change has seen, with the spread of Covid-19, a strong acceleration of e-commerce and home delivery, showing how unavoidable the digitization of processes is. “The pandemic has shown, with dramatic clarity, how unpredictable the market is and, therefore, how fundamental it is to structure a streamlined and reactive supply chain, able to handle sudden contractions and expansions on different channels and geographical areas. In this context, the digital machine and its flow acquire all their importance, allowing brands and printers to follow changes in demand with a timeliness and efficiency otherwise unthinkable”, says Giorgia Lancia.

At ICO managers say the pandemic has accelerated a project that is already moving in that direction, where the inclusion of the HP PageWide C500 is driving a general change in approach to printing and work quality. “For this reason – says Mastromatteo – for us the adoption of the C500 is not a “simple” technological adaptation. It is no coincidence that it is governed by the company’s R&D, and has led to the adoption of new professional profiles for both management and pre-press, as part of a more effective and efficient organizational and operational model, digitized at all levels”.

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