Heidelberg has combined with packaging manufacturer Xianjunlong Colour Printing to launch the world’s first web-to-pack platform and digital production solution for designing and ordering customised folding cartons; boxuni.

The platform connects packaging designers, print buyers, and producers, using software and technical capability from Heidelberg and Xianjunlong’s strong footprint in the Chinese packaging industry. As the first boxuni production partner, Xianjunlong has implemented a fully integrated web to pack production line, from a cloud-based online platform to printing on a Heidelberg Primefire 106 and postpress operations. Heidelberg showcased the online platform at the Print China show this month.

Ulrich Hermann, management board member and chief digital officer of Heidelberg, says, “It is the first time for the company that we’re working together with a customer to invest in a new business model, which will drive further growth in the packaging market. We are intending to generate added value for the various industry stakeholders by creating a digital ecosystem. And by investing in a Heidelberg Primefire 106, Xianjunlong is underlining the importance of our industrial digital printing system for implementing new, data driven business models.”

Heidelberg contributes its software know how surrounding Prinect and its extensive experience in the printing of high quality folding cartons. It aims to bring the interests of packaging designers, end users, and packaging printers together on one platform. Designers currently have on line access to around 12,000 folding carton designs, with more added all the time. The company says this makes designing packaging, tailored to their requirements, a quick, simple, and cost-effective process.

Packaging buyers can order packaging designs on line, customised if necessary, and short runs, which Xianjunlong produces fully automatically and ships.

A Primefire 106 from Heidelberg prints the packaging once it is designed and ordered online. After printing the folding cartons, the factory completes postpress operations on a digital coating/foil stamping system and a die-cutting machine from Heidelberg partner Masterwork Group.

The next step involves giving print shops the opportunity to link their products and services to this platform. They can then use a cloud-based platform to produce folding cartons in a standardised, highly automated process with wide coverage in China.

Zhuang, Xianjunlong, Colour Printing management team member, says, “We’re expecting the boxuni web to pack platform to change China’s packaging market. In the future, designers, print buyers, and printers will all benefit from a highly automated, standardised process that will ultimately eliminate the need for correction cycles and coordination processes. We’ll use this digital business model to ensure the Primefire is used to its full capacity on a cost-effective basis.”

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