4 Sep, 2017

‘DigiFlute’ specifically for digital print on corrugated board

Smurfit Kappa introduces ‘DigiFlute’ after partnering with HP to revolutionise digital print technology.

Significant technological advancements happening every year mean that Smurfit Kappa can continue to push the boundaries of what can be achieved through print by working with other market leaders and utilising industry expertise to develop new solutions. Digital print technology has now evolved to a level where converters are taking the view that the time is right to invest in such machinery.

In order to produce the best print results, there needs to be a balance within the following areas;

» Correct board choice – lightweight coating, inner liner surface smoothness, flat board;

» Correct ink – paper/board formulated, not generic, machine manufacturer recommended;

» Correct conditions – machine environment and storage conditions of board;

» Repro – origination suited to digital.

As corrugated manufacturers, there have been considerable challenges in providing a substrate that is able to accommodate the narrow tolerances permitted by the digital printing process. Smurfit Kappa’s approach to the solution was to form a team comprising of their own experts, machinery suppliers, paper manufacturers and of course, customers. The objective was to develop the substrate of choice for its customers that would not only solve current issues, but would enable future machinery advancements.

Vital to success of the project, was having a close collaboration with HP. After numerous trials on presses alongside research and testing programmes, the result was the creation of Smurfit Kappa Digiflute.  

Being 100% recyclable, Digiflute is available in the usual standard POS and display flutes and in both coated and uncoated options that permit matt, satin or gloss finish.  The substrate is suitable for both generic and specialist inks and meets the requirements of all generations of presses, in particular new print technologies such as water based inks.  

Existing issues experienced on digital printers, such as mottling and burnishing (particularly prevalent in designs showing high levels of cyan) are now alleviated with Digiflute. This has been achieved due to the print surface options which are optimised in a clay coating to enable quicker drying time and increased press productivity.

"The digital print process is extremely sensitive to the shape of the corrugated substrate," says Andrew Connolly, Sales Director at Smurfit Kappa Sheeting. "The construction of Digiflute not only facilitates the initial print process, but also the secondary conversion process, with trials showing it is less likely to fracture or crack during creasing. A reduction of stack heights coupled with optimised palletisation also helps to control the shape of the board before being presented to press."

L to R: Richard Revell- Technical Improvement Manager, Kevin Symon – Plant Manager, Mike Fadden – Regional Director, Andrew Connolly – Sales Director and Suzanne Armitt – Business Development Manager.


Smurfit Kappa can be absolutely confident that the learnings amalgamated into this product will not only improve production efficiency and consistency, it will in tandem present a print surface of superior quality. Digiflute is a corrugated substrate accredited by HP meaning that customers can be confident they have a substrate that works for this print process, (specifically on HP’s FB15500 and FB17000 products).

"It is an exciting time for the digital print industry, with new technologies constantly driving change. For this reason, we will always work closely with our key partners to enable us to continue providing the most relevant market-leading corrugated solutions," concludes Connolly.

Specific technical data relating to Digiflute is available. Please contact digiflute@smurfitkappa.co.uk

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